FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 31, 2013
DEP ISSUES PERMIT FOR MAJOR EVERGLADES RESTORATION PROJECT
~A-1 Flow Equalization Basin project part of Gov. Scott's Everglades Restoration Plan~
TALLAHASSEE –The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has issued a permit for the first major construction project as part of Governor Rick Scott's Everglades Water Quality Restoration Plan -- to the South Florida Water Management District authorizing construction, operation and maintenance of the A-1 Flow Equalization Basin, the largest component to be constructed in the historic plan.
Governor Scott said, "I was proud to work with environmental
stakeholders to create our $880 million plan to fully restore the Everglades.
This session, we secured $70 million in the Florida Families First Budget to
take on important projects– and today is a major step forward in restoring this
The A-1 Flow Equalization Basin is a
more than 15,000-acre shallow impoundment area -- or reservoir -- south of Lake Okeechobee designed to store approximately 60,000 acre-feet of stormwater. The primary objective of the project, the largest of three flow equalization basins identified in the plan, is to
reduce the impact of peak stormwater flows through temporarily storage and work in tandem with the proposed and existing stormwater treatment areas to optimize treatment efficiency.
This Flow Equalization Basin is a shallow impoundment that will also contain vegetation to help reduce phosphorus concentrations before moving water to the stormwater treatment areas. Stormwater treatment areas are constructed, carefully managed wetlands that naturally remove
phosphorus from water prior to the water being discharged into the
"We have to continue moving forward with meaningful projects that impact the Everglades," said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. "DEP, the South Florida Water Management District and all our stakeholders are working together to get the water right and improve the quality and flow of water going to the Everglades."
To address water quality concerns associated with
existing flows to the Everglades Protection Area, the Department, Water Management District and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency engaged in
technical discussions starting in 2010. The
Governor’s plan was presented to EPA in the Fall of 2011. After coordination with EPA, the final plan
was included in permits and orders issued by the Department of
Environmental Protection in September of 2012.
In May, Governor Scott signed into law HB 7065, which provides $32 million annually in state funding for the Governor's $880 million long-term Everglades restoration plan. The
goal of the plan is to
improve water quality and water flow throughout the Everglades.
Improvements to the health of the Everglades ecosystem are important for
fish and animal habitat as well as the health of the South Florida
economy. The Water Management District has already achieved
several milestones ahead of schedule.
Everglades water quality improvements remains one of the South Florida Water
Management District's highest priorities,” said SFWMD Interim Executive Director Ernie Barnett. “This project will enhance the performance of
the highly successful stormwater treatment areas we already have in
The Governor’s landmark water quality plan includes:
acres of additional stormwater treatment areas, which are constructed, carefully managed wetlands that naturally remove phosphorus from water prior to
the water being discharged into the Everglades.
acre-feet of water storage capabilities in flow equalization basins, or
reservoirs that work with the proposed and existing stormwater
treatment areas to regulate flows and optimize treatment efficiency.
Other components of the plan include engineering projects in existing
treatment areas and the modification of conveyance features necessary to
move the water through the South Florida Water Management District’s
massive flood control and water delivery features.