3d 500 (S.D.N.Y. Osceola, 53, has watched CERP struggle to unfold nearly half her life. Here we’re standing in, what? v. Dean, No. You want folks to be passionate about things, be demanding and say, ‘I need this now.' seq. That light may be shining from a new economic locomotive, suggests Drew Bartlett, executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, CERP’s lead Florida agency. WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Contact Us to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem. That’s not to say the federal-state Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is faltering, but it does illustrate the staggering challenge of such an undertaking. v. Palm Beach County, et. Everglades continue to provide shelter, not only for diverse wildlife but also for the sensitive yet integral wetlands ecosystem in which they live. From 1992's Restudy, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was born. v. Palm Beach County, et. It’s going to be a game-changer.". 02-80309 (S.D. © 2020 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. And that system will, once again, be short-changed in a public process which favors agricultural and development interests over wildlife and the natural environment.". Everglades restoration received $96 million of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Half a century after Audubon’s arrival, efforts to drain the Everglades to make them useful to settlers of European descent began in earnest. The natural plant and animal communities for which the Everglades are known developed under very low phosphorus conditions. She nods her head to the north. ), “Minimum Water Delivery Schedule” for Everglades National Park and modifications to the C-111 Project, The Florida Legislature Enacts The Water Resources Act of 1972 (Chapter 373, Florida Statutes), Congress Enacts the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. But they all differ on how it should be done. “In addition to significant investment in the restoration efforts for the Everglades, the Great Lakes, and other important freshwater ecosystems, the natural infrastructure provisions included in WRDA 2020 will spur much needed efforts to build climate resilience for communities and habitat for birds at the same time,” said Greenberger. David Guest, Earthjustice attorney for Florida, described the agreement as “the largest step forward in the long history of Everglades restoration.” § 373.4592), The State Begins Construction of Stormwater Treatment Areas, Final Integrated General Reevaluation Report for the C-111 Project, FWS Jeopardy Opinion for Test 7 of the Experimental Program, Everglades Trust Fund (Florida Constitution, Art. Twenty years after creation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, evidence is building that the ambitious effort will succeed. Fla. 1992) (“The Moreno Case”), Everglades National Park Protection and Expansion Act, The Florida Legislature Passes the Everglades Protection Act, Kissimmee River Restoration Project Begins, The United States and State of Florida Enter into “The Consent Decree”, The General Design Memorandum (GDM) for “Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park, Everglades Forever Act (Fla. Stat. “Is the wind sending it that way?” Osceola shakes her head. Well, lo and behold, the water moves, no matter how much pumping they do. … and they show you these pictures with these maps superimposed where they’re restoring natural water flow and people believe those big wide blue lines. al. There will be much more money spent. Schwartz also strenuously objects to the reservoir’s 37-foot-tall walls, tall as a three-story building, which he points out will be directly in the floodplain of the original flow path of the Everglades. For additional information, see our list of Everglades History Resources. “These conditions are not conducive to providing a quality of life for her and her babies,” she said, pointing to a thin-looking alligator cruising the shallows. What's a WRDA? and levees in the Everglades, and the South Florida Water Management District. At a cost of more than $10.5 billion and with a 35+ year time-line, this is the largest hydrologic restoration project ever undertaken … Ron DeSantis on Monday backed a controversial reservoir being built in the Everglades while announcing the state will use a pool … An independent scientific review panel warns that a mid-course evaluation is needed because unseen factors like sea level rise and climate change shift the goal posts set up in the original blueprint. ... Farm Restoration. EAA Without Delay. We’re all pulling on the oar.”