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    Deputy commanding general sees south Florida projects first-hand

    Deputy commanding general sees south Florida projects first-hand

    Photo By Jenn Miller | (From top, left to right) Maj. Gen. John Peabody, deputy commanding general for civil...... read more read more



    Story by Jenn Miller 

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Understanding the complexities of the south Florida ecosystem requires time, dedication and taking the initiative to see the unique system personally. That is exactly what Maj. Gen. John Peabody, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deputy commanding general for Civil and Emergency Operations, did during his visit to the Jacksonville District's south Florida projects June 18 -19, 2014.

    During his two-day visit to south Florida, the deputy commanding general for Civil Works and Emergency Operations took a helicopter tour of the system, from Lake Okeechobee all the way to Florida Bay. He also met with district staff, partnering agencies and stakeholders to discuss ongoing Everglades restoration efforts, water management, regulatory matters and Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation.

    “The scope, scale and complexity of the work the Corps is doing in south Florida can only truly be appreciated by getting out and seeing things first-hand,” said Peabody. “The environmental value of this enormous and unique ecosystem is compelling, and the need to complete Everglades restoration projects and rehabilitation efforts of Herbert Hoover Dike is patently evident. Every agency that has a role in this effort must work together closely so we can get things done.”

    Accompanied by South Atlantic Division Commander Col. Donald Walker and Jacksonville District Commander Col. Alan Dodd for the duration of his visit, Peabody not only met with staff and stakeholders, but also toured the ongoing construction efforts at Herbert Hoover Dike and trekked through the Everglades by airboat, and at times, on foot.

    During his time at Herbert Hoover Dike, the 143-mile-long earthen dike that encompasses Lake Okeechobee, Jacksonville District staff provided Peabody with a detailed overview of the efforts being undertaken to actively reduce the risks of a potential dike failure during high water events. Currently, the district is working on seven construction contracts to replace or remove old water control structures around the dike, which from a structural integrity perspective, currently pose the greatest risk of failure due to the loss of embankment material into and along the culverts.

    In its most vulnerable areas, between Port Mayaca and Belle Glade, 21.4 miles of concrete cutoff wall has been installed into the foundation of the dike. This cutoff wall helps reduce the risk by eliminating existing piping and preventing additional internal erosion and under-seepage through the dike and foundation.

    “Since 2007 we have made great progress in our rehabilitation efforts to strengthen the dike and ensure it continues to protect the lakeside communities that depend on it,” said Dodd. “We’re working with an entire system with many interwoven components. In addition to our work at HHD, the completion of Everglades restoration projects will provide us with alternate means to store, treat and distribute water that currently flows into Lake Okeechobee.”

    The Jacksonville District manages the Corps’ Everglades restoration program, which includes the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), the single largest ecosystem restoration project in the world. Currently, in partnership with local sponsor, the South Florida Water Management District, the Corps is actively constructing, planning and designing projects to restore this unique ecosystem.

    Not only did Peabody have the opportunity to see the Everglades restoration projects being constructed and where they are being planned via helicopter, but he also had the opportunity to literally get his feet wet, touring the Everglades by airboat and also stopping off onto a native tree island to explore the unique landscape.

    “There is only one Everglades,” said Dodd. “Time is of the essence, and we are working alongside our partners to do everything we can to get projects planned, designed and built as quickly as possible.”

    The Jacksonville District is in the process of constructing numerous restoration projects throughout the Everglades system, including the Indian River Lagoon South’s C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area project, Picayune Strand Restoration project, Site 1 Impoundment project, Kissimmee River Restoration project, and also recently finished construction of the Tamiami Trail Modifications project.

    Not only are projects being built, but four additional projects just received congressional authorization in June, which now makes them eligible for funding during the appropriations process. These projects are the C-43 Western Basin Storage Reservoir, Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands, Broward County Water Preserve Areas and C-111 Spreader Canal Western projects.

    The Jacksonville District is also in the process of planning the Central Everglades Planning Project, which will set the foundation for restoration efforts in the central portion of the Everglades.



    Date Taken: 07.24.2014
    Date Posted: 07.24.2014 14:28
    Story ID: 137175
    Location: JACKSONVILLE, FL, US 

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