The discharging of polluted water that began early this year from Lake Okeechobee into the surrounding estuaries is finally slowing. An unusually rainy dry season, in combination with the long delay in fully implementing the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (which includes purchasing land south of Lake Okeechobee), resulted in the Army Corps of Engineers discharging massive amounts of fresh water into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers in an effort to alleviate the strain on the Herbert Hoover Dike that surrounds the lake, a dike considered to be at high-risk of failure.
Despite the good news, it is not the time for complacency. The past year has seen catastrophic algae blooms, fish kills, the death of manatees, dolphins, and other mammals, and water that was at times too dangerous for humans to go anywhere near. It has negatively affected businesses across the state–from fishermen, to stores and restaurants and real estate companies–and has dramatically affected the quality of life for thousands. We cannot get back the lost dollars, dead fish and animals and we cannot undo the impact that has already been done to the environment. But we can take steps now to prevent this from happening in the future and stop the problem from becoming even worse.
What needs to happen?
Appropriate freshwater flows need to be restored!
- The plans to make this happen are in place - known as the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project or CERP - they just haven't been adequately funded or implemented as promised and need to be implemented immediately.
- The Central Everglades Planning Project needs to be fast-tracked.
- The state needs to purchase the land to create reservoirs to store and clean the freshwater. In 2014, 75% of Florida voters voted to buy the land through Amendment 1, so the money is available.
- The state needs to implement strategies to reduce the amount of nutrients in freshwater entering the estuaries.
- Natural freshwater flows (the timing, amount, locations) need to be restored.
- Land needs to be purchased to create filter marshes to filter nutrients from the freshwater entering estuaries.
- Once freshwater flows are addressed, habitat restoration must occur.
Take Action Today!
Contact your local, state, and federal elected representatives via the form below and tell them to fast-track CERP, purchase the land to create reservoirs to store and clean freshwater, and implement strategies to reduce nutrients and contaminants in the freshwater entering the estuaries. Stay tuned to btt.org, Facebook, and Instagram for updates.
PLEASE NOTE: In order for the message in the form below to be sent to the Florida representatives, you must be a resident of Florida. IF YOU ARE NOT, you can still contact one of the representatives via the links below.
Contact Governor Rick Scott
Contact Florida's U.S. Senators
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (FL) https://www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact-bill
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (FL) http://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-senator-rubio?p=Contact
Find and Contact Your U.S. Representatives:
Find and Contact Your State Senators and Representatives:
https://www.flsenate.gov/senators/find or http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx