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South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER) Overview

 

March 2018

FACT SHEET

SOUTH FLORIDA ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION (SFER)

Overview

Congressional Districts: 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27

 

1. DESCRIPTION

The Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) project was authorized under the Flood Control Acts of 1948, 1954, 1960, 1962, 1965, 1968, and the Water Resources Development Acts (WRDA) of 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992,1996, 1999, 2000, and 2007.

The Everglades & South Florida Project was authorized under Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1996, Section 528, Everglades and South Florida (E&SF) Ecosystem Restoration, and included authorization in 528(b)(3) for implementation of critical restoration projects. Provisions for these projects were modified in WRDA 1999. These critical projects are defined as providing immediate, independent, and substantial restoration benefits; having a local sponsor and not being authorized components of the Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Project. A total of $75 million was authorized with federal appropriations to be matched by local sponsors. The maximum federal expenditure on any one project was capped at $25 million. Five projects were cited as examples in the committee language accompanying WRDA 1996; L-28 Modifications, Tamiami Trail Culverts, Keys Carrying Capacity Study, East Coast Canal Structures, and Melaleuca Eradication. WRDA 2007 authorized the federal funding cap at $95 million and increased the Seminole Big Cypress project federal cap to $30 million. Section 119 of HR3183 (FY 2010 Appropriations) raised the Ten Mile Creek project federal cap to $28.5 million.

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1992 authorized the Kissimmee River, Florida project. The Kissimmee Basin includes 3,000 square miles stretching from Orlando to Lake Okeechobee in central Florida. The project involves the ecosystem restoration of the historic floodplain to re-establish wetland conditions by implementing the following: modifications to the operation of the upper chain of lakes; modification of various structures; enlargement of canals 36 and 37; backfilling 22 miles of C-38; excavation of about nine miles of new river channel; removal of two water control structures and locks, flood proofing of developments around the lakes and land acquisition of over 100,000 acres.

The Modified Water Deliveries (MWD) to Everglades National Park (ENP) was authorized under the Everglades Expansion Act of 1989 Public Law [P.L.] 101-229). P.L. 101-229 specifically directs the Secretary of the Army, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, to construct modifications to the C&SF project to improve water deliveries to ENP. P.L. 109-103 includes funding for MWD to ENP.

2. FUNDING

Estimated Total Authorized Cost
$16,033,518,000
Estimated Federal Cost (USACE) $8,111,125,000
Estimated Federal Cost (OFA) $506,094,000
Allocation thru FY17* $2,577,809,000
Allocation for FY18 $76,500,000
President’s Budget FY19 TBD

 * The allocation through FY13 includes ARRA funding in the amount of $94.009M

3. SPONSOR

South Florida Water Management District
3301 Gun Club Road
West Palm Beach, Florida 33406

Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road, MS 3570
Tallahassee, Florida 32399

Lee County Board of Commissioners
Post Office Box 398
Ft. Myers, Florida 33902-0398

Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department
Post Office Box 16097
West Palm Beach, Florida 33416-6097

U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI)
849 C St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20240


4. STATUS

PROJECTS:

Central & Southern Florida Project: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has completed construction of project deficiency repairs for the West Palm Beach Canal (C-51/STA-1E) project. The C-111 South Dade project is moving forward; construction on the remaining project components is ongoing and scheduled for completion in FY18. Planning and design efforts are underway on many of the projects included in the CERP. Most of the effort is with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), and design is proceeding according to the Design Agreement executed in May 2000. The Design Agreement was amended in August 2009 to incorporate changes per the Master Agreement. The Master Agreement was executed between the USACE and the SFWMD in August 2009 and provides the cost-share and provisions for constructing and operating CERP projects.

Construction continues on the Indian River Lagoon South C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area project. For the Picayune Strand Restoration Project, the Merritt Pump Station and Faka Union Pump Station were transferred to the SFWMD for operations and maintenance, and construction is nearing completion on the Miller Pump Station. The Site 1 Phase I Impoundment features were physically completed and transferred to the SFWMD for operations and maintenance. Major planning and design efforts on CERP projects include continuation of Project Implementation Reports on the Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration Project, the Western Everglades Restoration Project, and the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project. A Validation Study for the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) was initiated in October 2017.

FY 2018 activities will also include continued updates to Project Management Plans (PMPs) and Pilot Project Design Reports (PPDRs), and an update to the Integrated Delivery Schedule (IDS).

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA 2014) authorized four CERP projects for construction: (1) Caloosahatchee River (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir—construction ongoing; (2) Canal 111 (C-111) Spreader Canal Western – operations ongoing; (3) Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Phase 1—construction ongoing; and (4) Broward County Water Preserve Areas – construction ongoing. Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) funding will be used to continue design efforts, continue construction, and fund the system-wide science and monitoring program.

