The C-44 project provides myriad benefits to surrounding environments and communities.
The STA wetlands absorb excess nutrients contained in the water, including phosphorous and nitrogen, as well as pesticides, herbicides and other pollutants currently discharged into the estuaries. The project also controls the sudden release of freshwater peak flows, thereby building the resilience of the ecosystem to storms.
The function of the wetlands improves conditions for water birds and other wildlife, and the diverse saltwater marine life in the southern end of the Indian River Lagoon. The endangered Everglade Snail Kite, which had been severely threatened by the degradation of wetlands, disruption of water flow and high levels of copper in the soil and water has begun to make a prominent return — ecologists monitoring the impact of the project discovered more than 20 nests prior to its completion. These benefits should continue to grow as the ecological improvements mature and assimilate with the region.
Additionally, the economic value this project brings to the region, known as the Treasure Coast, is significant. The area is a popular destination for fishing, boating and outdoor enthusiasts. The algae bloom caused by increased nutrients in the water has critically impacts these activities. The improvements from the C-44 STA is expected to create a more desirable destination and a business boost for hotels, restaurants and real estate.