Corps completes contract for Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project
Advancing efforts to restore critical water flow to Biscayne Bay
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District completed a construction contract laying the groundwork to reestablish freshwater flow to Biscayne Bay as part of ongoing efforts to restore America’s Everglades.
The Corps completed construction on the L-31E Flow-way Culverts S-712A and S-712B on June 29, 2017, two weeks ahead of schedule. The nearly $780,000 construction contract was awarded in September 2016 to Sweat, LLC from Orange Park, Florida. Construction of the culverts will allow water to flow from the L-31E Canal to adjacent wetlands as part of the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Phase I Project in Miami-Dade County.
“With the completion of this construction contract, we are initiating efforts to improve the flow of water into Biscayne Bay and the southern Everglades ecosystem,” said April Patterson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District project manager. “The L-31E Flow-way culverts are an important first step and will allow freshwater flows to Biscayne Bay’s coastal wetlands.”
The Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Phase I Project is a component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ largest ecosystem restoration program, conducted in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District. Construction of the remaining three contracts, two L-31E Flow-way contracts and the Cutler Wetlands contract, will redistribute available surface water from the existing canal network to wetlands located east and west of the L-31E Levee through a spreader canal system.
The completed project will improve the ecology of Biscayne Bay, including the freshwater wetlands, tidal creeks and near-shore habitat by rehydrating coastal wetlands and reducing abrupt freshwater discharges to Biscayne Bay that are physiologically stressful to fish and benthic invertebrates in the bay near canal outlets.
The project will also provide essential benefits during the dry season by redistributing freshwater into coastal wetlands, creeks, and impoundments when watershed runoff is insufficient to prevent hypersaline conditions in Biscayne Bay. This will improve the habitat for 21 federally-listed threatened or endangered species, including the West Indian Manatee, Florida Panther and the American Crocodile. It will also create conditions conducive for the reestablishment of oyster reef communities and productive nursery habitat along the shoreline.
Additional information on the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project available at: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Portals/44/docs/FactSheets/BBCW_FS_January2017_web.pdf
For more information on the Corps’ Everglades restoration efforts, visit: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Ecosystem-Restoration/
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Release no. 17-027