Water modification to improve Everglades and Miccosukee tribal lands
By Daily News staff
WEST PALM BEACH — Thousands of acres of wetlands will be returned to a more natural state through a project requested by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and supported by the South Florida Water Management District.
Construction of a water-control weir in the L-28 canal near Interstate 75 in Broward County will improve rainfall retention in the wetlands, re-hydrating about 8,000 acres within a triangular area bordered by I-75 and two canal levees, according to the water district. The SFWMD Governing Board this week approved $220,000 in additional funding for the project, on top of $600,000 previously approved in October 2007.
“This project represents cooperation between the district and the Miccosukee Tribe to benefit the Everglades and South Florida’s environment,” said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Eric Buermann. “It is an opportunity to return another section of Everglades wetlands to a more natural state.”
The L-28 canal runs under Alligator Alley. A pump station moves water into the water conservation area but also has impacted drainage within the triangular wetland area. About 800 acres of the property is within the Big Cypress Preserve, while the rest is owned by the Tribe.
“The Miccosukee Tribe is voluntarily restoring over 8,000 acres of land, which could have been developed, back to the Everglades,” said Gene Duncan the Tribe’s water resources director.
Water managers and the Tribe believe the land will be improved by installing a weir in the canal south of the pump station, according to a water district news release. The device, a simple wall across the canal, will hold water in the triangle at depths closer to historical conditions but will allow water to flow north to the pump station during extremely wet times.
The Tribe is responsible for the final design, permitting, construction and monitoring of the project. The project is expected to be completed next year.