TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis attended a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the filling of the first cell of the 6,500-acre Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Stormwater Treatment Area, which will store and clean water flowing from Lake Okeechobee before it is sent south. The EAA Reservoir is the crown jewel of Everglades restoration, and will help move water south which nourishes the Everglades, replenishes Florida’s aquifers and supports the Florida Bay. Additionally, the reservoir will help to reduce harmful discharges to the St. Lucie River, the Caloosahatchee River and the Lake Worth Lagoon.
“The EAA Reservoir is the crown jewel of Everglades restoration, ensuring that we are sending water south and reducing harmful discharges into our waterways,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The opening of this stormwater treatment cell is a key milestone in the EAA Reservoir project and will help ensure the health of the Everglades for generations to come.”
“The EAA Reservoir is a critical component of Everglades restoration and Governor DeSantis has led the charge on getting this project done,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “Restoring America’s Everglades is one of the most ambitious hydrological restoration projects ever undertaken and will restore the natural flow of clean water south to where it’s needed most.”
“Today marks a new dawn of hope for America’s Everglades. The EAA Reservoir Project is coming to life, and we owe a great deal of gratitude to Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for the leadership to make today possible,” said South Florida Water Management District Board Chairman Chauncey Goss. “Water is the backbone of Florida’s economy, and the EAA Reservoir and STA is a cornerstone project that reduces damaging discharges that harm our coastal communities while providing fresh, clean water to America’s Everglades and Florida Bay. We’re lucky to have a Governor and Legislature who understand this important connection. With more than 65 ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings and major milestones on Everglades projects under our belt since Governor DeSantis took office, we are making a measurable difference for the communities and water resources of our region.”
In April 2020, Governor DeSantis announced that the South Florida Water Management District began construction on the State of Florida’s component of the project, the Stormwater Treatment Area, 12 months ahead of schedule. Now, the first of three treatment cells is complete. The remaining cells will come online by this summer.
On his second day in office, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 19-12, Achieving More Now for Florida’s Environment. This Executive Order called for $2.5 billion to be invested in Everglades restoration and water quality improvements over four years and instructed the South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to expedite EAA Reservoir projects. During the Governor’s first term in office, he surpassed his investment goal, approving more than $3.3 billion for Everglades restoration and water quality improvements. Since 2019, more than 65 Everglades restoration projects have been completed or broken ground – the most in state history.
At the start of the Governor’s second term, he reaffirmed his commitment to conserving the Everglades by signing Executive Order 23-06, Achieving Even More Now for Florida’s Environment. This Executive Order called for the investment of $3.5 billion in Everglades restoration and water quality improvements over the next four years. The Governor has already approved $1.6 billion in the current year budget and has proposed $1.1 billion in his Focus on Florida’s Future Budget proposal.