C-44 Reservoir, Stormwater Treatment Area Project
Lake Okeechobee is a large shallow fresh water lake, lying at the northern tip of the Florida Everglades. Opened in 1937, the Okeechobee Waterway completes an extensive flood control system of canals, gates and levees. Many of these canals drain into the St. Lucie Estuary, described as one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the United States. This natural ecosystem has become impaired as fresh water pours through the canals from Lake Okeechobee into the estuary, resulting in reduced salinity, poor water quality, and negative impacts on aquatic life.
To remedy the situation, one of the primary sources of freshwater flow into the St. Lucie Estuary, the C-44 canal, needed to have environmental enhancement measures designed and implemented. The solution includes a stormwater management system to capture runoff to reduce damaging freshwater discharges and to improve the overall water quality in the estuary. This system includes a stormwater reservoir and a stormwater treatment area. A reservoir pumping station will pump water into the reservoir to help attenuate flows back to the canal and to improve the overall quality of the estuary system downstream.