CCA Florida commends Senator Joe Negron for taking the lead in addressing the harmful discharges into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. Making Florida's water a priority as incoming President of the Senate should provide legislators and others the jump start needed to move forward on real, workable solutions to problems that have existed far too long. With hard work, solving the dilemma of our waterways could become this legislature's legacy to the people of Florida. We look forward to learning details about the proposal to purchase land in the "Everglades Agricultural Area" and other projects to clean the water and send it south, providing much needed relief to our rivers, the Everglades and Florida Bay. Our residents, visitors, businesses and members support a broad comprehensive approach to this economic and environmental disaster.
Thank you Senator Negron for making this issue the priority for Florida's next legislative session
The Central Everglades Planning Project is an important component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). To review, CERP was authorized by Congress in 2000 by the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) as a plan to restore, preserve, and protect the south Florida ecosystem, among other things. By just about any measure, CERP is one of the most ambitious hydrologic restoration projects in U.S. history. Given the complexity involved, CERP's original timeline was in excess of 30 years, and its price tag was initially in excess of $10 billion. In reality, and sadly, CERP will take longer and cost more than its earlier estimates to fully implement.
CEPP's constituent parts involve storage, treatment, and conveyance of water just south of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) and in other areas further south toward Everglades National Park. Vital goals of CEPP include the reduction of undesirable water discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuary systems, the delivery of greater volumes of clean water to the Water Conservation Areas (WCA's) and to northern Everglades National Park, and the restoration of important habitat throughout the central Everglades system. It is estimated CEPP projects may be able to deliver in excess of 60% of the water volumes CERP aspires to ultimately convey southward.
The super blooms and brown tides in the Indian River Lagoon system between 2011 and 2016 and their attendant sea grass destruction, fish kills, and wildlife deaths have raised public awareness regarding water quality issues. The fact is that many people in state and local government as well as in academia have been worried about water column issues in the IRL and many of Florida’s other estuary systems for many years. The tragedy in the Indian River Lagoon merely brought nutrient loading to the fore as story after story appeared in our newspapers and on TV news.
Nutrient loads that enhance the growth of algae and phytoplankton come from a number of sources but the one source that we as citizens can quickly and directly have positive impact on is residential lawn and garden management. And it does not matter where you live in Florida. How you manage your yard effects a broad range of environments around you. If you live inland how you fertilize, mow, trim, and water your yard effects run off and ground water which eventually affects lakes, then springs, then rivers, then estuaries and coastal water systems. If you live along one of Florida’s coastal estuaries like the Indian River Lagoon or Tampa Bay your impact is far greater and more immediate because of your proximity to the water body itself.
CCA Florida continues to be horrified by the damage being done to our estuaries by the management of the water in Lake Okeechobee. Using our proven methods of advocacy and lobbying CCA will continue to work on behalf of recreational anglers to insure the long term health of our marine resources including clean water.
In addition to working on numerous fishery management and recreational fishing access issues, CCA Florida has also taken several action steps due to the damaging green algae bloom which originally appeared in Lake Okeechobee this year and has since found its way in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. CCA Florida has taken the following actions in the last couple of weeks on behalf of its members: