The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of the Arm (Civil Works)
108 Army Pentagon, Room 3E446
Washington, DC 20310-0108
Dear Assistant Secretary Darcy:
Thank you for your recent visit to the great state of Florida and your continued interest in and support for restoration efforts of the Everglades.
As we are sure you understand, approval of the final stage of the Kissimmee River Project is crucial to helping restore flows and addressing water quality issues in the area. In 1992, Congress authorized the Kissimmee River Restoration Project, which de-channelizes the Kissimmee River to restore its oxbows and natural path. Once the Kissimmee River Restoration Project is complete, more than 40 square miles of the river's floodplain ecosystem will be restored, including almost 20,000 acres of wetlands and 44 miles of historic river channel. Additionally, the project has the potential to add 100,000 acre feet of storage to the watershed, which will help alleviate water flows into Lake Okeechobee by raising the levels of Lakes Kissimmee, Cypress and Hatchinehaw another 1.5 feet. The project also maintains the flood reduction benefits of the original Kissimmee River channeling.
To date, over $650 million has been invested in the project and construction is slated for completion by 2016. We understand the Corps is committed to seeing the project completed, but that the Corps and the State of Florida still must make some final decisions before the project can reach this goal. We respectfully request to know what policy issues are still under consideration, their associated rationale, and the Corps' expected timeline for a final decision on these issues. We also encourage the Corps to include in its response any recommended Congressional action that could aid in expediting and ensuring this project's timely completion, and we are ready to be of assistance if there's any way we can be helpful.
We look forward to your response and subsequent efficient decision-making on the final details of the Kissimmee River Restoration Project. Should you have any questions, please contact Morgan Cashwell at (202) 225-3026.
Patrick E. Murphy
MEMBER OF CONGRESS
MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Cc: Blake Guillory, Executive Director, South Florida Water Management District