Tucked inside a massive multi-billion federal waterworks bill is funding for a project proponents say is vital to the future of South Florida: the Central Everglades Planning Project.
The $1.9 billion dollars for CEPP, split between the federal and state government, is part of the $10 billion Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. The CEPP plan will allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to put forward a "a suite of restoration projects in the central Everglades."
Passing CEPP, however, is just one step on a decades-long, multi-billion dollar effort ultimately aimed at restoring a more natural flow of water from Lake Okeechobee, south through the Everglades, and into Florida Bay and other coastal estuaries. That plan has its critics, and it's one that also requires a state plan for a reservoir south of Lake O to succeed.
Wednesday at 1 p.m. on Gulf Coast Live, Cara Capp with the National Parks Conservation Association (and part of the Everglades Coalition) goes into the details of what funding for CEPP and other Everglades projects means for South Florida, and where the projects go from here.
Rae Ann Wessel with the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (and part of the Everglades Coalition) joins the program to explain how CEPP ties in to the Everglades Coalition's annual meeting in Fort Myers beginning Thursday, Jan. 5.
Also joining the program is U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, talking about USACE's projects and priorities moving forward under CEPP.