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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 5, 2018) - Today a Secretarial order was signed by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein related to the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir. This project was the subject of Senate Bill 10 (2017), Audubon's top legislative priority last year. During the development of the project, which occurred on a speedy timeframe in line with SB 10 (2017), uncertainty about water quality impacts became a central issue. The order clearly states that the reservoir project will be operated to ensure water quality standards are met and lays out options for additional water treatment measures if needed.
"This Secretarial Order demonstrates Florida's commitment to ensuring that the EAA Reservoir's benefits in storing and moving water south will not come at the expense of water quality protections," said Julie Wraithmell, Audubon Florida's interim executive director. "Today marks a turning point for this important project."
A report by the South Florida Water Management District that seeks to amend the Central Everglades Planning Project to include the Reservoir component is scheduled to be delivered to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by March 30, 2018. Army Corps officials will then review whether the plan complies with federal law before submitting to Congress for authorization. Congressional authorization is necessary to make the project eligible for federal funding.