WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 20, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Representative Patrick E. Murphy (FL-18) joined Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy and other federal, state, and local officials to mark a major milestone in Everglades restoration efforts to benefit Treasure Coast waterways at a groundbreaking ceremony for the reservoir component of the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) project. With a storage capacity of 16 billion gallons, this 3,400-acre reservoir is the largest component of the C-44 Indian River Lagoon South project, which once completed will reduce harm to the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon by providing water storage and treatment areas.
“Continued progress to improve water quality throughout the entire system can only be achieved through collaboration across all agencies, levels of government, and the community. So while today’s groundbreaking of this vital reservoir is a major milestone, we also know that our work is not done in the fight to protect our waterways,” said Rep. Murphy. “Together, we will see the C-44 Indian River Lagoon South project and other vital Everglades restoration efforts come to completion, providing the relief our local waterways so desperately need after being inundated by toxic discharges for decades.”
“The Obama Administration has already invested $2.2 billion in the restoration of the Everglades and today marks yet another groundbreaking on a project that will restore the most biologically diverse estuarine system? in the United States,” said Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “We will save this system and preserve it for future generations.”
The St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon are vital to the Treasure Coast, and their health and well-being has been one of Congressman Murphy’s top priorities. As a native Floridian, he has focused on protecting our environment and the role it plays in our future, our economy, and our entire way of life. Since his first days in office, Congressman Murphy has been a vocal advocate for both long-term and short-term solutions to improve the health of local waterways, including the C-44 Indian River Lagoon South project.
Murphy C-44 Advocacy in the 114th Congress:
- Successfully advocated the Administration for full funding of $60 million for the Army Corps to continue construction on phase two of the C-44 Indian River Lagoon South project, which was included in the President’s fiscal year 2016.
- This followed Murphy’s successful advocacy of full funding for this critical project in the President’s fiscal year 2015 budget, which was also passed by the House of Representatives in the 113th Congress during the appropriations process with bipartisan support.
- With full C-44 funding included in the President’s budget, Murphy successfully advocated for full Everglades funding– including the full $60 million for C-44 – in the House Energy & Water Appropriations Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support.
- Additionally, Murphy offered an amendment to this bill that was passed by the House to increase the Army Corps’ environmental restoration funding by $1 million to help them keep vital projects to help the Indian River Lagoon, including the C-44 reservoir, moving forward.
- Advocating for full funding for the C-44 Indian River Lagoon South project, resulting in the Army Corps’ ability to continue moving forward on this vital work with the award of a major construction contract for the reservoir component of the project.
- For his leadership and dedication to protecting the Everglades in Congress, including advocacy on behalf of the Indian River Lagoon and the C-44 project to help local waterways, Murphy was recognized by the Everglades Coalition with their distinguished James D. Webb Public Service Award at their 2015 conference.
Murphy C-44 Advocacy in the 113th Congress:
- After successfully advocating for the President to prioritize in his budget the full funding request for FY15 to begin phase 2 of the C-44 Indian River Lagoon South project, Murphy successfully advocated for full Everglades funding, including this $38 million for C-44, in the House Energy & Water Appropriations Act that passed the House with bipartisan support.
- Called on the Senate to act to pass this funding measure, preserving this full funding amount for C-44.
- Advocating for the President to prioritize funding for the C-44 project which resulted in the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2015 including $66 million for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program, and $38 million to finish phase 1 of the C-44 Indian River Lagoon South project and begin phase 2.
- Requesting the President visit the area to witness the pollution firsthand.
- Hosting a historic bipartisan Congressional briefing on issues affecting the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, bringing national attention to the issue of toxic waters that have been plaguing the Treasure Coast with over 100 members of the community and over 20 Members of Congress participating.
- Meeting with top agency officials to get federal agencies more involved, including showing the head of the Army Corps issue firsthand.
- Bringing Congressional leaders to tour the damaged areas, bringing attention to the ongoing crisis.
- Supporting Army Corps funding to complete the C-44 reservoir project to help filter water flowing into the St. Lucie.
- For his advocacy on behalf of the Indian River Lagoon, St. Lucie Estuary, and Everglades restoration projects – including the C-44 Indian River Lagoon South project – Murphy was recognized as the2014 Champion of the Everglades by Audubon Florida as well as receiving Keep Martin Beautiful’ s Environmental Leadership Award in 2014.