map of the Kissimmee watershed

The Kissimmee Basin encompasses more than two dozen lakes in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes (KCOL), their tributary streams and associated marshes, and the Kissimmee River and floodplain. The basin forms the headwaters of Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades; together they comprise the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades (KOE) system. In the 1960s, the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control (C&SF) Project modified the native KOE system extensively throughout South Florida, including construction of canals and water control structures to achieve flood control in the Upper and Lower Kissimmee basins.

Major initiatives in the Kissimmee Basin are the Kissimmee River Restoration Project which includes Construction Projects, the Kissimmee River Restoration Evaluation Program, the Kissimmee Basin Modeling and Operations Study and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Long-Term Management Plan. A number of activities are associated with these projects, including ecosystem restoration, evaluation of restoration efforts, aquatic plant management, land management, water quality improvement and water supply planning.

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Restoring the Kissimmee River

The Kissimmee River once meandered for 103 miles through central Florida. Its floodplain, reaching up to 3 miles wide, 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. more »

Construction Projects »
Kissimmee River Restoration Evaluation Program »
Kissimmee Basin Modeling and Operations Study »


Sustaining and Enhancing the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes

Historically, the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes and the Kissimmee River were an integrated system comprised of headwater lakes connected by broad shallow wetlands and creeks. The Chain of Lakes, like the river, was substantially altered by the construction of the Central and South Florida Flood Control Project. Today, water managers and scientists are working to enhance and protect these habitats for the environmental, recreational and economic benefits they provide. more »

Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Long-Term Management Plan »
Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area Hydrologic Restoration Project »

photo of people fishing in the Kissimmee River



Related Projects

Listed below are links to initiatives or projects directly and indirectly related to the three major components of Kissimmee Basin initiatives. The list also includes projects in the interconnected Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades ecosystem with associated benefits to this basin.

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