Water in the Everglades has been polluted with agricultural runoff and high levels of mercury.© www.nps.gov
With the fortuitous development of U.S. Sugar unexpectedly offering to sell their land to the state, and South Florida Water Management District’s vote in December 2008 to approve it, the historic restoration of the Everglades must begin now in earnest, and with federal support.
Without the new administration’s backing, broken processes, funding shortfalls, and development pressures will continue to compete with restoration, all while the "Glades" and its inhabitants increasingly decline. A recent report by the National Research Council (NRC), an independent body directed by Congress to review restoration progress, found that, "CERP is bogged down in budgeting, planning, and procedural matters and is making only scant progress toward achieving restoration goals." Although some projects have begun construction, not one has been completed. Even worse, Congress has not given any funding for construction of CERP projects.
On January 8-11, the Everglades Coalition will hold its 24th annual conference in Miami. Hosted by the National Parks Conservation Association, the open-to-the-public conference will bring together leaders, elected officials, community and environmental activists, and the general public to discuss the opportunities and challenges in 2009 and beyond in efforts to restore this great "Wetland of International Importance." At the conference the hard work yet to be done will become very clear to all in attendance. Sessions will focus on topics such as growth management, political and public partnerships, endangered and invasive species, wildlife habitat, energy policies, and water quality. We urge you to join us at the Hilton Miami Downtown to learn more.
In leading the charge, Governor Crist and now the South Florida Water Management District have set a high bar. If their vision for the Everglades is to be successful, the state of Florida needs President-elect Obama and the federal government to sustain their commitment to a strong federal-state partnership.
The world is watching to gauge its success, both politically and ecologically. Will the Everglades—an International Biosphere Reserve, Unesco World Heritage Site, ecosystem found nowhere else on the planet, and place visited by people from all over the world, be rescued in time?
CONTACTS: Everglades Coalition
To have a registration form faxed or mailed to you, contact Pat Carr (954) 942-3113 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For registration information, fees, and hotel information, contact Sara Fain, National Parks Conservation Association at 305-546-6689; email@example.com
For event lodging: The Hilton Miami Downtown, (305) 374-0000.
SARA FAIN is national co-chair of the Everglades Coalition and Everglades Restoration program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association.