October 24, 2013

Recently, state and local elected officials and community leaders from 16 South Florida counties traveled to Washington to advocate on behalf of the 2013 Water Resources Development Act and funding for Everglades restoration projects. 

Now we need your help to pick up the phone or send an email encouraging the U.S. House of Representatives to pass this important bill.  

For more than seven years, Congress has been unable to pass legislation authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works program, which constructs critical navigation and water infrastructure projects across the nation.  

In May, the U.S. Senate passed a water bill and it is now up to the House to pass similar legislation that can be settled in conference and sent to the president for his signature.  

Proposed legislation in the House, known as the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), authorizes more than $10 billion in Corps’ projects nationwide, including almost $1 billion in critical navigation and water projects to improve Florida’s ports and advance Everglades Restoration — an undertaking that will enhance water resources for more than 8 million Americans.

Important Florida projects currently in WRRDA include:

The Caloosahatchee River C-43 West Reservoir Project on Florida’s west coast, which will improve the timing, quantity and quality of freshwater flows to the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary ensuring a more natural, consistent flow of fresh water to the estuary rather than the huge discharges now occurring from Lake Okeechobee.

On the east coast, continued federal authorization is needed for construction of the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area to protect the St. Lucie Estuary and Indian River Lagoon.

The Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetland project in Miami-Dade County, which will increase fresh water flow to help improve the ecological health of Biscayne Bay.

The C-111 Spreader Canal project on the tip of Florida’s peninsula to restore water flows to Florida Bay and improve fisheries and the ecology in the area.  

The Broward County Water Preserve Areas which will help to provide water supply to urban areas, prevent saltwater intrusion and provide groundwater recharge for the Everglades ecosystem.

Navigation projects in Jacksonville and Canaveral Harbor that will increase capacity at our seaports and grow an industry in Florida that already contributes more than $95 billion in economic value to the state.  

These projects are critical to water supply and the environment in densely populated South Florida as well as to the national commitment to restore America’s Everglades. They will also help prepare Florida’s ports for increased global trade, high-wage jobs and a hefty boost to our economy.

While Washington may seem far away and out of touch, it is important that Congress hear from you — the Americans who would directly benefit from this important legislation.  

Ask your House representatives in Washington to stay on task and pass the 2013 Water Resources Reform and Development Act.