South Florida Water Management District

Lisann Ramos

Last November Florida voters passed an amendment that allocated billions in state funds in the course of 20 years for land conservation.

Now environmental groups are urging Florida lawmakers to buy a huge swath of land from U.S. Sugar for Everglades conservation. The plan would store and clean excess water from the lake on the purchased land that would eventually flow down to Everglades National Park.

Florida Trend

According to a panel discussion last Friday, the Florida Legislature did a fair job handling water issues this year. 

Legislators gave millions of dollars for Everglades restoration projects, drinking-water issues and lake clean-ups.

The Arthur R. Marshall Foundation for The Everglades, the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County and Oxbridge Academy hosted the discussion.

Todd Bonlarron handles legislative affairs for Palm Beach County. He says the one thing the Legislature didn’t pay enough attention to was the more than 900 Florida springs.

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Venezuelan boycotters and the history of the I-95 road symbol were our top stories. Other honorable mentions include Ira Glass telling us how weird Florida is as a state, Beckham bringing soccer to Miami and -- where does our water come from? Seriously, where?

Got Water?

Mar 10, 2014
Tom Hudson

 

The good news from last summer's rains is that South Florida's water supply is running above average. But that doesn't ease the concerns of those responsible for finding, protecting, cleaning and distributing freshwater to the more than six million people from Pam Beach County through Key West.

They tell us there is no "average" year for water supply. It's either too wet or too dry. And while it's technically the dry season, there's plenty of water.

dep.state.fl.us

Attorney David Guest is not on the fence about the protection of springs.

“They’re acting as if this renewable resource is something you can simply mine and when it’s gone, it’s gone,” said Guest, head of the Florida office of Earthjustice. “It’s been there for thousands of years, and only recently have we had this attitude that you just take it and the future generations just don’t get anything anymore.”

cuatrok77 / Flickr Creative Commons

How valuable are state-managed conservation lands? It's a question the South Florida Water Management District has put to the public in a multi-month assessment of fee-owned lands throughout the state.

Tricia Woolfenden / WLRN

Several ecologically-significant tracts of public land in Palm Beach County will go under the microscope this month as a state agency continues its multi-region assessment of state-owned lands throughout South Florida. 

Tricia Woolfenden / WLRN

When the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was approved in 2000, it was a historic move to "restore, protect and preserve" water resources in central and south Florida. The 30-year framework was designed with the ultimate goal of restoring historic water-flows to a "dying ecosystem." Project leaders and scientists are now focused on incorporating climate change adaptation into the plans and acknowledging that the Everglades will likely never look the way it once did. 

MyFWC.com / Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

A state agency is considering designating large tracts of state-owned lands as "surplus," including sections that are home to a near-extinct bird endemic to Florida. Surplus lands can be made available for public sale or trade, or used in ways that differ from their original intention as conservation lands.

Tricia Woolfenden

The soon-to-wrap Python Challenge isn't the only headline-making activity in the Everglades this month. Florida's imperiled wetlands have been the focus of several contentious issues in the past week.   

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