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Progress Continues On Everglades Reservoir Project With Approval From State Water Managers

Blue-green algae in Palm Beach County. State water managers are in the midst of planning a reservoir that would reduce discharges of contaminated water from Lake Okeechobee, which can worsen algae blooms.
Allen Eyestone, Palm Beach Post
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The South Florida Water Management District announced Thursday that its board has approved handing off a design for a water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to its federal partner.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will now begin reviewing the tentatively selected reservoir plan which, in conjunction with a state restoration strategies plan, provides 350,000 acre-feet of above-ground storage.

The reservoir is intended to limit water discharges that contribute to blue-green algae on Florida's east and west coasts, and to send more freshwater south to help rehydrate the Everglades and Florida Bay.

Read more: What We Talk About When We Talk About Everglades Restoration

Some environmental groups have said the reservoir needs to be larger and shallower than what the district has proposed. But representatives from Audubon Florida and the Everglades Foundation -- two of the environmental organizations that have been most vocal on the reservoir -- have said they support the approval granted on Monday by Florida's Department of Environmental Protection.

To get federal funding for the reservoir this budget cycle, water managers in Florida need to submit the plan to Congress by October.

The district says the selected plan, known as Alternative C240A, will treat water to meet state water quality standards in a new 6,500-acre stormwater treatment area, along with existing stormwater treatment areas and flow equalization basins. 

If approved, the new reservoir is expected to hold 240,000 acre-feet of water on a 10,100-acre site comprised of the District-owned A-2 parcel and lands to the west.

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Kate Stein can't quite explain what attracts her to South Florida. It's more than just the warm weather (although this Wisconsin native and Northwestern University graduate definitely appreciates the South Florida sunshine). It has a lot to do with being able to travel from the Everglades to Little Havana to Brickell without turning off 8th Street. It's also related to Stein's fantastic coworkers, whom she first got to know during a winter 2016 internship.Officially, Stein is WLRN's environment, data and transportation journalist. Privately, she uses her job as an excuse to rove around South Florida searching for stories à la Carl Hiaasen and Edna Buchanan. Regardless, Stein speaks Spanish and is always thrilled to run, explore and read.