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The History of Everglades Restoration

The following is a timeline of significant legislation, litigation, projects, and other milestones in Everglades restoration throughout the years. For additional information, see our list of Everglades History Resources.

1881
1881

Hamilton Disston Attempts to Drain the Everglades

Hamilton Disston Attempts to Drain the Everglades

Real estate developer Hamilton Disston buys 4 million acres with plans to drain the land for agriculture. Disston constructed a canal connecting the Lake Okeechobee to Lake Hicpochee, providing the first outlet of water from Lake Okeechobee to..Read More

1907
1907

State Establishes Everglades Drainage District

State Establishes Everglades Drainage District

At the direction of Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward the Everglades Drainage District is created to reclaim the Everglades for agricultural production. Over the following years, the Everglades Drainage District constructed several canals, which continue to divert water from..Read More

1924
1924

The State of Florida Constructs The St. Lucie Canal

The State of Florida Constructs The St. Lucie Canal

The state builds the St. Lucie canal to connect the St. Lucie River to Lake Okeechobee.

1930
1930

River and Harbor Act of 1930

River and Harbor Act of 1930

Following two hurricanes in 1926 and 1928, which killed more than 2,500 people, Congress enacted the Rivers and Harbor Act of 1930, authorizing the construction of 67.8 miles of levees along the south shore of Lake Okeechobee and..Read More

1947
1947

“The Everglades: River of Grass” is Published

“The Everglades: River of Grass” is Published

In her highly influential book, Marjory Stoneman Douglas brings national attention to the degradation of America’s Everglades.

1947

Everglades National Park Established

Everglades National Park Established

Congress sets aside 1.5 million acres of conservation land to create Everglades National Park. The park is protected under the National Park Service Organic Act (16 U.S.C. § 1) among other laws.

1948
1948

Central and Southern Florida Project for Flood Control and Other Purposes (“The C&SF Project”) is Authorized by Congress

Central and Southern Florida Project for Flood Control and Other Purposes (“The C&SF Project”) is Authorized by Congress

Congress authorizes the C&SF Project providing for a network of more than a thousand miles of canals, levees, and water control structures throughout central and south Florida. These structures, along with previous attempts to drain and ditch the..Read More

1948

Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Established

Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Established

The 1948 C&SF Project established more than 480,000 acres south of Lake Okeechobee as the EAA. This region is now more than 700,000 acres with the vast majority of those acres used for farming sugarcane.

1948

Construction of Water Conservation Areas Begins

Construction of Water Conservation Areas Begins

The 1948 C&SF Project also provided for the construction of three Water Conservation Areas known as WCA 1, WCA 2, and WCA 3. Construction was completed in 1962. WCA 1 is now also known as the Arthur R...Read More

1951
1951

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Establishes the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Establishes the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the South Florida Water Management District enter into a license agreement under the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, establishing Water Conservation Area 1 as a national wildlife refuge.  The refuge was renamed..Read More

1962
1962

The Canal 111 Project

The Canal 111 Project

By way of the Flood Control Act of 1962, Congress authorizes the Canal 111 (C-111) South Dade project, located adjacent to the eastern boundary of Everglades National Park, as a modification of the South Dade County portion of..Read More

1968
1968

Modifications to the C-111 Project

Modifications to the C-111 Project

In 1968, Congress authorized modifications to the C-111 Project for the construction of the Everglades National Park-South Dade Conveyance System (enlarged canals and additional structures/pump stations) to provide water supply to Everglades National Park and South Dade County...Read More

1970
1970

Congress Enacts the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 4321, et. seq.)

Congress Enacts the National Environmental Policy Act  (42 U.S.C. §§ 4321, et. seq.)

Congress enacts NEPA requiring federal agencies to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for every major federal action having a significant impact to the human environment. Agencies are required in an EIS to examine alternatives to the proposed..Read More

1970

“Minimum Water Delivery Schedule” for Everglades National Park and modifications to the C-111 Project

“Minimum Water Delivery Schedule” for Everglades National Park and modifications to the C-111 Project

In response to concerns voiced by the Department of the Interior about failing ecosystems in Everglades National Park, Congress approves a “floor” for water to be delivered to the Park through the C&SF Project, guaranteeing a minimum amount..Read More

1972
1972

The Florida Legislature Enacts The Water Resources Act of 1972 (Chapter 373, Florida Statutes)

The Florida Legislature Enacts The Water Resources Act of 1972 (Chapter 373, Florida Statutes)

Following a special water conference convened by Governor Askew in response to water shortages, salt-water intrusion into well fields, and fires in the Everglades, the Florida Legislature enacts the Water Resources Act.  Considered by many scholars as one..Read More

1973
1973

Congress Enacts the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §§ 1251, et. seq.)

Congress Enacts the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §§ 1251, et. seq.)

Congress enacts the Clean Water Act to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” The Act provides a comprehensive framework for addressing both point source and non-point source pollution. States are directed,..Read More

1973

Congress Enacts the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531, et. seq.)

Congress Enacts the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531, et. seq.)

Congress enacts the Endangered Species Act (ESA) “to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved.”  The ESA establishes a framework for listing species, protecting their critical habitat, requiring..Read More

1974
1974

The U.S. Department of the Interior Establishes Big Cypress National Preserve

The U.S. Department of the Interior Establishes Big Cypress National Preserve

The federal government creates the first national preserve in the national park system. This more than 700,000-acre preserve was established following a failed attempt by the state to use the site for a massive jetport.

1983
1983

The Experimental Program

The Experimental Program

In November 1983, as a result of adverse effects within Everglades National Park related to high rainfall and water management practices in south Florida, Congress enacts legislation (the Supplemental Appropriations Act) authorizing the “Experimental Program,” which allows the..Read More

1988
1988

United States v. South Florida Water Management District, 847 F. Supp. 1567 (S.D. Fla. 1992) (“The Moreno Case”)

United States v. South Florida Water Management District, 847 F. Supp. 1567 (S.D. Fla. 1992) (“The Moreno Case”)

The federal government sues the South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation alleging violations of state and federal law regarding pollution  (particularly phosphorus) in the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park. The..Read More

1989
1989

Everglades National Park Protection and Expansion Act

Everglades National Park Protection and Expansion Act

Congress passes the Everglades National Park Protection and Expansion Act, incorporating Northeast Shark River Slough (east of the L-67 extension) under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.  This legislation also, among other things, authorizes Modified Water Deliveries..Read More

1990
1990

Jeopardy Opinion for Mod-Waters Project

Jeopardy Opinion for Mod-Waters Project

The FWS concludes that the Mod-Waters Project, as proposed, will jeopardize the Everglade Snail Kite and issues a reasonable and prudent alternative. 

1991
1991

The Florida Legislature Passes the Everglades Protection Act

The Florida Legislature Passes the Everglades Protection Act

The Everglades Protection Act directs the State to establish and implement the Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) plan to restore the Everglades.  This plan served as the precursor to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) enacted by..Read More

1992
1992

Water Resources Development Act of 1992

Water Resources Development Act of 1992

Congress authorizes the Corps to study the effectiveness of the C&SF Project, eventually leading to the publication of the Central and Southern Florida Comprehensive Review Study (also known as the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan or CERP) in 1999.

1992

Kissimmee River Restoration Project Begins

Kissimmee River Restoration Project Begins

Congress authorizes the restoration of the Kissimmee River ecosystem, which had been degraded by dredging and channelization beginning in the 1960s. This nearly $1 billion project was sponsored by the Corps and the SFWMD and sought to restore..Read More

1992

The United States and State of Florida Enter into “The Consent Decree”

The United States and State of Florida Enter into “The Consent Decree”

The parties to United States v. South Florida Water Management District, 847 F. Supp. 1567 (S.D. Fla. 1992) enter into a consent decree approved by Judge Moreno. Based upon the requirements of the Everglades Protection Act enacted a..Read More

1992

The General Design Memorandum (GDM) for “Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park

The General Design Memorandum (GDM) for “Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park

The Corps finalizes the GDM, a plan — required by the 1989 Everglades National Park Protection and Expansion Act — to modify operations of the C&SF Project with a rainfall driven schedule, along with some structural modifications.

1994
1994

Everglades Forever Act (Fla. Stat. § 373.4592)

Everglades Forever Act (Fla. Stat. § 373.4592)

The Florida legislature enacts the Everglades Forever Act. The Act eliminates the SWIM plan and establishes a narrative water quality standard for phosphorus that prohibits waters in the Everglades Protection Area to be altered so as to cause..Read More

1994

The State Begins Construction of Stormwater Treatment Areas

The State Begins Construction of Stormwater Treatment Areas

Pursuant to the 1992 Consent Decree the State agrees to build and operate a minimum of 32,600 acres of STAs and to require farmers to use BMPs to reduce nutrient pollution. 

1994

Final Integrated General Reevaluation Report for the C-111 Project

Final Integrated General Reevaluation Report for the C-111 Project

In May 1994, the Corps finalizes its Final Integrated General Reevaluation Report for the C-111 Project.  The C-111 Project boundary is that portion of the C&SF Project including and south of the S-331 structure.

