After six months of intense planning, the South Florida Water Management District approved the Tentatively Selected Plan for the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir project in March. The project remains on schedule. Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein also added assurances that the project would provide its promised benefits while meeting strict water quality standards- a move strongly supported by Audubon and allies.
In combination with other restoration projects, the selected plan for the EAA Reservoir will reduce harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries by 56 percent and cut the recurrence of discharge events by 63 percent. The project will also deliver an annual average of 120 billion gallons of clean water to the parched Everglades National Park and Florida Bay, and significantly increase freshwater flows to the bay during the dry season when it needs it the most.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now reviewing the plan before submitting it for the required Congressional authorization. Congressional authorization will make the project eligible for federal funding. Audubon’s top 2017 legislative priority, the EAA Reservoir, is one step closer to becoming a reality! Audubon remains focused on working with the Corps and Congress to have a fully authorized project by the end of 2018.