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Long-awaited EAA Reservoir construction begins as step forward for cleaner water

More water is now headed from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee estuary.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says pulse releases will resume Saturday morning.

This comes as work begins on the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir project, which will eventually clean and store water from Lake Okeechobee, hopefully leading to cleaner rivers.

Revered as the liquid heart of Florida, the Everglades is another step closer to restoration.

Chairman of the South Florida Water Management District governing board Chauncey Goss says it has been a long time coming.

Construction started this week on one component of the EAA Reservoir project, the stormwater treatment area.

Co-founder and exec. director for Captains for Clean Water Daniel Andrews says,
“This is just one half of that project. There’s a reservoir and the STA.”

The reservoir itself will hold billions of gallons of water, meanwhile, the STA is the marsh that will clean lake water before it’s sent down to the Everglades and Florida Bay.

CEO of the Everglades Foundation, Eric Eikenberg, explains, “It rehydrates not only the Everglades but the water supply for nine million Floridians.”

And once the water’s flowing, it will also help wildlife.

Celeste de Palma, director of Everglades policy with Audubon Florida describe the environmental impact, “Because we don’t have enough freshwater reaching Florida Bay, we don’t have roseate spoonbills nesting.”

It’ll mean less harmful discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.

Andrews added, “Looking at how we’ve reacted to this coronavirus, you know, how quickly we’ve all rallied behind this solution … we need to be doing everything we can at the state level to make sure this project gets built as soon as possible.” All to protect our water supply and Florida’s ecosystem.

The Florida Farm Bureau Federation says it also supports this project because the state did not have to utilize any additional farmland.

The entire project should be completed by 2028.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
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