We need to clean the water, take out the fertilizer and build marshes that are designed to clean the water as it flows south."
— Tom Van Lent, Ph.D. Vice President, Everglades Foundation
How can we save the Everglades?
In 2000, Congress passed the 30-year Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) to restore, protect and preserve 18,000 square miles of land and water over 16 Florida counties. The Everglades Foundation worked with nearly two-dozen other private and public organizations to identify the essential goals in working towards fulfilling CERP’s promise. An agreement was reached with all stakeholders signing off, including sugar and agricultural interests.
At the heart of Everglades restoration is the main goal of reconnecting Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades so ample water can flow south again, get cleansed and released into the Everglades and down to its terminus, Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. The plans for Everglades restoration focus on improving and protecting water quality, quantity, timing, and direction; providing water storage needs and restoring the historic water flow from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades.
As called for in CERP, the Everglades needs an above-ground reservoir directly south of Lake Okeechobee located in the 500,000 acres of sugar cane fields that make up the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). This EAA reservoir is the most impactful project we can implement to significantly reduce the amount of fresh water that is discharged east and west.
Get to know the flow.
In the past, water flowed south to provide water to Florida’s Everglades and support its thriving ecosystem. Today, water from Lake Okeechobee is redirected to the east and west. Why? Because the water from Lake Okeechobee has been contaminated with agricultural fertilizers like nitrogen and phosphorus, making it far too polluted to send south to the Everglades. Instead, that polluted water is directed east and west, damaging coastal estuaries and causing things like toxic algae blooms.
Thankfully, there is a solution. Building a reservoir that will clean water and send it south will stop damaging discharges to coastal estuaries, rehydrate the Everglades, and provide clean drinking water for more than 8 million Floridians.