Water Management District Spending Big Bucks For STA-5 Maintenance
CLEWISTON, FL. -- The Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District approved $1.8 million in funding for maintenance dredging at Stormwater Treatment Area 5 in Hendry County. By removing excess sediments, the effort will enhance water quality and overall performance of the constructed treatment wetland, which contains nearly 6,200 acres of treatment area to remove phosphorus and other nutrients from water before it enters the famed Everglades.
STA-5, one of six treatment wetlands across the Everglades Agricultural Area south of Lake Okeechobee, was built to improve the quality, timing and distribution of water entering the northwest portion of the remnant Everglades known as Water Conservation Area 3A. From May 2006 through April 2007 , the natural treatment facility successfully retained 8.8 metric tons of phosphorus. Together with best farming practices, the District�s 52,000 acres of STAs have prevented more than 2,700 metric tons of phosphorus from entering the Everglades since 1994.
The maintenance work involves dredging two miles of the L-3 Borrow Canal and 4.2 miles of spreader canals. The dredged material will be disposed of within STA-5 in an area adjacent to the L-3 Levee, but outside of the STA�s treatment cells.
Throughout the Everglades Agricultural Area, water quality improvements are being achieved through a commitment by the State of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District, which have invested $1.8 billion for this effort. Another $250 million is committed to improving Lake Okeechobee and the Northern Everglades, which will further enhance water quality throughout the entire Everglades ecosystem.
In addition to the role of STAs in water quality improvements, treatment wetlands also offer unique recreational opportunities for residents and tourists alike. The wetlands particularly at STA-5 provide ideal habitat for migratory waterfowl and are often ranked among the best waterfowl hunting sites in the nation. STA-5 also is ideal for bird watching, with seasonal tours provided by the Hendry-Glades Audubon Society.