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USACE to Lower Water Level in Conservation Area That Feeds the Everglades and Miami-Dade County - available via license: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

Florida - Tuesday November 28, 2023: In order to address concerns about the water level in Water Conservation Area-3 (WCA-3A) , the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans to open certain structures to allow some of the water to drain off.

The WCA-3A makes up 786 square miles and is responsible for delivering water to both the Everglades and Miami-Dade County. It is the only Water Conservation Area that is not fully enclosed by levees.

This temporary deviation will allow the Corps to open structures S-343A, S-343B, S-12A and S-12B for an additional 90 days, not necessarily consecutively, until the water level in the WCA-3A falls below its regulation schedule, or until December 31, 2023, whichever occurs first.

Lowering the water level in this Conservation Area will give the Corps additional capacity to manage levels during the upcoming "potential El Niño" conditions in early 2024, which can bring more rain than normal during the winter and spring.

The decision to implement a temporary divination from the 2020 Combined Operational Plan (COP) follows a review of public input, said the Corps in a news release. An Environmental Assessment (EA) was conducted and there was a 'Finding of No Significant Impact' (FONSI) from this temporary deviation. Among those providing input were the Miccosukee Tribe, the South Florida Water Management District, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission all of whom asked the Corps to consider taking additional actions to lower water levels in WCA-3A.

The Corps has completed informal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure the temporary deviation can be implemented quickly to provide benefits to listed species in WCA-3A and minimize ecological impacts, while minimizing long-term effects to Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow habitat.

The COP is a comprehensive, integrated Water Control Plan (WCP) for the southern portion of the Central & Southern Florida (C&SF) Project – including Water Conservation Area 3A (WCA-3A), Everglades National Park (ENP), and the South Dade Conveyance System (SDCS).

The final WCA 3A documents have been posted and can be seen at: