The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is again dumping excess nutrient-polluted water from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, threatening the health of marine life in these coastal communities. Meanwhile, the Everglades, a unique ecosystem stretching from Orlando all the way to Florida Bay at the tip, is starving for clean water.
According to the Everglades Foundation, the solution is for the South Florida Water Management District to buy land previously occupied by sugar farms, where water can be stored, cleaned and then sent south to the Everglades. In 2010, the state of Florida made an agreement with the sugar industry to acquire land to clean up the industry’s pollution, protect drinking water, and clean up polluted waterways on both coasts.
Thanks to the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment 1, approved by 75 percent of voters in 2014, there are available funds dedicated to acquiring, restoring and managing conservation lands, including lands protecting water resources and drinking water.
Floridians can tell Governor Rick Scott now to urge the South Florida Water Management District to buy 46,800 acres of U.S. Sugar’s land south of Lake Okeechobee before the state’s option expires in October 2016.
To sign the Act Now petition, visit Act.ProgressFlorida.org/sign/everglades.