Sanibel Water Quality: Lake Okeechobee Water Release Impact, Redfish Pass, 7:10:13, Photo By SCCF.
Sanibel Water Quality: Lake Okeechobee Water Release Impact, Redfish Pass, 7:10:13, Photo By SCCF.

Bill Filed To Protect Caloosahatchee & St. Lucie Estuaries

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DEP'S DAILY UPDATE ON LAKE OKEECHOBEE. The figure depicts various flood control structures that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the South Florida Water Management District (District) operate. Courtesy of DEP.

DEP’S DAILY UPDATE ON LAKE OKEECHOBEE. The figure depicts various flood control structures that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the South Florida Water Management District (District) operate. Courtesy of DEP.

Bill To Protect The Caloosahatchee And St. Lucie Estuaries From Polluted Discharges.

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation issued the following news release.

“Good news on the water front!  Today Senator Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island) filed a bill to protect the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries from polluted discharges.

Storage south of the lake, in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), is crucial to reduce damaging flows during wet periods. Senate Bill 10 (SB 10), Water Resources, authorizes bonding a portion of proceeds from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (set aside by Amendment 1 in 2014) to purchase land to construct a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

Please thank Senators Negron and Bradley for their Leadership

Summary Of Senate Bill 10 (SB 10)

  • Acquire 60,000 acres in the EAA
  • Build a reservoir to hold 120 billion gallons
  • Cost $2.4 billion, with half funded by the State (about $1.2 billion) and the other half by the Federal government.
Senate Bill 10 (SB 10), Water Resources, authorizes bonding a portion of proceeds from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (set aside by Amendment 1 in 2014) to purchase land to construct a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. Image courtesy of SCCF.

Senate Bill 10 (SB 10), Water Resources, authorizes bonding a portion of proceeds from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (set aside by Amendment 1 in 2014) to purchase land to construct a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. Image courtesy of SCCF.

You can find the Bill by clicking here.

The bill authorizes the issuance of bonds to raise over a billion dollars to acquire 60,000 acres of land and build a reservoir south of the lake. The reservoir is expected to hold 120 billion gallons. The estimated cost of the reservoir is roughly $2.4 billion, with half funded by the State and half by the Federal government. The bill authorizes the use of approximately $100 million of documentary stamp tax revenue set aside by the Water and Land Conversation Amendment (Amendment 1, 2014) annually over the next 20 years to finance land acquisition and construction of the reservoir.

The bill directs the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to begin the formal process of purchasing land from willing sellers. If the SFWMD is unable to identify sellers of land appropriate for a reservoir through an open solicitation by the end of 2017, the legislation authorizes the Board of Trustees to exercise the option with U.S. Sugar entered into in 2010 to buy 153,000 acres of land in the Everglades Agricultural Area, for the purpose of securing the 60,000 acres necessary for the reservoir and to begin planning construction of the reservoir.

Also supporting the bill is Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart), who began actively championing the need to find a solution following several years of devastating releases to both estuaries. “Despite the sincere efforts of our state and federal government to plan and fund long-term solutions to address rising water levels and pollution in Lake Okeechobee, year after year as the Lake levels rise, the solution is to flood my community and many others across our state with billions of gallons of polluted water that destroys our estuaries and

Lake Okeechobee Water Release, Via Creative Commons, Byron Waters.

Lake Okeechobee Water Release, Via Creative Commons, Byron Waters.

harms our local economies,” said President Negron.

“For nearly two decades, there has been scientific consensus and recognition by state leaders that additional water storage south of Lake Okeechobee is necessary to stop this ongoing problem; from Governor Jeb Bush’s historic support of the bipartisan Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan in 2000; to the recent University of Florida Water Institute study commissioned by the Senate and completed in 2015,” continued President Negron. “This legislation provides a clear plan to address this plague on our communities in a manner that respects the interests of the agricultural community and private land owners.”

 


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