“Everyone in Florida relies on clean water. People visit Florida and choose it for their home because of the beautiful environment – the entire economy is driven by the environment.” – Henley Shotwell, Florida business owner, fisherman and concerned citizen
The discharge of toxic water from Lake Okeechobee impacts Florida’s economy, health and environment. Consider these facts:
Gov. Scott declared a state of emergency in four Florida counties for 242 days in 2016;
90% Of hotels on Fort Myers Beach reported cancellations due to water conditions*;
Residents and visitors witness wildlife death toll, including massive fish kills and manatee deaths, due to harmful blue-green algae;
Tremendous negative economic impacts on tourism, real estate and sport fishing industries.
*2013 Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce survey
These bills authorize the purchase of 60,000 acres of land south of Lake Okeechobee and initiates planning of the EAA Reservoir Project. This is an integral part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). This bill outlines the steps and funding needed for the plan Senate President Joe Negron first proposed amid toxic algae blooms referenced above.
Protects Lake O’s ecosystem by creating more natural water level changes.
Provides an alternative source of water to reduce competition for water supply
Creates recreational opportunities for tourism – fishing, hunting and bird watching
Uses funds already authorized for conservation
$1.2 million - Number of Florida jobs that depend on tourism
$1 Billion - Decrease in property values in Lee and Martin counties attributed to water quality (2010-2013)**
$11.5 Billion - Economic impact of the marine industry in the South Florida region, which employs 136,000 regionally***
$9.3 Billion- Economic impact of the commercial fishing industry, which employs 123,000***
*2013 Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce survey** 2015 Florida Realtors’ Association study***Source: 2014 The Marine Industries Association of Florida study
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