FORT PIERCE, Fla.- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District hosted a groundbreaking to celebrate the start of construction on the Indian River Lagoon- South C-23/24 Stormwater Treatment Area.
“This is a watershed moment for us, said Col. James Booth, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District Commander. This is the first major construction feature of the Indian River Lagoon-South project to address the C-23 and C-24 basins in St Lucie County." Just three months ago, we completed construction on the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area Complex, and now we’re putting C-23/24 components in the ground, and the Indian River Lagoon-South C 23/24 North Reservoir has been fully funded through construction under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the largest single investment to date to restore and revitalize the Everglades in Florida. We’ve got incredible momentum right now!”
In a partnership with the South Florida Water Management District, and other state and federal stakeholders, the Corps begins construction to move forward to help improve water quality in the St. Lucie River Estuary and watershed.
“We are so delighted to see this project started! Projects like this will turn the tide on the pollution problem in the Indian River Lagoon,” said Larry Williams, the State Supervisor for Ecological Services in Florida, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We all want a healthy environment with abundant fish and wildlife. The C23/24 features will deliver exactly those things.”
“This is an exciting time for St. Lucie County and the entire Treasure Coast as it seems all of our local, state, and federal agencies are all paddling in the same direction when it comes to addressing and funding water quality issues,” said St. Lucie County Commissioner and Erosion Chair Frannie Hutchinson.
Chauncey Goss, Chairman of the South Florida Water Management District said, The South Florida Water Management District continually prioritizes improving water quality across South Florida, and today’s C-23/C-24 STA groundbreaking is another pivotal moment to helping protect the St. Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon.
“The State of Florida, under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, will continue its commitment to advancing Everglades projects that make a difference for the environment and the quality of life for people in South Florida. We’re going to keep up our momentum and work in partnership with the Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite Everglades projects.”
The C23/24 Stormwater Treatment Area, or STA, is designed to treat water from the Canal-23 and Canal-24 Basins.
It encompasses more than 2,500 acres which is almost equivalent to the approximately 3,000 acres protected under the North Fork St. Lucie River Aquatic Preserve.
Its purpose is to reduce the sediment, phosphorus, and nitrogen going to the St. Lucie River Estuary and the southern portion of the Indian River Lagoon.
The STA is a component of the Indian River Lagoon-South (IRL-South) project and part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) which was authorized by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act WRDA) of 2007.
Together, the C-23/24 Basin features are anticipated to:
- Capture local run-off from the C-23 and C-24 basins, reducing the nutrients flowing to the St. Lucie River Estuary and the southern portion of the Indian River Lagoon
- Provide valuable open water, wetland, and upland habitat
- Include thousands of acre-feet of new water storage, and
- Divert excess water from the basin, helping to rehydrate the floodplain of the north fork of the St. Lucie River and to moderate flows to the estuary and improving salinities.
The C-23/24 Basin Stormwater Treatment Area includes:
- 2,568 Acres with 4,750 acre-feet of storage
- A total of 43,900 feet of perimeter levee and 13,200 feet of interior levee
- 1 two-barrel ungated culvert under CR-613 to connect the western and eastern STA cells
- 1 three-barrel gated culvert under CR-609 for discharge from the STA
- 19 individual culverts within the STA
- A temporary pump station to flow to maintain vegetation prior to the completion of the future North Reservoir An intake structure for the North Reservoir that will run under Sneed Road, and
- Up to 2 years of operational testing
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).
IRL-S Project overall: $4.04 Billion
IRL-S C-44 (all features): $526 Million
IRL-S C-23/C-24 (all features): $1.2 Billion
IRL-S C-23/C-24 Stormwater Treatment Area: $137 Million
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District on the district’s website at www.saj.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JaxStrong.