NAPLES — The entire Big Cypress Basin (BCB) Board along with officials from Collier County and Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary celebrated the completion of an upgraded water control structure in Naples that borders portions of the Bird Rookery Swamp and Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
“Today is a great day for the Big Cypress Basin,” said Charlette Roman, Chair of the Big Cypress Basin Board and Governing Board Member of the South Florida Water Management District. “The improved water control structure will enhance the ecosystem in the Big Cypress Basin, Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed. It will also help protect local communities from flooding, while ensuring and managing water flow. This project is a true win-win for people and nature.”
The completion of these upgrades allows for fully remote and automated control of over 26 miles of canals in the Golden Gate watershed that reach from the headwaters of the system at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary down to the Gordon River and Naples Bay. Water managers can now immediately respond to frequent and intense rainfall over the region to improve flood control while balancing freshwater flood control releases to protect regional wetlands and ecosystems.
The upgraded, fully automated control structure will provide:
• Enhanced structure control to closely manage upstream water levels including portions of the Bird Rookery Swamp
• Improved flood protection with enhanced flood control operations
• Reduced system response time to maintain flood control in a flash flood prone system
• Enhanced operational flexibility with the ability to retain higher water levels when appropriate in the upstream watershed
The project is part of the BCB’s 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan. Capital improvements to the water management infrastructure are designed to enhance water resources and ecosystems while protecting communities from flooding.
The Big Cypress Basin is one of two major watershed basins within the South Florida Water Management District’s 16-county region and includes a network of over 134 miles of canals and 34 water control structures, while providing flood protection in Collier County. The Big Cypress Basin Board sets regional policy and works with stakeholders, as well as local governments, and agencies to set the basin’s priorities.