Will SB10 meet it's Match in the SFWMD Planning Process?
Green algae, dead seagrass, and polluted waterways galvanized the state this year. Citizens insisted that something be done to move Everglades Restoration forward. Voters rallied around the fact that a healthy marine resource is the engine that keeps the State economy booming.
Senator Joe Negron put his name and reputation behind Senate Bill 10 which expedites building a reservoir in the Everglades Agricultural Area to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges and move water south to the Florida Bay.
Senate Bill 10 passed. The reservoir planning should be moving ahead. And yet is it?
As of today, the District (SFWMD) has held eight public meetings about this reservoir. In their effort to be accessible and transparent they have entertained the concerns and interests of the general public.
They have delivered four models for review which are iterations of essentially two configurations: two reservoirs will hold 240,000 acre-feet of water using 10,000 acres of land, the other will hold 360,000 acre-feet of water using 19,000 acres of land.
Environmental groups, alert citizens, and even Senate President Joe Negron have real concerns about the direction of the planning, for these main reasons:
- The models have been drafted within the constraints of state-owned lands. They don't take into consideration land swaps, trades, or the use of private land as they configure the reservoir for "optimal" outcome as stated within SB10.
- None of the models have price tags, making it impossible to tell if any will come in under budget and making it likewise impossible to move toward choosing the best scenario.
- None of the models account for a benefit to Florida Bay, rather focus on the benefits to the St. Lucie and Calloosahatchee estuaries.
- It is unclear whether the models have been configured with ample STAs to clean the water after it is stored
There is a public meeting on December 21 at 9:00am in West Palm Beach to further discuss teh planning. Everyone is welcome to attend and state their concerns. Florida Bay Forever will definitely be there.