Gov. Scott Presents Plan for Everglades Restoration -- Meaning More Engineering

The Everglades is too far gone for anyone to let it take its natural course. South Florida's entire inland economy depends on a water system that stays around the same level all year long, avoids flooding communities (cough, Weston, cough) that are stupidly built in the natural flow of water from Lake Okeechobee south to Florida Bay, and hydrates sensitive natural areas like Everglades National Park.

So when Rick Scott presented his plan yesterday for "restoring" the Everglades, the most recent salvo in a century-long backpedal from when Napoleon Bonaparte Broward decided to drain the whole damn thing, it wasn't about leaving anything alone.

Instead, he was lobbying federal agencies to proceed with a "strategy" concocted by state officials, including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, to construct more water-control projects on public lands.

Yes, that means bucks for somebody. The state's press release cites the governor's desire to "put the ecosystem first and prevent costly, ongoing litigation." That probably means sympathetic regulation of whatever projects proceed.

Some of this is important work that started in the Clinton era to return the Everglades to some semblance of sustainability. Phosphorus leached into the water by heavy fertilizer use in the agricultural area southeast of Lake O needs to be soaked up by "filter marshes," reducing the phosphorus level to below 10 ppm, ideally.

Scott's plan includes such phosphorus control, and other water management projects to be done hand-in-hand with the South Florida Water Management District, which is responsible for flood control and water conservation. 

But in the end of the day, it's construction. And that, maybe, means jobs -- at least Scott told the secretary of the interior, the head of the EPA, and others that it did. 

"This plan puts to use strategic lands already in public ownership so that these projects can be authorized and built promptly," the governor said.

Hey, at least they're not golf courses. Yet.

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Stefan Kamph
Contact: Stefan Kamph