Over the next few weeks, Congress will debate the scope and priorities of the the America Jobs Plan, one goal of which is to “Maximize the resilience of land and water resources to protect communities and the environment.” In detailing the need to “restore nature-based infrastructure,” the plan specifically calls out the need to for investment in “the protection and restoration of major land and water resources like Florida’s Everglades.” This is an incredible opportunity for Congress to fully fund the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and jump-start the already planned and designed restoration of the River of Grass.
To that end, Orvis joins a coalition of conservation groups–including long-time partners The Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust–in urging Congress to make a $5 billion Federal investment to complete Everglades restoration in accordance with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Integrated Delivery Schedule (IDS). Restoration of America’s Everglades is a national climate imperative. A restored Everglades will enhance the carbon sequestration capacity of an ecosystem that spans 3 million acres and serves as the East Coast’s largest carbon bank. Congress has a generational opportunity to complete one of the world’s largest ecosystem restoration projects and reverse large scale manmade impacts on our environment.
The reasons for restoring the Everglades are myriad and an ecosystem in balance will clearly benefit the health and well-being of fish, wildlife, and humans in the region. But there’s another important reason for prioritizing this project: to help slow climate change by protecting carbon sequestration, providing storm-surge resilience, and safeguarding drinking water from saltwater intrusion. A restored Everglades will also help sustain Florida’s $86B tourism industry, including $11B recreational fishing industry and $23B recreational boating industry and hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Now is the time to include full funding ($5 billion) in the American Jobs Plan legislation to complete Everglades Restoration.