After 30 years of fighting for Everglades restoration, we're used to small wins.
Most of the time we see incremental progress, but not big wins.
This week, however, we're celebrating a giant leap forward. This time from our partner – the federal government.
Recently, we told you about the White House amending their original budget request for the Everglades in next year’s budget. The Trump Administration increased it to our original $200 million request. The House approved it. We’re waiting for the Senate to vote on it any day.
Now, we've got a commitment from US DOT for $60 million, the federal funding we need for the work to begin under Phase 3 of the Tamiami Trail bridge project. We've already seen three and a half miles of bridging completed, with the actual roadway removed. This final phase includes the last six and a half miles of road work and giant culverts that will allow water to flow under past the roadway into Everglades National Park and down to Florida Bay.
For the first time in decades, we're getting the level of federal funding that is necessary to move Everglades restoration forward. And that wasn't possible without the State's $40 million portion.
For that, we have Governor Ron DeSantis to thank. Without the vigilance and tireless efforts of the Governor and, especially Senate Appropriations Chair Senator Rob Bradley during this year’s legislative session, we would not have received the funding necessary to move this project forward, this year.
As with most things that are difficult, it takes a team of talented players who understand their roles to win. In this case, we've got President Trump, US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, the National Park Service, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rick Scott, Congressman Brian Mast and Congressman Francis Rooney to thank for working with the Administration to help get these funding requests across the finish line.
We've worked for decades to find the right combination of circumstances and players to realize Everglades restoration, against all odds and some very powerful special interests.
It's amazing to find the Everglades in a position of priority at the state and federal levels. It's been decades since we were able to say that. Much more to do, but we’ve got hope.
Stick with us!
The two most critical projects for Everglades restoration, getting enough clean freshwater down to Everglades National Park and ending the horrific discharges of polluted Lake O water to both coasts of Florida – the EAA Reservoir and the bridging of Tamiami Trail.
As Governor Ron DeSantis promised on January 8th, as he took the oath of office, “We will not let the footdraggers stand in our way.”
BIG WIN for the Everglades!
With Governor Ron DeSantis' budget request for $40 million and Senator Rob Bradley fulfilling it, and Congressman Brian Mast, Congressman Francis Rooney, Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Rick Scott getting the Administration to green light this money, Phase 2 of the bridging of Tamiami Trail is now fully funded.
Everglades restoration in a nutshell: “Restoring flow requires completing all elements of the Central Everglades Planning Project,” Congressman Francis Rooney wrote. “The EAA reservoir, the U.S. 41 bridging, and removal of the old roadbed- so flow will be increased and directed easterly across a wider segment of Everglades National Park.”
Though runoff from individual homeowners make up a fraction of the overall assault on our waterways, we all have a hand in the problem and solution. More than 90 communities in Florida and counting are course-correcting. It’s past time for the state’s largest polluters of state waterways to be held accountable.
Another algae hitting our shores. "This is 'natural' in the same way that fire is 'natural.’ But clearly, if you throw accelerant on a blaze the conflagration that results is not natural. It seems likely that climate change and nutrient pollution are probably fanning the flames of this particular conflagration."
Is Everglades Restoration science or politics? Well, it’s both – but mostly politics. This fantastic presentation from Shannon Estenoz, COO of the Everglades Foundation, will give you a greater understanding of the work that’s been done by so many, and the work ahead. Mostly, it will give you hope.
Captains is one of our greatest partners in the fight to save the Everglades. For decades we’ve had the science, but Everglades restoration was missing something. It was missing the voice of the people. It was missing heart and passion. It was missing Captains For Clean Water. Stand with them. Stand with us. Now Or Neverglades.