They are the surviving remnants of the historical Everglades that once extended over an area approximately 40 miles wide by 100 miles long, from the south shore of Lake … Fla. 1992) (“The Moreno Case”), Everglades National Park Protection and Expansion Act, The Florida Legislature Passes the Everglades Protection Act, Kissimmee River Restoration Project Begins, The United States and State of Florida Enter into “The Consent Decree”, The General Design Memorandum (GDM) for “Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park, Everglades Forever Act (Fla. Stat. Environmental restoration (is) becoming an economic engine.”. The birds weren’t the only astonishing part of the journey. To many Florida lawyers, litigation in the Everglades seems as old as the Everglades itself. Crews are busy building three huge reservoirs south, east and west of Lake Okeechobee, shoring up the dike that holds back its waters and raising the Tamiami Trail. ... History. Miccosukee Indians object to their sacred sites on tree islands covered with floodwater they say could be managed differently. But as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine observed in 2018 in its latest congressionally mandated review of the progress, Florida’s climate is … al., 75 So. For additional information, see our list of Everglades History Resources. Fla. 2006)(Moore Case 1), Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and Amended Biological Opinion for IOP, Friends of the Everglades, Inc. et. Contact Us to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem. Everglades National Park and the WCAs were designated as Outstanding Florida Waters in 1978. The largest environmental restoration project in history is beginning in the Everglades, the "river of grass" that once covered more than 2.5 million acres of South Florida. Fla. 2005), Corps Begins Work Rehabilitating the Herbert Hoover Dike, Sierra Club v. Flowers, 423 F.Supp.2d 1273 (S.D. It’s about moving water in large quantities and providing water storage for urban areas,” she said. As this year began, the feds still lagged more than a billion behind Florida, but many stakeholders finally see gratifying momentum. 2d 1338 (S.D. A component of the state-federal Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), the project will send clean water south to the parched Southern Everglades and Florida Bay while reducing damaging discharge events from Lake Okeechobee to the east and west coasts. The CEO of the Everglades Foundation marks the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan with a call to action. Florida’s Chief Resilience Officer, Valenstein heads the state's Department of Environmental Protection, which coordinates with the federal and state agencies implementing CERP. 3d 1123 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011); 1000 Friends of Florida, Inc. et. ), The U.S. Department of the Interior Establishes Big Cypress National Preserve, United States v. South Florida Water Management District, 847 F. Supp. Fla. 2005), Florida Wildlife Federation, et. “Some of these tree islands out here have burial remains of Miccosukees and Seminoles and so when they’re inundated with water, the tribes’ ancestral burial mounds are all submerged … After Irma, where they had intense flooding and caskets started floating and everybody was appalled. 2d 1317 (S.D. “You see C-43 ripping along. Everybody agrees the Everglades must be restored. Ron DeSantis reaffirmed his support for the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee that will prevent damaging discharges to coastal estuaries and store water that the Everglades needs. “ ‘I know you can get this done … I know you can do it at this speed now; let’s see it,’ which I think is the way it should be. ), Congress Enacts the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. © 2020 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. v. Jackson, 853 F.Supp.2d 1138 (N.D. Fla. 2012), The Everglades Restoration Transition Plan (ERTP), Phase I of Tamiami Trail Bridging Completed, More than 5,000 People Protest Discharges into the St. Lucie Estuary, Voters Pass the Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative (Amendment 1), WRDA 2014 Congress Authorizes the Construction of Four CERP Projects, Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. EPA, 8 F. Supp. From 1992's Restudy, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was born. This function involves close coordination with the lead agencies Aiming to salvage 1.5 million acres of a World Heritage Site that also provides drinking water to 8 million people, it was signed into law by outgoing President Bill Clinton after Congressional authorization in 2000. Part 385), Miccosukee Tribe of Indians v. United States; Friends of the Everglades v. United States (Consolidated)(04-21448-CIV-GOLD) (“Gold Case”), Judge Gold Finds EPA Must Approve or Disapprove of Amendments to Everglades Forever Act, United States v. South Florida Water Management District, 373 F. Supp. v. Palm Beach County, et. “Their designs were supposed to alleviate the flooding issue. 