By: Katrina Elsken, Okeechobee News
OKEECHOBEE — A shallow reservoir and increased wetlands are proposed just north of Lake Okeechobee adjacent to the Kissimmee River in Glades County.
The Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project LOWRP) includes a Wetland Attenuation Feature with a footprint of approximately 12,500 acres, 80 Aquifer Storage and Recover (ASR) wells, restoration of the Paradise Run wetland and restoration of the Kissimmee River Center wetland, according to a presentation made to area landowners June 18 at the Williamson Center at the Indian River State College Dixon Hendry Campus in Okeechobee.
Brandon Tucker, a member of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board, said “there is a need for storage north of the lake because we have to take care of Lake Okeechobee.
“This is somewhat personal a little for me,” Mr. Tucker continued, explaining that some of the people who own the land within the proposed project footprint are people he has known his whole life.
He said he can only support the project if “I am completely at peace with what we are going to do here.”
Mr. Tucker said based on the information he has so far, he believes the tentatively selected plan is the best plan that has been presented to date.
“It’s a plan I would support for a variety of reasons,” he said.
This is a federal project, a Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) program, a federal program with the Corps of Engineers and SFWMD is the local sponsor,” explained Jennifer Leeds, SFWMD Section Administrator Everglades Policy and Coordination.
She said LOWRP projects will benefit lake Okeechobee and also reduce harmful releases from the lake to the coastal estuaries…