1995
1995

FWS Jeopardy Opinion for Test 7 of the Experimental Program

FWS Jeopardy Opinion for Test 7 of the Experimental Program

In October 1995, the FWS concludes that Test 7 of the 1983-approved Experimental Program (which would have added to changes already explored in earlier tests, changing flows through the L-31W canal into Taylor Slough) would jeopardize the Cape..Read More

1996
1996

Everglades Trust Fund (Florida Constitution, Art. X., Sec. 17)

Everglades Trust Fund (Florida Constitution, Art. X., Sec. 17)

Following a ballot initiative, the Florida Constitution is amended providing for the administration of a trust fund administered by the South Florida Water Management District for the purposes of conservation and protection of natural resources and abatement of..Read More

1996

Florida Voters Pass the “Polluter Pays” Amendment (Florida Constitution, Art. II, Sec. 7)

Florida Voters Pass the “Polluter Pays” Amendment (Florida Constitution, Art. II, Sec. 7)

Following a ballot initiative, the Florida Constitution is amended providing “Those in the Everglades Agricultural Area who cause water pollution within the Everglades Protection Area or the Everglades Agricultural Area shall be primarily responsible for paying the costs..Read More

1996

The Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (WRDA 1996), CERP Planning and the C-111 Project

The Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (WRDA 1996), CERP Planning and the C-111 Project

In WRDA 1996, Congress authorizes continued planning for CERP as well as changes to the C-111 Project, consistent with the 1994 Final Integrated General Reevaluation Report.

1997
1997

Reinitiation of Consultation for the Mod-Waters Project and the Experimental Program

Reinitiation of Consultation for the Mod-Waters Project and the Experimental Program

In November 1997, the Corps agrees to reinitiate consultation under the ESA on the Mod-Waters Project and the Experimental Program, because of concerns related to a variety of endangered and threatened species including the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow..Read More

1999
1999

Jeopardy and Adverse Modification Biological Opinion for Mod-Waters, the Experimental Program and the C-111 Project

Jeopardy and Adverse Modification Biological Opinion for Mod-Waters, the Experimental Program and the C-111 Project

In February 1999, the FWS issues a Biological Opinion regarding the Mod-Waters Project, the Experimental Program, and the C-111 Project. Evaluating the effects of construction features only, because operations had not been developed for the three projects, the..Read More

1999

Water Managers Publish the Central and Southern Florida Comprehensive Review Study (“Restudy”)

Water Managers Publish the Central and Southern Florida Comprehensive Review Study (“Restudy”)

In a document commonly known as the “Restudy” or “Yellow Book” the Corps and SFMWD identify more than 60 projects to improve the quality, quantity, timing, and distribution of water through the Everglades.  These projects include: A 200,000..Read More

1999

Florida Wildlife Federation, Inc. et. al. v. Browner (N.D. Fla. 1999)

Florida Wildlife Federation, Inc. et. al. v. Browner (N.D. Fla. 1999)

Following the state’s failure to establish total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for many waters throughout the state and a lawsuit by environmental organizations, the court approved a consent decree directing the EPA to establish TMDLs for over five..Read More

1999

Florida Watershed Protection Act (§403.067, Fla. Stat.)

Florida Watershed Protection Act (§403.067, Fla. Stat.)

The Florida legislature directs FDEP to evaluate state waters and establish TMDLs for waters with impaired water quality.  FDEP may develop basin management plans to achieve these TMDLs and promulgate rules establishing BMPs.

1999

The Interior Department and State of Florida Finalize Deal to Purchase Talisman Property

The Interior Department and State of Florida Finalize Deal to Purchase Talisman Property

Federal and state agencies agree to purchase approximately 50,000 acres of former sugar plantation land for Everglades restoration.

2000
2000

Congress Enacts the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 and Authorizes the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)

Congress Enacts the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 and Authorizes the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)

To undo much of the environmental damage caused by the C&SF Project, Congress passes the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (WRDA 2000) and approves CERP. Under CERP, the Corps and SFWMD, in consultation with other Federal, state,..Read More

2000

The Florida Legislature Creates the Save Our Everglades Trust Fund (373.472, Fla. Stat.)

The Florida Legislature Creates the Save Our Everglades Trust Fund (373.472, Fla. Stat.)

