WELLINGTON, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis was joined by Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Noah Valenstein and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to announce significant progress on the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir Project.
The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board unanimously approved an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this morning that keeps the Corps on track to begin federal construction on the reservoir component this year. In April 2020, Governor DeSantis announced that the South Florida Water Management District began construction on the State of Florida’s component of the project, the stormwater treatment area, 12 months ahead of schedule.
“Today marks a critical milestone for Everglades restoration and achieving our state’s long-term environmental goals,” said Governor DeSantis. “When I took office, I made expediting the EAA Reservoir Project a top priority. Signing this agreement means we are another step closer to moving more clean water south through the Everglades and reducing harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.”
“Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, DEP and the South Florida Water Management District have expedited the state’s portion of the EAA Reservoir project, beginning construction 12 months ahead of schedule,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “The signing of the Project Partnership Agreement today is an important step that will enable the Corps to initiate construction of the federal portion of this project. I challenge the Corps to match the state’s momentum and sense of urgency on this critical project that will significantly reduce harmful discharges to the northern estuaries and send more water south for the benefit of the Everglades ecosystem and the people of Florida.”
The EAA Reservoir Project is one of the most important Everglades restoration projects for reducing harmful discharges to the northern estuaries and sending more clean water south to the Everglades. Governor DeSantis expedited this critical Everglades project on his second day in office with the signing of Executive Order 19-12. Since taking office, Governor DeSantis also secured record Everglades restoration funding to support this and other key projects and signed important environmental legislation into law, including the Clean Waterways Act.
The EAA Reservoir Project is a joint Everglades restoration project between the South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, Florida continues to take the lead in Everglades restoration. The South Florida Water Management District began building the water-cleansing marsh called a Stormwater Treatment Area last year, and today’s agreement enables the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build the accompanying storage reservoir. The EAA Reservoir Project will benefit both Florida’s environment and economy. In addition to more clean water for the Everglades, the project is creating jobs and providing a significant boost to the nearby local economies south of Lake Okeechobee.