Water-Related News

Suite of west coast projects to benefit Caloosahatchee Basin

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Increased water storage and treatment also help to protect estuary

FORT MYERS – The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) held its monthly Governing Board meeting this month in Fort Myers and received an update on water resource projects to benefit the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary. The public meeting is part of a practice to conduct District business away from West Palm Beach headquarters several times a year, giving local residents increased opportunities to interact with the Board.

As part of the public meeting, SFWMD staff provided an update on key projects that are currently operating or underway to benefit the region. Together, the projects are aimed at improving water quality and water storage throughout the Caloosahatchee basin, which will improve conditions in the coastal estuary as well. Project descriptions and implementation status are shown in the table below.

Project Goals/Benefits Status
Nicodemus Slough Reduces excess freshwater flows to the estuary and provides 34,000 acre-feet of storage. Clearing is complete, the main canal excavation is underway and the main pump is being manufactured.
Lake Hicpochee North Provides shallow water storage of ~1,917 acre-feet and hydrologic restoration to portions of the lake. Preliminary surveying and geotechnical investigations are completed. Engineering design began in December 2013.
C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir Reduces nutrients flowing to the Caloosahatchee River and improves the salinity balance in the estuary by storing water on the site. Capacity at the reservoir will be 170,000 acre-feet. Design and environmental assessments are complete and construction is pending Congressional authorization. The site is currently being utilized to store excess water that would otherwise flow to the river and estuary.
Four Corners Provides water storage and treatment improvements in Hendry County and stores 300 acre-feet of water in the Bob Janes Preserve in Lee County. Design and permitting of the Hendry County flowway is scheduled to be complete in May. The Lee County component is complete and operating.
Lehigh Headwaters – Mirror Lakes Rehydrates Mirror Lakes Preserve with 1,000 acre-feet of storage, restores flow south of State Road 82 with 500 acre-feet of storage and moves water to the Estero watershed with 2,000 acre-feet of storage. Mirror Lakes preserve work is complete; other work is ongoing in a cooperative effort with multiple agencies and partners.
Lehigh Headwaters – Southwest Weirs Reduces phosphorus and nitrogen flowing to the river; provides 1,000 acre-feet of storage. Permits have been acquired and construction is set to begin in October.
Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods Restores more natural flows to Charlotte Harbor, stores and treats water, recharges ground water supplies and improves wildlife habitat. Work is ongoing in a cooperative effort with multiple agencies and partners.
North Six-Mile Cypress Preserve Provides 1,400 acre-feet of storage and restores historic sheetflow. Permits are being finalized and construction is set to be complete in June.
Southern CREW Wetland Restoration Restores the hydrology and ecology of 4,150 acres. Design is complete and permitting has been initiated.
Picayune Strand Restoration Restores and enhances 72,000 acres of wetlands and improves the water quality of coastal estuaries. Pump stations are under construction and the Manatee Mitigation Feature is in design.