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Video: Congressman Kayaks Kissimmee River Restoration With SFWMD 

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto sees success from the water

West Palm Beach, FL – With the decades-long project to restore the historic Kissimmee River nearing completion, the South Florida Water Management District highlighted this success story for a visiting U.S. Congressman.

“Taxpayers across this nation have invested about a billion dollars to restore the Kissimmee River because its health is so critical to the Everglades – a national treasure – and Florida’s economy,” said U.S. Rep. Darren Soto. “Every gator and wading bird I saw while kayaking down the river served as proof positive that this environmental restoration effort is a huge success.”

Soto represents the northern portion of the SFWMD, including the headwaters of the Everglades and the Kissimmee River.


The Kissimmee River once meandered for 103 miles through central Florida. Its 3-mile wide floodplain was inundated for long periods by heavy seasonal rains. Native wetland plants, wading birds and fish thrived there, but prolonged flooding in 1947 prompted a public outcry for federal assistance to reduce flood damage to property.

In 1948, the U.S. Congress authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct the Central and South Florida Project, which led to engineering changes to deepen, straighten and widen the waterway.

By 2020, the Kissimmee River Restoration Project will return flow to 44 miles of the river’s historic channel and restore about 40 square miles of river/floodplain ecosystem.

SFWMD Kissimmee River Website