C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area

C-44 Reservoir and Canal

C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area

Home to more than 4,300 species of plants and animals, and supporting more than $730 million in annual economic impact, the ecologically vital Southern Indian River Lagoon region has been inundated with freshwater and pollutants. To reverse the harm on these sensitive ecosystems, the South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area.

Lake Okeechobee — known as Florida’s “Inland Sea” — is the largest freshwater lake in the state. The lake has been used, in combination with a vast series of waterways, to control flooding in Florida’s low-lying areas since the mid-1930s. One of these waterways, the St. Lucie Canal (C-44) runs from the lake’s eastern edge to the St. Lucie River, then to the St. Lucie Estuary and, finally, feeds the Indian River Lagoon. Over time, releasing too much freshwater too quickly from the lake greatly affected the estuary’s salinity. Water quality was further degraded by fertilisers from domestic, commercial and agricultural runoff between the lake and the estuary.

As the first part of the Indian River Lagoon South Restoration Project and part of the greater Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, the C-44 Stormwater Treatment Area project will reverse the damaging effects of pollution and unnaturally large freshwater discharges into these ecologically vital water bodies. By travelling through a 3,400-acre, 15-foot-deep reservoir and 6,300 acres of stormwater treatment areas, the water will traverse constructed wetlands for sedimentation and nutrient reduction.

Our team has worked on this project since 2004, and we have developed the project from site evaluation, through basis of design, to the detailed design and construction documents, including construction phase and start-up support. Originally planned as a single project, due to funding limitations, it has now been split between 16 separate contracts led by SFWMD or USACE. Our team has remained involved throughout, participating in interagency and public meetings and workshops to facilitate the permit process and share information with the community. We provided on-site engineering during construction services until the project was completed in late 2021.

C-44 Reservoir and Canal
South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Martin County, FL
United States

50,600 acre-feet above-ground reservoir


Grand Prize (2022)
Environmental Sustainability
American Academy of Environmental Engineering and Science
Grand Award (2022)
Engineering Excellence Awards
American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida