Posted on August 23, 2023
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) celebrated a major milestone for the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project in Miami-Dade County today. The S-709 Pump Station, a component of the L31 Flow-Way, is complete and will contribute to the restoration of Biscayne Bay.
The USACE and SFWMD were joined by elected officials and key regional stakeholders to usher in the completion of this major milestone.
“Today’s ribbon cutting is a testament to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its partners’ commitment to Everglades restoration,” said Col. James Booth, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District. “The S-709 pump station is an important piece of infrastructure near the southern end of the L-31 East Flow way, whose completion and use puts us one step closer to restoring conditions in the coastal wetlands and ultimately in Biscayne Bay.”
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Biscayne Bay is our crown jewel, it is our Mount Rushmore, it is our Central Park, and we need to take care of it. Today’s ribbon cutting moves us one step closer to a revitalized Biscayne Bay,” said South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Member Charlie Martinez. “A few months ago, we celebrated the groundbreaking of the Cutler Wetlands Component of the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project and today, we celebrate the completion of a new pump station, which will start restoring the southern wetlands that are part of the L-31 East Flow way. I’m thankful for the incredible support from Governor Ron DeSantis, and our strong partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Miami-Dade County. The restoration of Biscayne Bay is absolutely critical to our way of life in South Florida, and I look forward to celebrating the completion of more Everglades restoration projects that will benefit Biscayne Bay in the future.”
The S-709 structure was designed to be a 40 cubic foot per second (cfs) pump station, located north of the C-103 canal on the L-31E canal. When operational, the S-709 will pump water from the C-103 canal and discharge to the north into the L-31E canal using two 20 cfs submersible pumps. Pump station S-709 will also have a sixty-inch culvert with a slide gate to pass flows during emergency situations.
The S-709 pump station is one of five like it and an element of the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project (BBCW); a component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and is cost-shared between USACE and SFWMD. BBCW is one of the “second generation” CERP projects.
“Construction is finished and endurance testing will last about a month before we move to the operational testing and monitoring phase,” said James Hourican, project manager for the USACE Jacksonville District. “This is a period of time where the facility is operated in conjunction with our partners at the SFWMD where data is collected to ensure the pump performs in accordance with design specifications and law before transferring it to the custody of the SFWMD for full operations and maintenance,” he continued.
The purpose of the BBCW project is to rehydrate coastal wetlands and reduce damaging point-source freshwater discharge to Biscayne Bay and Biscayne National Park. The BBCW project will restore wetland and estuarine habitats and divert an average of 59 percent of the annual coastal structure discharge into freshwater and saltwater wetlands instead of direct discharges to Biscayne Bay and Biscayne National Park.
The project will rehydrate coastal wetlands and reduce point-source discharges into Biscayne Bay by replacing lost overland flow and partially compensating for the reduction in groundwater seepage by redistributing, through a spreader system, available surface water entering the area from regional canals. The proposed redistribution of freshwater flow across a broad area is expected to help restore saltwater wetlands and nearshore bay habitat.
The Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Phase I Project was authorized under Section 7002 (5) (5) of the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014.
More information on the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands project is available at: www.saj.usace.army.mil/BBCW