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Good Neww for Everglades

Despite missing Federal funds which were voted by Congress and remain long undelivered; the State has moved far ahead of it's share of the funding by negotiating purchase of 200,000 acres to help restore the Everglades. See CNN report below:

"(CNN) -- The state of Florida has agreed to buy nearly 200,000 acres of land from a major sugar producer in a $1.7 billion deal to help restore the Everglades, Gov. Charlie Crist announced Tuesday.

Crist said the purchase provides "a critical missing link" that will restore the flow of fresh water from Lake Okeechobee into the Everglades, the massive South Florida marshland.

"It is as monumental as the creation of our nation's first national park, Yellowstone," he said. "This represents -- if we are successful, and I believe we will be -- the largest conservation purchase in the history of Florida.

The 187,000-acre tract -- about 292 square miles -- comes from the cane fields of U.S. Sugar, which will be going out of business within six years as part of the deal, CEO Bob Buker said.

"I stand here today with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I'm sobered and not a little bit saddened by the prospect of transition that lies before us -- a transition that sees new beginnings for us individually, and the end of the company that I led, six years from now," Buker said. "On the other hand, I'm excited about what we're doing here and what it means for the future of Florida and Florida's environment."

The company, which employs about 1,700 people, was part of a 1991 settlement with the federal government that launched efforts to restore the fabled "River of Grass."

Decades of development, flood-control projects and agricultural runoff had caused the Everglades to shrivel to about half of the 11,000 square miles it covered in the early 20th century.

The Everglades Foundation, a conservation group that has been critical of the sugar industry in the past, called Tuesday's announcement "a once-in-a-generation opportunity." "The significance of this cannot be overstated," the group's senior scientist, Tom Van Lent, said in a written statement. "This acquisition will provide the land needed to construct a reliable water supply for the Everglades much faster and at a lower cost than previously envisioned."

Kind of makes me proud to be a Floridian; even if a new one at that...


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There is a lot to be excited about with the pending closing of US Sugar and their getting booted out of SW Florida will accelerate the Everglades restoration plans. As a home owner on the Gulf coast our fishing will improve greatly when discharge water from Lake Okeechobee will soon flow to the Everglades and not into the Caloosahatchee River and into the Gulf. These discharge waters are rich with nutrients that cause significant algae and red tide blooms and severely impact water quality/fishing. The slow flow to the Everglades will remove most of these nutrients and that does not happen in the Caloosahatchee I just wish it wasn't going to take six years for US Sugar to close up operations and for the project to start.

I make a couple of trips each year to fish the 10,000 Islands part of the Everglades and it is one of the unique and great fishing areas in the states and it can only get better. The snook, tarpon and redfish fishing in that area is magnificant! Here is a photo of a 36" in snook I landed last month.



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The paper this morning has a new item that the governor and the state are now negotiating with Florida Crystals to trade some of the US Sugar acerage

for some of theirs to give them a continuous swath of swamp for the Everglades restoration. Florida Crystals would get some of the new state land that is not needed for the restoration in return for some prime swampland that is better suited to the needs of the restoration. Florida Crystals owns some 280 sq.miles and might sell some of it to the state in addition to the land-swap.

According to the US Agriculture Dept., Florida produces nearly a quarter of all sugar produced in the US. US Sugar Corp is the nations largest producer of cane sugar; processing about 700,000 tons of sugar per year.

Nice Snook, by the way.

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