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Q&A with U.S. Army Corps’ Col. Jason Kirk: ‘We’re Trying to Get the Water Right’

Jason Kirk

Posted on April 18, 2016

By Tom Hudson, Miami Herald

From the headwaters of the Everglades south to Florida Bay, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the lead federal agency on restoring the Everglades. It’s a project 15 years old with a rising price tag. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project was approved in 2000 with an estimated cost of $8.2 billion. Halfway through, its 30-year time line and the cost have doubled according to the latest update from the Corps to Congress. That’s significantly different than a navigation project, such as dredging a port, where the Corps looks to create more economic value by its spending to change the environment.

Col. Jason Kirk oversees the Corps’ Everglades restoration work. He took command of the Jacksonville District amid a drought in July 2015. Just five months later, record rainfall forced the Corps to increase discharges from Lake Okeechobee, sending billions of gallons of dirty water to Florida’s east and west coasts. In the meantime, environmental groups such as the Everglades Foundation worry that last summer’s seagrass die-off in Florida Bay is growing due to the lack of fresh water at the bottom of the Everglades.


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