Florida Everglades Restoration Remains Priority for Lawmakers

Senators tour Everglades, discuss ongoing and future projects.

Florida Everglades restoration projects
With the new administration in the executive branch, lawmakers are trying to keep Florida Everglades restoration efforts as a priority for the U.S. government.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

The plight of Florida’s wetlands drew the attention of two U.S. senators on February 3, 2017, when senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) toured the Everglades via airboat.

Both senators are key members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, of which Nelson is the longest-standing member and Thune is the chairman. Prior to the tour, Kellie Ralston, the Florida fishery policy director of the American Sport Fishing Association, met with the senators and Ron Bergeron, a commissioner with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, to discuss the ongoing need for Everglades restoration projects and its importance to Florida’s $9.6 billion sport-fishing industry, according to a source with Keep Florida Fishing.

The tour emphasizes the importance of Florida’s 3 million recreational anglers.

Florida's U.S. House of Representatives delegation, led by republican Francis Rooney, signed a letter asking Trump to include restoration funding in his fiscal 2018 budget request to Congress. The letter, dated Friday, specifically highlights projects "within the Central Everglades Restoration Program (CERP)." For more, read the full version of Rooney's letter to Trump.

Everglades restoration efforts have been at the forefront of Congress for a few months. In September, the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act, which received a lot of positive feedback from similar activist organizations like Keep Florida Fishing and the American Sportfishing Association.