Take advantage of the opportunities for the public to weigh in on the planning process for the EAA Reservoir

On Monday, October 23, Captains for Clean Water attended the initial scoping meeting for the EAA Reservoir project in Clewiston, FL. This was the first public meeting the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) held for this project. SFWMD staff committed to the timeline laid out in Senate Bill 10. We anxiously await the SFWMD’s report to the Florida Legislature on or before January 9, 2018. This report will include the results of the SFWMD’s feasibility study, including results of hydrological and water quality modeling. We hope that the SFWMD, Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers are able to work together to overcome any constraints to the construction of this project, and that this project will be constructed and implemented to provide maximum benefit to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers, as well as Florida Bay.

As the scoping meetings begin for the EAA Reservoir, we are reminded of why we founded Captains for Clean Water; frustration with the system, and how long it takes to see progress made. Senate Bill 10 was passed almost 6 months ago, and the agencies responsible for the construction of the reservoir are still years away from turning dirt. As frustrating as it may seem, it’s important to remember that without all of your support, and the massive amount of public pressure to move forward with this project, discussions on this project wouldn’t have even begun until 2020.

The beginning of the planning process has already been accelerated by 3 years, and the timeline laid out in Senate Bill 10 shaves a few more years off the bureaucratic process that would typically occur. The agencies responsible for the implementation of Senate Bill 10 have called the timeline outlined in the legislation “aggressive”, but for those of us who rely on the water to make a living, solutions can’t come fast enough. Our estuaries are dying. Since the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was passed in the year 2000, very little has been accomplished in terms of mitigating Lake Okeechobee discharges and increasing freshwater flows to Florida Bay. The “aggressive” timeline laid out in Senate Bill 10 is the bare minimum that we’ll accept as progress, and we’ll fight hard to raise that standard in the upcoming years to prevent further delay. Now more than ever we must stay vigilant and push harder for a new approach to water management practices in Florida that measures success based on actual reduction in discharges and the long-term health of the estuaries. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer.

Prior to January 9, 2018, there are several opportunities for the public to weigh in on the planning process for the EAA Reservoir:

Project Scoping Meeting
Thursday, Oct. 26, at 9 a.m.

SFWMD Headquarters
3301 Gun Club Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33406

EAA Reservoir Project Meeting
Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 9 a.m.

SFWMD Headquarters
3301 Gun Club Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33406

Water Resources Advisory Committee
Thursday, Nov. 2, at 9 a.m.

SFWMD Headquarters
3301 Gun Club Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33406

SFWMD Governing Board Meeting
Thursday, Nov. 9, at 9 a.m.

8401 NW 53rd Terrace
Doral, FL 33166

If you are unable to weigh in on the public meetings, comments may be submitted to EAAreservoir@sfwmd.gov

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