The goal of the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) is to deliver a finalized plan, known as a Project Implementation Report (PIR), for a suite of restoration projects in the central Everglades to prepare for congressional authorization, as part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The Central Everglades Planning Project will identify and plan for projects on land already in public ownership to allow more water to be directed south to the central Everglades, Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. Public participation is a major component of this planning effort. A number of public workshops, sponsored by the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force’s Working Group, were hosted to receive input from the public and keep them informed and engaged as active participants.
In October 2011, the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), the Secretary of the Interior, the Governor of Florida, the Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District and other senior principals agreed to initiate the planning effort of the CERP central Everglades components. Due to the desire to expeditiously complete the study, the Central Everglades Planning Project is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ National Pilot Program for Feasibility Studies.
CEPP incorporates updated science and technical information gained over the last decade to identify a recommended plan and prepare a PIR for congressional authorization of the next generation of CERP projects. The pilot planning study process uses clearly defined decision points to make the process more predictable and more efficient, while reducing the current planning study process timeline.
This study will develop the next increment of project components that focus restoration on more natural flows into and through the central and southern Everglades, restoreing more natural water flow, depth and durations into and within the central Everglades by:
- Increasing storage, treatment and conveyance of water south of Lake Okeechobee
- Removing canals and levees within the central Everglades
- Retaining water within Everglades National Park and protect urban and agricultural areas to the east from flooding
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is leading this planning effort in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). The SFWMD is fully integrated in the technical planning process and is leading modeling efforts for the study.