“It’s still in conceptional design phase,” said Mr. Gysan. “We’re figuring out what can actually work.”
He said the preliminary site evaluations for all of the potential sites for ASRs, deep well, wetlands, reservoirs are underway.
“We’re beginning to look at preliminary engineering designs,” he said, “to have an idea of what it will take to make these features function.”
Mr. Campbell said sometime in 2017 the public will be invited to review the array of alternatives.
“By 2018, we would select one of those alternatives and start developing details,” he added. Storing more of the water from the Kissimmee River basin — sending less to tide — may also help meet the water needs for Florida’s growing human population. But that’s not one of the goals for LOWP.
“The state is the responsible party for water supply needs,” said Mr. Gysan.
“Water supply would be considered, but at this point we’re not doing any specific formulation to improve that water supply.
“It may be an ancillary benefit,” he said.
“The primary driver is the restoration to the ecosystem,” he said.
Funding for the projects is not an issue to complete the study phase, said Mr. Campbell.“After the study is complete, Tim and his team and our division headquarters up in Washington D.C. will submit it to Congress,” Mr. Campbell said.
After the project is authorized by Congress, it will compete for funding with other restoration projects across the nation. Funding for construction and design is dependent on authorization from Congress.
CERP projects require a 50-50 cost share with the state.
Mr. Campbell said LOWP is high on the Integrated Delivery Schedule, which prioritizes the CERP projects.
“We’ve had projects going on east of the lake, west of the lake and south of the lake,” he said. This is the first project north of the lake since the Kissimmee River Restoration Project was authorized, he said.
Projects in other areas are underway.
The Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) south of the lake was recently funded by Congress.
“Authorization is not the same as appropriation,” Mr. Campbell added. The Corps sill has to seek funding in a budget request.
Construction is proceeding on the C-43 reservoir on the Caloosahatchee River. This project is under the direction of the South Florida Water Management District.
Both the Corps and SFWMD have active construction contracts on various phases of the C-44 reservoir east of the lake, which will help reduce lake discharges into the St. Lucie estuary. “Our crews are currently building the reservoir component of C-44,” said Mr. Campbell. “SFWMD is building the water treatment project infrastructure.” He said a bridge replacement and intake canal work has already been already done.
“We continue to make progress on the Kissimmee River Restoration,” he said.
Mr. Gysan said they are coordinating all of these projects with LOWP to make sure LOWP is enhancing the overall CERP program.
Reach Katrina Elsken at firstname.lastname@example.org