2d 1324, 1345 (S.D. v. Dean, No. al., Case No. “It’s about the tree island itself that sustains life out here. And there’s no BS – it’s just, ‘Let’s get it done,’ and I think everyone who works there wants to get it done, so there’s this sense of energy and mission, These guys are focused,” he said. The birds that had so astonished Audubon now are mostly gone. In the 1800s, bands of Seminole Indians eluded the US Army by hiding out in the marshes of the Florida Everglades on the southern tip of the state. al. ... Farm Restoration. Though the Everglades is often referred to as a swamp, it encompasses many different environments: prairies, hardwood hammocks, marshes, scrubby woods and deep lakes. The Office of Ecosystem Projects is the lead office responsible for implementation of the Department of Environmental Protections responsibilities under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), pursuant to Chapter 373.026(8)(b) of the Florida Water Resources Act, Florida Statutes (F.S.). That’s one thing I’ve seen since coming on the governing board. The park is popular with boating and canoeing enthusiasts; there are several marked canoe trails, including the 99-mile (159-km) Wilderness Waterway along the park’s western side. Stat. By 2009, Florida had outspent the feds by a 6-to-1 ratio. WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Image Courtesy of EvergladesPlan.org. For years, a major vision of Everglades restoration was the reconnection of the natural hydrological flow between Lake Okeechobee and Florida Bay. But people can’t equate that to what happens out here. As a cadre of water management officials await an explosives blast to clear limestone for an EAA Reservoir canal, they discuss the recent surge of momentum. It’s getting more frequent (and) the water is taking apart the structures. ), “Minimum Water Delivery Schedule” for Everglades National Park and modifications to the C-111 Project, The Florida Legislature Enacts The Water Resources Act of 1972 (Chapter 373, Florida Statutes), Congress Enacts the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. “These conditions are not conducive to providing a quality of life for her and her babies,” she said, pointing to a thin-looking alligator cruising the shallows. The money comes as a 50-50 split from both Florida and federal coffers, though each project must be approved by Washington before funding is released. An independent scientific review panel warns that a mid-course evaluation is needed because unseen factors like sea level rise and climate change shift the goal posts set up in the original blueprint. (Case No. v. Palm Beach County, et. Shovels hit dirt on the first contract for the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) South, which calls for the construction of culverts and a gap […] With Lake O's southern overflow halted, the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers were permanently attached to its sides as drainage pipes. “Reader,” he later wrote, “if you have not been in such a place, you cannot easily conceive the torments we endured.”. ), Florida Legislature Enacts the Lake Okeechobee Protection Act (373.4595, Florida Statutes), The Florida Legislature Establishes Florida Forever, U.S. Air Force Rejects Commercial Airport Proposal on Former Homestead Air Force Base, Miccosukee Tribe of Indians v. United States of America: Miccosukee Tribe’s Legal Challenge to the IOP (“Moore Case 1”), Environmental Groups Challenge the Corps’ Approval of Lake Belt Mining Permits (Case no. She nods her head to the north. Everglades continue to provide shelter, not only for diverse wildlife but also for the sensitive yet integral wetlands ecosystem in which they live. “The governor made it a priority.” Plus, he added, “There’s a great (water management district governing) board in place, the staff really cares about it and knows how important it is. Fla. 2006), Miccosukee Tribe of Indians v. United States (Miccosukee III), 420 F. Supp. Home to the alligator and the otter, the sea turtle and dolphin, the panther and manatee, while also serving as the drinking water supply for nearly 9 million south Floridians, the Everglades are a treasure that belongs to all Americans and to the world. This week, Gov. II, Sec. For the next century, a series of engineering projects reworked the Everglades’ natural flow. Consider two recent developments. seq. The western portion of Everglades National Park is mangrove forest. “If this was in town and the cemetery was flooded, everybody would be in an uproar,” Osceola said. The focus of restoration is the Everglades freshwater marsh. Fla. Dec. 11, 2006), Miccosukee Tribe v. United States of America, et al. “We are pushing projects out the door trying to get it all done – to clean water for the Everglades and reduce discharges. When Everglades restoration was drafted, the plan was based on historical ecological trends in the river of grass. 