The Save Our Everglades Trust Fund is established within the Department of Environmental Protection.  The funds are to be spent on implementing CERP, as well as other projects including the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Protection Plan, the Caloosahatchee River..Read More

2000

Florida Legislature Enacts the Lake Okeechobee Protection Act (373.4595, Florida Statutes)

Florida Legislature Enacts the Lake Okeechobee Protection Act (373.4595, Florida Statutes)

The state legislature directs FDEP, SFWMD, and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to establish programs to restore and protect Lake Okeechobee.  The Act directs the agencies to establish the Lake Okeechobee Protection Plan to provide..Read More

2000

Interim Structural and Operational Plan

Interim Structural and Operational Plan

Following both repeated emergency deviations from Experimental Program Test 7 operations to protect endangered species and high level consultation among various agencies, the Corps implements the Interim Structural and Operational Plan (ISOP), as an Emergency Deviation from Test..Read More

2001
2001

The Florida Legislature Establishes Florida Forever

The Florida Legislature Establishes Florida Forever

Florida’s premier land acquisition program is established in July. To date the state has purchased more than 718,126 acres of land for conservation under this program.

2001

Court Approves Modified Consent Decree

Court Approves Modified Consent Decree

The state had moved the court in United States v. South Florida Water Management District (S.D. Fla. 1992) to modify the 1992 consent decree following the enactment of the Everglades Forever Act. The court grants the state’s request..Read More

2001

U.S. Air Force Rejects Commercial Airport Proposal on Former Homestead Air Force Base

U.S. Air Force Rejects Commercial Airport Proposal on Former Homestead Air Force Base

A proposal to develop a commercial airport between Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park is rejected by the Air Force, following extensive opposition from nearly fifty environmental organizations as well as other federal agencies.

2002
2002

The Interim Operational Plan (IOP)

The Interim Operational Plan (IOP)

Federal and Florida agencies reach agreement and finalize the IOP to replace the ISOP.

2002

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians v. United States of America: Miccosukee Tribe’s Legal Challenge to the IOP (“Moore Case 1”)

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians v. United States of America:  Miccosukee Tribe’s Legal Challenge to the IOP (“Moore Case 1”)

In September 2002, the Miccosukee Tribe challenges the Corps’ approval and implementation of IOP in federal court in Florida under various federal environmental and other laws, including nuisance under federal common law and the Indian Trust doctrine.  

2002

Environmental Groups Challenge the Corps’ Approval of Lake Belt Mining Permits (Case no. 03-23427 (WMH))

Environmental Groups Challenge the Corps’ Approval of Lake Belt Mining Permits (Case no. 03-23427 (WMH))

In December 2002, several environmental groups challenged the Corps’ approval of permits to 12 mining companies that approved rock mining on more than 5,000 acres of land in the historic Everglades.  The case was filed in federal District..Read More

2003
2003

Environmental Groups’ Intervention in the Moore Case 1

Environmental Groups’ Intervention in the Moore Case 1

The Natural Resources Defense Council and several other environmental organizations (the NRDC Intervenors) intervene in the Moore Case 1 in 2003.  The intervenors also file their own cross-claim, demanding the expeditious implementation of “marsh operational criteria” — operational..Read More

2003

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Promulgates its Programmatic Regulations for CERP (33 C.F.R. Part 385)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Promulgates its Programmatic Regulations for CERP (33 C.F.R. Part 385)

The Corps adopts final rules to implement CERP and to ensure its goals and purposes are achieved.

2003

SFWMD Adopts the Conceptual Plan

SFWMD Adopts the Conceptual Plan

SFWMD adopts a plan (Conceptual Plan) to extend the final deadline for achieving the 10 ppb phosphorus standard to 2026.

2003

The Everglades Forever Act Amendments

The Everglades Forever Act Amendments

The Florida legislature amends the Everglades Forever Act to adopt SFWMD Conceptual Plan and establishes a 2016 deadline for meeting the phosphorus standard with the option of extending it to 2026.

2004
2004

Acceler8

Acceler8

In early 2004, Florida announces plan to “expedite” construction of eight projects or groups of projects, comprising 11 CERP projects and one non-CERP project the State deems particularly important.

2004

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians v. United States; Friends of the Everglades v. United States (Consolidated)(04-21448-CIV-GOLD) (“Gold Case”)

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians v. United States; Friends of the Everglades v. United States (Consolidated)(04-21448-CIV-GOLD) (“Gold Case”)

Plaintiffs file suit to compel EPA to review and disapprove Florida’s amended Everglades Forever Act, claiming it establishes new water quality standards that differ from those previously in place under the Clean Water Act.

2004

Judge Gold Finds EPA Must Approve or Disapprove of Amendments to Everglades Forever Act

Judge Gold Finds EPA Must Approve or Disapprove of Amendments to Everglades Forever Act

In the 2004 Gold Case, the court holds that the Everglades Forever Act amendments constitute new or revised water quality standards and EPA must approve or disapprove these standards. The numeric standard for phosphorus entering the Everglades Protection..Read More

2005
2005

United States v. South Florida Water Management District, 373 F. Supp. 2d 1338 (S.D. Fla. 2005)

United States v. South Florida Water Management District, 373 F. Supp. 2d 1338 (S.D. Fla. 2005)

Judge Moreno finds phosphorus levels have been exceeded in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.

