A productive trip to D.C. advocating for Everglades restoration.
Last week, we joined The Everglades Foundation, Orvis, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), and The Everglades Trust for a three-day visit to Washington, D.C., where we met with members of Congress about the importance of continued Everglades funding.
On the day of our arrival, our partners at Orvis took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal urging Congress to fully fund Everglades restoration—a timely reminder as Congress is currently deliberating its Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bills.
Over two days on Capitol Hill, our group met with various congressional staff and Florida delegation members to emphasize the importance of Everglades restoration to the vitality of our outdoor economies, including the boating and fishing industry.
We met with Senate and House appropriations staff, new members of the Florida delegation, and congressional representation from the east- and west-coast communities most impacted by harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges.
Just for good measure, we left copies of the Wall Street Journal ad as well as other Everglades informational material as a part of a deeper-dive packet for further familiarization.
With their science-based policy approach, our partners at The Everglades Foundation led the discussions, while SCCF demonstrated how restoration is vital to a majority of south-Florida communities’ immediate and long-term livelihoods.
As representatives of the outdoor industry, our partners at Orvis highlighted the expansive impact and reach of restoring America’s Everglades for their company, customers, and way of life—and for countless other outdoor brands nationwide.
In the WSJ ad, Simon Perkins, President of Orvis said, “THE TIME IS NOW to protect Florida’s $33 billion outdoor economy and ensure a healthy, thriving Everglades for our kids and future generations.”
Perkins’ urgency is a sentiment shared by many in the outdoor industry, one that unites brands beyond any internal industry competition. Prior to our visit to Washington, we organized an outdoor industry brand sign-on letter urging Congress to fully fund the restoration of America’s Everglades.
The unified letter demonstrated support from all over the country and recognized that the Everglades—and the outdoor recreation economy that surrounds it—is a major economic driver for these companies.
As Congress negotiates the debt limit and considers funding cuts across the board, it’s imperative that they understand the economic impact, as well as the many other benefits, of Everglades restoration. That’s what we were there to remind them.
Due to record funding at both the state and federal levels of government in recent years, we have been experiencing incredible momentum & progress for Everglades restoration.
Our goal in D.C. was to make sure these congressional members & staff understand that to sustain this momentum we must continue to fund and expedite Everglades restoration at every opportunity, including the current Fiscal Year 2024 budget.
Emphasizing the benefits of the world’s largest ecosystem restoration project—including resilience from sea level rise, ecological balance, and economic impact—was a major part of the discussion.
A restored Everglades safeguards Florida’s $33 billion outdoor recreation economy (central to the outdoor industry at large), ensures drinking water for 9 million people, and protects 3 million acres of nature-based carbon sequestration.
That’s why Everglades restoration enjoys bipartisan support from the Florida congressional delegation and beyond. This is extremely unusual in today’s political environment, but it offers an issue that these members can all come together and support.
It’s critical that that support continues to be recognized and actualized through commensurate federal funding. Alongside our partners, we’ll keep advocating for that year after year.
For this year, we have to let the budget process play out, which will likely take many more months. It might not be until December that Congress finalizes the budget and we know exactly how much funding Everglades restoration is set to receive.
We’ll keep you updated along the way and let you know as soon as an allocation of funding is official. Until then, you can keep urging Congress to invest in restoration by signing our petition calling for $725 million for Everglades restoration efforts.
Take just a couple minutes to learn more and sign the petition today!