The commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has signed a key ecosystem restoration report that allows Congress to consider the project for future authorization.
The “chief’s report” for the Central Everglades Planning Project was signed yesterday by Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, USACE Commander and Chief of Engineers. It is the culmination of a three-year planning effort involving the Corps’ Jacksonville District, the South Florida Water Management District and other representatives from all levels of government, stakeholder groups, and the public at large.
“This is a wonderful holiday present for everyone who has worked hard on this project,” said Col. Alan Dodd, Jacksonville District commander. “We set some very aggressive goals to produce a timely report on a project so large. I’m so proud of everyone who was involved in the effort.”
CEPP combines several components of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), and is designed to capture water that is currently being lost to tide and direct additional flows to the Everglades and Florida Bay. The projects optimizes the use of public lands to move additional water to the south.
The Corps of Engineers prepared the CEPP planning document using a pilot process designed to reduce the overall time allocated for a study of this magnitude. In prior years, plan formulation and review may have taken six years or longer. The CEPP process was complete in half that time.
“The CEPP process is an excellent example of how the Corps is executing transformation in its civil works processes,” said Dodd. “We are making the planning process more modern and relevant, enhancing our budgeting capability, and improving our methods of delivery.”
The CEPP report will undergo additional review by the Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) and the Office of Management & Budget. It will be formally transmitted to Congress upon completion of those reviews.