South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER) Overview (C)

May 2023

FACT SHEET

SOUTH FLORIDA ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION (SFER)
Overview
Construction (C)
Congressional Districts: 9, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

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 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 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 Cost $24,571,000,000
Estimated Federal Cost $12,916,000,000

 

a. Regular Civil Works funds:

Allocation thru FY22 $4,721,584,000
Allocation for FY23 $452,332,000
President’s Budget FY24 $415,000,000

 

b. P.L. 117-58: Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:

Total Work Plan $1,098,000,000
Allocation for FY22 $1,097,967,736
Allocation for FY23 $0

 

3. SPONSOR

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

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP)
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 and fiscally closed out the West Palm Beach Canal (C-51/STA-1E) project. The Canal 111 (C-111) South Dade project is moving forward; construction of the original project features was completed in FY20. Additional features, authorized in WRDA 2020, are under design and construction completion is scheduled for FY2028. Planning and design efforts are underway on many of the projects included in the CERP. 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 is ongoing on the following CERP components: Indian River Lagoon South C-23/24 Stormwater Treatment Area, Picayune Strand Restoration Project Features, Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands L-31E features, C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir (SFWMD construction led), Central Everglades Planning Project Everglades Agricultural Area Features, and Central Everglades Planning Project South Features.

Construction was completed on the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area features of the Indian River Lagoon South project, and the feature is currently undergoing operational testing and monitoring. For the Picayune Strand Restoration Project, the Merritt, Faka Union, and Miller pump stations and the Manatee Mitigation Refugium were transferred to the SFWMD for operation, maintenance, repair, replacement, and rehabilitation (OMRR&R). The Mitigation Area A Berm feature of the Broward County Water Preserve Areas project was completed and transferred to the SFWMD for OMRR&R. The Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands project completed and transferred Contract 3, a L-31 East Flow-way feature, to the SFWMD for OMRR&R.

Major planning and design efforts on CERP projects include continuation of Project Implementation Reports on the Western Everglades Restoration Project, the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project, and the Biscayne Bay and Southeastern Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Project. Post Authorization Change Reports for Broward County Water Preserve Areas and C-111 South Dade were completed.

FY23 activities also included continued updates to Project Management Plans (PMPs) 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. FY22 funds facilitated continued design and construction, new construction contract awards on Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands and the Central Everglades Planning Project Everglades Agricultural Area, continued oversight of sponsor-led construction, and fund the system-wide science and monitoring program.

The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016 authorized the Central Everglades Planning Project; total cost of $1,984,675,000. In addition, it updated the authorized cost of the Picayune Strand Restoration Project to $626,332,000. CEPP’s first construction contract award was awarded in September 2020.

The Water Resources Development Act of 2018 directed the Secretary to expedite completion of the Lake Okeechobee Regulation schedule. Section 1308 of the Act authorized the C&SF Everglades Agricultural Area, which was submitted by the SFWMD under the Section 203 process.

The Water Resources Development Act of 2020 directed the Secretary to expedite completion of the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project report and the Western Everglades Restoration Project report. In addition, the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation Water Conservation Plan was deauthorized. The Central Everglades Planning Project authorization was amended to include the Everglades Agricultural Area. The Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration Project was authorized. The Caloosahatchee River (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir and C-111 South Dade project authorization were amended.

The Water Resources Development Act of 2022 directed the Secretary to expedite completion of the Project for ecosystem restoration, Central and Southern Florida, Everglades Agricultural Area.

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 features have been completed. The technical plan developed for resolution of the litigation was completed and associated construction is complete. The project has been transferred to the SFWMD for O&M and is fiscally closed out.

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 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, construction of the original project features was completed in FY20, and features authorized in WRDA 2020 are under design and construction is scheduled to be complete in FY28.

Everglades and South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Critical Restoration Projects: The 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 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: The Seminole Tribe of Florida (STOF) construction of the East Side Conveyance Canal System was completed in July 2003. A USACE contract for construction of the Basin 1 features was awarded in September 2006 and completed in June 2008. Basin 1 was transferred to the sponsor in the second quarter of FY10. Basin 4 construction was completed in January 2013 and the basin transferred to the sponsor in July 2013. The construction contract for Basin 2 was awarded in September 2013. Construction was completed in September 2016 and the basin transferred to STOF in April 2017. Basin 3 cannot be completed due to the federal project funding cap of $30 million. The USACE and STOF executed 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 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 Corps 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 PCA 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 the C-38 Canal. Backfill of Reach 1, the first seven miles of the C-38 Canal, was completed in 2001. Backfill 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.

FY23 funds will be used to continue project close-out efforts and implement the 5-year post-construction monitoring plan.

Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park: The purpose of this project is to make modifications to the existing 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 was completed in FY19 and transferred to the SFWMD for O&M.

(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 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 DOI and USACE, hydrological stream gage monitoring and wildlife monitoring, the combined operational plan, and project closeout. The project initiated incremental efforts to begin delivering more water to the ENP in FY15. The combined operational plan was completed in FY20 and has been implemented. Fiscal close-out of the project is underway.

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