The Central Everglades Planning Project, which was included in a broader water resources bill that the Senate approved today by a vote of 95 – 3, is a nearly $2 billion series of engineering projects designed to reduce the need for harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee by sending more water south into the Everglades instead of east and west into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.
Nelson, a long-time supporter of Everglades-restoration projects who pushed to get the project included in this year’s water bill, hailed today’s vote as a major step toward restoring the Everglades.
In addition to CEPP, the broader water bill passed today also includes several other projects important to Florida, such as:
- Port Everglades dredging – the bill authorizes $322.7 million to deepen the main shipping channels at Port Everglades from 42 feet to 48 feet.
- Picayune Strand Restoration Project – the bill authorizes an additional $113 million for the Picayune Strand Restoration Project to fund new features and improvements to the original design. This amount is on top of the funds originally approved in 2007, bringing the project’s total authorized cost to $618 million.
The bill now heads to the House for consideration.