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The Everglades' original plumbing worked just fine. But as the marshland was cleared away and its natural flow was redirected to accommodate exponential growth, its natural filtration capabilities were ruined. The South Florida Water Management District is undertaking a massive fast-track effort to reverse water pollution in the sub-tropical wilderness. Photo: Virginia McKain

The projects will add approximately 18,000 acres of treatment area to the existing STAs. When completed, they will provide half of the needed water storage for CERP and cleaner inflows to the Everglades. Acceler8 projects include:

C-44 reservoir/STA:Acomponent of the Indian River Lagoon-South restoration project. The 3400-acre aboveground reservoir will hold 50,600 acre-feet of water. Plus, a 6300-acre STA will capture and treat stormwater runoff before it enters bodies of water. New conveyance canals, embankments, and a pump station will help move water through the reservoir and STA.

C-43 west reservoir: Comprises a large portion of the total water storage requirement for the C-43 reservoir. The project consists of an aboveground reservoir with 170,000-acre-feet storage capacity.

Everglades Agricultural Area reservoir: A component of the larger Everglades Agricultural Area reservoir project. The project includes an aboveground reservoir with 190,000-acre-feet capacity. Phase II of the reservoir will nearly double its capacity.

Water preserve areas: A series of five project components located adjacent to Everglades Water Conservation Areas—construction of aboveground impoundments; a wetland buffer strip; pump stations; culverts, canals, and water control structures; and seepage control systems.

Picayune Strand restoration: Restores natural water flow across 85 square miles in western Collier County, which was drained in the early 1960s for residential development. The project includes three pump stations with spreader canals, 83 canal plugs, and 227 miles of road removal. Protection levees will be installed to protect adjacent private properties from flooding.

Biscayne Bay coastal wetlands:Phase I of a larger project to expand and restore wetlands in Miami-Dade county, enhancing the ecological health of Biscayne National Park. It includes design and construction of two essential flow-ways.

C-111 spreader canal: Phase I of a multipurpose project for ecosystem restoration of freshwater wetlands, tidal wet-lands, and near-shore habitat, as well as maintenance of flood protection and recreation opportunities. Located in Miami-Dade County, it includes adding a pump station, culverts, spreader canal, water control structures, and water quality enhancements. An existing canal and levee will be degraded to enhance sheetflow across the restored area.

The Acceler8 program will get projects in the ground years ahead of schedule, and provide a clean water supply to the nearly 2-million-acre Everglades environment. An added benefit is the program will also increase the amount of work available to the local workforce.

“We're going to create a lot of jobs with this,” says Smith.