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Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities
This is in contrast to the planned construction of wells, pumping stations, seepage barriers, and advanced wastewater treatment characteristic of many other aspects of the greater Everglades restoration effort. That effort is described in some detail at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/dp/Kissimmee/Kissimmee2.html.
The Kissimmee River restoration is only partial and represents a reversion of a “highly engineered” flood channel (C-38) to portions of its hydrologically simpler, historical, meandering self. Whether or not these efforts will provide the hoped-for hydrologic, ecological, and water-quality benefits remains to be determined; an extensive Kissimmee River Restoration Evaluation Program is designed to track initial and long-term responses to the reconstruction efforts.
Similarly, efforts to “decompartmentalize” the Everglades ecosystem by removing various canals and flood-control structures and by altering parts of the Tamiami Trail (U.S. Route 41) where it crosses the Everglades so as to increase sheetflow also reflect a rehabilitation approach. Finally, the use of stormwater treatment areas (STAs), which are engineered wetlands but which rely to some degree on natural processes, represents some degree of the rehabilitation approach, especially as compared with the water-treatment facilities planned for the Miami wastewater reuse. On the other hand, ASR and Lake Belt Storage are firmly in the substitution category.
The committee describes elsewhere in this report how pre-existing constraints; new demands on the system; the possibility that one or more of the proposed components of the Restoration Plan will be unable to function as proposed; the accumulating costs of building, operating, and maintaining the Restoration Plan; ecological uncertainties; and the specifications of the Restoration Plan far into the future make it virtually certain that the plan will have to be re-evaluated periodically. Options that had been previously ruled out or not considered at all might become the only options available to achieve even some of the Restoration Plan’s goals.