Corps awards contract for Kissimmee River Restoration Project
Navigation closures scheduled to begin this fall
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has awarded one of the three remaining construction contracts for the Kissimmee River Restoration Project, a massive Everglades restoration project in Okeechobee and Highlands counties.
The $26.13 million Reach 2 Backfill construction contract was awarded to J.E. McAmis from Chico, California, on August 5. The contract involves backfilling approximately seven miles of the channelized C-38 Canal. Completion of this work will enable water to flow into the meandering oxbows that have been excavated under previous contracts, to restore the natural flow of the Kissimmee River.
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 this fall and will take approximately 27 months to complete. During this time, navigation in the C-38 Canal will be prohibited north of the US Hwy 98 Bridge. Navigation south of the construction site will be available via the S-65D Boat Ramp. Access from the Istokpoga Boat Ramp will allow navigation north into the oxbow only.
“With only two construction contracts remaining, we are definitely nearing the finish line for the Kissimmee River Restoration Project,” said April Patterson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District project manager. “What we have been able to accomplish in our restoration of the Kissimmee River is truly spectacular. In addition to the significant ecological improvements this project will provide, 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.”
To date, the Corps has completed 25 construction contracts as part of the Kissimmee River Restoration project and has two contracts ongoing. With the award of the Reach 2 Backfill contract, only two construction contracts remain 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 the areas that have already been restored, 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.
Additional information on the Kissimmee River Restoration project available at: http://bit.ly/Everglades_KRR (http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Ecosystem-Restoration/Kissimmee-River-Restoration/
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Release no. 16-062