As we move into 2018, I want to offer each of you a heartfelt “thanks” for supporting the Now or Neverglades movement during the short year and a half of our existence! Your support has moved us one step closer to the science-based solution of creating a dynamic southern water storage reservoir, a filtration system and return of flows south through the ‘Glades to Florida Bay, as nature intended. Only then will the dreadful manmade discharges from Okeechobee down the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries be significantly reduced.
In 2017 we found a champion in Senate President Joe Negron, whose understanding of the issues and determination to solve the problem led Florida’s Legislature to overwhelmingly enact SB10 into law. Governor Scott agreed, and it was the right thing to do for our economy, health, drinking water supply, the Everglades and quality of life for 8 million south Floridians.
Per the terms of SB10, the South Florida Water Management District must present alternative plans for implementation to the legislature on January 9th. SFWMD has created five (though really only three are different) models, and during public input, many said the models fail to take full advantage of the resources offered in SB10. Many said they are not cost efficient and are overly complicated. Many said they offer a band aid when a tourniquet is readily available.
The Everglades Foundation’s science team modeled an alternative that fully utilizes SB10, and looks superior across the board: it’s simpler, in all probability cheaper, better on water quality and sends twice as much water south as any of the SFWMD alternatives. They presented this model to the SFWMD in December, and asked for it to be modeled by SFWMD staff, using the same assumptions used for the other alternatives, for presentation to the legislature on Jan 9th.
Great news for taxpayers and people who love Florida waters, right? Well it would be, if the SFWMD would agree to model it and incorporate it into its presentation on an “apples to apples” basis. But so far they have refused to model it, and indicated that they will not present anything other than the models they presented last month.
Personally, 40 years of observing SFWMD’s activities has not given me high confidence in the agency’s resolve to do the best job of following direction given by law, nor in its implementation of restoration policies. If the SFWMD will not in fairness voluntarily include what many believe to be a better alternative, I would urge the Legislature and Governor to demand its inclusion in the available options. Let the legislature have what it asked for in full so it can make the best choice for Floridians.