Progress. Earlier this week, the Everglades edged closer to gaining the Congressional support it needs to receive promised environmental restoration funding. The U. S. Senate has passed the 2016 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which dedicates $1.9 billion for Florida's failing Everglades.
The $10 billion WRDA bill targets pressing water quality projects nationwide. Three other projects were approved in Florida, and dozens more in 18 states.
While the measure cleared the Senate, it still must find favor in the U. S. House of Representatives. The impending Presidential election could sideline Congress - and the House vote - on WRDA 2016 - until next year.
U. S. Representative Carlos Curbelo (Rep., FL Dist. 26), endorsed his support of its passage in a press release, saying this bill of "critical importance... will help increase fresh water flows into the Everglades and Florida Bay."
U. S. Senator Bill Nelson (Dem.) said in a Sun Sentinel report, "Getting this project approved is a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to restore the Everglades..."
WRDA 2016 is progress, not perfection.
The political ping-pong match to bring aid to the Everglades began decades ago. It gained momentum with WRDA in 2000, but has volleyed for decades between Federal, state, and local jurisdictions through amendments and plan restructuring.
While current efforts are integral to healing the Everglades, scientists have discovered that the ecosystem craves even more clean water than can be achieved with the plans as delineated under WRDA, within CERP and CEPP.
The missing link in restoring the river of grass lies in land south of Lake Okeechobee, in the EAA.
That land is needed to build a clean water reservoir, which will send more water south through the Everglades and into Florida Bay, as needed. Legislative direction does not yet call for action on this relatively recent factor in the restoration plan. We must tell our representatives to push this development into realization.