The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District is implementing additional navigation restrictions for boaters along roughly 10 miles of the lower Kissimmee River basin.
The Corps continues backfilling operations on the C-38 Canal as part of an ongoing effort to restore historic flows of the Kissimmee River. Earlier this summer, the Corps closed a portion of the canal seven miles upstream to three miles downstream of the U.S. Highway 98 bridge located near Basinger approximately 20 miles northwest of Okeechobee. Now the Corps is advising boaters that the historic oxbows in the vicinity are also closed to navigation.
“We urge boaters to use caution near the construction area,” said Dr. Orlando Ramos-Gines, senior project manager for the Jacksonville District. “We thank the public for their continued support and hope they will continue enjoying the river and canals, but boaters also need to know what areas are closed so everyone remains safe.”
Barriers have been installed at the closed segments of the river. Boaters can access upstream and downstream segments using boat rams outside the restricted area. The Corps anticipates completing construction in the next 12 months and will reopen the oxbows at that time.
The Kissimmee River restoration project is one of many under construction by the Corps in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District. Once completed, the Kissimmee River Restoration project will restore the portions of the 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.
For more information on Kissimmee River Restoration, please visit the Jacksonville District website at https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Ecosystem-Restoration/Kissimmee-River-Restoration/.
Release no. 19-094