The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a working draft of the Integrated Delivery System, a forward-looking snapshot of upcoming design and construction schedules and costs for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program, for public comment before the Oct. 28 final 2021 IDS update.
The IDS includes foundation projects like the Kissimmee River Restoration and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan projects, the largest aquatic ecosystem restoration effort in the nation, spanning more than 18,000 square miles and designed to improve the health of more than 2.4 million acres.
“The IDS reflects the strategy for the continued, historic momentum of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program. This is a living document that synchs up federal and state program and project priorities to give us a clear path forward,” said Eva Velez, Army Corps strategic program manager for the ecosystem branch. “We have about a month to fine tune before we launch the final version.”
The federal budget for fiscal year 2021 is $250 million. The president’s 2021 budget is $350 million.
The state’s 2022 budget is $329 million. The total cost estimate for South Florida Everglades Restoration construction from 2020 to 2030 is $8.1 billion, and about $10 billion has already invested through 2020.
Several projects including the Picayune Strand Restoration Project, Indian River Lagoon South, Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetland Phase 1 and the Central Everglades Planning Project’s EAA Reservoir 7.2-mile seepage canal and inflow/outflow canal. The foundation and cut off wall are either under construction or tapped to begin in 2022.
The Army Corps days ago awarded the $79.8 million contract to Phillips and Jordan for the first phase of the EAA Reservoir project. The contract calls for the construction of the reservoir inflow/outflow canal, seepage canal and maintenance road along the northern boundary of the proposed reservoir, which will store water from Lake Okeechobee, rather than discharge that water into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. A large water treatment marsh will filter the water of pollutants before it is released into the Everglades.
The IDS also lists the 68 components of CERP outlined in 2000 as authorized by Congress.
All Everglades restoration-related projects upon which the CERP is dependent, such as the Herbert Hoover Dike, the Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park, Tamiami Trail Next Steps bridging and the Restoration Strategies projects, are reflected in the IDS schedule, but may not be included in the funding scenario.
Those projects are funded through other program authorities or by other entities. Restoration projects by other agencies are not included but are considered during planning.
The final draft of the IDS will be available Oct. 28. For more information, visit evergladesrestoration.gov.