Senate passes Water Resources Development Act

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The United States Senate voted yes on the $1.6 billion Water Resources Development Act Wednesday that includes authorization of the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir.

The final vote was 99 to 1.

The Water Resources Development Act authorizes numerous Florida projects, including two beach renourishment projects and a project critical to the environment in South Florida, the construction of a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to help store water and filter toxins that contribute to algal blooms.

“There are a lot of good environmental projects in the water bill, including the authorization of a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to help prevent future outbreaks of green algae,” Nelson said. “Meantime, the state has to do more to improve environmental protections and reduce the amount of pollutants that flow into the lake in the first place.”

The project is critical to the South Florida environment. The current procedure has Everglades water proliferated with red tide transferred into the Caloosahatchee and the St. Lucie River.

“The red tide that has killed over 2200 tons of marine life,” Rae Ann Wessel said, from the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. “Devastation to the aquatic environment is compounded by public health risks that both of these actual toxic blooms have created.”

While red tide has decreased in the last couple weeks, it has been an environmental disaster in South Florida. It has caused billions in damages to the environmental and business community.

Eric Eikenberg believes the Everglades restoration project will change that. “It brings us into the 21st-century economy,” Eikenberg said, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, “that is driven by tourism, real estate, recreation, all the things that rely upon clean water.”

Shane Spring, from the Florida Realtors Association, believes the project is urgent. She attributes the water problem to millions of dollars of business and decrease real estate values of the previous months.

However, Spring, who has been actively lobbying for the passage of the bill has expressed surprise about the Water Resources Development Act.

“Never been to this point now where we actually have cohesiveness of all our legislators and our local businesses,” Spring said, to get a bill passed.

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