State and Federal Legislation

1991: The Florida Legislature passed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Protection Act to restore the Everglades and provide water management districts with clear tools for ecosystem restoration.

1992: The Federal Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1992 provided the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) with the authority to review the Central & South Florida Flood Control Project and develop a comprehensive plan to restore and preserve the south Florida ecosystem, enhance water supply and maintain flood protection.

1994: Building on previous restoration efforts and adding new elements, the Florida Legislature passed the Everglades Forever Act, which directed the state of Florida to develop a phosphorus criterion for the Everglades Protection Area. The criterion numerically interprets an existing narrative standard, which states: “In no case shall nutrient concentrations of a body of water be altered so as to cause an imbalance in natural populations of aquatic flora or fauna.”

1996: The Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (WRDA 1996)  provided the USACE with the authority to plan and construct critical projects, add water quality features and other restoration activities, as well as to form a task force. The South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (Task Force)  is a Florida-based working group that includes 14 members from four sovereign entities. There are seven federal, two tribal and five state and local government representatives. The duties of the Task Force are formulating, recommending, coordinating and implementing the policies, strategies, plans, programs, projects, activities and priorities of the restoration.

2000: Former President Clinton authorized the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (WRDA 2000)  , committing a multibillion dollar federal budget to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, (CERP). The law authorized the federal government to pay for half of the total cost of the now nearly $10.9 billion project.

The Florida Legislature passed the Everglades Restoration Investment Act to fund the State’s portion of the 50-50 state and federal cost-share to implement the CERP. The law's provisions stated that more than $2 billion in state and local resources would be directed toward restoration over the next decade through the "Save Our Everglades Trust Fund".

The Florida Legislature passed the Lake Okeechobee Protection Act (LOPA), a phased, comprehensive program designed to restore and protect the lake. An accompanying appropriation provided $38 million to clean up water pollution generated within the Lake Okeechobee Watershed.

2003: The passage of Senate Bill 54A clarified amendments made to the Everglades Forever Act during the Regular Session. The legislation also provided the bonding authority for an additional $800 million to improve water quality in the Everglades.

2007: The Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 392, the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program , which expanded the Lake Okeechobee Protection Act to include protection and restoration of the Lake Okeechobee watershed and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers and estuaries.

Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA 2007) , the first WRDA legislation since 2000. The passage authorizes new projects under the 30-year, $10.9 million Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), as well as includes necessary language to fund previously authorized projects at today’s costs.  In addition, WRDA authorizes other vital projects for Florida including the Indian River Lagoon Project, Picayune Strand restoration, Site 1 Impoundment Project, dredging projects as well as water reuse and supply projects.

2009: The Federal Omnibus Appropriations Act was passed and directs the US ACE to begin preparation of a Tamiami Trail Study to increase sheetflow in the area.

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Last updated: January 26, 2011