Generation 3 Projects
Generation 3 Projects are near-term priorities, but substantial work remains in planning and development of the PIRs. Some of these projects are being expedited with state funding. Of the Generation 3 projects listed in Table 3-1, only the Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration and Lakeside Ranch STA projects have made substantial construction progress over the past two years.
Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration. Although the USACE and the SFWMD are still finalizing plans for the Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration project (formerly the North Palm Beach County project; Figure 3-4, No. 11) and no PIR has yet been drafted, the SFWMD has expedited several components, including the L-8 reservoir, which was intended to reduce high discharges to the Lake Worth Lagoon and enhance hydroperiods in an area known as the Loxahatchee Slough (see NRC, 2008). Currently, the water in the L-8 reservoir contains concentrations of chloride that exceed the Class I 250 mg/L discharge standard, limiting its release into the Grassy Water Preserve (unless diluted). The SFWMD intends to flush the reservoir several times once the full-size pumps are installed (by 2017) to reduce the elevated chloride concentrations, which are suspected to be related to prior mining and rock crushing processes. However, based on the state’s new proposed plan to improve water quality control (described later in this chapter), the state is looking for an alternative storage feature for this project to replace the L-8 reservoir (Meeker, 2012).
One objective of the project is the restoration of the southern headwaters of the Loxahatchee River that begin north of LNWR (WCA-1) and flow north and east to the coast near Jupiter. Area canals have drained several thousand acres of wetland habitat, resulting in saltwater intrusion and periodic desiccation, particularly in Loxahatchee Slough. The SFWMD has installed culverts leading into the slough and established a control structure in the C-18 canal to raise water levels and extend periods of inundation. A more natural hydroperiod has been returned to 5,000 acres of the slough, and SFWMD personnel have observed that on the 5,000 acre tract, invading upland vegetation such as upland pine trees are now receding, replaced with wetland vegetation more similar to pre-drainage conditions (Figure 3-12; L. Gerry, SFWMD, personal communication, 2011, 2012).
Lakeside Ranch STA. The enactment of Florida’s Northern Everglades Initiative in 2007 expanded the Lake Okeechobee Protection Act to the entire northern Everglades system, and identified the Lakeside Ranch STA as an expedited project. The Lakeside Ranch STA involves the construction of a 2,700-acre STA at Lakeside Ranch that will provide approximately 9 to 19 metric tons of