South Florida’s Everglades has been dammed, diked, and drained—in the name of developing America’s superswamp—for decades. Now a coalition of concerned individuals and organizations intend to fix the horrific results of mismanagement of Florida’s waters. Their “Now or Neverglades Declaration” petition targets lawmakers and enforcement agencies, urging them to restore the flow of clean, fresh water to Everglades National Park, Florida Bay, and the Florida Keys.
“Today, Lake Okeechobee is treated as an impounding reservoir constantly at risk of overflow. To manage lake levels, too much untreated fresh water is discharged into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. Consequently, the lack of fresh water flow through the Everglades makes Florida Bay, the largest contiguous seagrass meadow in the world and crown jewel of Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys, too salty.”
Resulting salinity imbalances in all three estuaries cause seagrass die-offs, dangerous algal blooms, multi-year ecosystem collapse, and economic hardship. And Florida’s $9.7 billion fishing industry (129,000 jobs), $10.4 billion boating industry (83,000 jobs) and $89.1 billion tourism industry (1.1 million jobs) need healthy estuaries.
By signing the Now or Neverglades Declaration, you’re supporting more than 200 Everglades scientists who believe that increased storage, treatment, and conveyance of water south of Lake Okeechobee is essential to stopping the damaging discharges to the coastal estuaries. Please help spread the word.