Abundant water flow through the mangroves in Everglades National Park.

Abundant water flow through the mangroves in Everglades National Park.  

Updating our water infrastructure to restore the historic freshwater flow through the Everglades is crucial for our future.

Our local economy runs on clean water, and Florida’s economic competitiveness and quality of life depend on completing Everglades restoration. Modernizing the woefully outdated water infrastructure will protect our drinking water supply and benefit the billions of dollars and over 1.5 million jobs tied to the outdoor recreation, tourism, and real estate industries that define Florida’s economy.

In previous articles in this series, we covered the history behind diverting the Everglades’ freshwater flow, as well as the solution to restoring it. Completing the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, which will store, clean, and send water south is critically important. A restored, southerly water flow will provide America’s Everglades with the lifeblood it needs to flourish, and protect our coastal waters from toxic algae, among countless other benefits to all of us in South Florida.

A sound investment with multiple benefits Everglades restoration will directly benefit our community here in Homestead, by benefiting our neighboring Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park, our growing population in Miami-Dade, and the influx of tourist dollars as travelers visit Homestead en route to the Keys.

Everglades restoration also will yield a 4:1 return on investment – a ratio poised for an even stronger return in light of the foreseeable impacts of population growth across our region, increased water demands, and the impacts of climate change.

The effects of climate change can be mitigated through Everglades restoration by amplifying carbon sequestration, protecting our freshwater supply by staving off saltwater intrusion, and providing much needed resiliency against flooding from increasing storm surge and hurricanes.

The Everglades is the only ecosystem of its kind in the world, and its restoration can serve as a model for natural resource rehabilitation globally. And as Everglades restoration takes center stage, it is crucial to also recognize the importance of ultimately pivoting to protection of the ecosystem when restoration is complete. The key to long-term sustainability rests on the shoulders of the next generation and their understanding the ecological and economic value of the Everglades.

Protection will be in the hand of Future Generations That conclusion inspired The Everglades Foundation seven years ago to create the world’s only comprehensive K-12 Everglades curriculum. As of 2021, over 100,000 students and 4,000 teachers have benefited from the program’s critical lessons and experiences that educate on the value of our natural resources.

The Everglades Literacy Program empowers the next generation of conservation stewards by investing in teachers to drive cultural change within schools for the benefit of their communities.

The Foundation also supports innovative environmental and economic Everglades research by full-time graduate students through its ForEverglades Scholars and Fellows program, and by undergraduate students through its John Marshall Everglades Internship program.

After restoration is achieved, it will be imperative to drive a policy of Everglades protection at the local, state, and federal levels. America’s Everglades will need an educated and inspired generation of future environmental stewards to make it happen.

America’s Everglades is a special place, and the birthright of every resident of the great State of Florida. You can help save it by supporting The Everglades Foundation’s efforts to ensure the largest ecosystem restoration project in the world is driven by sound science and economics.

Follow The Everglades Foundation on social media:

Facebook.com/EvergladesFoundation or @EvergFoundation on Twitter. Your voice can make a very real difference in the future of the Everglades that is so important to all of us.

To learn more about the vital work of The Everglades Foundation, visit EvergladesFoundation.org.

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