WATCH NOW — Dissecting DeSantis’ executive order

We're hearing a lot of questions about Gov. Ron DeSantis' latest executive order on the environment. Will it curtail the pollution that's plagued Florida's water and air? Will it help restore the Everglades? How exactly will the promised $3.5 billion be spent? The success or failure of this cash infusion is entirely dependent on the projects it pays for. And, on that front, DeSantis is vague in the executive order. That's why tracking the money will be essential — and we're committed to it. Watch the 3-minute video take on the order below from Friends of the Everglades executive director Eve Samples, then check out this helpful analysis from our friends at VoteWater. Exactly four years ago, DeSantis issued his first [...]

Everglades Illustrated: Wrong project, wrong place

Last week, Miami-Dade County Commissioners voted 8-4 to approve the South Dade Logistics and Technology District, effectively gutting the Urban Development Boundary in favor of sprawling, industrial development at the expense of our natural environment. The original footprint of the project, identified in the map above, has since been reduced in size from 800 acres to a 311-acre mix of warehouses, call centers and other commercial uses south of Florida’s Turnpike. Regardless, it remains the wrong project in the wrong place, with construction slated for “Coastal High Hazard Area'' in dangerous proximity to Everglades National Park, Biscayne Bay and ongoing Everglades restoration projects. As another tropical storm approaches Florida's coast, it's more clear than ever: It's reckless to bend [...]

LOSOM Update: An improvement, but not a cure-all

            An improvement, but not a cure-all For more than three years, Friends of the Everglades has advocated for a better Lake Okeechobee management plan — one that prioritizes public health and prevents the kind of toxic-algae crisis that devastated Florida in 2018 and years prior. We now have a detailed draft of the new plan, courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers. In a nutshell: The Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) will be an improvement over the existing plan — but, make no mistake, LOSOM will not be a cure-all. LOSOM will reduce, but not stop harmful discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. It will increase flows south to the Everglades, [...]

Environmental organizations provide a progress report on the Blue-Green Algae Task Force recommendations implementation

In early 2019, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis created a new Blue-Green Algae Task Force — made up of highly qualified scientists from around the state charged with issuing recommendations for addressing Florida's blue-green algae crisis. In 2019, the task force released a "consensus document," outlining recommended steps to do just that. And yet, in the nearly three years since then very few have ever been implemented. Today, a press release issued by environmental organizations including Friends of the Everglades criticized Florida leaders for failing to address critical water-quality concerns by not adequately implementing the recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force and announced the debut of the Blue-Green Algae Bloom Task Force Recommendations Implementation Progress Report As it states, "during [...]

Questions remain about the safety of LOWRP

On August 1, 2022, Friends of the Everglades Executive Director Eve Samples submitted comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project (LOWRP) Third Revised Draft PIR/SEIS. Earlier this year, Friends submitted comments that raised concerns about the risks and rising costs associated with implementation of Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) wells on this unprecedented scale. As referenced in the following comments, Friends of the Everglades remains concerned that additional scrutiny is necessary to ensure that the Army Corps has the needed scientific foundation to be sure that LOWRP will not adversely affect aquatic ecosystem, will be cost-effective, and will provide the claimed benefits. As the letter states, "Myriad questions remain about LOWRP's safety and [...]

South Dade boondoggle delayed to Sept. 22

Today, we celebrate a win — albeit a temporary one — for Biscayne Bay and the Greater Everglades.  Miami-Dade County commissioners voted Wednesday morning to defer an ill-conceived proposal to convert 800 acres of low-lying farmland in Homestead to a giant industrial complex.  For the second time in two weeks, developers peddling the South Dade Logistics & Technology District failed to secure enough votes to advance their environmentally irresponsible proposal. At their request, the project will return to the Miami-Dade County Commission for a final decision on Sept. 22. Wednesday’s deferral is a huge credit to almost 1,300 Friends of the Everglades supporters who emailed Miami-Dade County commissioners, along with our allies within the Hold the Line Coalition who have [...]

2022-06-01T13:23:01-04:00June 1st, 2022|All Posts, Everglades Restoration, Hold the Line|

SB 2508 preserves the status quo. DeSantis can still #KilltheBill

Take a look at the image above. It’s emblematic of the status quo that has allowed Lake Okeechobee’s water to be mismanaged in a way that benefits special interests — especially giant sugarcane corporations — while triggering toxic-algae blooms and depriving the Everglades of water. Senate Bill 2508 preserves that status quo.  If Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to follow through on his promise to address Florida’s water crisis, he must veto it.  Specifically, SB 2508 threatens to: Constrain environmental improvements that could be achieved through the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM).  Undermine years of work to correct a failing water-management system by perpetuating the harmful “hold and dump” practices of the existing Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS 08). [...]

2022-04-14T09:08:28-04:00April 14th, 2022|Action Alerts, All Posts, Everglades Restoration, SB 2508|

Everglades Illustrated: The Scientific Uncertainty of ASR

Photo Credit: South Florida Water Management District The Scientific Uncertainty of ASR Each of the red outlines in the map above indicates a proposed cluster of aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) wells. Pitched as an answer to water-storage needs north of Lake Okeechobee, the wells’ feasible use within Everglades restoration and exorbitant cost have been at the center of heated debate in Florida’s environmental community. Proponents claim the technology offers a way to store large volumes of water deep in the aquifer — water that would otherwise pour untreated into Lake Okeechobee. But scientific concerns abound. Some experts say they’re inefficient and won’t have enough capacity to relieve toxic discharges, and they warn that metals dissolved in the [...]

Interview with Everglades Activist Maggy Hurchalla

Maggy Hurchalla was an Everglades activist who worked with Friends of the Everglades for many years, even working directly with our founder Marjory Stoneman Douglas. She was a wealth of freely-shared information and a fierce advocate of Florida's environment. She was a spirited adventurer and an accomplished kayaker that could put paddlers half her age to shame. And she was one of the greatest storytellers we've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Maggy passed away on February 19, 2022, leaving a tremendous hole in the heart of Florida's environmental community who looked to her as a leader of conservation advocacy until her final days. She is greatly missed by many, and we carry on the work to protect Florida's wild [...]

2022-04-07T12:22:07-04:00April 6th, 2022|All Posts, Everglades Restoration|

ASR wells are still the subject of vast scientific uncertainty

Photo credit: South Florida Water Management District Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) refers to the process of recharge, storage, and recovery of water in an aquifer. ASR is the central component of the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project (LOWRP) as presented in the draft PIR, accounting for roughly 85% of the costs. ASR has long been the subject of considerable scientific uncertainty. Questions surrounding its feasible use in Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects date back to an evaluation by the National Academy of Sciences in 2001 which identified five areas of major uncertainty that needed to be addressed before it was clear that ASR would be viable on a regional scale in CERP: 1) operations to protect [...]

2022-04-07T12:21:45-04:00April 5th, 2022|All Posts, Everglades Restoration, U.S. Congress|

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