Over breakfast at a local diner, banter about the ailing south Florida waters drifts with the smell of pancakes. Pick up a paper and the struggling plight of Everglades restoration leaps off the page like a Florida green tree frog. Election campaigns leverage the emotional issue. Environmental groups and private industries point fingers and vie for political allies. Its a murky soup of big business against Everglades advocates, against management districts, against scientists, against industry. All trying to reach a common goal while preserving their own interests. To say the least, it's complicated.
You have an opinion too. You want to join the conversation, but you first have to overcome an obstacle course of acronyms and facts shrouded in decades of red tape. Florida Bay Forever is here to help.
In this post, you'll get up to speed on the short version of several key terms. Later, we'll touch on their history and how they steer today's efforts. Now, for a cheat-sheet on the most commonly heard abbreviations in the Everglades restoration conversation:
- EFA - Everglades Forever Act: A conceptual overview of long-term planing for the improvement of Everglades water quality, enacted in 1994.
- WRDA - (pronounced "word-uh") Water Resources Development Act: A Congressionally-approved to-do list of imperative projects relating to water quality and management. The 2000 WRDA is where Everglades restoration initially got real momentum through Federal cost sharing and task delegation. Remaining cost and labor responsibilities were assigned to local groups and governmental bodies. WRDA 2016 will fund CEPP, a critical component to restore the central Everglades water flow.
- CERP - (pronounced "serp") The Central Everglades Restoration Plan. The initial framework for Everglades water flow restoration. A 35-year, multi-billion dollar plan of 68 projects designed to preserve and protect the Everglades water supply. Adopted under the WRDA in 2000.
- CEPP - (pronounced "sep") The Central Everglades Planning Project. Launched in 2011 by the United States Army Core of Engineers ("The Corps") and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), CEPP aimed to tag and fast-track a handful of key CERP plans, to maximize immediate ecosystem restoration in the central Everglades.
- EAA - Everglades Agricultural Area - Roughly 700,000 acres (more than 1,100 square miles) of highly productive farmland south of Lake Okeechobee, created by the drainage of the northern Everglades.
That's a good start. Click here to continue your vocab brush-up and dig a little deeper. And watch your in-box for the next lesson in Everglades restoration fluency.