DEP: Progress being made in restoring Everglades

Efforts to restore the Everglades through improved water quality are working, according to a recent report by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

During a Nov. 3 presentation to a House agricultural committee, DEP Deputy Secretary Drew Bartlett said significant progress has been made in the Everglades and farmland around Lake Okeechobee.

“The investments are working,” Bartlett said. “We are seeing better water quality. Obviously, there is a lot more to do. But it’s very encouraging to see actual progress and see things happening in our environment.”

Sugarcane farmers cheered his presentation as evidence that their best management practices are working in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

“The positive water quality data from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is another sign that Florida’s farmers, through their Best Management Practices, are meeting and exceeding targets for cleaner water in the Everglades Agricultural Area,” said Barbara Miedema, VP for communications at the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida.

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) recently announced that farmers in the Everglades Agriculture Area achieved a 79 percent reduction in phosphorus this year, greatly exceeding the 25 percent required by state law. Over the past two decades, farmers have reduced the level of phosphorus in water leaving their farms by an average 56 percent annually.

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