MARTIN COUNTY, Fla.-The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District hosted a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the ceremonial filling of the Indian River Lagoon- South C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area Nov. 19, 2021.
USACE, the South Florida Water Management District and local officials held a ceremony for the $339 million Indian Lagoon C-44 Reservoir Everglades restoration project, a 12,000-acre project in Martin County that is a key part of an extensive effort to restore the massive Florida Everglades.
“We are happy to be here celebrating this with you," said Col. James Booth, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District Commander. "This Everglades restoration project is massive in scale – the reservoir alone is roughly two miles by 3 miles wide. The C-44 component of the Indian River Lagoon-South project will capture, store, and treat local runoff from the C-44 basin, revitalize habitat in the Indian River Lagoon, help restore the balance of fresh and salt water in the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Lucie Estuary, and provide significant water quality improvements.”
"This is a great project and it will take the water from the C-44 canal, store it in this reservoir and then release it when it's necessary, but before it goes back to the C-44, it will run through a stormwater treatment area and what that does is it removes nutrients from the water," said project manager Ingrid Bon.
She said the reservoir will capture, store and clean fertilizer-laden runoff from farms and development before it is routed into the St. Lucie River and ultimately the Indian River Lagoon.
“We’re proud to celebrate the completion of the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area as part of our significant efforts to advance the restoration of America’s Everglades during the ceremony," said Chauncey Goss, chair of the South Florida Water Management District. “Not only symbolically, but it’s also going to be taking water, cleaning it up and helping to get rid of some of these discharges, which is really the goal of all of this.”
Bon said the project can store 19.7 billion gallons of water and the process will use plants and vegetation to suck up about 35 metric tons of phosphorus every year before the water makes its way into the St. Lucie River.
Authorized by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007, the C-44 Basin Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) is a component of the Indian River Lagoon - South (IRL-S) Project, which is part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The C-44 Reservoir and STA capture local runoff from the C-44 Basin, reducing average annual total nutrient loads and improving the salinity regimen for the St. Lucie River Estuary and the southern portion of the Indian River Lagoon. The reservoir and STA provide a total 60,500 acre-feet of new water storage, between the 50,600 acre-feet in the reservoir and 9,900 acre-feet in the STA, and 6,300 acres of new wetlands.
C-44 Basin Project Features includes:
Reservoir, Pump Station, Intake Canal (from C-44) and Bank Stabilization, Perimeter Canal, Embankment, and Roads, Discharge Structure, Bridge across Citrus Boulevard, Stormwater Treatment Area (STA), Six Cells and Flowway Structures, Collection/Drainage Canals, Perimeter/Distribution Canals, System Discharge Spillways and Canal (into C-44), Spillway and Box Culvert across Citrus Boulevard.
Up to 2 years of Operational Testing
This major Everglades restoration effort is a 50-50 partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Here’s the breakdown:
The C-44 Reservoir constructed by USACE is 3,400 acres, with 50,600 acre-feet of storage and cost $227,299,000.
The C-44 Reservoir Intake Canal was constructed by USACE at a cost of $36,086,000.
The C-44 Reservoir Pump Station constructed by the SFWMD can move 1,000 cubic feet per second and cost $40,305,000.
The C-44 Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) constructed by the SFWMD is 6,300 Acres, with 9,900 acre-feet of storage, and cost $109,600,00.
The C-44 Reservoir System Discharge was constructed by the SFWMD at a cost of $5,378,000.
The Indian River Lagoon Watershed is home to more than 4,300 species of plants and animals and supports an annual economic contribution of more than $730 million. In addition, the Indian River Lagoon is known as the most bio-diverse habitat in North America and has been designated an Estuary of National Significance by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
For more news and information visit the district’s website at www.saj.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Jacksonvilledistrict, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JaxStrong.
Associated Story: https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/630643/corps-breaks-ground-on-reservoir-for-everglades-project/