Climate Change Forces a Rethinking of Mammoth Everglades Restoration Plan

"Even as the $21 billion effort unfolds, officials realize that its water infrastructure cannot contend with rising seas, violent storms and Florida’s non-stop influx of residents."

"ORLANDO, Fla. — In 1948, work got underway in the Florida Everglades on a public works project hailed as the nation’s largest, aimed at reigning in once and for all the mighty river of grass that once spanned much of the peninsula.

The effort would take decades to complete and involve some of the most complex water management infrastructure in the world, including some 2,200 miles of canals, 2,100 miles of levees and berms, 84 pump stations and 778 water control structures. The framework would alter the Everglades forever and transform the state: Today it provides flood control and supports the drinking water supply for some 9 million people in central and south Florida. Meanwhile the natural river of grass has been reduced to a remnant of its former self.

By the 1990s, however, a reckoning was at hand. Residents were awakening to a litany of environmental concerns, most notably that draining the Everglades had left Florida with a dwindling drinking water supply for the state’s booming population. The federal and state governments embarked on a restudy of the original public works project, which would lead to a mammoth $21 billion restoration plan for the Everglades that remains among the most ambitious in human history, involving some 68 projects that will take many decades to complete."

Amy Green reports for Inside Climate News May 9, 2023.

Source: Inside Climate News, 05/10/2023