In January, the Governor of Florida announced a $130 million investment to continue work on restoring the Everglades and South Florida’s ecosystem. In a news release, Scott said that the 2014 budget request “will fund critical projects that will improve water quality for families and businesses that rely on these natural treasures. These dollars will go towards improving water quality, mitigating impacts of Lake Okeechobee’s discharges on our estuaries and diverting more fresh water south to help restore the Everglades.”
The proposed investment includes $40 million to speed up completion of the C-44 Stormwater Treatment Areas for Martin and St. Lucie Counties. Also, $30 million for a three year installment for the Tamiami Trail project, which will allow water to flow south into the Everglades and $32 million in recurring funding as part of the Everglades Water Quality Restoration Plan and funds to complete the Kissimmee river restoration project, which will store and clean water heading into Lake Okeechobee.
The day before the Governor made the announcement on the proposed Everglades funding he rolled out a $55 million funding plan for restoration and protection of Florida’s springs.
The recommendation dedicates $25 million in funding for water quantity and quality protection and restoration projects. The benefits of these projects would be to reduce and eliminate nutrient impacts and ensure the proper flow to the springs. Alternative water supply development in critical springs areas will receive $25 million to help protect spring flow. Finally, a $5 million dollar allocation to the Florida Department of Agriculture and consumer Services will help agricultural operations increase water conservation in their irrigation practices and deploy more efficient fertilization practices.
Earlier this month, citing the up and down funding for conservation projects, a coalition of environmental groups announced that they had obtained enough signatures to place a constitutional amendment on the 2014 ballot in Florida that would dedicate a consistent amount of funding each year to the Everglades and other environmental projects.