July 23, 2012


Florida population doubling
every 20 years from
1900 (0.5 mil.) to 2000 (16 mil.) 
The contemporary “Everglades restoration” is really a misnomer. The Everglades can be restored as much as the prairies can with hundreds of thousands of buffalo roaming around. The truth is that the Everglades can never be restored – to its original state and behavior. A 100+ years passed by – and Florida population mushroomed. There has to be protection against devastating floods, there has to be agriculture – and/but there has to be a secured freshwater supply. Any ‘restoration’ could only be to a certain point. The question is – just where is that ‘feasible’ and ‘reasonable’ point ?
The lack of knowledge and understanding of the Everglades by our great- and grandfathers resulted in a dangerous damage to its unique function. That is being only very slowly corrected now as reflected in recent judicial decisions and schemes such as the CERP, new Water Quality Plan, CEPP and other efforts. Yes, after a century of benefiting enormously from the Everglades, we have to seriously and responsibly think of paying the piper.
Floridian waters, let alone the greater Everglades, are a deplorable mess, sparking a big controversy between the State (FDEP) and the US Clean Water Act (EPA).
To clean and regulate water that would flow to replenish the WCAs and the Everglades National Park requires building expensive reservoirs and phosphorus-removing STAs. Very sophisticated modeling work is showing us the way. Unfortunately, models do not show us just who will pay for what.
There is a long list of specific tasks to do all around the FL peninsula – as well as to argue about. The different jurisdictions and stakeholders involved make for a good gridlock. The judges involved are trying to cut through this proverbial ‘gordian knot’. There is a snail-paced progress (or glacial slowness as Judge Gold qualified the progress for cleaning the Everglades) with one postponement after another – the latest talks about year 2025.
In the meantime, we are reminded of the "POLLUTERS PAY" amendment, anchored in the FL Constitution dealing with pollution in the Everglades Agricultural Area, to shift water clean-up costs from the TAXPAYER to the POLLUTER.

In the meantime, also, the seas are rising. Could there be a hope for at least a modest and reasonably paced and financed ‘restoration’ ?

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