RESTORATION PROGRESS

There are numerous Everglades restoration projects in the works or under consideration for future development.  The projects are often effected by a multitude of political pressures and complicated actions. In the long run the native wildlife can be vulnerable. Below are related articles.

State adopts 10-year, $750 million plan to clean up Lake Okeechobee
Associated Press – CBS Miami, WPBF.com
December 28, 2014
Goal: Reduce phosphorus entering lake by 33 percent by 2025
NAPLES, Fla. —The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has adopted a 10-year, $750 million plan to help rid Lake Okeechobee of excess nutrients. 

The News-Press reports that Okeechobee has been plagued with nutrient pollution for decades, since developers connected the lake to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers as a way to lower the water table and drain South Florida.
Sources of excess nutrients include farming operations, urban developments, fertilizer from residential neighborhoods and human and animal waste, the former of which is dried and used as fertilizer.
Environmental groups like Audubon Florida and the Everglades Foundation lauded the plan.
The main goal is to reduce total phosphorus entering the lake by 33 percent by 2025.

Fishing with Bill 038.JPG


Florida’s top 10 environmental stories of 2014
SaintPetersBlog - by Bruce Ritchie
December 26, 2014
Whether candidates or elected officials want to acknowledge it’s true, the environment always is important in Florida. From a statewide perspective, here are my top 10 environmental stories from 2014:
Scott re-elected
Gov. Rick Scott was re-elected over former Gov. Charlie Crist despite cutting the budgets of water management districts, dismantling of the state planning agency and vetoing spending for land conservation early in his first term. Scott adopted a green persona for re-election by pledging funds for springs, parks, Everglades restoration and Indian River Lagoon.
Amendment 1 passes
An amendment to the state constitution that provides an estimated $19 billion during the next 20 years for water and land conservation was approved by 75 percent of voters statewide. Now some environmentalists are worried that legislators will use the broad amendment language to help pay for local water projects and sewer plant fixes rather than land-buying.
Springs bill dies
A group of five Senate committee chairmen crafted legislation that would have required advanced wastewater treatment near springs and adherence to agricultural best management practices on farms. SB 1576 passed the Senate 38-0 but died without a vote in the House.
Indian River Lagoon funding
The heavy rains and “brown tide” from Lake Okeechobee fouled Indian River Lagoon in 2013, but funding solutions had to wait until the 2014 legislative session. The Legislature provided $172 million for restoration projects in fiscal year 2014-15 along with $30 million the next two years for raising the Tamiami Trail highway to restore water flow.
US Supreme Court takes up water wars
The U. S. Supreme Court agreed in November to consider Florida’s request to divide water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system among Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The court appointed Maine lawyer Robert I. Lancaster to oversee the case, which could take several years to resolve while seafood workers worry about the future of Apalachicola Bay.
New leaders, new focus on water
New House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner say there will be a focus on water in the 2015 legislative session. But it’s not clear what problem they want to address much less how to achieve results.
Scott talks climate change, sort of
After having said earlier in his term that he wasn’t convinced that climate change is real, Scott tried to dismiss questions by telling reporters, “I’m not a scientist.” Scott later agreed to meet with climate scientists, but only after Crist had agreed to meet with them. Scott later said he was focused on solutions but environmentalists remain skeptical.
New leader at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. left as expected at the end of the governor’s first term and Jon Steverson of the Northwest Florida Water Management District replaced him. Steverson was at the district only 2 ½ years and previously was at DEP where he oversaw $700 million in budget cuts at Florida’s five water management districts.
Oil drilling and fracking
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said in April it was fining the Dan A. Hughes Co. $20,000 plus $5,000 costs for conducting a procedure that the Tampa Bay Times said is similar to hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. DEP also said it will seek legislative authority to request stiffer fines. In December, two Democratic senators filed a bill to ban fracking.
PSC and energy conservation
Environmentalists’ criticism of the Public Service Commission reached a peak in November as it approved scaling back conservation programs and eliminating solar rebate programs at major utilities. Legislation to revamp the PSC and repeal the law allowing utilities to charge in advance for future nuclear plants failed in 2014 but was filed again for the 2015 legislative session.

These articles were provided to us by our friends at the Everglades Hub.  For more restoration up-dates drop-by their website by clicking on the logo/link below.

                                            Professor Boya Volesky: The Everglades Hub