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Advocating for Everglades Restoration

Ansley Samson Advocates for Everglades Restoration in the Miami Herald

Attorney Ansley Samson advocates for a holistic approach to ecosystem restoration. She pushes back against the oft-made suggestion that we can save Florida Bay (or other parts of the Everglades) by decimating other parts of the Everglades or the species that live there.  We have a plan — the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) — that was designed to restore the health of the whole Everglades ecosystem, from the northern estuaries to Florida and Biscayne Bays. Our challenge is implementing that plan as quickly as possible, and not allow ourselves to be distracted by “red herrings” that undermine our ability to implement that holistic plan. 

“CERP is the comprehensive, forward-looking strategy that we designed as a community decades ago. This detailed plan was developed over the course of the 1990s with extensive input from state and federal scientists and the public at large. It was approved by Congress in December 2000 as the roadmap for restoring and protecting the ecosystems that stretch from north of Lake Okeechobee, out into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, through the Water Conservation Areas, all the way to Florida and Biscayne Bays, and into Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve.

Solving our current problems requires that we do all we can to expedite implementation of those portions of the plan that can be expedited, as well as push for funding and support for critical CERP projects that remain tied up in the design stages. We have the path forward; our challenge is how quickly we can implement it.”

Read more at the Miami Herald

Lisa Interlandi Collaborates on Resolution for Palm Beach Town Council

Everglades restoration has been a hot topic of late, as algae blooms caused by discharges from Lake Okeechobee have wreaked havoc on Florida’s estuaries. In Palm Beach, Senior Staff Attorney Lisa Interlandi is working in collaboration with the Town to draft a resolution supporting projects that clean up pollution and decrease the need for the discharges, such as increased water storage in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

“A project to store water in the Everglades Agricultural Area has been on the books for a decade but is low on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ list of Everglades projects. The Corps isn’t scheduled to begin planning for the project until 2021, followed by three years of design.

“How many more times can our estuaries take this assault without us being closer to a solution?” Lisa Interlandi, lead attorney for the Everglades Law Center, said about the recent blue-green algae outbreak….“Florida Bay is suffering because they don’t have enough water,” Interlandi said. “There’s been sea grass die-off and they are experiencing major ecosystem decline in that region because of the lack of water storage.”

Read more at the Palm Beach Daily News.