West Palm Beach Canal (C-51 / STA-1E): The authorized project will provide 30-year flood protection to the urbanized eastern basin and 10-year flood protection to the western basin. All eastern basin features have been completed. During mediation of the Everglades water quality litigation, a technical plan was developed for resolution of the litigation. The technical plan included a substantially modified C-51 project. The modified plan expands the original 1,600-acre floodwater detention area into a 6,500-acre stormwater detention area. Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) 1-East and C-51 improvements were completed and transferred to the sponsor in October 2005. Approval of a plan to repair 41 project culverts and 2 trash rake systems at pump stations S-362 and S-310 was provided in July 2011, and construction repairs were completed in FY17. 

South Dade County (C-111):    The C-111 Project General Reevaluation Report (GRR) with integrated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was approved in 1994, and the Project Cooperation Agreement (PCA) was executed in 1995. The C-111 GRR authorized modifications to the original project as authorized by the Flood Control Acts of 1962 and 1968. The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1996 authorized 50/50 federal/sponsor cost sharing for the total project cost, which allows the sponsor to receive credit for lands needed for the project. An amendment to the 1995 PCA, to address the WRDA 96 cost share change, was executed in August 2014. The C-111 South Dade project is moving forward, and construction on the remaining project components began in Fiscal Year 2016.

Construction efforts were divided into 9 contracts. Contracts 1-7 are complete and under operation, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, and replacement (OMRR&R) by the non-federal sponsor. The completed contracts built the following features of the 1994 GRR recommended plan: Pump Stations 332B, 332C, 332D, the retention/detention area, C-111 Spoil Mound Removal, Taylor Slough Bridge, and the S-331 Command and Control Facility.

The remaining features to be constructed include the North Detention Area, which will connect this project with the Modified Water Delivers 8.5 Square Mile Area Detention Area (MWD 8.5 SMA STA), and plugging of the L-31W Canal. Construction is ongoing and scheduled for completion in FY18.  

Everglades and South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Critical Restoration Projects: The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1996, Section 528, Everglades and South Florida (E&SF) Ecosystem Restoration, included authorization in 528(b)(3) for implementation of critical restoration projects. Provisions for these projects were modified in WRDA 1999. These critical projects are defined as providing immediate, independent, and substantial restoration benefits; having a local sponsor and not being authorized components of the Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Project. A total of $75 million was authorized with federal appropriations to be matched by local sponsors. The maximum federal expenditure on any one project was capped at $25 million. Five projects were cited as examples in the committee language accompanying WRDA 1996; L-28 Modifications, Tamiami Trail Culverts, Keys Carrying Capacity Study, East Coast Canal Structures, and Melaleuca Eradication. WRDA 2007 authorized the federal funding cap at $95 million and increased the Seminole Big Cypress project federal cap to $30 million. Section 119 of HR3183 (FY 2010 Appropriations) raised the Ten Mile Creek project federal cap to $28.5 million. 

Seminole Big Cypress Water Conservation Plan: Seminole Tribe construction of the East Side Conveyance Canal System was completed in July 2003. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contract for construction of the Basin 1 features was awarded in September 2006 for $18,200,000. This work was completed in June 2008. Basin 1 was transferred to the sponsor in the second quarter of FY 2010. Basin 4 construction was completed in January 2013 and was transferred to the Seminole Tribe of Florida in July 2013. The construction contract for Basin 2 was awarded in September 2013, and construction was completed in FY17. Current funding is not adequate to award Basin 3 due to federal project funding cap of $30 million. The Corps and Tribe are moving forward with a PCA Amendment to remove Basin 3 from the federally-authorized project. 

Lake Okeechobee Water Retention/Phosphorous Removal Areas: 

Taylor Creek: The construction contract was complete in April 2006. The interim operational and testing phase was substantially complete in October 2008. Construction of the project, including repair of latent defects, was completed in August 2010. The project is currently functioning as intended and performing well in reducing the level of phosphorus in effluent waters discharging into the Everglades.

Nubbin Slough: Construction of the project was physically complete in 2006. Latent defects discovered during the interim operational testing and monitoring phase were repaired in January 2010. Thereafter, the recurrence of extreme low flow conditions in the intake basin halted the system operation. The intake pool was later repaired in FY 2012 to remedy the low flow conditions. Additional latent defects were repaired, and the project was transferred to operation and maintenance phase in 2015. The project is currently functioning as intended and performing well in reducing the level of phosphorus in effluent waters discharging into the Everglades.

Ten Mile Creek: Project construction was completed in 2006. The interim operational testing and monitoring period began following construction completion and prior to project transfer to the non-federal sponsor, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). During this period, structural and operational concerns were identified. As a result, efforts to transfer the project to the SFWMD, which would ultimately operate and maintain the project, were halted, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintained control of the project. The project has remained in a passive operating state since 2009.

