Governor Rick Scott Signs Senate Bill 10

Lake Okeechobee Restoration Plan  

By Kathy Panko, Environmental Issues Group

Governor Rick Scott Signs Senate Bill 10: Lake Okeechobee Restoration Plan

Governor Rick Scott and Senator Joe Negron at the signing of SB 10 in Palm Beach County by Lake Okeechobee.

On May 9th, Governor Rick Scott signed SB 10 into law and pledged $800 million in bonds toward Senate President Joe Negron’s signature project to restore Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades by building a reservoir south of the lake.  The project is designed to stop discharges of toxic algae into streams and estuaries to the east and west by storing 78 billion gallons of water in a smaller and deeper reservoir to the south, with treatment and ultimate discharge into the Everglades and Florida Bay.


Governor Scott’s ceremonial signing of the bill was held on Friday, May 12th in Clewiston.  Instead of the original proposal to take privately owned farmland, lawmakers created a revised plan to build the reservoir on only state-owned land.

Last summer, discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers caused massive algae blooms that posed health threats, environmental damage, and hurt the economies on both the east and west coasts.  The amended and approved version of Joe Negron’s SB 10 provides a solution for protecting the quality and quantity of our water.

Highlights of the bill are:

The bill establishes options for creating additional water storage south of Lake Okeechobee, including the:

  • EAA (Everglades Agricultural Area) Reservoir Project with the goal of providing a minimum of 240,000 acre-feet of water storage.
  • Accelerate plans for the C-51 Reservoir Project with the goal of providing 60,000 acre-feet of water storage.  C-51 is part of a larger ongoing Everglades project – the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) – aimed at cleaning water to be sent toward Florida Bay.

The bill also provides grants to establish training programs to agricultural workers whose jobs may be affected by the project.

The state will split the project cost with the federal government.  Congressman Brian Mast stated that he would help ensure the federal government matches Florida’s commitment to clean water.

SB 10 did not include Governor Scott’s call to invest $200 million in the aging Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee.  The US Army Corps of Engineers is currently in the process of reinforcing the dike to be completed by 2025. However Governor Scott wants to secure state dollars to speed up repairs.  The dike rehabilitation remains one of his top priorities.


US News & World Report            May 2, 2017                       

SPB                                      May 10, 2017

ECO-VOICE                                  May 5, 2017                       

WPTV                                 May 12, 2017                                      

Palm Beach Post                      May 3, 2017                       

Sunshine State News    May 13, 2017