FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 7, 2015
Media Contact: Will Abberger, (850) 222-7911 ext. 23
Tallahassee, FL (April 7, 2015) - Florida’s Water and Land Legacy strongly supports the acquisition of the 46,800 acres of land in the Everglades Agricultural Area under contract between the South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Sugar Corp.
As water from Lake Okeechobee continues to threaten the communities along Florida’s east and west coasts, this purchase is critical in order to move water south into the Everglades. Reducing the harmful discharges currently plaguing the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers and estuaries is an important piece of the larger Everglades restoration plan.
This land is needed for the EAA Reservoir Project within the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The EAA Reservoir Project is designed to provide water supply for the Everglades. The opportunity to purchase this land is time-limited with the option expiring this October.
Everglades restoration is part of the intent of Amendment 1, which passed with 75% of the vote in November 2014. The Coalition supports utilizing Amendment 1 dollars, through the bonding of these funds, to purchase this vital land.
“Everglades restoration is clearly one of the main purposes of Amendment 1,” said Will Abberger, chair of Florida’s Water and Land Legacy, the sponsor committee for Amendment 1. “State purchase of the land south of Lake Okeechobee is a critically important component of restoring the Everglades.”
Florida’s Water and Land Legacy (“FWLL”) is the sponsor committee of Amendment 1, the Water and Land Conservation Amendment. FWLL drafted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment, collected nearly 1 million signatures to place Amendment 1 on the November 2014 ballot, and ran the successful voter education campaign that resulted in an overwhelming 75 percent approval of Amendment 1. FWLL was formed in response to severe cuts to popular and effective state conservation programs like Florida Forever and Everglades restoration. FWLL Steering Committee members are: 1000 Friends of Florida, Audubon Florida, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Defenders of Wildlife, Everglades Foundation, Florida Conservation Coalition, Florida Land Trust Alliance, Florida Wildlife Federation, League of Women Voters of Florida, Rails to Trails Conservancy, Sierra Club, The Conservation Fund, and Trust for Public Land.