1531, et. Its wild places were filled with plant and animal life, including some species found nowhere else: orchids, Everglades mink, panthers, alligators, crocodiles, gar and sky-darkening clouds of birds. The South Florida Wildlands Association’s Executive Director, Matthew Schwartz, argues that the Everglades Agricultural Area reservoir, especially, was ill-conceived and won’t deliver the benefit other projects might have – except for farmers and future development. Jan. 18, 2017). But within the next few decades, the ecologically disastrous consequences of man's heavy hand became plain. In 1947, Everglades National Park had put 1.5 million acres into public trust; the following year, in response to chronic flooding in the Everglades and on the Mississippi, the Army Corps launched the Central and Southern Florida Project for Flood Control and Other Purposes, "the largest earthmoving effort since the Panama Canal," writes Michael Grunwald in "The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise." … and they show you these pictures with these maps superimposed where they’re restoring natural water flow and people believe those big wide blue lines. The natural plant and animal communities for which the Everglades are known developed under very low phosphorus conditions. ", "I’m hoping it becomes the new normal. That light may be shining from a new economic locomotive, suggests Drew Bartlett, executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, CERP’s lead Florida agency. Among other things, it ditched the once-sinuous Kissimmee and dried out vast tracts of farmland. He’s closely followed the project and the regularly required independent critiques by the National Research Council’s Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress published every two years. Starting in central Florida’s Kissimmee basin, water flowed south to Lake Okeechobee, the state’s largest lake. What's a WRDA? 03-23427 (WMH)), Environmental Groups’ Intervention in the Moore Case 1, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Promulgates its Programmatic Regulations for CERP (33 C.F.R. 2008), The SFWMD Completes the River of Grass Planning Process, Corps Finalizes the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), The State of Florida and U.S. Sugar Modify Contract for Land Purchase, EPA Issues Determination on Everglades Water Quality Standards, Lake Belt Permits Again Rejected by Federal Court, Friends of the Everglades v. S. Fla. Water Mgmt. Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, the Picayune Strand in eastern Collier County, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. v. United States Army Corps of En’grs., 401 F.Supp.2d 1298 (S.D. Beginning in the 1950s and 60s, development in South Florida began to swallow the Everglades. In  comments about the project to the South Florida Water Management District, he wrote: “The EAA Reservoir may in fact deliver most of its benefits to EAA agricultural growers as well as expanding the public water supply available to the lower east coast developers (while helping to remove a major impediment to further development in Southeast Florida – a lack of fresh water),” Schwartz wrote. Everglades National Park’s several visitor centres have natural history exhibits. X., Sec. Our construction team, our restoration team, they’re in overdrive. § 373.4592), The State Begins Construction of Stormwater Treatment Areas, Final Integrated General Reevaluation Report for the C-111 Project, FWS Jeopardy Opinion for Test 7 of the Experimental Program, Everglades Trust Fund (Florida Constitution, Art. “Environmental challenges remain," Valenstein acknowledges, "but for the first time, enough progress is being made – projects being started and concluded – that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”. Fire Tornado Filmed in Hawaii. seq. Cost estimates were similarly off the mark. “Nature wants the water to go one way, but certain people who are experts,” she said, the air quotes implicit in her tone of voice, “are very vocal about how they feel water historically always went to the east. And what we once called the “River of Grass” will be permanently