Water Quality Issues

Water Quality Issues

Florida's coastal estuaries are impacted in varying degrees from human population growth and coastal development impacts which compromise estuarine water quality and fisheries sustainability.  The communities of Southwest Florida and the Caloosahatchee Estuary are routinely impacted by freshwater discharges from Lake Okeechobee and excessive stormwater runoff from the Caloosahatchee watershed.  The latest event occurred during the winter and spring of 2015/16, at the peak of Southwest Florida's tourism season.  A strong El Niño was the catalyst for record rainfall throughout south Florida which exceeded 400% of the historic average.  This resulted in the releasing of billions of gallons of freshwater to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries, in addition to increased runoff in the respective watersheds.  During the peak of the freshwater contributions, the Caloosahatchee estuary received a daily average flow exceeding 14,000 cubic feet per second at the Franklin Lock (S-79), which is located in Alva, Fl, approximately at the midpoint between Lake Okeechobee and Punta Rassa, or roughly 40 miles downstream from the Lake (Figures 1 & 2).

Read more: The Caloosahatchee Estuary

  • CCA Florida supports the funding and completion of all Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP) Foundation projects.
  • CCA Florida supports authorization and funding of projects involving water storage, treatment, and conveyance north, south, east, and west of Lake Okeechobee.
  • CCA Florida supports all Central Everglades Planning Process (CEPP) projects, with specific emphasis on the authorization and funding of construction of the former Talisman Sugar properties south of the Everglades Agricultural Area, additional bridging of Tamiami Trail, and curtain wall construction in South Miami-Dade County.
  • CCA Florida supports the passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 currently before Congress that includes CEPP funding.
  • CCA Florida supports continued funding and construction of the Indian River Lagoon South C-44 Reservoir Project.
  • CCA Florida supports authorization and funding of the Caloosahatchee C-43 Reservoir Project.
  • CCA Florida supports the C-111 projects in South Miami-Dade.
  • CCA Florida supports South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) efforts to increase water flows into Taylor Slough, which will provide benefits to Florida Bay.  This involves building connections to existing canals, building canal plugs, the reconstruction of a C-31 West canal levee, and other component projects.
  • CCA Florida continues to encourage and promote better communication between the SFWMD and officials and managers of Everglades National Park.
  • CCA Florida strongly encourages Everglades National Park officials to use existing structures to facilitate the flow of additional fresh water into Florida Bay.
  • CCA Florida actively supports septic tank eradication and sewer conversion throughout the state, and especially in areas bordering estuaries and watersheds.
  • CCA Florida continues to promote Best Management Practices for all commercial and residential property owners.
  • CCA Florida continues to promote the use of Amendment 1 funds for everglades restoration and other legally-mandated purposes.  CCA Florida actively supported the passage of Legacy Florida legislation.
  • CCA Florida continues to monitor and, to the extent possible, participate in local initiatives that can possibly help our estuaries, such as the Indian River Lagoon Summit, and Brevard County’s recent actions to fund various IRL restoration projects through a ten-year sales tax.

For more information, please contact CCA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
With refreshing bi-partisan support, the U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5303, the Water Resources Development Act of 2016.  The legislation includes important funding for the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), a series of important initiatives which will help bring relief to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuary systems and will facilitate movement of more clean water into Everglades National Park.  CEPP will also help improve Florida's water quality and provide additional flood protection.  The U.S. Senate had previously passed their version of the WRDA bill, so now the House and Senate will need to conference to work out differences between each rendition of the legislation.  The good news for Florida and for the estuaries is CEPP funding is already included in both bills.
 
CCA Florida has long supported CEPP funding, as well as other Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects.  Computer models estimate CEPP projects will deliver roughly 60% of the water all CERP projects ultimately strive to push southward from Lake Okeechobee.  Although CEPP will not provide all the relief the estuaries need, they still will play an important role in the broader set of strategic solutions for water management in South Florida.  Moreover, from a pragmatic standpoint, CEPP has long had the best chance for funding from both the state and federal governments.
 

Read more: CEPP Funding Passes Another Hurdle

A River Revival: The Halifax Oyster Festival from Presslaunch Pictures on Vimeo.

 
September 27, 2016


Senator Marco Rubio 
United States Senate
284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Re:  S. 2848
                            
Dear Senator Rubio,

On behalf of CCA Florida’s 16,000 members and CCA’s nationwide membership of over 125,000, I wanted to thank you for your leadership and proactive support of the Central Everglades Planning Project funding in the Water Resources Development Act of 2016.  We now look forward to the House of Representatives acting on this important legislation.

As you know, CEPP projects will eventually help provide relief to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuary systems, and will play a key role in the delivery of greater volumes of clean water to the Water Conservation Areas (WCA’s) and to northern Everglades National Park.   CEPP projects will also help restore important habitat throughout the central Everglades system. CCA Florida has long prioritized CEPP projects within the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan framework, especially since they involve land the State of Florida already owns.  We also continue to back the completion of all CERP Foundation projects and support other crucial CERP components, especially those which will provide further relief to our estuaries and Florida Bay.  We appreciate your on-going advocacy for authorization and funding for each of these elements of Everglades and estuary restoration.  

Read more: Letter from Paul Giordano to Senator Marco Rubio Regarding CEPP funding

September 26, 2016


Senator Bill Nelson 
United States Senate
716 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Re:  S. 2848

Dear Senator Nelson,

On behalf of CCA Florida’s 16,000 members and CCA’s nationwide membership of over 125,000, I wanted to thank you for your leadership and proactive support of the Central Everglades Planning Project funding in the Water Resources Development Act of 2016.  We now look forward to the House of Representatives acting on this important legislation.

Read more: Letter from Paul Giordano to Senator Bill Nelson Regarding CEPP funding

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