2 min read

What is the EAA Reservoir Project?

The EAA Reservoir Project will facilitate sending clean water south to the Everglades while avoiding coastal discharges.
What is the EAA Reservoir Project?
General map locating the EAA Reservoir.¹

The land comprising over 700,000 acres immediately south of Lake Okeechobee is called the Everglades Agricultural Area (“EAA”). The EAA is mostly farmlands, with sugar companies controlling roughly 500,000 acres of it.²

The federal Army Corp of Engineers ("Army Corp") has worked extensively with the state of Florida, mainly through the South Florida Water Management District ("SFWMD") to enact a series of projects under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.3 One high profile example is the EAA Reservoir Project, authorized by the federal Water Resources Development Act of 2000, which includes two components:

  1. The A-2 Stormwater Treatment Area.  An STA is a treatment wetland that will clean water as it flows south to the Everglades from Lake Okeechobee.4 There are a few existing STAs as seen on the map below. SFWMD, responsible for constructing the new 6,500-acre A-2 STA, began construction ahead of schedule in 2020 and plans to complete it in 2023.5
  2. The A-2 Reservoir. The A-2 Reservoir will be a 23 foot deep storage reservoir for excess Lake water.6 The Army Corp is building the reservoir component, which will hold 240,000 acre-feet of water.7
General layout of the EAA Reservoir Project.⁸

The overall result of the EAA Reservoir Project is an expected roughly 43% increase in the amount of new water flowing to the Everglades under the Central Everglades Planning Project.⁹

The EAA Reservoir Project will help obtain the high level goal of sending more clean water to the Everglades while avoiding problematic freshwater releases to the east and west coasts through the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.

The EAA Reservoir Project is a promising project for Everglades and coastal restoration, though lawsuits have already been filed based on its implementation. Stay tuned for an analysis on the claims set forth in these lawsuits and other news on the EAA Reservoir Project.

For an idea of what the new A-2 STA may look like, see above photo taken while duck hunting a cell in existing STA 5/6.

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Citations:

¹Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir Feasibility Study, South Florida Water Management District (2017).

²Flood Control, South Florida Water Management District (2021).

3Restoration Plan: CERP, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (2018).

4-7Progress Continues on the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project, South Florida Water Management District (2021).

Water Reservation Rule Development Workshop, South Florida Water Management District (2020).

Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (2021).