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SFWMD Unveils Preliminary Modeling for EAA Storage Reservoir

SFWMD Unveils Preliminary Modeling for EAA Storage Reservoir

SFWMD Unveils Preliminary Modeling

for EAA Storage Reservoir

Initial modeling released at public meeting factors in 41 years of South Florida weather events and serves as the starting point to determine EAA Storage Reservoir benefits
West Palm Beach, FL – The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) released preliminary modeling Monday that depicts South Florida’s current water storage and conveyance capabilities. This baseline modeling is the necessary first step.  It quantifies which alternative storage feature configuration south of Lake Okeechobee offers the greatest benefit to reducing harmful lake discharges to estuaries east and west. The most logical configuration will ultimately become the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir Project.

This baseline modeling factors in 41 years of weather events. They range from drought to extreme rainfall, is part of the extensive ongoing public review process for the

EAA Storage Reservoir Project

The project began as Senate Bill 10. Earlier this year, the bill was authorized by the Legislature through Senate President Joe Negron and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

Baseline Modeling

The baseline modeling assumes the completion of other approved restoration projects now underway, such as the C-44 and C-43 reservoirs and the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP). The modeling shows these projects would likely reduce the number of months with potentially damaging releases to the St. Lucie Estuary by 50 percent. Then reduce the number of months of damaging releases to the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary by 30 percent. Once complete, the EAA Reservoir project would add to the overall reduction numbers for both estuaries.

“Moving forward, the District will use this baseline modeling to examine potential project features of the EAA Reservoir project to determine which features add the most benefit and make the best use of taxpayer dollars,” Morrison said.

Questions

At the meeting, District staff also fielded questions regarding other features that might be included in the reservoir project. Questions such as stormwater treatment areas (STAs), constructed wetlands that use plants to remove excess nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen from stormwater. Based on preliminary estimates, SFWMD Modeling Section Administrator Walter Wilcox estimated that a reservoir designed to hold between 240,000 and 360,000 acre-feet. This is as Senate Bill 10 calls for. It would likely need to be accompanied by 6,000-9,000 acres of STAs.
“A combination of reservoir storage and STAs as CERP envisioned provides a project best able to improve estuary and Everglades conditions,” Wilcox said. “As illustrated in Central Everglades planning, configurations that rely solely on STAs can run out of water during drier conditions.”
SFWMD is currently engaged in an extensive series of public meetings to receive public input that helps inform the scope and modeling for the project. Four public meetings have been conducted with at least three more scheduled for Nov. 15-16. This protocol is consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process. This is  necessary to ensure the project remains eligible for federal cost sharing.
For the modeling data and more information on the meetings, including agendas and presentations, visit www.sfwmd.gov/eaareservoir.
To learn more about SFWMD’s ongoing planning projects that are part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, visit www.sfwmd.gov/cerpplanning.

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