JACKSONVILLE — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District announces the opening of public comment on the Western Everglades Restoration Project (WERP) Draft Project Implementation Report and Environmental Impact Statement (PIR/EIS). The purpose of the WERP is to improve the quantity, quality, timing, and distribution of water needed to restore and reconnect the western Everglades ecosystem. Public engagement is encouraged, and comments are due Monday, January 29, 2024.
WERP will reestablish ecological connectivity from the northwest portion of the study area, across the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Big Cypress Reservation (SBCR) and into Big Cypress National Preserve (BCNP), while maintaining flood protection and ensuring that inflows meet applicable water quality standards. The proposed action is located within Hendry, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Collier counties, Florida.
The tentatively selected plan (TSP), known as Alternative Hybrid Natural Flow Revised (ALTHNFR), would achieve these benefits by re-distributing water to several major remnant flow ways that lie directly south and southeast of the Wingate Mill and West Feeder canals, including Kissimmee Billy Strand and Cowbell Strand. Construction of the North Feeder Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) within the C-139 Annex will direct treated water from the North Feeder Canal Sub-Basin to Water Conservation Area (WCA) 3A via the L-3 canal. Rerouting water from the West Feeder Canal Sub basin south into the forested wetlands of the study area by backfilling portions of the Wingate Mill and Lard Can canals will facilitate hydropattern restoration in portions of the SBCR, BCNP, and in the L-28 Triangle area, which is located entirely in the boundaries of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians’ Alligator Alley Reservation (MAAR). Backfilling portions of the L-28 Interceptor canal and the L-28 North canal, in combination with degrading portions of the associated levees, will re-establish ecological connectivity in areas adjacent to Mullet Slough. Full backfill and degrade of the L-28 Tieback with full backfill of the L-28 South canal south of structure 344 (S-344), in combination with the construction of three adjustable control structures and a plug in the Tamiami Trail canal, will reconnect portions of WCA 3A to BCNP. Southern portions of BCNP, including New River and Sweetwater Strands will receive increased flows.
The Draft PIR/EIS is available for your review on the Jacksonville District’s Environmental planning website and on the project website:
(On the above page, click on the “+” next to “Multiple Counties”, row 13).
This news release announces a 45-day public review period soliciting comments for consideration prior to the finalization of the PIR/EIS.
USACE requests that comments be submitted to Western.Everglades@usace.army.mil no later than Monday, January 29, 2024.
USACE appreciates the ongoing efforts of the public to stay informed and remain engaged in our projects. The feedback that we receive from stakeholders and members of the public provides important local knowledge that informs our decision-making process.