Everglades Literacy Program
The Everglades Literacy Program serves K-12 educators and provides a comprehensive and integrated curriculum, which is easily customized and implemented. The goal of the initiative is to ensure that future generations of Floridians understand the social, ecological and economic value of the Everglades ecosystem and in order for this to be the case, we must provide a sustainable education and outreach program. Students completing these lessons from kindergarten through high school will graduate with a much greater understanding and appreciation of the Everglades and the role it plays in our lives.
The implications go far beyond the ecology and environmental protection. They encompass economics, public health, urban planning and the overall welfare of South Florida. As such, they will ultimately constitute a more informed electorate, better able to play an active role in the public policy process at the local, state and national levels.
Science Drives Solution
Leading with Purpose. The Everglades Foundation is the only science based non-profit organization focused solely on the restoration of America’s Everglades. • Projections show that investing $11.5 billion in Everglades restoration will result in $46.5 billion in gains to Florida’s economy and create more than 440,000 jobs over the next 50 years. For every dollar invested in Everglades restoration, $4 are generated in economic benefits. • The Foundation Science team is now working on the development of an End-Point Everglades Restoration Plan which will debut in late 2016. This plan will provide stakeholder and policy makers with a realist and achievable “end-point” to Everglades’ restoration. •
In early October we have started to monitor a massive sea grass die-off in Florida Bay in Everglades National Park. The last such event in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s led to a catastrophic algae bloom from which the Bay never fully recovered. However, the disaster did focus national attention on the need to restore the Everglades and eventually led to the development of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Now, 15 years after the adoption of that plan, we’ve seen little progress on restoring Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. This looming disaster reinforces the need to marshal our efforts to implement projects that will restore the Everglades.
Policy and Advocacy
2016 begins an important year ahead as it relates to state funding of restoration efforts. In late December 2015, Representative Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, sponsored the “Legacy Florida” bill. The bill establishes a dedicated funding source for Everglades restoration efforts. If it passes, "Legacy Florida" will direct funds from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) to fund Everglades projects that implement the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). Effectively communicating the economic threat of polluted Lake Okeechobee water releases remains important. During 2015, we partnered with the Florida Association of Realtors to produce an economic real estate value report on the negative effect polluted water has on home values.
This data study provides us with a communication tool to educate decision-makers on the consequences of the status quo while demonstrating a tangible economic benefit of storing, treating and sending clean water south. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), which will restore the environment and protect water supplies, is approaching its mid-way point. One key element of the plan is water storage reservoirs, which will capture water when it’s wet for use when it’s dry.
George Barley Water Prize
The George Barley Water Prize competition is structured in four parts: Stage 1, Stage 2, Pilot Prize and Grand Challenge. Technologies advancing through the stages will grow in scientific accomplishment and complexity throughout the four year competition term, with cash prizes awarded along the way. STAGE 1 encourages a wide variety of ideas, with defined performance indicators, description of experiments and insights into your innovation. Prizes total $35,000.
STAGE 2 will see new ideas and those advancing from Stage 1, mature enough to be demonstrated at a lab of the contestant’s choice. A total of $80,000 will be awarded at the end of this stage. THE PILOT PRIZE will focus on testing new technologies and technologies advancing from Stage 2, in cold water field environments. Up to $800,000 will be awarded at the end of this stage.
THE GRAND CHALLENGE will see Pilot Prize qualifiers compete against each other for 14 months to develop the best, most cost effective, sustainable and scalable technology to win the $10 million prize.