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Everglades restoration

It’s almost six months into Gov. Ron DeSantis’s first term, and the biggest shift from the Rick Scott administration has been his focus on the environment.

The Republican–controlled Legislature will be tasked with an unexpected job: deciding whether to allocate funds for environmental causes championed by the governor.

The environment wasn’t a priority under former Governor Rick Scott. Florida’s new governor, Ron DeSantis, is taking a different approach - and raising eyebrows - as he seeks massive dollars to clean up the state’s water ways.

Now it's up to the Legislature to consider his funding request.

Governor Ron DeSantis wants $625 million dollars for environmental spending in the upcoming budget. DeSantis announced a plan Tuesday to fund more than 20 projects in the Everglades over the next five years.

An update is expected this week in a legal dispute over Everglades restoration.

Amy Green / WMFE

Florida water managers are bracing for a potential water shortage months after massive releases from Lake Okeechobee triggered widespread toxic algae.

Governor Ron DeSantis is receiving high praise from some environmental groups for his quick action focused on the Everglades. Last week, the governor called for $2.5 billion for Everglades restoration and combatting red tide and blue-green algae across the state. He also empowered two separate task forces, one on toxic algae and another dedicated to sea-level rise. And he called for the resignation of the entire South Florida Water Management District governing board.

Preparations are underway for a long-anticipated reservoir project meant to help restore the Everglades and prevent toxic blue-green algae outbreaks around Florida’s coasts.

The South Florida Water Management District has started surveying areas where it can expand canals that run south of Lake Okeechobee. The canals will help move lake water south to an Everglades reservoir.

Everglades restoration needs to do more to account for climate change.

That’s the headline of a report released Wednesday by a Congressionally-appointed committee of scientists.

The report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says agencies involved in restoration need to do more analysis of how sea-level rise and increasing rainfall impact Everglades projects.

Broward county scientists, business owners, and politicians met Monday to discuss possible responses to the Red Tide outbreak in the Atlantic.

Members of Congress Ted Deutch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, both Democrats, moderated the roundtable at the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. 

Though she vowed not to place blame, Wasserman Schultz addressed key decisions that she said contributed to Florida’s current environmental crisis.

A project intended to help address blue-green algae outbreaks took a major step forward Wednesday as the U.S. Senate passed a bill that includes a proposal for an Everglades water storage reservoir.

Senators approved the bill, which includes many other water-related projects nationwide, by a margin of 99-1.

Everglades advocates are telling Congress to get moving on a major restoration project needed to help prevent future algae blooms like the ones currently choking inland and coastal waterways in Florida. 

A reservoir project that could help address water challenges in the Everglades is one step closer to being built.

Congressional committees on Thursday approved a bill that, if passed, would authorize construction of a $1.4 billion water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. The reservoir would help reduce water discharges from Lake Okeechobee that contribute to algae blooms on Florida’s coasts; it would also increase water flow south to Florida Bay.

A planned reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee could take shape more quickly thanks to an Army Corps of Engineers decision.  

South Florida Water District Picks New Leader

Aug 1, 2017

A key player on Everglades issues was elevated Monday to become executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, replacing Pete Antonacci who is leaving to become Gov. Rick Scott's top business recruiter.

A bill that looks to "un-muddy" the mission of Florida's main environmental land acquisition program could potentially affect the plan for an Everglades reservoir.

A controversial plan to build a reservoir that would help address damaging water discharges in the Everglades ecosystem is one step closer to being enacted — thanks to revisions that take into account the concerns of farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

On Wednesday, Florida’s Senate Appropriations Committee approved a revised version of Senate Bill 10. The bill aims to alleviate blue-green algae on Florida’s coasts by reducing the amount of water that's discharged to the coasts from Lake Okeechobee.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran says changes to the Senate’s plan to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee make the proposal better, but he’s refusing to cave on one big issue: whether to borrow money to finance the system.

U.S. Sugar Corp. says it would honor a previous agreement putting land south of Lake Okeechobee toward Everglades restoration.

U.S. Sugar staunchly has opposed a reservoir on the land, aimed at improving water flow after toxic algae blooms last year prompted emergency declarations in four counties.

But spokeswoman Judy Sanchez says if the Legislature approves the plan the company would honor a previous agreement authorizing the state to buy 153,000 acres.

House Backs Everglades 'Legacy' Bill

Mar 3, 2016
Steve Newborn/WUSF

The House voted 117-1 on Wednesday to approve its version of the "Legacy Florida" bill (HB 989), which would provide 10 years of funding for Everglades restoration.

Senators Trim 'Legacy' Money For Everglades, Springs

Mar 1, 2016
Sierra Club

Senators have reduced the amounts of proposed funding in a bill that seeks to pay for Everglades and springs-restoration projects over the next decade, as lawmakers continue to discuss how to spread voter-approved conservation money.

Amid criticism and even lawsuits over Florida's conversation efforts, the Republican-controlled state House on Tuesday announced an ambitious plan to pay for projects to help restore the state's Everglades.

After less than a week of sometimes angry budget negotiations, environmentalists are optimistic the Legislature will buy tens of thousands of acres of agricultural land for Everglades restoration.

Scientists from across the country are calling for more water storage south of Lake Okeechobee for Everglades restoration.

The scientists sent a petition to state leaders as environmentalists intensify their campaign for the state to buy 46,000 acres in the region.

Governor Rick Scott spoke to reporters with a caged Florida panther present Tuesday at Gator Park in Miami. He announced that $150 million will go toward Everglades restoration this year and $5 billion throughout the next 20 years. Part of the plan he announced funds projects to protect panthers-- 2014 was a bad year for panther deaths. The other part is to move, clean and store Florida’s water supply.