On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the site of the Caloosahatchee (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir to break ground on the embankments and canals to complete this Everglades restoration project.
DeSantis was joined by members of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), as well as conservation groups, local community leaders and other environmental stakeholders.
“This is a big step forward in expediting one of our most important Everglades restoration projects,” said DeSantis. “Once complete, the C-43 Reservoir will store approximately 55 billion gallons of water, with 19 miles of embankments and 15 miles of canals to reduce harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee and help bring the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary back to health. I thank our partners at the South Florida Water Management District and the Department of Environmental Protection who I know will work hard to see this project through.”
The C-43 Reservoir will intercept and store water released from Lake Okeechobee which will hopefully reduce toxic algae. The reservoir is expected to be finished by 2023.
“This is an exciting day for Florida’s Everglades and the Caloosahatchee Estuary,” said DEP Sec. Noah Valenstein. “This project will reduce the volume of harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee during the wet season and provide critical freshwater flow to the Caloosahatchee during the dry season. I am confident this is one of many key projects that we will be able to celebrate over the next several years.”
“The SFWMD is working to build approximately 19 miles of embankments, allowing the two-cell reservoir to hold 170,000 acre-feet of water, approximately 55.4 billion gallons. Fifteen miles of perimeter canals, 14 water control structures and public recreational features will all be incorporated into the completed site,” the governor’s office noted.
“As a longtime resident of Sanibel, it’s heartening to see Governor DeSantis’ strong commitment to expediting Everglades restoration and improving water quality for Southwest Florida,” said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Chauncey Goss. “When this project is complete it will help moderate the harmful water releases that have had such a devastating impact on our estuaries and our Southwest Florida communities. It will also help improve the health of our estuaries during our dry season. Today, we are proud to break ground as we work to expedite completion of the reservoir to bring its benefits to our community sooner. This is all possible thanks to the leadership and hard work of Governor DeSantis.”
“The Caloosahatchee Reservoir is a lynchpin in restoring America’s Everglades,” said Shannon Estenoz, the COO of the Everglades Foundation. “The ability to provide freshwater to this vital estuary will protect Southwest Florida’s tourism, real estate and recreational economy. We thank the Governor for his continued leadership on restoring the Everglades.”
“This project is a testament to the close partnership the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District have built over the years, and an example of what federal and non-federal partnerships can accomplish when we collaborate,” said Col. Andrew Kelly of the Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “It is amazing to look back and appreciate that the funding for this project was a combination of local, state and federal monies to help us get to this point. We applaud the State of Florida and the SFWMD for funding the construction of this reservoir.”