A challenge for the New Year - 2022
Nothing is more vital to life and Florida’s economy than WATER. For too many decades, we have not treated water and our waterways with an eye for an abundant future.
A revolution of thinking must occur in our state, not with pitchforks, but with every lawmaker concerned about our water and our waterways. We’re going to do our part, of course, and we’ll show you how you can, too, with our simple New Year’s Resolution for the Everglades and Florida’s Waterways below.
A big year for the Everglades and the public - 2021
What a year! Projects came online and Lake Okeechobee is getting a brand new operations manual. For 20 years, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan languished through fits and starts. Despite all our efforts, and becoming the lhe law of the land in 2000, the state and federal partnership had not completed one CEPR project. That changed in 2021 with a splendid upward trajectory of critical action in expedited fashion.
An Everglades superhero
It’s tough to read about the state of affairs for our waterways and Everglades, and the debauchery of the sugar industry in Florida contributing to their demise, we know. For our own sanity, we go out of our way to find images and stories that inspire us AND things that make us LOL. We share an office favorite below. This one is extra special. Enjoy.
New Year's Resolution 2022
Resolve today to become more attuned to the water around you, wherever you are. Of course, we all have a favorite – the Everglades – but your own drinking water and backyard waterways and water bodies need you, too. Learn more about them, what they actually mean to you, your family, and your local economy. Chances are very good they are impaired and in need of smarter and stronger voices to advocate on their behalf. And as always, we’re here to help you if you need us!
THIS DARLING COUPLE HAS SOMETHING TO SAY
The Army Corps finalized new rules for the management of lake levels. What does that mean, you ask? It means big reductions of harmful discharges to both coasts of Florida and triple the amount of clean, freshwater making it past 800-square miles of thirsty sugarcane and into the Everglades in the winter months, when it is most needed. Will these new rules hurt Big Sugar, you ask? Nope. Oh, they still squealed like stuck pigs, but they will have all the water they need.
Now for the attaboys …
Expediting the most critical component of Everglades restoration – the EAA Reservoir and Treatment Project – the SFWMD’s construction of the 6,000-acre man-made filtration marsh began and DEP issued a permit to the Army Corps for the construction on the canal that will connect Lake O to the reservoir. This. Is. Big.
We celebrated the completion of the C-44 Reservoir and STA on 12,000 acres in western Martin County, it will capture Lake O releases and local agricultural runoff and provide water quality treatment to protect the St. Lucie River and estuary. This is historic.
The Old Tamiami Trail Road Removal project was completed six months ahead of schedule! What had served as a dam in the southern end of the system for more than 100 years has been bridged and the roadbed removed. Now, clean freshwater can naturally flow south into Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. Somewhere, George Barley is smiling.
A project that languished since the 90s finally saw the light of day. A timely decision was made by the Governing Board and the SFWMD commenced construction of the 8.5 Square Mile Area seepage wall. Without it, efforts to move that precious water where it belongs would continue to be limited. Another restoration game changer.
TWO OF THE FINEST WORDS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
First, several million Thank You’s (feels like the Oscars, only quicker) …
This year more than 3 million people paid attention to Everglades restoration and Big Sugar, creating over 10 million impressions, our most successful year yet. That’s huge! Through social media and the Everglades Review, you helped get more than 40,000 emails and tweets to state and federal politicians and agencies. You trusted our guidance and gave us your email address, and it’s paid off in spades for the Everglades.
From demanding fairness in managing water in Lake Okeechobee, to pleading with Commissioner of Agriculture to force Big Sugar to modernize their harvesting methods, which has a profoundly bad effect on the people in the Glades, the soil, air, and water, to reminding Congress and the Florida Legislature that Everglades restoration and clean water are essential to Florida’s future, the public never failed to impress us.
Keep in mind, some of this is not intuitive. Folks had to learn another round of alphabet soup – like LOSOM, Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual – and what each meant. To do that meant you had to become mildly expert on how to fix the system and how not to be fooled by Big Sugar and their henchmen fakesters. And oh, how you succeeded!
Tied-for-First, several enormous Thank You’s …
Partisanship aside, and there are certainly many others who helped, none of this would have been possible without Governor Ron DeSantis, Congressman Brian Mast, former Senate President Joe Negron, the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District and all their staff, two phenomenal Commanders of the Army Corps South Atlantic Division (Jax Division) – Brigadier General Jason Kelly and Colonel James Booth – and their staff. None. Of. This.
WHAT IS WILDERNESS WORTH?
Mac Stone’s TED Talk | Why saving the Everglades matters
These could very well be the best few minutes you’ve spent all year, it’s that good. Through his stunning photography and remarkable storytelling, Everglades Foundation board member and world-renowned conservation photographer Mac Stone delivers an inspiring, yet stark reminder of what Floridians stand to lose or to gain in the epic battle to save the Everglades.
“They say the Everglades is our greatest test. If we pass it, we get to keep the planet. I love that quote, because it’s a challenge, it’s a prod. Can we do it? Will we do it? We have to, we must. But the Everglades is not just a test. It’s also a gift, and ultimately, our responsibility.”
Watch Now on Youtube