By next summer a new berm should start being built between The Acreage and the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area.
The state-backed project would protect the semi-rural Acreage’s northwest edge from flooding should the fragile levy breach.
South Florida Water Management District recently selected an estimated $7.8 million plan to create a 5.6-mile berm west of Mecca Farms, along the MO Canal.
“I’m happy with the progress,” said Jennifer Hager, board president of Indian Trail Improvement District, which handles The Acreage’s roads and canals. “We’re making headway.”
The state has committed $4 million toward it, compared with the $8 million Gov. Rick Scott had proposed to fix or replace the berm.
Indian Trail plans to seek grants to help with the balance.
“I’m sure we might be able to apply for something,” said Jim Shallman, Indian Trail’s interim district manager.
Also, Palm Beach County leaders will likely ask state lawmakers to set aside more money for the project during next year’s legislative session, County Administrator Bob Weisman said.
Water managers plan to first start work on the most vulnerable part of the berm, about 3 miles toward the middle, said Jeff Kivett, the water district’s director of operations, engineering and construction.
That should take about a year. Work would continue from there based on financing.
Water mangers had initially considered half a dozen options to repair or replace the berm. They narrowed those to two.
One option would cost about $20 million and damage the least wetlands, about 5 acres. The other, which was selected, would affect about 17.
“I think they made the best choice with their options,” Hager said.
Conceptual design for the project is done. After preliminary design is completed in a few months, water managers will have a better sense for the cost — and are working to lower it, water district spokesman Gabe Margasak said.