2005

Florida Wildlife Federation, et. al. v. United States Army Corps of En’grs., 401 F.Supp.2d 1298 (S.D. Fla. 2005)

Florida Wildlife Federation, et. al. v. United States Army Corps of En’grs., 401 F.Supp.2d 1298 (S.D. Fla. 2005)

Environmental groups challenge the Corps’ decision to issue a dredge and fill permit under the Clean Water Act for the construction of a biotech facility in western Palm Beach County. The court invalidates the Corps’ decision finding that..Read More

2005

Corps Begins Work Rehabilitating the Herbert Hoover Dike

Corps Begins Work Rehabilitating the Herbert Hoover Dike

The Army Corps of Engineers begins repairing this aging structure to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure, which would threaten communities to the south. This more than $500 million project is expected to be completed by 2025.

2006
2006

Sierra Club v. Flowers, 423 F.Supp.2d 1273 (S.D. Fla. 2006)

Sierra Club v. Flowers, 423 F.Supp.2d 1273 (S.D. Fla. 2006)

Judge Hoeveler overturns Corps’ decision to issue permits allowing more than 5000 acres of historic Everglades wetlands in the Lake Belt area to be mined for rock to be used in roads and other construction projects and sets..Read More

2006

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians v. United States (Miccosukee III), 420 F. Supp. 2d 1324, 1345 (S.D. Fla. 2006)(Moore Case 1)

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians v. United States (Miccosukee III), 420 F. Supp. 2d 1324, 1345 (S.D. Fla. 2006)(Moore Case 1)

The Court orders that the Corps complete a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to assess the effects of the changes from IOP Alternative 7 to Alternative 7R (relief requested by both the Miccosukee Tribe and the NRDC Intervenors),..Read More

2006

Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and Amended Biological Opinion for IOP

Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and Amended Biological Opinion for IOP

In response to Moore Case 1, the Corps completes an SEIS for the IOP.  As part of that process, the FWS develops a Biological Opinion evaluating whether the IOP would jeopardize endangered or threatened species or adversely modify..Read More

2006

Friends of the Everglades, Inc. et. al. v. Dean, No. 02-80309 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 11, 2006)

Friends of the Everglades, Inc. et. al. v. Dean, No. 02-80309 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 11, 2006)

Judge Altonaga concludes that “back-pumping” water from the EAA canals through the S-2, S-3, S-4 pump stations and into Lake Okeechobee without a NPDES permit violates the Clean Water Act.  The court later orders the SFWMD to “apply…for..Read More

2007
2007

Miccosukee Tribe v. United States of America, et al. , 528 F. Supp. 2d 1317 (S.D. Fla. 2007) (Moore Case 2)

Miccosukee Tribe v. United States of America, et al. , 528 F. Supp. 2d 1317 (S.D. Fla. 2007) (Moore Case 2)

In 2007, the Miccosukee Tribe amended an earlier (November 2005) complaint that had challenged the FWS’s 2002 Biological Opinion approving the IOP.  The amended complaint includes additional challenges to a Biological Opinion included in the SEIS that the..Read More

2007

WRDA 2007: Congress Authorizes the Indian River Lagoon-South (IRL-South), the Picayune Strand, and Site 1 Impoundment Projects

WRDA 2007:  Congress Authorizes the Indian River Lagoon-South (IRL-South), the Picayune Strand, and Site 1 Impoundment Projects

IRL-South Project. Congress authorizes the IRL-South Project to improve water quality in the St. Lucie Estuary and IRL.  The project includes four reservoirs (totaling 130,000 acre feet of storage), four STAs (totaling 8,700 acres), 90,000 acres of habitat restoration,..Read More

2007

The Florida Legislature Creates the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program (NEEP)

The Florida Legislature Creates the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program (NEEP)

The state legislature expands the Lake Okeechobee Protection Act of 2000 to include projects to restore and protect the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers and Estuaries. The Act includes, among other projects, the Phase II Technical Plan of..Read More

2007

Natural Resources Defense Council et al. v Antwerp et al. (Case No. 07-80444-CIV-MIDDLEBROOKS/JOHNSON)(EAA A-1 Reservoir Case)

Natural Resources Defense Council et al. v Antwerp et al. (Case No. 07-80444-CIV-MIDDLEBROOKS/JOHNSON)(EAA A-1 Reservoir Case)

Environmental groups challenge the Corps’ approval of Florida’s plan to build CERP projects — in particular, a portion of the EAA Reservoirs Project, a project that would provide 360,000 acre-feet of water storage in the central Everglades —..Read More

2008
2008

Governor Crist Strikes Deal with U.S. Sugar to Buy Land for Restoration

Governor Crist Strikes Deal with U.S. Sugar to Buy Land for Restoration

Under a deal worth $1.75 billion, state water managers would acquire 187,000 acres of sugarcane fields and other agricultural lands south of Lake Okeechobee for Everglades restoration.

