By now most of us have heard that the US Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 (WRDA) last Wednesday. The vote was an overwhelming 99 to 1, and the bill awaits presidential signature. Cleaning our water supply, restoring the Everglades, and reducing toxic discharges are painfully obvious objectives and beneficial to most Floridians and the American people. Bipartisan lawmakers have agreed on a virtual no brainer regardless of other issues or party politics.
This has been a key objective of Now or Neverglades since inception, but what does it really mean? It means that the physical reservoir project has been approved and while this is an increase in inertia for the Now or Neverglades movement, we need to redouble our efforts through the funding phase and implementation.
This reinforces the importance of the elections just a few weeks away. If voters support candidates committed to our goal and continue to hold them accountable during their tenures, we may be able to return to sanity in managing Florida’s water for the health, economy and quality of life for Floridians and our tourists.
I have been inundated with inquiries on who to vote for after each recent newsletter. Now or Neverglades is a coalition of over 80,000 like-minded individuals and organizations who believe the Everglades Agricultural Area southern storage project is at the heart of restoration. Many of our dozen founding members are 501(c)3 nonprofit corporations who are authorized to inform and educate on issues but not authorized to advocate. Please take advantage of the wealth of information they provide on their websites and social media pages: BTT, Captains for Clean Water, Everglades Foundation, Herman Lucerne Memorial and IGFA.
On the other hand, several of our founding members are 501(c)4 nonprofit organizations, who are authorized and do advocate for candidates they believe will best represent us as we move forward. If you are interested in those voter guides, please visit Bullsugar.org, Florida Bay Forever and the Everglades Trust, as they make no bones about who they feel will best represent Now or Neverglades objectives.
You have my deepest appreciation for continued support of the Now or Neverglades movement.
Just a few days ago, the cities of Cape Coral, Sanibel and Ft Myers Beach signed a joint petition asking the South Florida Water Management District to increase minimum dry season flows from Lake Okeechobee to try to mitigate the devastating effects of blue-green algae and red tide that have been wreaking havoc on these communities for months. The cities recognize that this would be a temporary fix, and only return of southern flow will provide a more permanent solution.
Our Now or Neverglades coalition has grown to over 80,000 likeminded organizations and individuals who believe a dynamic southern storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee that feeds scientifically sized filtration marshes can return as close to possible, clean, fresh water flow through the “Glades” to Florida Bay. We believe its implementation is the primary solution required to reduce the Caloosahatchee River and St Lucie River discharges while providing this water to Florida Bay where mother nature intended it to go.
This project is and has been recognized as the heart of the matter for decades. It is integral to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and the Central Everglades Planning Project CEPP). Now or Neverglades recognizes that there are other many other issues to address with Florida’s water problems, but will we stay focused here because without it all else is becomes folly.
Our politically elected officials and their appointees are responsible for making it happen or not happen. Florida’s primary saw its biggest turnout ever, and we hope that Florida voters will turn out in droves for the midterm election. Florida’s devastating water problems persist, and citizens are looking for candidates who will make fixing them a priority.
Please stay educated on the issues. Look to our founding member websites for information and news and we hope that you will consider the environment and the future of Florida’s water as you cast your vote this November. The Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, the IGFA and BTT are constantly updating with solid information.
Some of our founding members who are authorized to advocate; the Everglades Trust, Bullsugar.org and Florida Bay Forever will be offering voter guides in the next few weeks.
I offer a heartfelt thanks for all your support and trust you will make the best choices possible for our future.