The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has signed an agreement with the state of Florida to accept $50 million of state funds to help with rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee.
The agreement is the result of a measure passed by the Florida legislature during their 2017 session. The agreement allows USACE to use the funds to pay for a portion of the rehabilitation of the 143-mile earthen structure that surrounds the lake.
“This agreement is another important milestone in the federal-state effort that provides great value to the citizens of Florida and the nation,” said Col. Jason Kirk, commander of Jacksonville District. “It allows us to fully fund a construction contract to install six miles of seepage barrier west of Belle Glade in Palm Beach County. We look forward to starting this work as soon as possible.”
USACE has been undertaking a $1.8 billion rehabilitation program designed to reduce flood risk for people living and working around the lake. Since 2001, USACE has invested more than $940 million to construct several features that include installation of 21 miles of seepage barrier and replacement of close to two dozen water control structures.
“We have shown that Florida will stop at nothing to ensure the communities and environment surrounding the Dike are fully protected,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott. “While there is still more to be done, today’s news is great for Florida.”
The $50 million funds a contract to construct six additional miles of seepage barrier, also known as a partial cutoff wall, into the dike itself. The dike, due to the methods of construction at the time, is susceptible to seepage that can lead to erosion. The installation of seepage barrier and replacement of water control structures is expected to reduce seepage thereby reducing risk for those who live and work in the area.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a longstanding partnership with Florida in our combined efforts to restore the Everglades,” said Kirk. “State assistance to the vital rehabilitation of Lake Okeechobee’s Herbert Hoover Dike is an extension of the restoration partnership.”
Release no. 18-028