Col. Jason Kirk, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Jacksonville District, spoke to reporters briefly following a meeting with U.S. Rep. Brian Mast in Port St. Lucie last week.
Col. Kirk met with the congressman to provide the latest information related to the Corps’ review of options under consideration to meet the state of Florida’s desire for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, as expressed through Senate Bill 10 that Governor Rick Scott signed into law earlier this year.
“The Corps shares the State’s interest in restoration objectives to include urgent attention to reducing estuary discharges as a part of our overall restoration strategy,” said Kirk. “We are reviewing the specific actions proposed by the state in context of on-going restoration construction, design and planning efforts including next steps for the Central Everglades Planning Project authorized by Congress in 2016.”
Kirk emphasized his intent to work with state officials on the water management challenges in south Florida, while undertaking a multi-pronged approach toward implementing solutions.
“The Corps is committed to investments and progress on restoration projects throughout the system,” said Kirk. “Construction continues on the C-44 component of the Indian River Lagoon – South project and the Caloosahatchee C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir; design is underway on the C-23/24 components of the Indian River Lagoon – South project and the Broward County Water Preserve Areas; and planning studies are underway in other areas, such as the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project.”
Kirk emphasized that collaboration with state partners at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the South Florida Water Management District remains a priority for all facets of Everglades restoration.