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everglades restoration history

But as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine observed in 2018 in its latest congressionally mandated review of the progress, Florida’s climate is … “Reader,” he later wrote, “if you have not been in such a place, you cannot easily conceive the torments we endured.”. DeSantis calls Everglades reservoir one of the ‘most important restoration projects in history’ sun-sentinel.com - Jim Turner. “Nature wants the water to go one way, but certain people who are experts,” she said, the air quotes implicit in her tone of voice, “are very vocal about how they feel water historically always went to the east. “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. seq. "It will end once and for all the dream of a truly restored Everglades – the gentle but massive flow of clean fresh water from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay. “Something’s changed, no doubt. “All those millions of dollars spent on the seepage barrier, on the bridges, pumps, infrastructure they say is going to take care of (flooding) but it’s still happening,” she said. 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. 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. Everybody agrees the Everglades must be restored. “We are pushing projects out the door trying to get it all done – to clean water for the Everglades and reduce discharges. The goal: "restore, preserve, and protect the south Florida ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region, including water supply and flood protection.". Ever since, humans have been heaping their own superlatives on what are already superlative wetlands: the largest such freshwater system in the U.S. “The high water is a good example: When you have a challenge now, people are saying, ‘Hey,’ he snaps his fingers. Behind the Scenes of Our January 2021 … Its history can be traced back to the 1800s when Hamilton Disston and Henry Flagler were draining, dredging, and filling Florida’s land while fighting in the courts with shareholders, speculators, and state land administrators. “The Everglades is still not likely to receive anywhere near the clean fresh water it needs to restore a significantly degraded ecosystem. “ ‘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. The plan’s primary goal is to "get the water right"—that is, to deliver the right amount He found the Everglades’ sawgrass and mosquitoes superlative as well. Here we’re standing in, what? Fla. 2007) (Moore Case 2), WRDA 2007: Congress Authorizes the Indian River Lagoon-South (IRL-South), the Picayune Strand, and Site 1 Impoundment Projects, The Florida Legislature Creates the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program (NEEP), Natural Resources Defense Council et al. 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. Stat. “They keep assuring us, ‘Oh, it’s going to get better – it won’t always be this way. al. 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 … And what we once called the “River of Grass” will be permanently relegated to history books. §§ 1251, et. “If this was in town and the cemetery was flooded, everybody would be in an uproar,” Osceola said. There’s a disconnect in understanding. The most recent 242-page edition appeared in 2018. The part that really caught Cassani’s attention was the advice that “the agencies need to do a mid-course reassessment and plan for what the future is going to look like in the context of climate change and sea level rise,” Cassani said. “It feels like this is the fastest we’ve ever moved on Everglades restoration,” he said. ”. And then the EAA reservoir at light speed … from concept to now actually under construction. All of which means we the people are funding Everglades restoration, through property taxes and real estate transaction fees. “That’s a pretty tall order from my perspective. “It’s about the tree island itself that sustains life out here. 1567 (S.D. From my personal observations, Everglades restoration is not about restoring and healing the Everglades. It called for 2,000 miles of levees and canals. © 2020 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. 07-80444-CIV-MIDDLEBROOKS/JOHNSON)(EAA A-1 Reservoir Case), Governor Crist Strikes Deal with U.S. Sugar to Buy Land for Restoration, Sierra Club v. Van Antwerp, 526 F.3d 1353 (11th Cir. Stat. Fla. 2006), Miccosukee Tribe of Indians v. United States (Miccosukee III), 420 F. Supp. Problem Statement. And there’s no BS – it’s just, ‘Let’s get it done,’ and I think everyone who works there wants to get it done, so there’s this sense of energy and mission, These guys are focused,” he said. The sole completion to date hasn’t involved dynamite or huge property purchases – it’s a lab that raises bugs to devour invasive pest plants in Davie. WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. 2011), 1000 Friends of Florida, Inc. et. Florida Everglades Alligator. It’s going to be a game-changer.". For additional information, see our list of Everglades History Resources. As this year began, the feds still lagged more than a billion behind Florida, but many stakeholders finally see gratifying momentum. Contact Us to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem. A HISTORY OF AMERICA'S EVERGLADES. Florida’s Chief Resilience Officer, Valenstein heads the state's Department of Environmental Protection, which coordinates with the federal and state agencies implementing CERP. Everglades Law Center, Government Accountability: Defending the Public Records Act – ELC vs. SFWMD, Hamilton Disston Attempts to Drain the Everglades, State Establishes Everglades Drainage District, The State of Florida Constructs The St. Lucie Canal, “The Everglades: River of Grass” is Published, Central and Southern Florida Project for Flood Control and Other Purposes (“The C&SF Project”) is Authorized by Congress, Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Established, Construction of Water Conservation Areas Begins, The U.S. 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. Betty Osceola’s mounting discontent is healthy, say Valenstein and Chauncey Goss, who chairs the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District, Florida’s lead CERP agency. Our construction team, our restoration team, they’re in overdrive. When naturalist John James Audubon visited in 1831, the naturalist marveled at their numbers: “The flocks of birds that covered the shelly beaches, and those hovering overhead, so astonished us that we could for awhile scarcely believe our eyes.”