Tag Archives: C-43 Reservoir

Helicopter Ride Over the Caloosahatchee’s C-43 Reservoir

The recent Governing Board meeting  of the South Florida Water Management District was held on March 10, 2022, on beautiful Sanibel Island, in Lee County. Prior to the meeting, the board was given a tour of the C-43 Reservoir located in LaBelle, in Hendry County, which is on the way and where the giant reservoir is being constructed.

The C-43 Reservoir is also known as the “Caloosahatchee Reservoir,” as it will help manage water from the river’s basin and from Lake Okeechobee. The reservoir’s construction began in 2015; it will be over twice as large as the recently completed St Lucie Reservoir, or C-44 Reservoir, in Martin County. The Caloosahatchee is a much larger system!

For fun, let’s compare….

~The C-44 Reservoir covers 3000 acres; the C-43 Reservoir covers 10,500 acres

~The C-44 Reservoir stores 50,600 acre-feet of water; the C-43 Reservoir will hold 170,000 acre-feet of water

~The C-44 Reservoir is about 15 feet deep; the C-43’s depth will range from 15 to 25 feet

~Looking across the C-44 Reservoir is about three miles; the C-43 is is approximately six miles!

These reservoirs, along with the EAA Reservoir, once complete, will give greater flexibility to the Everglade’s system in many capacities and help offset damaging discharges and algae blooms from Lake Okeechobee.

Enough talk. Let’s go!

-Jared Ross of welcomes us-On the ground, we get a safety lesson and review a diagram of the project-Pre-helicopter driving tour, with John, SFWMD, our guide  

-Atop the dam-Workers at a giant culvert I had seen the C-43 before, at its major groundbreaking in 2019. It was exciting to see it almost three years later and note the progress that has been accomplished thus far. Today, I will share my photos and videos so you too can see. It is hard to grasp it all as it is so sprawling, but from the air you will get a good idea.

-With Jennifer Reynolds, Ecosystem Restoration SFMWD, and Jennifer Smith, Chief of Staff, SFWMD. My helicopter mates!-Time to fly-Following diagram below, going around the reservoir counter-clockwise, starting middle bottom above my thumb-Townsend Canal allows water to be delivered from Calosahatee to reservoir. Water supply to surrounding agricultural fields will be also met. 

 

-Perimeter Canal, further away and closer up -James our pilot-Back on the ground, a follow up. Wow, impressive! Let’s get it done! I will write more about the C-43 in the future, but today I just wanted you to have an opportunity to see it by air!

Breaking Ground ~Caloosahatchee River’s C-43 Reservoir

Construction site at the C-43 Reservoir, Hendry County, morning October 25, 2019

The sun’s first light rose over a gigantic crane that was displaying both the American and Florida flags. Gusts burst through the C-43 construction site as the earth slowly warmed, the giant banners flapping loudly in the wind. I smiled to myself thinking, “it really is a new day for the Caloosahatchee.”

Press Release SFWMD awards contract C-43 Reservoir: https://www.sfwmd.gov/news/sfwmds-governing-board-awards-contract-build-caloosahatchee-c-43-west-basin-storage-reservoir

Governor Ron DeSantis would be coming for the groundbreaking of the C-43 Reservoir…

SFWMD C-43 Reservoir (https://www.sfwmd.gov/sites/default/files/documents/lass_portfolio_westcoast_c43res.pdf)

~Confusing for those of us on the east coast, unlike the St Lucie, the Caloosahatchee sometimes needs water. The idea of the C-43 Reservoir is to both reduce the amount of water released from Lake Okeechobee that makes it to the estuary during the wet season and to store water to be released during dry season in order to help maintain an ideal salinity in the upper estuary. Right now, it is often the case that the Caloosahatchee has to “compete” with other interests for water.

With this in mind, on his second day in office, Governor DeSantis called for expediting the important long-awaited reservoir as well as adding a water quality component. People on the west coast are bold to say that DeSantis has done great things for the Caloosahatchee since day one.

Executive Order 19-12 calls for expediting the C-43 Reservoir and calls for a water quality component: (Sec. 1 E & F) https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/EO-19-12-.pdf

SFWMD C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir: http://www.hendryfla.net/SFWMD%20Hendry%20BOCC%20January%202019.pdf

Knowing  I would be traveling in lands unfamiliar, I drove a day early to the C-43 site with Sean Cooley, Communications Director, South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)  and his assisting, Mr. Carter. Thus I was able to tour before and during Governor DeSantis’ visit. It was rare opportunity to learn more about Florida’s west coast.

How would I describe the expericence?

“Emense!”

Let me explain…

Video of going driving up the 45 foot mound to view the site of the C-43 Caloosahatchee Reservoir, 10-25-19.  

Mr Flood points to the construction site outside of the footprint.

 

On Thursday, Mr Phil Flood -SFWMD West Coast Regional Representative – was the first to give me a tour. We drove a truck up a huge mound that was weighing down clay to be used in the reservoir’s surrounding dike. When we got to the top of the 45 foot hill, Mr Flood pointed in every direction: “See that tree line? See the horizon? See the edge of that old packing house? All this all will include the reservoir…”

The wind whipped by; I held my hair out of my face, eyes squinting. I thought about the once natural flow of water from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay. I though about how much things have changed in a hundred years.

“Just like my friend Mr Haddad told me,” I shouted across the way,” we spent a hundred years taking the water off the land and we’ll spend the next hundred years putting it back on…”

Mr Flood broke into his wonderful smile directing my eyes, again, to the horizon.

“The C-43 will be huge!  The lands consists of 10, 500 square acres of former orange groves, will have 19 miles of dam embankment, 15 miles of perimeter canal, 14 major water control structures, 3 pump stations, and 3 bridges.”

“And most important, it will help save the Caloosahatchee!” I replied. We drove back down the giant mound watching the excitement as all prepared for the Governor’s arrival.

Caloosahatchee River: (http://www.sccf.org/water-quality/caloosahatchee-condition-reports)

Footprint

These photos in this post are from both Thursday, October 24 and Friday, October 25, 2019. They were taken as SFWMD staff along with Lane Construction Corporation, a U.S. subsidiary of Salini Impregilo prepared for the groundbreaking ceremony. The was great fanfare! We all know it’s time to fix the water!

JTL with Sean Cooley, Comm. Dir. and Carter Comm. SFWMD. 10-24-19
C-43 location
Welcome!
The construction site was buzzing with energy and excitement
One of many mounds
View of C-43 site from the top of the 45 foot mound. Photo Phil Flood 10-24-19
Looking west 10-24-19
Looking east 10-24-19
Looking in north with construction site below. This area will is not in reservoir’s footprint10-24-19.
Executive Director Drew Bartlett speaks to Phil Flood and others. This shot is looking southerly 10-25-19.

It’s now October 25th, waiting for the Governor and First Lady to arrive!

People gather waiting for the Governor and First Lady
It’s almost time!
Get ready!
Is everything just right?!
Look Governor!
JTL, Shannon Estenoz, Ellin Goetz, Daniel Andrews

Governor DeSantis speaks!

Governor and First Lady DeSantis surrounded by guests

 

Office of Gov. DeSantis: https://www.flgov.com/2019/10/25/governor-ron-desantis-breaks-ground-on-embankments-and-canals-to-complete-caloosahatchee-c-43-west-basin-storage-reservoir/