2008

Sierra Club v. Van Antwerp, 526 F.3d 1353 (11th Cir. 2008)

Sierra Club v. Van Antwerp, 526 F.3d 1353 (11th Cir. 2008)

The 11th Circuit vacates Judge Hoeveler’s 2006 and 2007 rulings in the Lake Belt case, holding that the court failed to give the Corps the level of deference required by federal laws.  It remanded for the lower court..Read More

2008

The SFWMD Completes the River of Grass Planning Process

The SFWMD Completes the River of Grass Planning Process

The SFWMD completes its study of the amount of storage needed to reduce the discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries and to move more water south.  The SFWMD concludes that approximately 1 million acre feet of..Read More

2008

Corps Finalizes the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS)

Corps Finalizes the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS)

Under the C&SF project, the Corps establishes a regulation schedule for Lake Okeechobee.  This regulation schedule guides the Corps in its management of the lake for flood control, water supply, and protection of the natural system. Prior to..Read More

2008

EPA Promulgates “Water Transfer Rule”

EPA Promulgates “Water Transfer Rule”

Following Judge Altonaga’s decision finding that SFWMD must apply for an NPDES permit to backpump water from EAA canals into Lake Okeechobee, EPA promulgates the “water transfer rule” exempting the transfer of water between two water bodies from..Read More

2009
2009

The State of Florida and U.S. Sugar Modify Contract for Land Purchase

The State of Florida and U.S. Sugar Modify Contract for Land Purchase

The original deal is revised to include a purchase of 72,800 acres with the option of purchasing a remaining 107,000 acres at a later date.

2009

EPA Issues Determination on Everglades Water Quality Standards

EPA Issues Determination on Everglades Water Quality Standards

In response to the 2008 court order in the 2004 Gold case finding portions of the Everglades Forever Act to be water quality standards, EPA disapproves of parts of those amendments  as water quality standards and began rulemaking..Read More

2009

Lake Belt Permits Again Rejected by Federal Court

Lake Belt Permits Again Rejected by Federal Court

On remand from the 11th Circuit’s decision vacating the district court’s 2006 and 2007 orders invalidating 12 permits allowing mining in the Lake Belt region of the historic Everglades, the district court again rejects the permits, using a..Read More

2009

Friends of the Everglades v. S. Fla. Water Mgmt. Dist., 570 F.3d 1210 (11th Cir. 2009)

Friends of the Everglades v. S. Fla. Water Mgmt. Dist., 570 F.3d 1210 (11th Cir. 2009)

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reverses Judge Altonaga’s decision and rules that backpumping water from the EAA canals into Lake Okeechobee does not require an NPDES permit after applying deference to the EPA’s newly promulgated “water transfers..Read More

2009

Miccosukee v. United States, 566 F.3d 1 257 (11th Cir. 2009)

Miccosukee v. United States, 566 F.3d 1 257 (11th Cir. 2009)

In May 2009, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals partially grants the Miccosukee Tribe’s appeal of a lower court order (a second challenge the Miccosukee Tribe filed related to IOP implementation)(Moore Case 2) related to the IOP and..Read More

2009

EAA A-1 Case Dismissed Without Prejudice

EAA A-1 Case Dismissed Without Prejudice

The federal district court dismisses the EAA A-1 Reservoir Case (NRDC et al.  v. Van Antwerp et al. (Case No. 07-80444-CIV-MIDDLEBROOKS)) because the reservoir is no longer being built pursuant to the Corps permit the environmental groups had..Read More

2010
2010

2010 Lake Belt Record of Decision and Clean Water Act Permits

2010 Lake Belt Record of Decision and Clean Water Act Permits

In response to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ January 2010 opinion affirming a lower court decision rejecting 2001 permits the Corps had issued to several mining companies, the Corps approves a revised mining and mitigation plan and..Read More

2010

The State of Florida and U.S. Sugar Once Again Modify Contract for Land Purchase

The State of Florida and U.S. Sugar Once Again Modify Contract for Land Purchase

The State buys 26,800 acres from U.S. Sugar with a ten-year option for the SFWMD to buy a remaining 153,200 acres.