. Invasive exotic pest plants like Australian pine, Brazilian pepper and melaleuca choked out native vegetation. The money comes as a 50-50 split from both Florida and federal coffers, though each project must be approved by Washington before funding is released. ... History. 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. Normally when there’s a high-water event, without man exacerbating the problem, deer and other animals would use these islands for refuge. The birds weren’t the only astonishing part of the journey. While this protected communities within its floodplain, it disrupted the natural cycle of floods and eliminated acres of wetlands. 2014), State Fails to Exercise Option to Purchase U.S. Sugar Lands, University of Florida Water Institute Completes Technical Review, The Florida Legislature Passes “Legacy Florida”, Congress Authorizes the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), Phase II of Tamiami Trail Bridging Completed, National Academies of Sciences Issues Report on Everglades Restoration, Water Resources Law of 2017 (“Senate Bill 10”), (§373.4598, Fla. It’s in our file.’”. In  comments about the project to the South Florida Water Management District, he wrote: “The EAA Reservoir may in fact deliver most of its benefits to EAA agricultural growers as well as expanding the public water supply available to the lower east coast developers (while helping to remove a major impediment to further development in Southeast Florida – a lack of fresh water),” Schwartz wrote. 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. Twenty years after creation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, evidence is building that the ambitious effort will succeed. 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. 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. v. Palm Beach County, et. The Everglades is recognized both nationally and internationally as one of the world's most unique natural and cultural resources. There will be much more money spent. al. The Everglades is recognized both nationally and internationally as one of the world's most unique natural and cultural resources. “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. “Throughout the whole process, the tribe kept telling them and telling them and telling them. Fla. 2005), Corps Begins Work Rehabilitating the Herbert Hoover Dike, Sierra Club v. Flowers, 423 F.Supp.2d 1273 (S.D. v. United States Army Corps of En’grs., 401 F.Supp.2d 1298 (S.D. “Finally, there is a massive amount of progress being made,” he said. Well, lo and behold, the water moves, no matter how much pumping they do. Cir. See how the water’s flowing here?” She motions at the dark current galloping past her airboat. Consider two recent developments. 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. “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. I’m like, no.” She shakes her head. I also think once you’ve had one success, it’s easier to have the next. Fla. 2005), Florida Wildlife Federation, et. In 1992, Congress authorized the Comprehensive Review Study of the C&SF Project. Sportsmen, politicians and the nation's fledgling environmental movement took note of the crisis and began pushing for fixes. Home to the alligator and the otter, the sea turtle and dolphin, the panther and manatee, while also serving as the drinking water supply for nearly 9 million south Floridians, the Everglades are a treasure that belongs to all Americans and to the world. al. 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. 2d 1338 (S.D. The natural plant and animal communities for which the Everglades are known developed under very low phosphorus conditions. Dist., 570 F.3d 1210 (11th Cir. We’re all pulling on the oar.”. “Their designs were supposed to alleviate the flooding issue. In order to keep the Everglades alive for the 30 years the restoration is going to take, the Tamiami Trail is the most important project to prioritize to stop irreversible damage in the heart of the Everglades. The history of the Everglades includes Spanish explorer Ponce de León’s quest for gold and slaves (and the fountain of youth) in 1513, the Seminole Wars in the mid-1800s, and President Harry S. Truman’s dedication of Everglades National Park in 1947. Stat. “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. Wildlife dwindled. ), The U.S. Department of the Interior Establishes Big Cypress National Preserve, United States v. South Florida Water Management District, 847 F. Supp. al., 75 So. “It’s not that big, wide swath.”. David Guest, Earthjustice attorney for Florida, described the agreement as “the largest step forward in the long history of Everglades restoration.” This plan aspires to increase freshwater storage, improve water quality, and re-establish the natural water flow through the greater Everglades ecosystem. “Just in the last four meetings, we’ve had more than $100 million in contracts approved. So far, she’s not impressed. 7), The Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (WRDA 1996), CERP Planning and the C-111 Project, Reinitiation of Consultation for the Mod-Waters Project and the Experimental Program, Jeopardy and Adverse Modification Biological Opinion for Mod-Waters, the Experimental Program and the C-111 Project, Water Managers Publish the Central and Southern Florida Comprehensive Review Study (“Restudy”), Florida Wildlife Federation, Inc. et. 1531, et. 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. In 1947, Everglades National Park had put 1.5 million acres into public trust; the following year, in response to chronic flooding in the Everglades and on the Mississippi, the Army Corps launched the Central and Southern Florida Project for Flood Control and Other Purposes, "the largest earthmoving effort since the Panama Canal," writes Michael Grunwald in "The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise." 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. 2009 ), Florida Voters Pass the “ River of Grass ” will be permanently relegated to History books,... Flooding, miles of levees and canals major vision of Everglades History Resources funding Everglades restoration is fastest! 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