Reaffirming the Need to Restore the Everglades in Memory of the 'Lost Summer'
Stuart - Tuesday July 25, 2023: Environmental Groups gathered in Stuart Tuesday morning to commemorate the 10th anniversary of what has come to be known as the ‘Lost Summer’, a series of devastating algae blooms that left south Florida residents stunned and spurred re-newed efforts to restore the Everglades.
In July 2013 millions of gallons of toxic algae fueled water was let loose from Lake Okeechobee into the estuaries. It raised a foul stench, covered many waterways with a thick green film, killed fish and oysters, disrupted the tourism industry, and damaged the livelihoods of coastal residents who depend on it.
It’s become known as the ‘Lost Summer’ and a variety of conservation groups gathered at the Florida Oceanographic Society in Stuart Tuesday to remember it.
Mark Perry is the executive director of the Florida Oceanographic Society. “We don’t want these lost summers to happen anymore. We want to have the Everglades restoration done. And its going to take all of us to get together to really put the pressure on, not only the Corps of Engineers, but also the Water Management District to work together to restore the Everglades.”
And there has been progress, said Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg, who pointed to the ongoing construction of the EAA Reservoir. “The good news is that there has been tremendous progress since the Lost Summer of 2013. And in particular this massive reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee that is now receiving the funding that it needs. And that’s an important step in order to store, clean and send water south.”
But, he said, the reservoir project does not yet have all the funding that it needs. “We need our Congressional delegation in Washington to step up to ensure that $425 million dollars in the next federal budget is approved so this project remains on schedule.”
Also, in attendance at the event were representatives from Captains for Clean Water, the Everglades Law Center, and the National Park Conservation Association as well as members of the local marine, recreation and real estate industries.