CERP Project Planning
A series of planning studies is underway to develop the next generation of ecosystem restoration projects as part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). Once each study is complete, a finalized plan with a suite of recommended projects will be delivered to the U.S. Congress for federal authorization and appropriations.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is leading these planning efforts in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District, which is providing technical support.
The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is a framework for restoring, protecting and preserving the greater Everglades ecosystem. The plan is a 50-50 partnership between the State of Florida and the federal government.
The State of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District have so far invested approximately $2 billion in CERP-related land acquisition, project design and construction.
Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project
Beginning in July 2016, the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project will identify opportunities to improve the quality, quantity, timing and distribution of flows into the 730-square-mile lake. The preliminary project area, where placement of features will be considered, covers a large portion of the Lake Okeechobee Watershed north of the lake.
Goals for the planning project include reducing undesirable lake discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries, improving systemwide operational flexibility and restoring wetlands and floodplain.
Western Everglades Restoration Project
Planning efforts started in August 2016 for the Western Everglades Restoration Project. The project aims to improve the quality, quantity, timing and distribution of water needed to restore and reconnect the western Everglades ecosystem.
The Western Everglades Restoration Project, also known as the Big Cypress/L-28 Interceptor Modification CERP Project, identified the need to restore and reconnect the western Everglades ecosystem. The purpose of this project, as defined within the CERP, is to re-establish sheetflow from the West Feeder Canal across the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation and into Big Cypress National Preserve, maintain flood protection on Seminole Tribal lands and ensure that inflows to the North and West Feeder Canals meet applicable water quality standards.
Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration Project
The purpose of the Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration Plan is to restore and sustain the overall quantity, quality, timing and distribution of fresh water to the federally designated "National Wild and Scenic" Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River for current and future generations. This project also seeks to restore, sustain and reconnect the wetlands and watersheds that form the historic headwaters for the river.
These areas include Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Pal Mar East/Cypress Creek, DuPuis Wildlife and Environmental Management Areas, J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area, Grassy Waters Preserve, Loxahatchee Slough, the federally designated "Wild and Scenic" Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River and the Loxahatchee River Estuary.
The Project Delivery Team utilized modeling to simulate hydrologic conditions over a 41-year period in southern Martin County and northern Palm Beach County. The modeling results are presented in three sets of Performance Measure Graphics that show comparisons of water flows, water levels and related indicators.
Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project
In May 2017, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation that provides more than $1 billion to increase water storage south of Lake Okeechobee as part of an effort to reduce harmful lake discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.
The Water Resources Law of 2017 (Laws of Florida, Chapter 2017-10, Senate Bill 10) directs the expedited design and construction of a water storage reservoir in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) to provide for a significant increase in southern storage to reduce high-volume discharges from Lake Okeechobee.
A project component of CERP, the reservoir will be designed to hold at least 240,000 acre-feet of water and include water quality features necessary to meet state and federal water quality standards. The law requires the South Florida Water Management District to meet certain timelines for implementing the project.
Central Everglades Planning Project
Initiated in October 2011 as part of the CERP, the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) identified and planned for projects on land already in public ownership to allow more water to be directed south to the central Everglades, Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. Public participation was a major component of this planning effort. A number of public workshops, sponsored by the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force’s Working Group, were hosted to receive input from the public and keep them informed and engaged as active participants.
On Aug. 31, 2015, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy signed the Record of Decision for CEPP, signifying completion of the final administrative review for the ecosystem restoration project's report. With administrative review complete, the report has been transmitted to Congress for authorization and subsequent appropriations.
Integrated Delivery Schedule
The Integrated Delivery Schedule (IDS) is the timeline of Everglades restoration projects cost shared by the state and federal governments. The IDS provides the sequencing strategy for planning, designing and constructing projects based on ecosystem needs, benefits, costs and available funding. The IDS achieves restoration benefits by:
- Maximizing holistic benefits to the regional system as early as possible
- Ensuring additional projects will be ready to continue progress on restoration
- Maintaining consistency with project dependencies and constraints
The IDS was most recently updated in 2016. The South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force Working Group sponsored a series of workshops to facilitate public participation in the IDS update. The Task Force provided feedback from these workshops to the Corps and the District during the IDS update.