Everglades Restoration

Victoria Alvarez, WGCU-FM

Members of Southwest Florida’s state legislative delegation met this week with members of the Chamber of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers for a look at their priorities ahead of this year’s legislative session.

South Florida Water Management District

The South Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board recently voted to extend a lease to allow farming to continue on about 16-thousand acres of state owned land that’s going to be used to build the EAA, or Everglades Agricultural Area, Reservoir. The decision came quickly, without advanced public input. Some environmental groups, like The Everglades Foundation, immediately decried the move, saying it will delay construction of the much-needed reservoir, and that the vote was taken without enough advanced public notice. We had The Everglades Foundation’s CEO, Eric Eikenberg, on the show last Wednesday. We did invite the water management district to join that show, but didn’t hear back until afterwards. So, today, we’re going to hear from the district to to get their side of this story. We’re joined by Brian Accardo, Chief Counsel, Jerry Eisenband, Director of Communications, and by John Mitnick, he’s Chief Engineer for the South Florida Water Management District.

South Florida Water Management District

Last week the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District voted to extend the lease for sugar farmers on land that has been slated for a water storage reservoir. The reservoir is intended to reduce the need for water discharges from Lake Okeechobee, which contribute to harmful algal blooms on Florida's coasts. The proposed EAA, or Everglades Agricultural Area, Reservoir recently received federal authorization through the 2018 Water Resources Development Act.

Quincy J. Walters / WGCU News

As Tropical Storm Emily made landfall Monday, two Florida Congressmen got a lesson in how water is managed in Collier County. Their visit came after they helped secure millions of dollars for Everglades restoration. 

The state agency overseeing Everglades restoration is threatening to stop participating in congressionally mandated scientific reviews of its progress.

The South Florida Water Management District says it is considering withdrawing financially from the National Academies of Sciences and seeking scientific guidance elsewhere.

Spokesman Randy Smith says the scientists are overstepping their authority and threatening to slow Everglades restoration by weighing in on budgetary and engineering issues.