Today, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board voted unanimously to award a contract for the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) New Water Seepage Barrier Project. This project will help support increased flows of water from the Central Everglades into Everglades National Park while mitigating potential flooding to nearby communities. Read more to see what officials and stakeholders are saying:
"Under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, the state has invested $1.7 billion to advance important projects to restore America’s Everglades and today’s approval by the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board is just another example of the state’s unwavering commitment,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “With each new project, Florida comes closer to securing the health and longevity of this important ecosystem. DEP will continue to work with our partners at the South Florida Water Management District to advance critical projects such as this as quickly as possible.”
"I’m pleased to see another step forward for the seepage wall project in Miami-Dade County,” said Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Chairman of the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners. “This important project still has a lot more miles to be completed. It will help mitigate flood waters from coming into areas of farming and housing while retaining water in our Everglades National Park to support Florida Everglades restoration. Great projects like this are possible because Governor Ron DeSantis, and the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board are leading the charge to restore the Florida Everglades. I have been working over the last 20 years with restoring the Florida Everglades and flooding issues within Miami-Dade County. Together, we can all protect our natural resources and the beautiful Florida Everglades right in our own backyard. I look forward to continuing to balance the needs of our farmers and residents in the central and southwestern areas of our county with the restoration of the Everglades."
“The Everglades Foundation commends today’s SFWMD Governing Board action to construct the CEPP New Water Seepage Barrier Wall Project. This project will add an additional 4.9 miles to the previously constructed 2.3 miles of seepage wall in Miami-Dade County," said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Everglades Foundation. "By extending the seepage barrier, more water will be maintained in Everglades National Park thereby allowing for improved ecological conditions in the park. This will also enable more freshwater to be sent south to Florida Bay. Following Governor DeSantis’ leadership, today’s Governing Board action continues the incredible progress in restoring America’s Everglades. We thank the Governor for his commitment to sending water south and restoring the Everglades ecosystem. We celebrate today’s action and look forward to more progress that will reduce harmful discharges to our coasts and send freshwater south to the Everglades.”
“Audubon is excited to see the approval of this seepage wall expansion on the eastern edge of Everglades National Park -- it's a long-awaited solution to a complex problem that has faced many governing boards,” said Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director of Audubon Florida and Vice President of the National Audubon Society. “We are hopeful this underground barrier will be effective in mitigating flood impacts, while keeping freshwater where it is needed most, in the Everglades, destined for Florida Bay.”
"We have been losing as much water as we bring into the park to seepage near our eastern boundary and this wall will once and for all stop that bleeding," said Superintendent for Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks Pedro Ramos. "The construction of the wall will allow us to finally benefit from the billions of dollars in restoration investments upstream by keeping the water in Everglades National Park and allowing it to naturally flow, providing much needed freshwater into Florida Bay. This is a great day for the Everglades!"
The CEPP suite of Everglades restoration projects focuses on restoring flows into and through the central and southern Everglades by increasing storage and treatment south of Lake Okeechobee, improving conveyance to the Central Everglades, and removing barriers to move water south.
Gov. DeSantis prioritized improving water quality and completing Everglades restoration projects for the State of Florida with the Achieving More Now for Florida's Environment Executive Order signed in January 2019. SFWMD continues to advance key Everglades restoration projects that will send more water south, reduce harmful discharges to the estuaries, and improve water quality in South Florida.