Audubon Florida News

Advocates Stand Up for the Kissimmee River and Kissimmee Chain of Lakes

Kissimmee river picRecently, Florida’s environmental advocates demanded that the South Florida Water Management District fully protect water for the Kissimmee River Restoration project and its remarkable natural system. The message was clear. Don’t give water needed for restoring the natural system to utilities or other consumptive uses.

The meeting was held by the SFWMD to move forward a water reservation to protect water for Kissimmee River restoration project. A water reservation is a tool under Florida law to protect water for fish and wildlife or public health and safety. Once the rule is developed, it will legally protect the quantity and timing of water flowing into the Kissimmee River, Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, and floodplain for the natural system.

Our team attended with Kissimmee Valley Audubon, Orange County Audubon, Audubon of the Western Everglades, and other allies like the Everglades Foundation and One Florida Foundation.

After two decades of work and over $900 million in public investment, the precedent setting Kissimmee River Restoration Project is now over 90% complete. This project transforms miles of the drained Kissimmee floodplain and channelized river to a winding river and wetland paradise.

The River and its Chain of Lakes support diverse wildlife. Over 98 species of wading and wetland dependent birds live there, including Swallow Tailed Kites, Whooping Cranes, and Audubon’s Crested CaraCaras.

Failing to protect water for Kissimmee restoration through this legal tool could have a domino effect on the entire ecosystem from Kissimmee Valley to Florida Bay and coastal estuaries. Getting the right amount of water at the right time is extremely important to support life throughout the ecosystem.Kissimmee Snail Kite

Now, there is pressure from water supplies in the Central Florida area. Utilities and water managers are considering tapping up to 25 million gallons per day from the Kissimmee Basin for water supply. Audubon and our environmental allies demand that water for the restoration project is fully protected. We request that the water management districts increase water conservation methods  to promote a more sustainable use of water in the region.

We will keep you updated on the progress of the rule. There will be several more public meetings and we’ll need your voices to speak up for Florida’s birds!

For additional information, please see the following news clips:

3 Comments

  1. It’s sad to see this item….a constantly recurring issue…should have been resolved LONG AGO!!!

    I spent 40 years working for SFWMD/C&SFFCD, and this is one of those items that has NOT changed for the better.

    Comment by Cynthia Plockelman — August 8, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

  2. The Kissimmee is so precious to the ecosystem that has been so disrupted by ignorance and greed. It is finally being re-adjusted, BUT there should not be one drop tapped for water consumption to central Florida. That is NOT the reason for the repair of the Kissimmee River.
    Florida is the on the bottom of the list for being the WORST in water conservation in the country. Check out Nevada. There are not allowed to have lawns. They completely recycle every drop of water that is used. Yes even the toilet water with its contents!! Florida has not even addressed properly water conservation nor has there been any teaching to its residents in how this can be accompolished. California has a faucet restriction device incorporated in all of its faucets or hand showers. Ity is tyhe law there. No state WASTES water like Florida. We think that living by the sea makes us full of water. Think again. The residents and industry need to be constantly educated on how to conserve every drop. There needs to be encouragement. TV, radio, and internet needs to be in constant motion teaching and encouraging how to save water and never to put pills or medication in the toilet. Even highly educated people I know still do that.
    Lots of repeat conditioning is needed over and over again. It will work.

    Comment by Sharon Baron — August 8, 2014 @ 4:34 pm

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