relegated to history books. al., 69 So. All of which means we the people are funding Everglades restoration, through property taxes and real estate transaction fees. Yet questions and conflict about CERP remain. It’s going to be a game-changer.". While this protected communities within its floodplain, it disrupted the natural cycle of floods and eliminated acres of wetlands. “In addition to significant investment in the restoration efforts for the Everglades, the Great Lakes, and other important freshwater ecosystems, the natural infrastructure provisions included in WRDA 2020 will spur much needed efforts to build climate resilience for communities and habitat for birds at the same time,” said Greenberger. , 528 F. Supp. §§ 4321, et. 3d 500 (S.D.N.Y. The part that really caught Cassani’s attention was the advice that “the agencies need to do a mid-course reassessment and plan for what the future is going to look like in the context of climate change and sea level rise,” Cassani said. 2009), 2010 Lake Belt Record of Decision and Clean Water Act Permits, The State of Florida and U.S. Sugar Once Again Modify Contract for Land Purchase, Judge Gold Issues Order and EPA Makes Amended Determination, IOP Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow Incidental Take Trigger Again Rejected, Court Approves Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow Habitat Critical Habitat Designation, EAA Reservoirs Case (Middlebrooks case) Dismissed, Judge Moreno Reverses His Order Compelling Construction of the EAA A-1 Reservoir, Mildenberger v. United States, 643 F.3d 938 (Fed. 1881 Normally when there’s a high-water event, without man exacerbating the problem, deer and other animals would use these islands for refuge. Tropical Storm Eta and late-season rains have flooded the sawgrass prairies and tree islands off the Tamiami Trail, and the dock of Buffalo Tiger Airboat Tours, which she co-owns, is under water. The plan’s primary goal is to "get the water right"—that is, to deliver the right amount ), The Interior Department and State of Florida Finalize Deal to Purchase Talisman Property, Congress Enacts the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 and Authorizes the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), The Florida Legislature Creates the Save Our Everglades Trust Fund (373.472, Fla. al. A HISTORY OF AMERICA'S EVERGLADES. Twenty years after creation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, evidence is building that the ambitious effort will succeed. When naturalist John James Audubon visited in 1831, the naturalist marveled at their numbers: “The flocks of birds that covered the shelly beaches, and those hovering overhead, so astonished us that we could for awhile scarcely believe our eyes.”. “It’s not that big, wide swath.”. Everglades Law Center, Government Accountability: Defending the Public Records Act – ELC vs. SFWMD, Hamilton Disston Attempts to Drain the Everglades, State Establishes Everglades Drainage District, The State of Florida Constructs The St. Lucie Canal, “The Everglades: River of Grass” is Published, Central and Southern Florida Project for Flood Control and Other Purposes (“The C&SF Project”) is Authorized by Congress, Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Established, Construction of Water Conservation Areas Begins, The U.S. al. A project designed to improve water flows south to Everglades National Park is underway following a groundbreaking ceremony among federal and state officials on Oct. 21 in western Miami-Dade County. Florida Everglades Alligator. Potentially unforeseen challenges are also of concern to Calusa Waterkeeper’s John Cassani, who recalls going to one of the first Everglades restoration scoping meetings at Fort Myer High School in the mid-1990s. Schwartz also strenuously objects to the reservoir’s 37-foot-tall walls, tall as a three-story building, which he points out will be directly in the floodplain of the original flow path of the Everglades. Half a century after Audubon’s arrival, efforts to drain the Everglades to make them useful to settlers of European descent began in earnest. 02-80309 (S.D. Ron DeSantis on Monday backed a controversial reservoir being built in the Everglades while announcing the state will use a pool … Problem Statement. “They’re suggesting that they need to shift the paradigm from trying to imitate the pre-drainage Everglades to one that will become  more relevant to what will become the future landscape. And that system will, once again, be short-changed in a public process which favors agricultural and development interests over wildlife and the natural environment.". 