Next week, millions of Floridians will celebrate America’s 240th birthday with great traditions of outdoor barbecues, fireworks, parades, and enjoying our beautiful waterways and beaches.
Enjoying the day along our waterways or at our beaches may once
have been a given, but not today.
Our fellow Floridians living along Florida’s Treasure Coast, in Southwest Florida and in the Florida Keys are once again experiencing the devastating impact of the way water flows in Florida. It affects all of us.
Toxic, blue-green algae has formed in the St. Lucie river and Indian River Lagoon. The algae blooms have led the local health departments to warn residents and tourists to stay out of the water and even close local beaches. Folks with respiratory issues have also been encouraged to stay away from the polluted water. In the beautiful water of the Florida Keys, a massive seagrass die-off has decimated a prime fishing area of Florida Bay, producing strong odors and deteriorating water quality over more than 50,000 acres.
All of these unfortunate ecological and economic impacts result from the way the current water management system functions – something Everglades restoration is designed to fix. Restoration of the Everglades returns a more natural flow of freshwater from Lake Okeechobee south, where it will be stored, naturally cleansed and sent to the central Everglades, and ultimately to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay in the Florida Keys.
The photographs within this message were recently taken in Martin County, Southwest Florida and Florida Bay. It makes all of us sick to see images of green sludge and dead seagrass in our waterways. For those living in the impacted areas, it is all too common to see these devastating images. People are upset and want action.
Storing significant water south of Lake Okeechobee is the solution to the water crisis we are experiencing on the coasts and in the Florida Keys. #SenditSouth.
A new state law now requires state agencies to prioritize Everglades restoration projects that will reduce the harmful discharges we are witnessing today. Although the solution to today’s problem is long-term, we must begin now to fundamentally change the way Florida stores and manages its water.
On this Independence Day, we must stand together to preserve America’s Everglades and ensure it remains part of our “America the Beautiful”.
Learn more in the following ways in order to help us produce real change. It is time to #SenditSouth.