The decision by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to delay the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) is a setback for restoration. Yesterday I attended the Civil Works Review Board meeting and listened to the united and compelling voices of Florida and national leaders making the scientific, economic and environmental case for the plan. The decision to delay seems at odds with the goal of expedited restoration.
America’s Everglades demands swift action. Wildlife that depend on tree islands and ridge and slough landscapes of the Central Everglades cannot wait. The National Research Council reports that if decisive steps are not taken to reverse the degradation from the lack of freshwater flows, healthy habitats in these world-renowned landscapes could be lost forever.
Time is of the essence. Our goal is to authorize this project as soon as possible, and as the pending Water Resources Development Act swiftly moves through the halls of Congress, the window for authorization of CEPP is closing. It is uncertain when another chance will arise. The sooner this plan jumps through the bureaucratic hoops toward construction and operation, the sooner long parched areas of the Everglades will be restored, welcoming the return of birds and wildlife. Audubon will work closely with the Corps and other agencies and stakeholders to expedite its approval.