Bonefish & Tarpon Trust was honored to participate in Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir, a project decades in the making and the “crown jewel” of planned Everglades restoration.
The EAA Reservoir, as outlined by Florida Senate Bill 10 in 2017, is an essential part of the plan to curb harmful discharges into our estuaries, which have been plagued in recent years by algal blooms and fish kills. Once completed, the reservoir will encompass 10,500 acres and, with other restoration projects already underway, will ultimately reduce discharge volume by 55 percent.
Equally important, the EAA Reservoir will restore the natural flow of much-needed fresh water south to the Everglades and Florida Bay, the heart of Florida’s multi-billion-dollar recreational fishery. The reservoir will send an annual average of 370,000 acre-feet of new, clean water south, revitalizing critical habitat for tarpon, redfish, snook, and a myriad of other species. The southerly flow will also serve to replenish the aquifer South Floridians rely on for drinking water.
As a founding member of the Now or Neverglades coalition, BTT fought hard for passage of Senate Bill 10 with calls to action, advocacy, and financial support of the coalition’s campaign and its Now or Neverglades Declaration. Although many other founding members weren’t present at the groundbreaking ceremony, we remembered their many contributions with gratitude. As Andy Mill often says, nobody wins alone, it takes a team! Counted among those who also helped secure Senate Bill 10 were Sandy Moret, Florida Keys Outfitters, the Everglades Trust, Bullsugar, Herman Lucerne Memorial Foundation, Florida Bay Forever, IGFA, Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association, Orvis and Patagonia. Along with the Everglades Foundation and Captains for Clean Water, we worked many hours and covered a lot of ground together.
BTT is grateful for the record funding proposed by Governor DeSantis for Everglades restoration and water quality and for the unwavering support of the Florida Legislature. We also thank our federal partners and the Florida Congressional Delegation for their ongoing efforts to fund and move these important projects forward. Finally, BTT thanks all of our members, supporters, and Now or Neverglades partners. The long-awaited construction of this landmark restoration project would not have been possible without your advocacy.