News Section: Environment
Audubon Expresses Support for Everglades Water Quality Plan
MIAMI -- Audubon Florida expressed support this week, for the South Florida Water Management District’s plan that responds to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Amended Determination and its call for a newly proposed Everglades water quality standard and an enforceable clean-up plan.
“This package of solutions provides assurance that water entering the natural system will finally be cleaned up," said Eric Draper, Audubon Florida’s executive director. "This is a necessary step toward getting fresh water into the parched Everglades.”
The plan builds on recent initiatives by the federal government and state of Florida, including projects outlined in EPA’s Amended Determination and the state’s work to expand water treatment and storage. Lands acquired with federal funds and lands recently purchased from US Sugar will be used for treatment.
Audubon is an intervener in the two decades-old litigation seeking a permanent end to pollution in the Everglades. Along with other environmental groups, Audubon has long pushed for the next wave of actions to clean up the dirty water leaving agricultural fields and entering the Everglades. That polluted water alters the balance of life and is responsible for significant loss of wildlife habitat.
“The EPA and the state are to be commended for coming to terms on treatment plans, on a water quality standard and on enforcement,” Draper said. “The schedule contains enforceable deadlines for the plan components and compliance with requirements to improve water quality. We believe that it may be possible in the future to move the timetable forward if consensus is reached on additional funding.”
Audubon pledges to work with Governor Scott and the South Florida Water Management District to urge the Legislature to approve timely funding for the water quality plan and to rebuild support for overall Everglades restoration.
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