Science & Technology



Florida plans $850 million in Everglades restoration projects in next year

Anthony Man and Abigail Hasebroock, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Science & Technology News

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Florida officials and environmental advocates on Monday touted major progress toward Everglades restoration, which has been advanced by dozens of state-funded projects.

The state has pumped billions of dollars into the effort, as the gusher of tax money flowing into state government in recent years has helped fund a flow of money toward restoration work. And more is coming, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday at an appearance in West Palm Beach.

When he acts on the state budget, DeSantis said he would approve the Legislature’s appropriation of $1.5 billion for “really meaningful” Everglades restoration and water-quality improvements.

That includes about $850 million for Everglades restoration projects, including $614 million to support the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir.

Also included is $100 million for the second phase of the C-51 Reservoir, which will support the water needs of Palm Beach and Broward counties while also reducing freshwater discharges to the Lake Worth Lagoon.

“My view is that we as Floridians, as Americans, we want to utilize natural resources. We want to enjoy natural resources. It’s great that people take annual trips to come to Florida to fish or go boating or to enjoy our beaches,” DeSantis said. “I’m not somebody who thinks that we should all live with no electricity in some hut somewhere. … We don’t want to waste resources. We don’t want to rob future generations of that same enjoyment that we’re having.”


Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation — noting that the announcement came on Earth Day — said the Everglades restoration work is essential to the lives of people in the region and the future of the planet.

For centuries, water flowed from Lake Okeechobee south through the Everglades to Biscayne Bay, something that was disrupted by massive development. South Florida’s current water control system was originally designed to dry out land for cities and farms.

Now, when water — filled with nutrients from fertilizer and septic systems — is discharged from Lake Okeechobee toward the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean it has fueled algae blooms that at times have killed fish, fouled beaches and driven away tourists.

And without the natural flow, it impeded replenishment of the Biscayne aquifer, which Eikenberg said is the source of drinking water for millions of people in South Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.


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