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Cape Sable Plugs Restoration Phase II Environmental Assessment

Everglades National Park » Cape Sable Plugs Restoration Phase II Environmental Assessment » Document List

Cape Sable Plugs Restoration Phase II - - UPDATE August 2022

The National Park Service (NPS) continues working with the many partners engaged in the Raulerson canal project to advance the replacement of the failed plug. As of 2021, the NPS and our partners, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Ducks Unlimited, the National Audubon Society, the Everglades Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have raised over $5M to reconstruct a plug on Raulerson Canal.

With funding secured, the NPS has contracted an engineering firm to complete a design and the permitting necessary to construct a plug in the Raulerson Canal. A topographic, bathymetric, and benthic survey will be conducted by the contracted engineering firm and their subcontractors. The results of the studies will be used to develop a design and complete the state and federal permitting processes. The NPS has completed a Memorandum to File (MTF) File to document the impacts of performing these surveys in and around the Raulerson Canal in the Cape Sable area of Everglades National Park. The design for the plug and the permitting is expected to be completed in 2023.

Planning and compliance documents for the Cape Sable Plugs Restoration Phase II project are available in the Documents List at the left side of this page.

Background
Cape Sable is currently a 56,000-acre mosaic of brackish and saltwater wetlands located in the southwest corner of Everglades National Park. The cape is important habitat for wildlife, including wading birds, sport fish and endangered species such as the American Crocodile and the Smalltooth Sawfish and is located within the Marjory Stoneman Douglass Wilderness.

Prior to the construction of canals in the early 1900s, the interior of Cape Sable was isolated from the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Bay by a narrow marl ridge that ran along the length of the Cape. The ridge protected the interior fresh and brackish wetlands from saltwater intrusion. A total of 8 canals were dredged through this ridge, to expand agriculture and livestock grazing in the area. These 8 canals, including the Middle Cape, Raulerson, J, Homestead, Ingraham, East Cape, House Ditch, and Slagle Ditch allowed saltwater to intrude into the interior marshes and permitted the drainage of freshwater and sediments from the interior.

During the 1950s, the maintenance division at Everglades National Park installed earthen plugs in five of the canals including: the East Cape Canal, Homestead Canal, the Raulerson Canal, Slagle and House Ditch. Over time, the plugs at East Cape Canal and the Homestead Canal failed and were replaced repeatedly by the park between the 1950s and the early 2000s. In 2007, the Raulerson Canal Plug failed, was temporarily repaired, then failed again. The East Cape and Homestead Canal Plugs were replaced in 2010-2011. Repairs were made at the plugs on Slagle's and House Ditch in 2018.

To learn more about the importance of plugging the canals on Cape Sable, see: https://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/nature/cceffectscapesable.htm

Contact Information

Amy Renshaw
Cape Sable Plugs Phase II Project Manager
email: amy_renshaw@nps.gov
phone: 305-224-4264