WEST PALM BEACH – In a special meeting Thursday (April 22), the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board approved a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) with the U.S. Department of the Army for the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Phase, which includes the EAA Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area components. The PPA, coupled with the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) Master Agreement, specifies the terms and conditions for implementing this project, including construction, operations, maintenance, repair, replacement, and rehabilitation responsibilities (OMRR&R) and cost-share.
A PPA, as offered by the USACE, was presented to the Governing Board at its April 8 meeting at which time the board expressed concerns regarding the clarity of the terms.
“We know how important the EAA project is to the governor, to the board and to south Florida,” explained Director of Ecosystem Restoration and Capital Projects Jennifer Reynolds.
“There has been further clarification on the water quality requirements,” she explained. The changes resolve most of the ambiguity that was discussed at the April 8 SFWMD meeting, she added.
Anna Upton of the Everglades Foundation said the EAA reservoir project will provide much needed water to the Everglades and Florida Bay.
“This project started in 2000 and I can remember standing up and supporting this project in 2002,” said Newton Cook. He said he was shocked at the outcome of the April 8 meeting when it appeared the project could be delayed. He congratulated SFWMD staff and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for working out the concerns on the agreement.
“It’s a great day for the Everglades,” said SFWMD Executive Director Drew Bartlett. He thanked SFWMD staff and the corps for working together to make it happen.
The agreement is online at https://apps.sfwmd.gov/ci/publicmeetings/viewFile/28013
Reynolds, who retired from the U.S. Army in January 2020, most recently served as the Deputy Commander for South Florida with the Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.