SOUTH BAY, Fla. - Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) broke ground on the crown jewel of Everglades restoration, the reservoir component of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir Project! The event marks a defining moment in Everglades restoration for a project that will provide a myriad of benefits for the environment and people in South Florida.
The EAA Reservoir Project is a joint Everglades restoration effort between the USACE and SFWMD. SFWMD is responsible for building the constructed wetland known as the stormwater treatment area, and USACE is building the water storage reservoir.
Construction began in April 2020 on the stormwater treatment area, which is a 6,500-acre constructed wetland. The wetland will use three separate treatment cells of aquatic vegetation to naturally remove nutrient pollution and clean water before it flows south into the Everglades. SFWMD will complete construction on the treatment wetland later this year.
USACE is constructing the 10,500-acre reservoir that can store up to 240,000 acre-feet in static water storage. In conjunction with other Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) features, this project will deliver an annual average of 360,000 acre-feet of clean water south to the Everglades.
“This project is a crucial milestone for Everglades restoration. The EAA reservoir will continue to improve water quality, reduce algal blooms and provide water for people and the environment in south Florida,” said Michael L. Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “The Administration remains committed to ensuring the success of Everglades restoration by continuing to dedicate major resources to this project.”
“Today’s groundbreaking is a testament to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its partner’s commitment to Everglades restoration,” said Col. James Booth, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District. “Many consider this project to be the 'crown jewel' of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. The Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area phase of the Central Everglades Planning Project is the keystone that deliberately reconnects Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades. Today’s success is due to the collaboration of federal, tribal, state and local partners.”
“Breaking ground on the long-anticipated EAA Reservoir is a monumental achievement for the restoration and protection of America’s Everglades,” said Drew Bartlett, Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District. “Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made this project a top priority when he took office in 2019, and we’re excited to celebrate the EAA Reservoir’s groundbreaking with our partners at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District. With this reservoir in place, there will be less damaging discharges to our coastal communities and more water to benefit our environment and communities across South Florida. Everglades restoration supports the resiliency of our state and economy. We’re going to do everything we can to continue expediting this important project and maintain the momentum for Everglades restoration.”
“Today's EAA Reservoir groundbreaking will go down as one of the most consequential days in the history of Everglades restoration," said SFWMD Governing Board Vice Chairman Scott Wagner. "Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is leading the way to protect Florida’s natural resources and prioritized this critical project on his second day in office. With the Governor’s unwavering support, the South Florida Water Management District and our partners are laser focused on advancing the EAA Reservoir Project as quickly as possible. We are now closer than ever to moving more clean water south to nourish the Everglades, significantly reducing harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges, and improving the water resources of our state."
The USACE and SFWMD are 50/50 partners in implementing the world's most ambitious ecosystem restoration effort: the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The EAA Reservoir Project is a key component of CEPP, a suite of projects within CERP to restore the Everglades and send more water south. Increased investments and unprecedented momentum are making a tangible difference to restore America's Everglades with dozens of projects underway to improve the quantity, quality, timing and distribution of water within the Greater Everglades Ecosystem.
Download Video from the EAA Reservoir Groundbreaking
Download Photos from the EAA Reservoir Groundbreaking
Download High Resolution B-ROLL of the EAA Reservoir Project
CEPP EAA Phase Overview Fact Sheet
CEPP EAA Phase A2 Reservoir Engineering Fact Sheet