The Everglades Foundation will take to the road on Wednesday, October 26, 2016, for a 12-day, 20-city bus tour to urge the President, Congress, and Florida’s elected leaders to move forward with the 16-year–old plan to restore the Everglades, protect Florida’s water and save Florida tourism.
“The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is now 16 years old — old enough to get a drivers’ license – but we still don’t have a critical project – the EAA Reservoir,” observed Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg in announcing the tour. “We face deadly algae in the wet season and droughts in the dry months. Years of neglect are wrecking our coasts, starving the Everglades and jeopardizing the water we all drink.”
Eikenberg and a coterie of celebrities and volunteers will fan out across Central and South Florida, asking Floridians to join the 31,000 individuals and businesses who have already signed the “#NoworNeverglades Declaration.”
The declaration is a show of support for increasing water storage south of Lake Okeechobee and construction of the water storage reservoir that was identified in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 2000.
“For 16 years, we have known what must be done, and Florida’s voters have set aside ample funds to do it,” Eikenberg asserted. “All that’s lacking is the political will to get the job done – and that’s what our ‘Road Trip to Restoration’ is all about.”
Just as Florida voters take to the polls in early voting, The Foundation will unveil a policy “roadmap” to elected officials, both in Tallahassee and Washington, on steps necessary to move forward with restoration. Among The Foundation’s recommendations:
- Directing the South Florida Water Management District to expedite construction of the reservoir project that is now not scheduled until 2021;
- Urging the Florida Legislature to support a proposal by incoming Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart) to acquire acreage for the reservoir project;
- Pressing the federal government to appropriate its 50 percent share of the funding for the reservoir.
Volunteers will give out copies of the “It’s Now or Neverglades” Agenda booklet below, which is also available for download here and at http://bit.ly/2eyWP3g.
The tour will kick off with a Wednesday morning press conference in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, a show of support for a community whose residents and businesses have been hurt in recent weeks by incidents of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
“From Wynwood, the ‘Road Trip to Restoration’ will then crisscross the state from Orlando to Islamorada in the Florida Keys, with stops also currently planned in Boca Raton, Bonita Springs, Coral Gables, Dania Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Miami, Naples, Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, St. Petersburg, Sanibel, Stuart, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Weston, and Winter Park,” Eikenberg said. The tour will conclude on Sunday, November 6, 2016.