|Action Alert | Caloosahatchee River (C-43) Reservoir Project
Primary Purpose: To reduce wet season water flows to the Caloosahatchee River Estuary to levels below 2800 cfs at the Franklin Lock and to increase dry season flows to above 300 cfs with the objective of reducing the large fluctuations in salinity of the estuary and thus facilitate re-establishment of sea grasses in the estuary which effectively died off in the past decade devastating the foundation of the estuary ecosystem.
Location: 9000 acres, approximately one mile south of the Caloosahatchee River in Hendry County, between LaBelle and the Lee County line on the Berry Groves property, east of Townsend Canal.
Estimated Cost: $350 million in total project costs with a 50 year life cycle. This is equivalent to approximately $22 million per year distributed over the project life cycle.
Schedule:Currently in the design development phase with construction expected to commence in 2007. A C-43 reservoir project was first discussed in 1994 and land was purchased by SFWMD in 19??.
Current Design Concept: The reservoir will have two halves (cells) surrounded by a high dike approximately 30 feet above land surface. The water will be stored above ground surface, not below ground (eliminating the need for extensive excavation of the land). During high flow periods water will be pumped from the Caloosahatchee into the reservoir. During low flow periods (under 300 cfs) water will be release back to the Caloosahatchee to augment fresh water flows to the estuary.
Issues of Concern:
- Will it hold water efficiently? Local experts say no. (article link) SFWMD engineers say yes.
- Does it address the estuary salinity issue properly? The project solves only a small fraction of the estuary flow problems .
- Will it improve estuary water quality? Most agree that it will not provide significant improvement in water quality.
- Will the reservoir be safe? The current design follows engineering standards that probably make it hurricane-safe.
- How much of the estuary flow problem does the proposed reservoir solve? Most of the estuary improvement is assumed by SFWMD to be solved by other proposed projects. The SFWMD claims that the reservoir will solve most of the remaining low-flow problem and perhaps a third of the remaining high flow problem.
- What will this reservoir solution cost? The current design follows engineering standards that probably make it hurricane-safe.
- How does this cost compare to other possible solutions? The current design follows engineering standards that probably make it hurricane-safe.
Project support or concerns:
- Hendry County has expressed a series of concerns
- Lee County has highlighted water quality concerns
- Watershed Council of SW Florida has water quality concerns
- CRCA Riverwatch seeks improvements to the project
- IMPACT of Southwest FL questions the efficiency of tax usage