That’s what Florida Governor Rick Scott and the Republican-controlled Legislature just did. Embarrassing for Florida and a travesty for the Everglades.
They’ve dismantled the South Florida Water Management District–the state agency charged with protecting the Everglades. As The Sierra Club explains, this wasn’t belt tightening, but an attack on science and more specifically an attack on Everglades restoration. Among the 280 employees laid off was Dr. Christopher McVoy, lead author of the recently published 576-page book Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades:
Dr. McVoy, whose 15 years of working at the District ended two Fridays ago, conducted cutting-edge research on how the Everglades functioned [and] discovered that unrestricted water flow was the life-blood of the Everglades and that only by removing the north-south barriers could we restore the giant wetland.
Soon his research led to policy. Restoring Everglades water flow was the basis of the Everglades Skyway, a 6 ½ mile series of bridges over Tamiami Trail, an effort the George W. Bush Administration called the “lynchpin” of Everglades restoration and the Obama Administration called its “top funding priority.”
Dr. McVoy’s work also probably played a part in Governor Crist’s decision to purchase of sugar lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area to help restore Everglades water flow through contiguous reservoirs and Storm Water Treatment areas and over time establish a flow-way through the EAA.
McVoy is quoted in The Palm Beach Post, “I’m pretty disappointed that the governor and legislature have lost their commitment to Everglades restoration. This is just straight politics.”
Are you a science journalist? Tell your readers. Do you live in Florida? Contact your elected officials to say science-based Everglades restoration matters to Florida constituents.