. “We’ve been talking about all this for decades, but now somehow over the last several years, we’re actually seeing conclusions,” Valenstein said. “I think the progress we’re seeing fuels the expectation people have that progress can be made, so why is it not happening here?” Valenstein asked. Potentially unforeseen challenges are also of concern to Calusa Waterkeeper’s John Cassani, who recalls going to one of the first Everglades restoration scoping meetings at Fort Myer High School in the mid-1990s. The Restudy made clear that a grand-scale revision was needed – something that would help recover natural function – to the extent that was possible. To many Florida lawyers, litigation in the Everglades seems as old as the Everglades itself. Everybody agrees the Everglades must be restored. All of which means we the people are funding Everglades restoration, through property taxes and real estate transaction fees. Bartlett's figures might be understood this way: Each billion of the now-estimated $16 billion project price tag is $1,000 million, so the $700 million awarded last year is just over 4 percent of the total. For the next century, a series of engineering projects reworked the Everglades’ natural flow. “You don’t want someone to be patient. Everglades Restoration is a 30 year project. The Everglades is recognized both nationally and internationally as one of the world's most unique natural and cultural resources. 03-23427 (WMH)), Environmental Groups’ Intervention in the Moore Case 1, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Promulgates its Programmatic Regulations for CERP (33 C.F.R. al., Case No. We imagine the public still believes that is what Everglades Restoration is supposed to be about.”. Our History From its headwaters north of Lake Okeechobee to the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, the Florida Everglades is an integral part of our ecology, culture and economy. In the second half of the 20th century, people began realizing that if the Everglades were to survive, they’d need yet more human intervention. ), Congress Enacts the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 4D12-2373 (Aug. 7, 2013), The Fish & Wildlife Service Establishes the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area, Florida Wildlife Federation, et. “She’s going to get even skinnier.”, And when she challenges officials, “They say, ‘We hear you and we’ll take it into consideration’ … Or, ‘We received your letter and we made note of it. Everybody agrees the Everglades must be restored. The SFWMD is working hard to continue accelerating the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir. If there was ever a time in recent history … Fla. Dec. 11, 2006), Miccosukee Tribe v. United States of America, et al. Everglades Restoration Takes Three Big Steps Forward The Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir water reservation regulations, the completion of the S-333N water control structure, and the award of a contract for construction on the L-67A levee will improve water flow in the River of Grass. “It’s not that big, wide swath.”. v. Jackson, 853 F.Supp.2d 1138 (N.D. Fla. 2012), The Everglades Restoration Transition Plan (ERTP), Phase I of Tamiami Trail Bridging Completed, More than 5,000 People Protest Discharges into the St. Lucie Estuary, Voters Pass the Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative (Amendment 1), WRDA 2014 Congress Authorizes the Construction of Four CERP Projects, Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. EPA, 8 F. Supp. The park is popular with boating and canoeing enthusiasts; there are several marked canoe trails, including the 99-mile (159-km) Wilderness Waterway along the park’s western side. A HISTORY OF AMERICA'S EVERGLADES. Florida Bay's prized spiny lobsters and game fish began disappearing as its "gin-clear water turned a slimy pea green," Grunwald reports. Jan. 18, 2017). It called for 2,000 miles of levees and canals. Known as the Restudy, it showed the River of Grass was in deep trouble. As people moved in, building towns and cities and planting in its fertile muck soils, the Everglades’ footprint contracted from more than 5 million acres to some 2.5 million. Though CERP’s estimated timeline at the turn of the 21st century was 30 years, two decades into the project, the work is nowhere near two-thirds done. That’s one thing I’ve seen since coming on the governing board. Our construction team, our restoration team, they’re in overdrive. Fla. 2005), Florida Wildlife Federation, et. The CEO of the Everglades Foundation marks the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan with a call to action. “Their designs were supposed to alleviate the flooding issue. “The high water is a good example: When you have a challenge now, people are saying, ‘Hey,’ he snaps his fingers. They are the surviving remnants of the historical Everglades that once extended over an area approximately 40 miles wide by 100 miles long, from the south shore of Lake … The birds that had so astonished Audubon now are mostly gone. As this year began, the feds still lagged more than a billion behind Florida, but many stakeholders finally see gratifying