State worries feds won’t pay their share of Lake O reservoir

Written by on June 6, 2018

The Army Corps is “undermining” Florida’s plans for an ecosystem-saving reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee with doubts about the restorative benefits of sending water to the central Everglades, according to state water managers.

The $1.4 billion reservoir, slated for state-owned land in western Palm Beach County, was approved by state lawmakers last year. It is expected to serve two key purposes — protect northern estuaries from harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges that can seed algae blooms and allow more water to follow its historic flow south.

Last week the assistant secretary of the army for civil works said the reservoir is “feasible from an engineering and construction viewpoint.”

But an 86-page review of the plan raises several “technical, policy, and legal concerns” and questions why flows of water diverted from the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries are important to fixing the Everglades.

“The opinion that such water is ‘essential’ to Everglades restoration because that water is ‘critically important to the health of the Everglades’ is conclusory,” the review states. “It does not provide a technical basis by which to judge the reasonableness for adopting such a conclusion.”

In a sternly worded June 1 letter, South Florida Water Management District Executive Director Ernie Marks and Governing Board Chairman Federico Fernandez said the Army Corps has “laid the foundation for delay and avoidance of federal cost share.”

Reservoir costs are to be split between the state and federal government.

Source: State worries feds won’t pay their share of Lake O reservoir


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