everglades restoration

Trump Says He'll Push For $200 Million For Everglades Work

May 14, 2019

President Donald Trump says his administration will seek $200 million for federal work on watershed restoration in the Everglades this year. 

Frankel - AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Diaz-Balart - AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Lake Okeechobee may be a natural feature of the Florida landscape, but politics also come into play when it comes to it.

 

More than $1 billion of federal support has been spent to help restore the Everglades and fix the plumbing around the lake. That money, along with other money for the Army Corps of Engineers, starts flowing from the House Appropriations Committee.

Amy Green

Conservationist Ron Bergeron and Sanibel City Councilman Chauncey Goss are Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first appointments to the South Florida Water Management District.

The appointments come after the governor called for resignations earlier this month from the district’s entire governing board.

Ron “Alligator” Bergeron is an eighth-generation Floridian. He is a South Florida developer and former member of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Preparations are underway for a long-anticipated reservoir project meant to help restore the Everglades and prevent toxic blue-green algae outbreaks around Florida’s coasts.

The South Florida Water Management District has started surveying areas where it can expand canals that run south of Lake Okeechobee. The canals will help move lake water south to an Everglades reservoir.

USGS via Wikimedia Commons

Environmental groups and state water managers are sparring over land for an Everglades restoration project to help with Florida’s algae blooms, following a controversial vote last week by the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District.

TOM JAMES - WWW.PELICANMEDIA.TV

A South Florida environmental technology company has a plan to fight the state's blue-green algae problems with microscopic plastic beads. 

Green Water Solution is one of four finalists for the George Barley Water Prize, a $10 million award started by the Everglades Foundation to address toxic algae blooms through new technologies. The prize is intended to fund a technology that can be used around the globe to reduce phosphorus contamination in water.

Balthazira / Flickr Creative Commons

The Everglades Trust’s endorsement of Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is startling some environmentalists and political observers.

One of the Everglades Trust’s three board members opposed the endorsement in an interview with The Gainesville Sun. Jon Mills told the paper he will support Democrat Andrew Gillum.

Other environmental groups like the Sierra Club are endorsing Gillum.

Florida Conservation Voters calls Gillum, “the only candidate with the leadership skills and vision to protect Florida’s environment.”

Kate Stein / WLRN

A project intended to help address blue-green algae outbreaks took a major step forward Wednesday as the U.S. Senate passed a bill that includes a proposal for an Everglades water storage reservoir.

Senators approved the bill, which includes many other water-related projects nationwide, by a margin of 99-1.

Sam Turken / WLRN

Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis said on Wednesday he plans to protect the environment if elected, including restoring the Everglades and ending algae blooms near Lake Okeechobee.

But he refused to explicitly state whether he believes in climate change. 

The former U.S. Rep. toured the Everglades in Broward County on an airboat to learn more about efforts to improve water flow through the National Park.

Martin County Health Department

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency for seven counties experiencing blue-green algae blooms, including Palm Beach County.

The blooms are in large part due to water discharges from Lake Okeechobee. They can cause fish die-offs and respiratory irritation in humans. And it's not the first time the foul-smelling blooms have prompted an emergency declaration: in the summer of 2016, at the peak of the July tourist season, the blooms closed beaches and fishing businesses.

Smack in the middle of the Florida peninsula, Lake Okeechobee, one of the largest lakes in the U.S., has a nagging problem. Nearly every year now, large blooms of algae form in the lake.

On a recent visit, even Steve Davis, a senior ecologist with the Everglades Foundation, was surprised.

"Oh my gosh," he exclaimed, "look how thick this blue-green mat is right here."

USGS via Wikimedia Commons

A reservoir project that could help address water challenges in the Everglades is one step closer to being built.

Congressional committees on Thursday approved a bill that, if passed, would authorize construction of a $1.4 billion water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. The reservoir would help reduce water discharges from Lake Okeechobee that contribute to algae blooms on Florida’s coasts; it would also increase water flow south to Florida Bay.

Chris Alstrin via Instagram

Mac Stone Photography

Wood storks, roseate spoonbills, ibises and egrets are among the many birds that fly, paddle and wade through the Everglades.

They draw visitors, particularly photographers, to the ecosystem. But the Everglades' birds are important for another reason: The health of wading bird communities says a lot about progress on Everglades restoration.

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