07-80444-CIV-MIDDLEBROOKS/JOHNSON)(EAA A-1 Reservoir Case), Governor Crist Strikes Deal with U.S. Sugar to Buy Land for Restoration, Sierra Club v. Van Antwerp, 526 F.3d 1353 (11th Cir. “You don’t want someone to be patient. The CERP was authorized by Congress in 2000 as a plan to "restore, preserve, and protect the south Florida ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region, including water supply and flood protection." I also think once you’ve had one success, it’s easier to have the next. EAA Without Delay. v. Browner (N.D. Fla. 1999), Florida Watershed Protection Act (§403.067, Fla. 7), The Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (WRDA 1996), CERP Planning and the C-111 Project, Reinitiation of Consultation for the Mod-Waters Project and the Experimental Program, Jeopardy and Adverse Modification Biological Opinion for Mod-Waters, the Experimental Program and the C-111 Project, Water Managers Publish the Central and Southern Florida Comprehensive Review Study (“Restudy”), Florida Wildlife Federation, Inc. et. Drew just cracks the whip. “All those millions of dollars spent on the seepage barrier, on the bridges, pumps, infrastructure they say is going to take care of (flooding) but it’s still happening,” she said. The draining of Florida’s Everglades started in the late 1800s as an effort to convert the wetlands into land fit for agricultural, residential and commercial development. ), Catskills Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2017 WL 192707 (2d Cir. Dist., 570 F.3d 1210 (11th Cir. 4D12-2373 (Aug. 7, 2013), The Fish & Wildlife Service Establishes the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area, Florida Wildlife Federation, et. Stat. “Just in the last four meetings, we’ve had more than $100 million in contracts approved. Known as the Restudy, it showed the River of Grass was in deep trouble. Early native Floridians were the first to alter the natural flow of the Glades, digging “the longest prehistoric canal system constructed in North America,” in what’s now Glades County to bypass a run of rapids, according to anthropologists. al. “We’ve been talking about all this for decades, but now somehow over the last several years, we’re actually seeing conclusions,” Valenstein said. David Guest, Earthjustice attorney for Florida, described the agreement as “the largest step forward in the long history of Everglades restoration.” You want folks to be passionate about things, be demanding and say, ‘I need this now.' The goal: "restore, preserve, and protect the south Florida ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region, including water supply and flood protection.". Cir. See how the water’s flowing here?” She motions at the dark current galloping past her airboat. To Valenstein, the pace has never been brisker. “That’s a pretty tall order from my perspective. 3d 1270 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011); United States Sugar Corp. v. 1000 Friends of Florida, et. Originally pegged at $8.2 billion, the price tag will likely double by completion, which is now projected to be some time in the 2060s. seq. “Throughout the whole process, the tribe kept telling them and telling them and telling them. The SFWMD is working hard to continue accelerating the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir. “Something’s changed, no doubt. 2009), Miccosukee v. United States, 566 F.3d 1 257 (11th Cir. Much of the water once destined for its wetlands instead went to coastal towns and cities, farm fields or “to tide” – into the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico, and all that human enterprise has polluted much of the water the Everglades does get. We’re all pulling on the oar.”. “Finally, there is a massive amount of progress being made,” he said. The most recent 242-page edition appeared in 2018. He found the Everglades’ sawgrass and mosquitoes superlative as well. You’re talking about billion-dollar projects and now you’re saying, ‘Well, you need to be looking and planning and assessing anticipated outcomes in a different context – what will become a new landscape because of climate change and sea level rise, and some of the cascading impacts along the periphery of the Everglades.”, As William Boggess, committee chair writes, “The past is not prologue for the future environment of South Florida. v Antwerp et al. TALLAHASSEE — Gov. The money comes as a 50-50 split from both Florida and federal coffers, though each project must be … Phosphorus in agricultural and stormwater runoff has degraded water quality in the Everglades since the 1960s. In response to severe flooding, miles of the meandering Kissimmee River were turned into a canal, beginning in the 1960s. But they all differ on how it should be done. 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