Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Southeastern Lake Okeechobee Project Funded

Eco Islands Proposed Off Pahokee

The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board has approved funds to assist the City of Pahokee in reopening part of the Okeechobee Waterway, restoring more than 100 acres of Lake Okeechobee's shoreline habitat, enhancing storm protection and stimulating the economy in the Glades region with eco-tourism opportunities.

The District Governing Board voted to invest $3 million to install 90,000 cubic yards of riprap ­ large rocks ­ to protect 10,000 linear feet of the lake's southeastern shore. The work is among the first steps necessary to begin dredging to restore a portion of the Okeechobee Waterway, a 154-mile marine route connecting Florida's east and west coasts via Lake Okeechobee. According to the Florida Inland Navigation District, the Okeechobee Waterway provides for $55 million per year (1999 dollars) in National Economic Impact.

Route 2, known as the 'Rim Route,' connecting Clewiston to Port Mayaca, has been subject to navigation restrictions because of shoaling caused by Hurricane Wilma filling the channel with sediment and debris in 2005. The District's support of the initial riprap work lays the foundation for building an upland shelf along the eastern shore that would facilitate a more gradual shoreline, enhance storm protection and create wildlife habitat areas. The riprap project, which has already received the necessary state and federal permits, also provides storage capacity to sequester more than 300,000 cubic yards of dredged material.

Once dredging is complete, the City of Pahokee plans to construct a series of eco-islands, providing for economic benefits by creating construction jobs and eco-tourism and recreational opportunities.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:16 AM

    I hope that the Army Corps. of Engineers are off setting the cost of the repairs by not paying for the sand and rock. They should be using the millions of pounds of rock and sand pillied up along U.S. Highway 27(just a few miles south) that has been dug out as part of the Everglades Restoration Project. The government should be monitoring were all those minerals are going like it was money, because it is worth a fortune. These minerals should be free for goverment use only.