– Continued inaction on the Everglades problem will be a detriment to taxpayers and the future of the state, says the latest report from Florida TaxWatch, the state’s premier government watchdog group. The organization finds that if the state does not find a solution to the algae blooms and other problems from diversion of water from Lake Okeechobee, the state, tourism industry, and the overall economy would lose millions in revenues, not to mention the negative health and environmental impacts.
“Our environment is critical to our state, both as an economic driver and to keeping our flora and fauna thriving. If we continue to ignore the problem flowing from Lake Okeechobee, the state will suffer,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “Local economies will suffer as algae spreads throughout the once-pristine waterways, property values will plummet and tourists will stop coming. These are all very real outcomes if we don’t find a solution.”
For decades, the Everglades have withstood expanding development, increased agricultural pressure and significant changes in natural systems. The intense development of Central and South Florida has increased the timing of water runoff and the levels of nutrients and pollution in its waters.
This major crisis affects both the natural systems and those who depend on them, as water is discharged from Lake Okeechobee away from the Everglades and diverted west into the Caloosahatchee River basin and east into the St. Lucie River basin. This results in the aforementioned algae blooms, leading to significant problems for the affected regions.
Read the full report here