2010

Judge Gold Issues Order and EPA Makes Amended Determination

Judge Gold Issues Order and EPA Makes Amended Determination

The court in the Gold Case finds the 2009 EPA Determination did not comply with the court’s previous order.  The Court orders the EPA to issue an amended determination that prohibits FDEP from issuing NPDES permits for STAs..Read More

2010

IOP Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow Incidental Take Trigger Again Rejected

IOP Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow Incidental Take Trigger Again Rejected

On remand from the 11th Circuit (in Moore Case 2), the Corps and FWS continue to use habitat triggers to define the triggers that would require reinitiation of consultation to assess the effects of an action on the..Read More

2010

Court Approves Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow Habitat Critical Habitat Designation

Court Approves Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow Habitat Critical Habitat Designation

Over a challenge by environmental groups, Center for Biological Diversity et al., v, Kenneth Salazar et al., a D.C. district approves the FWS’s designation of critical habitat for the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow, despite the agency’s decision to..Read More

2010

EAA Reservoirs Case (Middlebrooks case) Dismissed

EAA Reservoirs Case (Middlebrooks case) Dismissed

Because SFWMD stopped construction of the EAA A-1 Reservoir while land purchase negotiations with U. S. Sugar were ongoing, the court dismisses as moot the environmental groups’ challenge to Florida’s plan to construct a portion of the EAA..Read More

2011
2011

Judge Moreno Reverses His Order Compelling Construction of the EAA A-1 Reservoir

Judge Moreno Reverses His Order Compelling Construction of the EAA A-1 Reservoir

Upholding a special master’s report, Judge Moreno reverses a 2010  order compelling the construction of the EAA-1 Reservoir, finding instead that construction of the reservoir is “no longer in the best interest of the Everglades.”

2011

Judge Gold Issues Omnibus Order

Judge Gold Issues Omnibus Order

Judge Gold grants EPA’s motion to amend his previous order and finds that EPA has made a “more committed effort” to comply with the 2010 order.  The Court eliminates the requirement that EPA withdraw FDEP’s authority to issue..Read More

2011

Mildenberger v. United States, 643 F.3d 938 (Fed. Cir. 2011)

Mildenberger v. United States, 643 F.3d 938 (Fed. Cir. 2011)

A federal appeals court rules against twenty-three property owners, finding that a lower court lacked jurisdiction over their claims that the discharge of polluted water from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie estuary constituted a taking of private..Read More

2011

1000 Friends of Florida, Inc. et. al. v. Palm Beach County, et. al., 69 So. 3d 1123 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011); 1000 Friends of Florida, Inc. et. al. v. Palm Beach County, et. al., 75 So. 3d 1270 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011); United States Sugar Corp. v. 1000 Friends of Florida, et. al., Case No. 4D12-2373 (Aug. 7, 2013)

1000 Friends of Florida, Inc. et. al. v. Palm Beach County, et. al., 69 So. 3d 1123 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011); 1000 Friends of Florida, Inc. et. al. v. Palm Beach County, et. al., 75 So. 3d 1270 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011); United States Sugar Corp. v. 1000 Friends of Florida, et. al., Case No. 4D12-2373 (Aug. 7, 2013)

The Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal reverses two lower court decisions upholding the issuance of development orders to permit hard rock mining in the EAA.  The Court finds the development orders are inconsistent with the local comprehensive..Read More

2012
2012

The Fish & Wildlife Service Establishes the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area

The Everglades Ecosystem

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service establishes a new national wildlife refuge in Okeechobee, Osceola, Polk, and Highlands counties to “protect and restore of the great grassland and savanna landscapes of eastern North America.”  Utilizing a working landscape..Read More

2012

SFWMD Finalizes “Restoration Strategies”

SFWMD Finalizes “Restoration Strategies”

The EPA and the State of Florida reach agreement on the development of “Restoration Strategies” to ensure compliance with water quality standards for the Everglades Protection Area.  The plan calls for the creation of 6,500 acres of new..Read More

2012

Florida Wildlife Federation, et. al. v. Jackson, 853 F.Supp.2d 1138 (N.D. Fla. 2012)

Florida Wildlife Federation, et. al. v. Jackson, 853 F.Supp.2d 1138 (N.D. Fla. 2012)

A federal court rules on long running disputes regarding the need for Florida to promulgate numeric water quality standards. In 2008, conservation organizations had sued EPA under the CWA for failing to establish numeric nutrient water quality criteria..Read More

2012

The Everglades Restoration Transition Plan (ERTP)

The Everglades Restoration Transition Plan (ERTP)

The ERTP — explicitly designed as a multi-species management plan — replaces the IOP as the operational plan for the southern portion of the C&SF Project. It sets forth desired habitat ranges and goals for multiple species and..Read More

