Much like anything these days, progress towards restoring the Everglades takes a whole lot of money and time. In recent weeks, the State of Florida and the Federal Government made notable announcements relating to Everglades restoration. Governor DeSantis, on January 10th, 2023, announced a $3.5 billion investment over four years for Everglades restoration activities. On the federal side of things, December was a busy month for Congress, but there were major developments for South Florida and restoring the Everglades.
Florida’s substantial investment, Achieving Even More For Florida’s Environment.
- $3.5 billion over four years for Everglades restoration and the protection of water resources.
- Expedite Everglades restoration projects and ensure proper management of Lake Okeechobee to reduce harmful discharges and send water south.
- Elevates the priority of restoring Indian River Lagoon, with $100 million annual investments for water quality projects.
- Reduce nutrient pollution from stormwater and agriculture runoff.
“Clean and usable waterways are the backbone of Florida’s economy. Governor DeSantis recognized this issue from the beginning of his term and has continued to deliver on his commitments to prioritize the health of our water and environment,” said Capt. Daniel Andrews, Executive Director of Captains for Clean Water. “We applaud Governor DeSantis for continuing to invest record dollars into protecting our water and expediting critical Everglades restoration projects that benefit all Floridians.”
Federal Appropriations Developments–money and direction
- Nearly $450 million was appropriated to the US Army Corps of Engineers for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration work.
- However, one of the more notable inclusions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 was a provision directing the US Army Corps of Engineers to “design and construct the recently-authorized Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir as quickly as possible.”
- Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act earlier in December 2022, which also directs the Corps to expedite the construction of the EAA Reservoir as well as requires the Corps to provide an update on completion of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan projects, Lake Okeechobee, and the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration plan which are all critical to protecting Florida’s water resources.
“The fiscal year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill allocates record funding of $447 million for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, bolstering momentum to complete the world’s largest ecosystem restoration project,” said Erik Eikenberg, CEO of The Everglades Foundation. “This funding recognizes that America’s Everglades is a global model for both clean water and climate resilience. The Foundation is grateful to Congress and the Biden administration and we applaud the continued bipartisan nature of Everglades restoration.”
As anglers, we know the value of places like the Everglades and how connected marine ecosystems can be. Everglades restoration has certainly been a protracted effort and political fight at times, despite knowing the solutions. Thankfully, today, Everglades restoration has strong advocates on either end of the political spectrum and grass roots organizations keeping decision-makers’ feet to the fire. Let’s hope 2023 sees some tangible progress toward Everglades restoration and improving South Florida’s water quality issues for the long haul!
Follow the Water, an Orvis Production, Aims to Ramp up Everglades Restoration Awareness
Tampa Bay Waterkeeper Seeks to Raise Awareness Through The Waterman Fly Fishing Tournament