The Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District is meeting in Key Biscayne, instead of West Palm Beach, this Thursday, June 13th.
Restoring the Everglades is a huge task. Years of overdevelopment, pollution, and manmade changes to the flow of water have left the ecosystem disconnected and weakened. The southern end of the ecosystem – including Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay – is starved for water, while the northern estuaries are inundated with harmful overflows. We need to redirect the flow of water to send more freshwater south, and do it as quickly as possible.
This week, the South Florida Water Management District has the opportunity to take meaningful next steps on the path toward a fully restored Everglades ecosystem in the form of the Central Everglades Planning Project, known as “CEPP.”
CEPP is the newest project planned in a long line of restoration initiatives, but it isn’t your run-of-the-mill government project. CEPP is a trailblazer and here is why:
(Damn it, hit read more)
It’s part of a pilot program by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed to cut through red tape and ensure that necessary ecosystem enhancement projects aren’t bogged down by years of bureaucratic procedure. The goal of CEPP was ambitious: cut the project planning time from seven years down to eighteen months. And here’s the crazy thing… it worked.
For the past eighteen months, agency staff has worked diligently with the environmental community, recreational users, business owners, and members of the public to come up with a plan that has real community buy-in. The selected plan, given the exciting name “Alternative 4R,” would have tremendous environmental and economic benefits. It would send 67 billion gallons of freshwater to the southern Everglades each year, generate a 28% improvement in habitat quality, and improve bass fisheries and recreational opportunities.
Despite the expedited planning process, this project will be held up unless the South Florida Water Management District agrees to support the plan and act as the local agency sponsor. They need to provide a draft Project Implementation Report for public review this month in order to meet federal guidelines to have the project approved by Congress this year. If the South Florida Water Management District doesn’t take decisive action soon, the project could be put on hold for a year or longer until it is eligible to be considered in the next round of Congressional authorizations.
The Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District is meeting in Key Biscayne this Thursday June 13th. These decision-makers need to know that Floridians value our incredible natural resources and support full restoration of the Everglades. You can help by coming to the meeting to lend your support, or take two minutes to send the Governing Board members an email asking them to support CEPP.
Governing Board members have the opportunity to do something almost unheard of these days – to put aside the political differences, cut through the massive red tape, and push forward with a project that will have significant benefits for the public. Let’s hope they don’t stall on this decision and let the clock run out on this rare opportunity.
Link to meeting info
Link to online action to email board members.
WHEN: Thursday, June 13, 2013 @ 9:00am
WHERE: Village of Key Biscayne, Council Chamber, 560 Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne.
And here are my comments from the first blog post about this on Saturday:
In other words, just show up at the damn meeting and say: "Do CEPP already and hurry up about it". Not so hard, is it? Eight words for the Everglades. Think of this meeting like you would think of a funeral. You go, you don't want to, you really don't know what to say, but gee you are obligated to pay your respects.
Do it out of respect for the Everglades and make believe the Governing Board is the widow and the immediate family. Just mumble something (like my 8 words) bow your head, shuffle out and buy me breakfast. I want a bacon and egg sandwich.
The Governing Board usually meets in West Palm Beach, which is a hike, so be glad this is so close to us. Go! We will party after.