U.S. Senate approves Everglades water plan

Posted at 1:06 PM, Sep 15, 2016

(ASSOCIATED PRESS, WPTV WEBTEAM) The Senate approved a $10 billion water projects bill Thursday.

Among other projects, the bill would help to restore Florida's Everglades and combat algae blooms that have fouled the state's beaches and rivers.

Some Florida lawmakers were quick to applaud the vote.

“Getting this Central Everglades Planning Project passed has been many years in the making, but it has taken on added urgency this year because of the toxic algae that is hurting our state. This Everglades project is one piece of the puzzle to dealing with the toxic algae, and we have more work to continue doing on that front,” Sen. Marco Rubio said in a statement.

“This is a big win for Florida,” Sen. Bill Nelson said in a news release. “We’ve seen firsthand the effect these toxic discharges can have on Florida’s waterways and the local communities that depend on them. Getting this project approved is a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to restore the Everglades and provide folks some much needed relief.”

"While there is no single solution that will solve the crisis in our waterways overnight, we must move forward on the projects that will provide long-term relief and move us towards the ultimate goal of sending more clean water south.  CEPP (Central Everglades Planning Project) and other critical Everglades restoration projects are vital to our ongoing work to do just that," U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy said in a statement. 

Senator Bill Nelson's office said the bill also includes these Florida projects.

Port Everglades dredging – the bill authorizes $322.7 million to deepen the main shipping channels at Port Everglades from 42 feet to 48 feet.

Flagler County Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project – the bill authorizes a $30.78 million beach renourishment project that will extend an existing dune in central Flagler Beach 2.6 miles to help protect State Road A1A, which is the only north-south hurricane evacuation route for communities along the coast.

Picayune Strand Restoration Project – the bill authorizes an additional $113 million for the Picayune Strand Restoration Project to fund new features and improvements to the original design. This amount is on top of the funds originally approved in 2007, bringing the project’s total authorized cost to $618 million.

Daytona Beach Flood Protection project – the bill authorizes the Army Corp of Engineers to conduct a feasibility study for the Daytona Beach Flood Protection project.

Senators approved the Bill 95-3. The measure now goes to the House.