Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir Project
EAA Without Delay
Approximately 18 months after the Florida Legislature passed legislation expediting the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir, a plan developed by the South Florida Water Management District has been authorized by Congress, and critical site preparation work is underway.
A component of the state-federal Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), the reservoir will send needed clean water south to the Everglades while reducing damaging discharge events from Lake Okeechobee to the northern estuaries. The project will hold 240,000 acre-feet of water and include a new constructed treatment wetland, known as a Stormwater Treatment Area, necessary to meet state and federal water quality standards.
Congress authorized the EAA Storage Reservoir in October 2018 with passage of the America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. Less than a month later, SFWMD crews began clearing 560 acres of the project site to stage construction materials. This initial site work will reduce the overall construction time frame once project design has been completed.
SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Federico Fernandez discusses the importance of expediting work on a reservoir to store and clean water from Lake Okeechobee to benefit South Florida's coastal estuaries
Background: Senate Bill 10
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 EAA to provide for a significant increase in southern storage to reduce high-volume discharges from Lake Okeechobee.
The law requires the South Florida Water Management District to meet certain timelines for implementing the project. You can follow the District's progress at:
In March 2018, the SFWMD Governing Board approved a plan for the EAA Storage Reservoir to be sent to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works for federal review, approval and submittal to Congress. Developed in a public planning process and in accordance with state law, the Post Authorization Change Report (PACR) seeks to increase the storage, treatment and conveyance of the congressionally authorized Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP). The feasibility study for the project was conducted under Section 203 of the federal Water Resources Development Act of 1986, as amended, that allows non-federal entities like SFWMD to develop feasibility studies.
The Tentatively Selected Plan was developed to meet the goals set forth by the Florida Legislature when it passed Senate Bill 10 and to be consistent with CERP. The plan will reduce damaging discharges to the northern estuaries, deliver clean water for Everglades restoration and achieve water quality standards. An independent peer review found the report to be technically sound.
- Section 203 SFWMD Central Everglades Planning Project Post Authorization Review Assessment [PDF]
- Addendum: SFWMD Central Everglades Planning Project, Post Authorization Change Report, Feasibility Study and Draft Environmental Impact Statement dated March 2018 [PDF]
- Correspondence Related to the Federal Review Process
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE): Environmental Review of SFWMD EAA Reservoir
Congressional Authorization and Appropriations
As a component of CERP, the Florida Legislature envisioned the costs for the EAA Storage Reservoir would be split equally with the federal government. While the project has received congressional authorization, it is still awaiting federal appropriations.
The timeline below shows how the state developed the reservoir plan and the federal authorization process. The timeline also includes a look ahead at how Congress appropriates funding for projects.
As part of the extensive public process for the EAA Storage Reservoir Project, the District is conducting a series of computer modeling runs to inform the development of the project's features. As new modeling results are released, they will be posted at the FTP link below.
- Modeling Results [FTP]
- Instructions for Accessing and Downloading Modeling Files from FTP Site [PDF]
Public Planning Meetings
The District conducted a series of meetings to solicit public input on the EAA Storage Reservoir Project. Presentations, videos and materials from these meetings are posted in the archive below.
These public meetings were consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. The NEPA process provides an opportunity for the public to give input related to the project.
- Dec. 21, 2017 Public Meeting: Agenda [PDF] • Presentation [PDF] • Cost Breakdown [PDF] • Video
- Dec. 13, 2017 Public Meeting: Agenda [PDF] • Presentation [PDF] • Video
- Dec. 5, 2017 Public Meeting: Agenda [PDF] • Presentation [PDF] • Video
- Nov. 29, 2017 Government Agency Coordination Meeting: Agenda [PDF] • Presentation [PDF]
- Nov. 16, 2017 Public Meeting: Agenda [PDF] • Presentation [PDF] • Video
- Nov. 15, 2017 Public Meeting: Agenda [PDF] • Presentation [PDF] • Video
- Nov. 6, 2017 Public Meeting: Agenda [PDF] • Presentation [PDF] • Video
- Oct. 31, 2017 Public Meeting: Agenda [PDF] • Presentation [PDF] • Video
- Oct. 26, 2017 Scoping Meeting: Agenda [PDF] • Presentation [PDF] • Video
- Oct. 23, 2017 Scoping Meeting: Agenda [PDF] • Presentation [PDF] • Video