Additional land within the Everglades Agricultural Area is needed to store, CLEAN, and move water from Lake Okeechobee south through the River of Grass is essential to reduce damaging discharges to the east and west coast estuaries. Sending water south would restore a healthy flow of fresh water to Florida Bay, which is presently in collapse due to hyper-saline conditions. Restoring the natural flow of fresh water would safeguard the drinking water source of 8 million Floridians by discontinuing the saltwater intrusion into the Miami aquifer.
Outlined and documented thanks to a study conducted by the Water Institute of the University of Florida, and supported by 207 well-respected Everglades restoration scientists, the critical missing piece of Everglades restoration is increased storage, treatment and conveyance of fresh water from the lake southward. It is the opinion of the Water Institute of the University of Florida that the existing Everglades restoration projects, namely CERP and CEPP, are not enough to effectively relieve the ecosystems in question without additional movement, storage and treatment of water within the EAA. The problem has been studied to death. The science and engineering is understood. The money is accessible. We have to identify and acquire more land to send the water south now.