momentum. Now, 40 miles of the river’s meanders are being restored. The birds weren’t the only astonishing part of the journey. “Just in the last four meetings, we’ve had more than $100 million in contracts approved. “That’s a pretty tall order from my perspective. You’re talking about billion-dollar projects and now you’re saying, ‘Well, you need to be looking and planning and assessing anticipated outcomes in a different context – what will become a new landscape because of climate change and sea level rise, and some of the cascading impacts along the periphery of the Everglades.”, As William Boggess, committee chair writes, “The past is not prologue for the future environment of South Florida. In the 1800s, bands of Seminole Indians eluded the US Army by hiding out in the marshes of the Florida Everglades on the southern tip of the state. “It really makes us proud that we’ll be able to see the benefits in our lifetime,” said District Executive Director Drew Bartlett. Stat. As a cadre of water management officials await an explosives blast to clear limestone for an EAA Reservoir canal, they discuss the recent surge of momentum. Fla. 2006)(Moore Case 1), Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and Amended Biological Opinion for IOP, Friends of the Everglades, Inc. et. He’s closely followed the project and the regularly required independent critiques by the National Research Council’s Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress published every two years. “ ‘I know you can get this done … I know you can do it at this speed now; let’s see it,’ which I think is the way it should be. 3d 1270 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011); United States Sugar Corp. v. 1000 Friends of Florida, et. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the FY2021 budget, which includes $250 million in funding for Everglades restoration: “This is a historic vote for Everglades restoration and stopping harmful discharges,” Rep. Mast said. Originally pegged at $8.2 billion, the price tag will likely double by completion, which is now projected to be some time in the 2060s. The South Florida Wildlands Association’s Executive Director, Matthew Schwartz, argues that the Everglades Agricultural Area reservoir, especially, was ill-conceived and won’t deliver the benefit other projects might have – except for farmers and future development. The officials promise the district’s not ignoring the tribe. TALLAHASSEE — Gov. So far, she’s not impressed. I think it’s politics …to keep those people dry.”. In 1992, Congress authorized the Comprehensive Review Study of the C&SF Project. “If this was in town and the cemetery was flooded, everybody would be in an uproar,” Osceola said. “Reader,” he later wrote, “if you have not been in such a place, you cannot easily conceive the torments we endured.”. “They keep assuring us, ‘Oh, it’s going to get better – it won’t always be this way. v. United States Army Corps of En’grs., 401 F.Supp.2d 1298 (S.D. Crews are busy building three huge reservoirs south, east and west of Lake Okeechobee, shoring up the dike that holds back its waters and raising the Tamiami Trail. Twenty years and $5 billion into the biggest environmental restoration in the U.S. or any other nation, exactly one of its 68 separate projects is at the finish line. ), Catskills Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2017 WL 192707 (2d Cir. Behind the Scenes of Our January 2021 … Among other things, it ditched the once-sinuous Kissimmee and dried out vast tracts of farmland. He found the Everglades’ sawgrass and mosquitoes superlative as well. al., 69 So. Many of those 68 components are well underway. Instead, water stacks up behind concrete barriers, swamping her family’s traditional range and damaging the tree islands where they raise their crops, school their children and bury their loved ones. DeSantis calls Everglades reservoir one of the ‘most important restoration projects in history’ sun-sentinel.com - Jim Turner. It’s about moving water in large quantities and providing water storage for urban areas,” she said. “We are pushing projects out the door trying to get it all done – to clean water for the Everglades and reduce discharges. 2d 1338 (S.D. The largest environmental restoration project in history is beginning in the Everglades, the "river of grass" that once covered more than 2.5 million acres of South Florida. Much of the water once destined for its wetlands instead went to coastal towns and cities, farm fields or “to tide” – into the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico, and all that human enterprise has polluted much of the water the Everglades does get. Cir. “If you bring someone out who’s never been here, they’ll look around and say, ‘Oh, it’s beautiful,’ but you’re saying, ‘No, no – it’s not supposed to be this way,” she said. Wildlife dwindled. 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