Over the years, Everglades Restoration efforts have had their share of ups and downs. This week, however, construction began on the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir (EAA), which many advocates label “The Crown Jewel of Everglades Restoration.” The groundbreaking comes after Politicians and federal agencies emphasized the prioritization of the EAA project in key pieces of legislation at the end of 2022 and advocates, like Captains for Clean Water and others have continuously pushed for EAA progress. This project is critical for South Florida’s water crises, as it will handle excess Lake Okeechobee water rather than discharging towards the east and west coasts, which has fueled water quality crises in the past in addition to sending more clean, fresh water south into the Everglades.

“Our community of supporters across the country is celebrating this momentous occasion,” said Capt. Daniel Andrews, Executive Director of Captains For Clean Water. “Following Governor DeSantis’ bold leadership to expedite the STA, we applaud the Army Corps’ diligence to break ground on the EAA Reservoir—the keystone project of the largest ecosystem restoration project in the world. Countless groups and individuals work tirelessly to drive Everglades restoration forward, and today, our efforts are rewarded as we get to celebrate this shared win for clean water and America’s Everglades.”

What Will the EAA Reservoir Do?

  • Significantly reduce harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges by providing additional water storage, treatment, and sending more water south into the Everglades (the natural, and since disrupted, hydrologic cycle in South Florida).
  • The 10,500 acre reservoir that can store 240,000 acre-feet of water will reduce Lake Okeechobee discharge events by 65%.
  • The 6,500 acre storm-water treatment area will utilize natural wetlands to clean the water and absorb the excess nutrients and then let the water flow south into the Everglades.
  • This project will send on average 360,000 acre-feet of clean water south into the Everglades annually, according to water management experts.

“This project is a crucial milestone for Everglades restoration. The EAA reservoir will continue to improve water quality, reduce algal blooms and provide water for people and the environment in south Florida,” said Michael L. Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “The Administration remains committed to ensuring the success of Everglades restoration by continuing to dedicate major resources to this project.”

Great news for the Everglades and South Florida’s water, and congrats to all the advocates who have continuously pushed towards a clean water future.

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