Everglades

Miami Herald

Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill aimed at reducing the number of pythons and other invasive species that cause damage in parts of the state, including the Everglades.

The bill (SB 168), which Scott signed Friday after it was unanimously approved this month by the Legislature, sets up a pilot program targeting pythons and species such as tegu lizards and lionfish.

Under the program, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be able to enter contracts with people to capture or destroy the species on public lands and in state waters.

The South Florida Water Management District announced Thursday that its board has approved handing off a design for a water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to its federal partner.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will now begin reviewing the tentatively selected reservoir plan which, in conjunction with a state restoration strategies plan, provides 350,000 acre-feet of above-ground storage.

Wood storks, roseate spoonbills, ibises and egrets are among the many birds that fly, paddle and wade through the Everglades.

They draw visitors, particularly photographers, to the ecosystem. But the Everglades' birds are important for another reason: The health of wading bird communities says a lot about progress on Everglades restoration.

The State of Florida is forging ahead with a plan to build a water reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.  WFSU's Lynn Hatter talked about it with Audubon Florida’s Celeste DiPalma about a new report that lays out options for steering more water to the places that need it and less to the places that don’t.

Steve Messam describes his city, Belle Glade, as having two main exports:

"Sugar," he said, "and wide receivers."

Local lore has it that National Football League standouts -- including Super Bowl-winning wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Santonio Holmes -- hone their speed by chasing rabbits through burning fields, as controlled fires strip sugarcane of excess leaves in preparation for the harvest.

Everglades National Park is a World Heritage site, and it’s under siege from drought, invasive species and sea-level rise. 

National Parks Conservation Association

A new report estimates Hurricane Irma caused more than $5 million in damage to Everglades restoration.

Water managers planning a massive Everglades reservoir to help end polluted releases from Lake Okeechobee that regularly foul both coasts unveiled early drafts of the project Tuesday.

The Everglades' python problem is not news to most Southwest Floridians, but what may be is the effects the overabundance of the invasive species may soon have on humans well outside of the Everglades.

Interior Secretary: Trump Committed To Everglades Projects

Oct 8, 2017
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke picked up a machete to help clear a swamp buggy trail in the Big Cypress National Preserve.

With Hurricane Irma bearing down on the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean, water managers in South Florida are bracing for heavy rainfall they say could exacerbate high water issues from record-setting rains the region experienced earlier this summer.

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

Army Corps Needs More Time On Negron Reservoir

Jul 27, 2017
National Parks Conservation Association

Federal assistance may be on the way for the state's latest Everglades restoration effort.

The state agency overseeing Everglades restoration is threatening to stop participating in congressionally mandated scientific reviews of its progress.

The South Florida Water Management District says it is considering withdrawing financially from the National Academies of Sciences and seeking scientific guidance elsewhere.

Spokesman Randy Smith says the scientists are overstepping their authority and threatening to slow Everglades restoration by weighing in on budgetary and engineering issues.

Animal Refuges Threatened By Flooding In Everglades

Jun 30, 2017
National Parks Conservation Association

Parts of Florida's Everglades are so waterlogged that deer, wading birds and other animals are running out of dry ground.

Amy Green/WMFE

A state plan to protect estuaries by moving water north of Lake Okeechobee underground is sparking opposition.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida is making it easier for people to help remove invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades.

Senate Reservoir Measure Primed For The Floor

Apr 12, 2017

Senate President Joe Negron’s priority water project is heading for a floor vote.  After shifting and twisting through committees, the measure’s fate is uncertain.

Senate Panel Approves Revamped Water Plan

Apr 6, 2017
Amy Green / WMFE

A revised measure that seeks to create a "deep" water-storage project south of Lake Okeechobee — and win support from the House and people throughout the Glades region — was overwhelmingly backed Wednesday by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

What makes water managers celebrate?

New pipes, of course!

One Idea In Everglades Debate: Send Water Underground

Mar 22, 2017
National Parks Conservation Association

A legislative proposal for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee for Everglades restoration is prompting bitter debate over central and south Florida’s water.

New research calls for much more water storage. One idea: Send it underground.

To explain the concept, Conversations host Nicole Creston spoke with 90.7 environmental reporter Amy Green.

Seagrass in Florida Bay has died off rapidly over the past couple of years. About 40,000 acres have been lost, harming the habitat of animals from manatees to toadfish and imperiling the area's fishing industry.

Hundreds of people packed a town hall meeting in Pahokee Friday with Florida Senate President Joe Negron. They say his proposal to build a 60,000-acre reservoir on prime farmland would be a plague to their region.

“The devastation from the loss of jobs is unimaginable at this point,” said lifelong Pahokee resident Lynda Moss. Her family owns a trucking business in the region.

[Read More about the Everglades and the efforts to restore it: River of Grass, Dying of Thirst]

Audobon

Officials say unseasonable rainfall and poor conditions caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon contributed to a poor wading bird nesting season in Florida's Everglades.

Audobon

Wading bird nests in the Everglades were at their lowest number last year since 2008.

The Everglades Foundation is touting the economic benefits of water storage south of Lake Okeechobee.

House Support Lukewarm For Negron’s Water Plan

Feb 24, 2017

It appears doubtful the House will take up, as written, a $2.4 billion proposal by Senate President Joe Negron to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee to ease the impacts of polluted water releases into estuaries on the east and west coasts.

Invasive Fern Capable Of Toppling Florida Tree

Jan 23, 2017
Amy Green

LeRoy Rodgers pulls a pair of clippers from a bag and hops off an airboat. He’ll need the clippers to cut a path through the Old World Climbing Fern choking this island of trees within the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Everglades.

Authorities say 81 false killer whales died this weekend in the southwest Everglades after their pod became stranded in shallow water.

 

Tucked inside a massive multi-billion federal waterworks bill is funding for a project proponents say is vital to the future of South Florida: the Central Everglades Planning Project.

The $1.9 billion dollars for CEPP, split between the federal and state government, is part of the $10 billion Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. The CEPP plan will allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to put forward a "a suite of restoration projects in the central Everglades."

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