As Everglades Bill Becomes Law, Environmentalists Focus on Water Flow

May 28, 2013

Governor Rick Scott will sign legislation today putting $880 million toward Everglades restoration. But environmentalists say it's wrong to call it an Everglades restoration bill.

The bill establishes the first standards ever for water flowing into the Everglades. It will pay for the creation of new wet lands to cleanse the slow-flowing water. And it taxes sugar growers who farm in the region.

Eric Draper of Audubon of Florida says the measure is well-designed for improving water run-off from sugar farms. But it doesn't actually get the water into the Everglades. He says restoring that historic flow of water – or that "river of grass" – is the next step.

"When that happens the great wading bird colonies that you once saw in the Everglades, the great fishery, the wilderness area, all of that starts to look like it did 100 years ago", Draper said.

Environmentalists are waiting on Congress to approve additional projects aimed at improving that flow of water.

This legislation represents an unusual collaboration of government leaders, environmentalists, and sugar growers. It settles litigation dating to 2006.