A few weeks ago, the White House backed the EAA reservoir. We are grateful to everyone who made their voices heard. While funding is expected to be included as part of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, the request for funding still needs to be approved by the U.S. Senate.
Late last week, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would slow the discharges from Lake Okeechobee that have been causing the eruption of harmful blue-green algae in the surrounding waterways. Fish and animals have been dying, people are getting sick, and businesses like Florida Sportsman have had to temporarily close their offices for fear of the impact the algae is having on their employees’ health.
What is happening in Florida is tragic. We must continue to work urgently on solutions to this crisis that put the people and businesses of South Florida and our precious ecosystem first. The right choices in the 2018 elections will determine if implementation continues.
On behalf of the Now or Neverglades coalition, thank you for your continued action and support of our efforts.
Thanks again for your heartfelt support and growing awareness of Florida’s destructive water management policies. After our last report, we were flooded with inquiries on who to vote for in the upcoming elections to fix these problems! Now or Neverglades has always stated that implementation of the solutions is a political problem caused by individual legislators and administrative appointees, not political parties.
There have been leaders and obstructionists from both parties in the fight to create dynamic southern storage, filtration marshes, send clean water through the Everglades to Florida Bay and reduce the St Lucie and Caloosahatchee discharges. Three estuary disasters with one common solution.
The fall elections are critical to the future implementation of science-based solutions. Now or Neverglades’ Founding Members are reporting extensively on past actions and policies in this fight for the future of our water, economy and quality of life. I urge you to read what they are saying in hopes that this year’s election choices will become clear as our waters should be.
One other thing I would ask, is a simple request to help strengthen our coalition of like-minded organizations and individuals. Please forward this email to five of your friends, family or business associates today and ask them to join in support of Now or Neverglades.
We can and will make a difference in our future together.
The natural rainy season has arrived in Florida, creating high water levels in Lake Okeechobee. The US Army Corps of Engineers once again began releasing billions of gallons of water from the lake into the estuaries two weeks ago. Pictures soon emerged that were reminiscent of the discharges from 2016 – blue-green algae and brown water invading coastal areas. Harm occurs to the estuaries when flows are over 2,800 cubic feet per second – and as of Wednesday, flows were around 7,300 cubic feet per second. Congressman Brian Mast and others have called for the Army Corps to stop the discharges before they cause more harm.
While it is tragic to watch, we all need to take action. This November’s election will be critical in ensuring a clean water future for Florida, and electing candidates who share our vision is an important step forward. Our chosen elected officials must prioritize implementation of the reservoir south of Lake O that will address some of these problems, and must continue to strive for clean water and healthy ecosystems for Florida. The future of South Florida’s water is in our hands.
Last week, committees in both the House and Senate unanimously approved legislation that includes placeholder language for the Everglades reservoir once the required Army Corps of Engineers’ report on the project is received. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, approved “America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018” by a vote of 21 to 0. The legislation includes a section that authorizes a number of projects, specifically including placeholder language for the Everglades reservoir.
On the House side, Chairman Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania moved the 2018 Water Resources Development Act by voice vote. The House legislation likewise includes placeholder language for the reservoir. The reservoir project report is scheduled to be submitted to the White House by the end of May. If all goes as planned, Congress will receive the Army Corps’ physical report towards the end of June in time for floor consideration of the legislation in July. We will continue to keep you updated on this important progress.
The NoworNeverglades Coalition was founded in 2016 in support of over 200 Everglades scientists calling for more storage, treatment and conveyance of fresh water from Lake Okeechobee south to the Everglades. Our goal is and will always be to preserve and protect three nationally vital estuaries, Everglades National Park, Florida’s tourism economy and the water supply for 8 million people.
Thanks to your support and commitment, the EAA southern reservoir has moved forward. We now call on Congress to authorize and fully fund this project intended to provide the projected benefits of reducing Lake Okeechobee discharges and sending a yearly average of 120 billion gallons of additional clean water south from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay, when combined with other CERP projects.
We are mindful that the approved plan may require future modification in order to achieve critical benefits. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which has reviewed and approved the plan, has included in its final order a directive to the state to take “additional action” if necessary to ensure toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee are reduced and increased water flows to the Everglades, Florida Bay and the Florida Keys.
We will continue to do everything we possibly can on this and other initiatives until our water is fixed.