Moving from THE PLAN to NEGRON CONTINUED (need to pull this into a timeline of restoration legislation under CERP Footdragging)
MOVED FROM NEGRON PLAN ON PLAN PAGE TO NEGRON CONTINUED
THE NEGRON PLAN
Florida’s then Senate President-elect Joe Negron announced on August 9, 2016, that he’d seek state lawmakers’ approval for a $2.4 billion plan to store water south of Lake Okeechobee.
The plan would require the acquisition of about 60,000 acres of land in an area mostly occupied by sugar growers and farmers. Conveyance and storage of massive amounts of water would be included, as well as the treatment of the polluted water before it is released, when needed, back into the Everglades.
Though we fought and were successful in getting Senate Bill 10 passed by the Senate, House and signed into law by the governor, the project was greatly reduced due to the lobbying efforts of Big Sugar.
The goal is to reduce Lake Okeechobee water outflows that have contributed to the growth of blue-green algae on Florida's east and west coasts.
"Our community has been plagued by tremendous environmental and economic impacts as hundreds of millions of gallons of water are released from Lake Okeechobee each year,” Negron said in a press release. “Permanent storage south of Lake Okeechobee is unquestionably needed as part of the overall plan to solve this catastrophic problem.”
Negron, a Republican, represents part of the Treasure Coast. The area has been plagued this year by blue-green algae -- a result of polluted water released from Lake Okeechobee and nearby waterways. Being able to store and filter the water in reservoirs south of the lake would dramatically limit flows to Florida's coasts and curb the algae problem, along with the devastation that comes from introducing freshwater (clean or dirty) into saltwater environments.
The plan that Senator Negron has laid out is a key component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) that’s been in place now for 16 years.
ADDING: The project originally envisioned by then-Florida Senate President Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican, in the run-up to the 2017 state legislative session called for buying as much as 60,000 in the Everglades Agricultural Area to build a shallow reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee as part of a $2.4 billion joint project by the state and federal governments.
By the time the project was approved by legislators and then-Gov. Rick Scott, no farmland could be taken by eminent domain and the State's only option to obtain enough land for the reservoir envisioned in CERP, meant that land could be purchased only from "willing sellers."
The result: The South Florida Water Management District designed a project including:
- A 10,100-acre reservoir that's 23 feet deep with 37-foot levees to hold about 78 billion gallons of water.
- A 6,550-acre stormwater treatment area to clean water from the reservoir before it heads south toward Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.
NEED to be UPDATED TO REFLECT CURRENT STATUS and FUNDING (DESANTIS PLAN) Florida and the federal government would split the costs of the land and the water storage facilities. Florida would cover its $1.2 billion bill with $100 million annual withdrawals from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund -- a fund voters approved in 2014 for the restoration and conservation of the Everglades.