JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has awarded the final construction contract for the Kissimmee River Restoration Project, a massive Everglades restoration project in Okeechobee and Highlands counties.
The $17,887,000 S-69 Weir and Canal Backfill construction contract was awarded to Herve Cody Contractor from Robbinsville, North Carolina on September 26.The contract involves backfilling nearly one-half mile of the C-38 canal, from the historic river channel crossing to the S-69 weir, which is being constructed as part of this contract. The weir will be located downstream of the backfilled C-38 canal and will slow the flow of water transitioning from the restored Kissimmee River floodplain to the remnant C-38 channel.
Access to portions of the Kissimmee River will be closed to navigation for the duration of the construction contract. Backfilling operation are scheduled to begin in the fall and will take approximately 20 months to complete. During this time, navigation in the C-38 Canal will be prohibited between S-65A and S-65D, north of the US Hwy 98 Bridge. Navigation south of the construction site will be available via the S-65D Boat Ramp.
“Construction of the S-69 Weir will maximize wetland rehydration in the Kissimmee River Basin by providing connectivity between the historic Kissimmee River floodplain and backfilled portions of the C-38 Canal,” said Tiphanie Mattis U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District project manager. “We are working to put the final components in place for this project in order to provide significant benefits to the Kissimmee River Basin, Lake Okeechobee, and subsequently, the entire Everglades ecosystem.”
To date, the Corps has completed over 30 construction contracts as part of the Kissimmee River Restoration project. With the award of the S-69 Weir and Canal Backfill contract, only one construction contract remains for the project.
The Kissimmee River Restoration project is a congressionally authorized undertaking by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District, the non-federal sponsor. The project encompasses the removal of two water control structures, filling approximately 22 miles of canal, and restoring over 40 square miles of the river channel and floodplain ecosystem, including approximately 27,000 acres of wetlands.
In restored areas, comprehensive monitoring has documented substantial improvements in the river and its floodplain, making the project a model for large-scale ecosystem restoration efforts. Aquatic wading bird and duck populations in the restored river and floodplain region have soared, shorebird species have returned, organic deposits on the river bottom have decreased by 71 percent, and reestablished sand bars provide new habitat for native species. In addition to the significant ecological improvements provided by this project, restoration of the historic river will also slow the movement of water and increase the time it takes for it to get to Lake Okeechobee, helping to slow down the rise in the lake
Additional information on the Kissimmee River Restoration project available at: http://bit.ly/Everglades_KRR