DATE: Aug. 1, 2013
TO: Interested Media
FROM: DEP Press Office
RE: Treasure Coast Water Quality Investments
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and South
Florida Water Management District have worked for decades with the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers on managing the release of water from Lake Okeechobee in
order to balance public safety, flood control, navigation, water supply and
The Department continues to invest money and study the
science to improve water quality throughout the state. The Department has set 17
basin management action plans, or restoration plans, to restore rivers, lakes
and springs. This work is being done throughout South Florida as well.
- The Department this month announced the adoption
of a restoration plan for the St. Lucie River and Estuary, with local
governments already investing $230 million to address stormwater runoff, which
sends nutrients into our waterways. Within the first phase of the restoration
plan, 537,000 pounds per year of nitrogen and 151,000 pounds per year of
phosphorus loadings will be eliminated from the St. Lucie River and Estuary
Basin. Another $13 million is expected to be spent in the first phase of the
- The Department adopted three restoration plans
for the Indian River Lagoon in February, after determining pollutant load
reduction targets based on sound science. Together, the adopted plans account
for more than $300 million invested—or to be invested—in wastewater and
stormwater infrastructure along with urban and agricultural best management
practices. As the plans are implemented, additional projects will be developed.
- Stakeholders in
these areas already have completed or will complete hundreds of restoration
projects over the next five years. The Department has directed more than $25 million towards the restoration of the Indian
River Lagoon, more than $10 million since 2009. The St. Johns River and South
Florida water management districts have made major investments in the health of
the Indian River Lagoon, through research, monitoring and project investments.
- The Department in February began development of
a restoration plan for Lake Okeechobee, bringing to the table key regional
stakeholders and committing $4 million toward restoring the lake via the Istokpoga
Marsh water quality improvement project. The Department is engaged in partnerships, planning and construction of projects to develop long-term solutions to the health of Lake Okeechobee, as it relates to the Everglades, as well as its tributaries. Completing
the Department’s restoration plan will be another step toward achieving the
Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program’s goals, set by the
Florida Legislature in 2007.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and both the South Florida and St. Johns River Water Management Districts are invested in improving the health of Lake Okeechobee, the St. Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon and nearby tributaries and
are working in unison to address the complex environmental issues of the area.