Corps announces changes to Kissimmee River lower basin navigation

Published Dec. 20, 2018

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District continues work towards bringing the Kissimmee River Restoration project to completion.

Ongoing construction in the Kissimmee River lower basin is limiting navigation between water control Structures 65A and 65D.  To access the river north of the construction activities, boaters are advised to use the Structure 65 boat ramp off U.S. Highway 60 on the west side of the structure. Navigation will remain open both north and south of the Istokpoga Canal boat ramp. Navigation south of the construction site is available via the Structure 65D Boat Ramp.

“There are navigation hazards along the entire length of the historic river channel due to low water levels,” Project Manager Tiphanie Mattis said. She asks that boaters use appropriate safety equipment and remain cautious in the waterway.  “We applaud the local communities’ cooperation in helping us to complete this huge undertaking in such a safe manner.”

Kissimmee River backfilling operations started in Reach 2 in the fall of 2016.  Completion of this work will enable water to flow into the meandering oxbows and restore the natural flow of the historic river channel.  Mattis estimates the contractor will complete the Reach 2 backfilling operations by spring 2019. 

The Structure 69 Weir and Canal Backfill construction contract is set to commence in early 2019. This contract work involves backfilling nearly one-half mile of the channelized Kissimmee River, from the historic river channel crossing to the weir, north of the railroad bridge. The weir will slow the flow of water transitioning from the restored Kissimmee River floodplain to the historic river channel. Backfilling operations will take approximately 20 months to complete. During construction, the Hidden Acres and Kissimmee River Shores communities will not have access to the historic river channel due to safety concerns. Both Hidden Acres and Kissimmee River Shores navigational access will be available after construction is complete.

The Kissimmee River testoration project is one of the many ongoing projects currently underway by the Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District, to restore America’s Everglades. Once completed, the Kissimmee River Restoration project will restore the 22-mile channelized river back to its natural meandering pattern and provide 130,000 acre-feet of natural floodplain storage. This will slow the flow of water from the Kissimmee Basin into Lake Okeechobee, thereby slowing down the rise in the lake that often results in high-volume discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.

“To date, continuous flow has been restored to 28 miles of the Kissimmee River,” Mattis said.  “In areas already restored, comprehensive monitoring has documented substantial improvements in the river and its floodplain, making the project a model for large-scale ecosystem restoration efforts.”


Susan Jackson

Release no. 18-088