2013
2013

Phase I of Tamiami Trail Bridging Completed

Phase I of Tamiami Trail Bridging Completed

The Corps completes a one-mile long bridge on Tamiami Trail. When completed, the 6.5 miles of bridging will allow water to flow under Tamiami Trail and into northeast Shark River Slough. The road, which was originally constructed to..Read More

2013

More than 5,000 People Protest Discharges into the St. Lucie Estuary

More than 5,000 People Protest Discharges into the St. Lucie Estuary

More than 5,000 people gather at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam to protest the discharge of polluted water from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie Estuary.  The practice, which has occurred since at least the 1950’s, is..Read More

2014
2014

Voters Pass the Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative (Amendment 1)

Voters Pass the Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative (Amendment 1)

By a 3:1 margin, Florida voters pass the Water and Land Conservation Initiative, which sets aside 33% of state fees on real estate transactions (“doc stamps”) for conservation purposes. Amendment 1 is expected to generate approximately $20 billion..Read More

2014

WRDA 2014 Congress Authorizes the Construction of Four CERP Projects

WRDA 2014 Congress Authorizes the Construction of Four CERP Projects

WRDA 2014 authorized four CERP projects, with total estimated costs of $1.9 billion: the C-111 Spreader Canal, Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands, C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir, and Broward County Water Preserve Areas (WPAs). Two of these (C-43 Reservoir..Read More

2014

Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. EPA, 8 F. Supp. 3d 500 (S.D.N.Y. 2014)

Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. EPA, 8 F. Supp. 3d 500 (S.D.N.Y. 2014)

A federal judge in New York strikes down the “water transfers rule” as an unreasonable interpretation of the Clean Water Act. The decision is appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

2015
2015

State Fails to Exercise Option to Purchase U.S. Sugar Lands

State Fails to Exercise Option to Purchase U.S. Sugar Lands

The SFWMD declines to exercise an option to purchase any additional lands, effectively putting an end to the deal reached in 2008.

2015

University of Florida Water Institute Completes Technical Review

University of Florida Water Institute Completes Technical Review

In 2014, the Florida Senate authorized an independent technical review of the options to reduce the discharges into the coastal estuaries and move more water into the Everglades. The report identifies the need for 400,000 acre-feet of storage..Read More

2016
2016

The Florida Legislature Passes “Legacy Florida”

The Florida Legislature Passes “Legacy Florida”

The Florida legislature passes House Bill 989, signed into law by Governor Scott.  The legislation dedicates up to $200 million funding a year for Everglades restoration. 

2016

Congress Authorizes the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP)

Congress Authorizes the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP)

Congress authorizes CEPP in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act.  CEPP is aimed at delivering more natural freshwater flows to the central Everglades and ultimately to Florida Bay. The project calls for the construction and..Read More

2016

Phase II of Tamiami Trail Bridging Completed

Phase II of Tamiami Trail Bridging Completed

The Army Corps of Engineers completes another (2.5 mile) segment of bridging on Tamiami Trail to restore water flow through Everglades National Park.

2016

National Academies of Sciences Issues Report on Everglades Restoration

National Academies of Sciences Issues Report on Everglades Restoration

In its sixth biennial assessment of CERP, the National Academies calls for a re-examination of the original restoration goals in light of the scientific community gaining new knowledge on pre-drainage hydrology, climate change, and sea-level rise.  The report..Read More

2016

ERTP Reasonable and Prudent Alternative

ERTP Reasonable and Prudent Alternative

In July 2016, the Corps and FWS complete their reinitiation of consultation on how C&SF Project operations affect several endangered and threatened species and agree on a reasonable and prudent alternative to ERTP in response to multiple factors:..Read More

2017
2017

Water Resources Law of 2017 (“Senate Bill 10”), (§373.4598, Fla. Stat.)

Water Resources Law of 2017 (“Senate Bill 10”), (§373.4598, Fla. Stat.)

Declaring that an emergency exists in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries due to the discharges from Lake Okeechobee, the legislature directs the SFWMD to design and construct a reservoir providing at least 240,000 acre-feet of water storage..Read More

2017

Catskills Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2017 WL 192707 (2d Cir. Jan. 18, 2017)

Catskills Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2017 WL 192707 (2d Cir. Jan. 18, 2017)

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals reverses the district court’s decision from 2014 that vacated the “water transfers rule.” The appeals court finds that the rule is a reasonable interpretation of the Clean Water Act.  The rule remains..Read More

2017

Mod-Waters Project Increment 1.1-1.2

Mod-Waters Project Increment 1.1-1.2

The Corps approves and implements Mod-Waters Increment 1.1-1.2, incorporating and implementing the July 2016 ERTP Reasonable and Prudent Alternative and effectively replacing ERTP as the operating plan for the southern portions of the C&SF Project. It is explicitly..Read More