The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was authorized in 2000 with broad bi-partisan support to protect South Florida’s water and one-of-a-kind environmental resources, including Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and dozens of state parks, wildlife management areas, National Wildlife Refuges, and iconic waterways. Everglades Restoration is a partnership between the State of Florida and the federal government, such that every dollar invested by the state is matched $1-for-$1 by the federal government.
Everglades restoration is all about the water: water for the environment, water for Floridians and water for our thriving economy, which is based largely on real estate, tourism, and water-based recreation. At present, our water supplies are at risk due to decades of agricultural pollution and outdated water infrastructure that is designed to purge hundreds of billions of gallons of freshwater each year, causing environmental, economic and even human health impacts across South Florida.
Everglades restoration provides a much-needed upgrade to water infrastructure across South Florida and will benefit communities from the Florida Keys all the way up to Orlando, including both the east and west coasts. While the existing water infrastructure allowed Florida to grow through the latter half of the 20th Century, we now recognize that the needs of the 21st Century Florida economy are being undermined by this outdated infrastructure.
Everglades Restoration is Worth It!
The projects in the restoration plan will clean, store, and conserve water for the state and for the environment, resulting in significant environmental and economic improvement. These benefits pay big dividends, as a conservative economic analysis showed that for every $1 invested in restoration, Florida’s economy will realize a $4 return in areas of water supplies, real estate and recreational uses such as boating and fishing. A 4:1 return-on-investment (ROI) is a wise investment by any measure.
Key Everglades restoration projects like the Everglades Reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee will allow water managers the tools to store, clean and re-direct freshwater from Lake Okeechobee back to the Everglades and ultimately to Florida Bay and the Florida Keys. This project will result in regional habitat improvements across South Florida. The Everglades Reservoir project will also cut unwanted polluted discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers by 55%, thus reducing the occurrence of toxic blue-green algae that has plagued both coasts over the past decade. It has been estimated that this project will bring an even greater (8:1) ROI.