Orvis Partners With Everglades Foundation To Save the “Grassy Waters”

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - The Everglades ​in Florida ​are one of America's natural treasures​. The combination of ever (from 'forever') and glades, which is an old English word meaning grassy open place, was known to local indigenous people as Pa-hay-Okee, or 'grassy waters'. ​But water pollution is killing the Everglades and, for that reason,​ mail-order outfitter Orvis has partnered with ​T​he Everglades Foundation to protect this ecosystem ​with a new round of campaigning.​

Called Now or Neverglades, Orvis will match customers' gifts, dollar for dollar, up to $45,000, for a goal of $90,000 to preserve America’s River of Grass. The ecosystem is threatened by 1.5 billion daily gallons of polluted water released into two of Florida’s most popular sport fishing, boating and tourism areas.

​This has led to an alteration of historic water flow, causing the discharge of billions of gallons of freshwater from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, interfering with the balance of fresh and saltwater. This imbalance leads to massive blue-green algae blooms, which suffocate seagrass and harms people and animals.

Besides, the redirection of freshwater has left South Florida to suffer drought conditions and a massive seagrass die-off. In short, the Everglades are on the brink of collapse.

One of the solutions being pursued was proposed 20 years ago by Army Corps of Engineers, Democrats and Republicans in Congress and the Florida legislature and it is called the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). This includes the construction of a massive reservoir, to be built just south of Lake Okeechobee in order to capture and store fresh rainwater during the rainy season to be channeled south, and redistributed to the Everglades during the dry months.

Florida voters overwhelmingly approved the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to purchase lands for the reservoir. In September of 2016, the United States Congress reaffirmed their commitment to this project by passing the Water Resources Development Act, which provides federal funding for CERP.

Last week, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee approved revised Senate Bill 10, sponsored by Senator Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island), which sets forth a science-based process to identifying land needed for the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir.

“Revisions to Senate Bill 10 have removed opponents’ objections to this bill and we believe this legislation is not only positioned for ultimate passage, but also for delivering positive impact on the restoration of America’s Everglades,” said​ ​Eric Eikenberg​, CEO of ​​ The Everglades Foundation CEO.

If you want to help the Now or Neverglades project, follow this link and lend your support!

Image credit: Orvis