From December 2011 to March 2012, temporary limited operational testing of the reservoir was conducted for data collection purposes to support ongoing litigation between the designer-of-record and the Federal Government. The testing was conducted to monitor and evaluate the performance of the reservoir. Upon completion of the limited operations, testing confirmed that the reservoir does not retain water due to identified deficiencies. All water was pumped out of the reservoir and back into the Ten Mile Creek and the project was returned to a passive operating state.

The existing Project Cooperation Agreement provides for a federal expenditure limit of $25 million. The non-federal sponsor does not support further project expenditures. The 2009 Water and Energy Appropriations Act increased the federal funding cap by $3.5 million to complete a post authorization change report and to fund facility maintenance until 2013; however, no agreement was executed to utilize the extra authorization and appropriations.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 directed the Secretary to transfer the project to the SFWMD, and that upon transfer the project would be deauthorized. The Corps and SFWMD completed the agreement and transferred the project to the SFWMD in May 2016.

Kissimmee River: (The Kissimmee Basin includes 3,000 square miles stretching from Orlando to Lake Okeechobee in central Florida. The project involves the ecosystem restoration of the historic floodplain to re-establish wetland conditions by implementing the following: modifications to the operation of the upper chain of lakes; modification of various structures; enlargement of canals 36 and 37; backfilling 22 miles of C-38; excavation of about nine miles of new river channel; removal of two water control structures and locks, flood proofing of developments around the lakes and land acquisition of over 100,000 acres. The State of Florida has completed most land acquisition and much of the flood proofing work. The Corps has completed the modification of several structures necessary to support backfilling of the C-38 Canal. Backfilling of Reach 1, the first seven miles of the C-38 Canal, was completed in 2001. Backfilling of Reach 4 of C-38 was completed in two phases with Reach 4A completed in 2007 and Reach 4B completed in 2010. Currently 13 of 22 miles of canal have been backfilled, 18 of 43 miles of historic river channel have been restored, and 6,500 acres of floodplain wetlands have been restored.

FY18 funds will be used to continue construction of the S-69 Weir and embankment protection of the C-36 Canal. The project is scheduled for completion in 2020.

Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park: The purpose of this project is to make modifications to the existing Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) project to improve the natural water flows to Shark River Slough, the lifeline of the ENP. The project will enable restoration of more natural hydrologic conditions using three dimensions: timing, location and volume of water. The project consists of four major components: 1) 8.5 SMA Flood Mitigation Plan; 2) Conveyance and Seepage Control Features; 3) Tamiami Trail Modifications; and 4) Project Implementation Support.

(1) Flood Mitigation for the 8.5 Square Mile Area

All lands were acquired and construction was completed in 2008. The Corps has transferred all lands to the DOI and SFWMD. The features are currently being operated under an Interim Water Control Plan. Initial operation of the features showed an area of concern in the southwest corner of the Las Palmas community. A construction solution to ensure the proper level of mitigation is under construction and is scheduled to be complete in FY18.

(2) Conveyance and Seepage Control Features

Available funds are fully allocated to other components of the Modified Water Deliveries Project. It is expected that no further modifications to levees and canals will be completed under the MWD project. The following conveyance and seepage control features as outlined in the 1992 GDM (approved 1993) were completed or constructed. With these features constructed, water will be delivered from WCA-3A to the L-29 canal, under Tamiami Trail (U.S. Highway 41) to Shark River Slough.

  • Spillway structures S-355A and B in the L-29 Levee
  • S-333 modifications
  • Tigertail Camp raised
  • Pump Station S-356 between L-31N Canal and L-29 Canal
  • Degradation of the L-67 Extension Canal and Levee (4 of 9 miles degraded)
  • S-331 Command and Control (complete – added telemetry & remote control of conveyance features)

The following conveyance and seepage control features as outlined in the 1992 General Design Memorandum will not be completed.

  • Structures S-345 A, B, and C through the L-67A and C Levees
  • Structures S-349 A, B, and C in the L-567A Borrow Canal
  • Degradation of the L-67 Extension Canal and Levee (remaining 5 miles)

(3) Tamiami Trail Modifications

The USACE issued a construction contract to Kiewit Southern on 25 September 2009. The notice to proceed was accepted on 11 November 2009 and a groundbreaking ceremony took place on 4 December 2009. Construction completion of the bridge and road reinforcement was completed in 2014.

(4) Project Implementation Support

This component is ongoing. It includes project and program management support by the Department of the Interior (DOI) and USACE, hydrological stream gage monitoring and wildlife monitoring, operational plan development, and project closeout. The project initiated incremental efforts to begin delivering more water to the Park in FY15. This effort is ongoing and will continue through FY17. The incremental increases in water deliveries and the final construction component of the 8.5 SMA are the final efforts necessary to complete and closeout this project.