Collier, Naples, Miami leaders team up to protect drinking water, restore Everglades

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Wetlands of Rookery Bay in Collier County. Credit: WINK News.

Community leaders are teaming up to solve the water crisis and protect our drinking water.

“It is one of the most important foundations we have for our quality of life,” Collier County Commissioner Penny Taylor said.

Leaders from Collier County, Naples and Miami hit the waters of Rookery Bay Thursday to see Everglades restoration efforts in person.

“To reduce damaging discharges to the northern estuaries and send clean water south to the Everglades in Florida Bay,” said Marisa Carrozzo, the Everglades and water policy manager for Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

More than 60 restoration efforts are underway including the Picayune Strand Restoration Project in Collier County to renourish and recreate wetlands. The hope is to avoid scenes such as 2018’s red tide event.

“A massive fish kill like that, it’s in your memory,” said Commissioner Ken Russell with City of Miami. And we can’t let that feeling wane in terms of our advocacy because it could easily come back.”

“If we are going to make progress long-term on water issues, which is the single biggest issue facing our region, it’s going to have to come through a coalition of local governments city and county,” Naples Councilman Ray Christman said.

Environmental advocates and Florida politicians have asked the Biden administration for $725 million a year for the next four years for Everglades restoration.

“Funding, it’s really key in order to keep these major projects on track,” Carrozzo said.

These leaders hope to help make that happen.

“Let’s bring us all together to emphasize to the federal government how important the funding of this effort to restore the Everglades,” Taylor said.

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