Water flowing south through the Everglades and Florida Bay eventually reaches the Florida Keys, where an 11-day awareness campaign ends Nov. 6.
“As part of Everglades restoration, we’re calling for the water to be sent south through the ’Glades and into Florida Bay,” Everglades Foundation chief executive Eric Eikenberg said Friday from the Orlando stop of the Now Or Neverglades bus tour.
“This water needs to hit Florida Bay so we want to end the tour in Islamorada, one of the southernmost spots of the bay,” he said.
Everglades Foundation staff and volunteers were at Zoo Miami on Saturday, then headed over to Florida International University’s football game to collect signatures on a Now or Neverglades declaration that calls for using “Amendment 1 funds to increase storage, treatment and conveyance south of Lake Okeechobee.”
In addition to raising awareness of the Everglades, tour organizers advocate for creating a large water-storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.
That would require a large tract of agricultural land to be acquired, a proposal that has generated opposition from the state’s sugar industry and others.
Proposals to create a reservoir north of the big lake have been raised, but most environmental groups insist on having the storage area below the lake.
“A northern reservoir does nothing for Florida Bay, nothing for the Keys,” Eikenberg said. “When it fills up and Lake Okeechobee fills up, the water would still be dumped” off the state’s eastern and western coasts.
“Our message is to the people we meet is that a water crisis anywhere in Florida is a crisis everywhere in Florida,” Eikenberg said.
Bus tour stops include the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show on Friday, the University of Miami football game next Saturday and the Miami Dolphins game Nov. 6. The bus will be at the World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 6.