Jacksonville, Fla. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accomplished another milestone in Everglades restoration with award of a $44 million contract for Phase One of the Site 1 Impoundment Project to Lodge Construction, Inc. of Fort Myers, Fla., Aug. 24.
The Site 1 Impoundment, also called the Fran Reich Preserve, will increase much needed water storage capacity and water management flexibility adjacent to the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.
“This project is all about getting the water right,” said Jacksonville District Commander, Col. Al Pantano. “This is the third major federal contract awarded in the past year, moving forward the Corps’ commitment to restore America’s Everglades. Ecosystem restoration is our primary goal here, but this project will also augment drinking water supplies, and it will put Floridians to work,” he added.
The $44,125,000 project, funded primarily by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, is located along the Hillsboro Canal approximately 20 miles west of Boca Raton in Palm Beach County. The project site is a 1,800-acre triangle of land located south and east of the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.
The Site 1 Impoundment will capture and store excess water currently discharged to the Hillsboro Canal. The stored water will be available for use when water availability is low in the dry season. It will also reduce wasteful discharges to the Intracoastal Waterway, as well as water supply demands on Lake Okeechobee and the Loxahatchee Refuge. The impounded water will decrease the loss of water from the Loxahatchee Refuge caused by naturally occurring seepage. Other potential benefits include flood mitigation, water quality improvements and reduced saltwater intrusion.