Biden, Wasserman Schultz Secure Funds to Start Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project

Washington, D.C. – Under the leadership of President Biden and U.S. Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz, funding to begin construction of the embankment contract for the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir has been secured. Due to the historic size of the project, the Administration has committed to take actions that will expedite construction, Wasserman Schultz announced today.

“The Biden Administration answered my call when I urged him in the 2022 Omnibus to provide the Army Corps with funding to advance construction of this critical embankment contract, a linchpin of our restoration efforts,” said Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz. “And it’s just one part of Biden’s awesome level of support. Last year, the President provided $350 million in Everglades restoration funding, following it up with $1.1 billion more in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Going forward, this White House proposed $407 million in its FY 2023 budget, the highest amount ever. Securing this vital reservoir funding has taken me years, including several futile requests for help to the previous administration. But President Biden’s commitment to Everglades restoration does not waver. His overall funding and this move to expedite the EAA Reservoir proves that.”

President Biden included $265 million to build the EAA Reservoir foundation in Fiscal Year 2022. The Army Corps is expected to advertise for the construction contract for the reservoir foundation this summer. The designing and planning for the EAA Reservoir embankment are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

“We extend our appreciation to U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her unwavering support of Everglades restoration,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO, The Everglades Foundation. “The EAA reservoir is the cornerstone project needed to reduce Lake Okeechobee’s harmful toxic discharges to the coastal estuaries while increasing the flows of clean freshwater south to the Everglades and supporting drinking water security for millions in South Florida. The EAA Reservoir is essential to the restoration of America’s Everglades.”

The EAA Reservoir is considered one of the critical components that ties together all the projects in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects. It is crucial in reducing harmful discharges to the northern estuaries, sending more water south, and improving water quality in America’s Everglades.

“Florida’s economy runs on water. The EAA Reservoir is the most important project for Everglades restoration and reducing harmful discharges to the coastal communities. It’s a win-win for the environment and economy, and we thank the administration for advancing this critical project,” said Anna Upton, CEO, Everglades Trust.

“The EAA Reservoir project is the most consequential project for connecting all areas of the Everglades. This funding will provide numerous benefits for the Greater Everglades ecosystem by storing and treating water before moving it throughout the restoration footprint. This is a smart investment and we applaud Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and Florida Congressional delegation for their continued leadership on this matter,” said Julie Hill-Gabriel, VP, Water Conservation, National Audubon Society.

“The Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir is the keystone project for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and key to the future health of South Florida’s ecosystems,” said Whit Fosburgh, President & CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “In addition to significantly improving water quality and storage, completion of the reservoir and other USACE authorized projects will enhance wildlife habitat, create thousands of jobs, and serve Florida’s tourism, real estate, and outdoor economies for years to come. Sportsmen and sportswomen across Florida and the U.S. are grateful to the Administration for prioritizing the restoration of America’s Everglades through the completion of this critical project.”

“National parks and waterways are one of our best defenses against the climate crisis. Thanks to President Biden’s record, back-to-back investments in Everglades restoration – and another $1.1 billion through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – critical projects that have been on hold will move forward at record pace. This funding will help build the much-needed EAA Reservoir to store, treat, and send more clean water to Everglades National Park – and in doing so, make South Florida more resilient against climate change and create thousands of jobs. We are grateful for the longstanding and visionary leadership of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for prioritizing Everglades restoration funding as part of our national climate solution,” said Cara Capp, Senior Everglades Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association.

“It’s wonderful to see the Biden Administration provide the Army Corps with the funding needed to make progress on the Everglades Agricultural Reservoir. The reservoir, along with other key projects, will help restore natural flows of clean water through the Everglades and into Florida Bay –and stop polluted water from Lake Okeechobee from harming communities, businesses, and wildlife on both coasts. Thank you to Rep. Wasserman Schultz and the Florida delegation for uniting to advance our shared goal of restoring America’s Everglades,” said Abby Tinsley, Associate Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs, National Wildlife Federation.