Federal Water Bill Makes Way For Everglades Restoration To Benefit Coastal Estuaries

Oct 3, 2016

Federal dollars for new Everglades restoration could flow as early as next year. The money comes from a bill making its way through Congress.

The restoration would be aimed at sending more water south from Lake Okeechobee rather than east and west to coastal estuaries.

The Water Resources Development Act authorizes $1.9 billion for Everglades restoration. The House approved the bill this week. The Senate approved its version earlier this month.

Julie Hill-Gabriel of Audubon of Florida says the money would fund the Central Everglades Planning Project. The legislation still requires the president’s signature.

“This will certainly begin to make some of those changes that we need to reduce those damaging discharges to the estuaries that are leading to the algae blooms.”

Large discharges from a rain-swollen Lake Okeechobee to coastal estuaries triggered toxic algae blooms this summer that filled the air with a foul smell and prompted emergency declarations in multiple counties.