06 • 08 • 2022
Protect Everglades Restoration Policies, Florida
Goal: to support Everglades restoration and wetlands protection policies in Florida.
Victory! Florida's Everglades and wetlands will continue to be restored and protected. Thanks to the advocacy of Surfrider's staff, 12 Florida chapters, and environmentalists across the state Governor DeSantis vetoed this bad bill on June 8, 2022.
The Surfrider Foundation supports the restoration of the Everglades and Florida's wetlands. Everglades restoration will make South Florida more resilient to threats of sea level rise and climate change. Wetlands protect the carbon stored in peat soils and maximize carbon sequestration capacity across this 3 million acre ecosystem. It also protects South Florida's drinking water from sea level rise and saltwater intrusion.
Since the 1960s, agricultural and stormwater runoff has degraded the water quality of the Everglades. By the 1990s, over 40,000 public acres were impacted by high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen. Restoration efforts were prioritized by Floridians through legislative action with the passage of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) in 2000. Clean water and healthy wetlands supports tourism, recreation, wildlife, and preserves this special place for future generations.
The Florida Senate proposed SB 2508 Environmental Resources, disguised as a budget conforming bill and introduced at the eleventh hour of the eight week legislative session in 2022. In its original form, the bill would create additional pressure by the legislature over the South Florida Water Management District, reinforced by the threat of withholding state funding, and may have minimized its ability to properly implement LOSOM. In addition, the bill would have hindered critical water and land conservation efforts,and made it easier to destroy and develop Florida's precious wetlands.
While the bill was significantly amended and passed by the legislature, the provisions were so harmful and public outcry so great that the bill was vetoed by the Governor. Surfrider celebrates this incredible grassroots victory!