THE EVERGLADES

Everglades funding a win-win for Florida

 

eric@evergladesfoundation.org

Last week, the Everglades Foundation had the opportunity to present before two legislative committees in the Florida Senate and House of Representatives our recommendations and goals for the 2013 Legislative session.

We welcomed the opportunity to discuss the importance of America’s Everglades with lawmakers, who represent diverse communities across our state. A critical point raised with members of the Legislature is the fact the Everglades provides clean, reliable drinking water for 7 million Floridians — one in three Floridians rely on the Everglades for drinking water.

To maintain a clean Everglades water source, it is imperative that Gov. Rick Scott’s recommended 2013-2014 state budget include $32 million in funding for the new water quality plan, as well as an additional $28 million in funding for specific restoration projects that are in progress or shovel ready.

This potential $60 million in Everglades restoration will enable the state to continue its longstanding efforts to protect this critical ecosystem. Specifically, these needed resources will go toward restoration projects designed to fund construction of reservoirs and the expansion of stormwater treatment areas to store, move and clean polluted water, and ensure water flow from Lake Okeechobee, south into the Everglades and ultimately into Florida Bay.

With Gov. Scott’s support, along with the work of the Florida Legislature, we can create long-term engineering and construction jobs that put people to work, continue the important work of restoration, and ensure a healthy, vibrant Everglades for generations to come.

Some have questioned the large amount of dollars already invested. Can the state’s financial investment into Everglades restoration be quantified? In fact, the Everglades Foundation asked the same question.

A Mather Economics Group study in 2010 concluded that every $1 invested in restoring the Everglades produces a $4 rate of return. Industries, such as real estate, hunting, fishing and boating also experience tremendous benefits from a restored River of Grass. Truly a win-win for all involved.

In addition to supporting continued investment in Everglades restoration, the foundation will be casting a watchful eye on the Everglades Forever Act. The Everglades Forever Act has governed the technical operations of restoration for more than 20 years. We urge the Florida Legislature to use caution in opening up the current law for special interest purposes.

Strategic changes may be in order. But a re-write of specific sections of the law could cause difficulty in the long run. If legislators are looking for solutions to solve the decades-old problem of pollution impact in the Everglades, the Everglades Foundation is eager to assist.

Last year, Research Triangle International (RTI) released a report showing 76 percent of the pollution entering the Everglades is caused by agriculture, yet the industry is only paying 24 percent of the cleanup costs. This disparity needs remedy. Urging for more cleanup costs from those polluting is nothing new. In 1996, 68 percent of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment, stating that those primarily polluting should pay the primary cost of cleanup. Seventeen years later, the numbers — 76 to 24 — are astounding.

The Everglades Foundation is eager to work with the Scott administration, the Florida Legislature and others who are interested in continuing the progress Florida has made in protecting and rehabilitating America’s Everglades. We cannot ignore the opportunity before us.

Eric Eikenberg is chief executive office of the Everglades Foundation.

Read more Other Views stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
BAUMAN

    BOMBING SURVIVOR

    Jeff Bauman: All I want is a normal day

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancée, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.

  •  
REID

    FLORIDA

    More lax gun laws coming our way

    In December 1983, Middlesex County, N.J., discontinued a policy that allowed police officers to fire warning shots at fleeing or aggressive suspects. The county was the only one in the state of New Jersey, and one of the last in the country, to permit such firearm discharges, which are considered too potentially dangerous to third parties to allow law officers to use.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">REBELS</span>: Ivan Marquez, left, heads the FARC delegation to the peace talks with the Colombian government in Havana. Jesus Santrich of the FARC stands next to him.

    COLOMBIA

    Myths and realities about the Colombian peace process

    Some opponents of the peace process between the government of Colombia and insurgents have been circulating false versions about the talks underway in Havana and unbelievable myths about its actual scope. We will clarify the main legends right now.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category