The Everglades restoration project has entered its second decade and there is hope the project will be complete in the next 10 years.
Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, told WPTV’s Michael Williams on To the Point, the progress he sees now gives more hope than ever.
"We are in year 21 of this great plan to restore America's Everglades, the largest restoration project in all of the world and the good news is that we are seeing tremendous momentum in progress,” Eikenberg said. “Projects are being completed."
A recent lawsuit filed by sugar farmers has some fearing the projects could be delayed.The farmers are suing the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers saying plans for a huge new reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee could violate long standing agreements ensuring water supply for their crops. Eikenberg said he hopes the lawsuit won’t stop the progress he sees.
"We've had too many summers of toxic water going east and west and too many health warnings to stay out of the water,” Eikenberg said. “This is the crown jewel in an effort to restore America's Everglades. We can not be swayed by these types of distracting areas. I'm confident that this project will be finished and we are hoping by 2030"
Eikenberg said the projects have already taken too long and praised current efforts from local, state and federal leaders to fund the projects to restore the Everglades.
"Some of these projects shouldn't languish for 10, 15 years. We want to see these accelerated within that 5 to 8 year time frame,” Eikenberg said. “It takes money and we are seeing substantial investment from Tallahassee and we are hoping that Congress comes through in a big way as well."
He also stressed that since Florida is seeing an increase in population now is the time to act.
“People are continuing to come to Florida and they are moving along the coast,” Eikenberg said. “We need to invest in this beautiful Florida that we have here. When they see man made disasters, and toxic algae is a man made disaster. So to be able to preserve what makes Florida great, our outdoors, this is a critical part to it.”
Eikenberg says overall he is hopeful that the Everglades will be restored for the next generation to love.