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River of Interests: Water Management in South Florida and the Everglades, 1948-2010

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IN THE SPRING OP 2004, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commissioned Historical Research Associates, Inc. HRA, to complete a study of the water resources system in South Florida generally the region south of Orlando from 1948 to 2000. This history was to include a discussion of all interests involved in water management whether federal, state, or local rather than just focusing on the history of the Corps Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project CSF Project, first instituted in 1948. The years between 1948 and 2000 saw numerous changes within South Florida, including an explosion of agricultural and urban growth and the subsequent diminishment of ecological resources. Because of these factors, the Corps performed a restudy of the entire CSF Project in the late 1990s, resulting in the authorization of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan CERP in 2000, a gigantic environmental restoration program intended to enlarge the water pie for agricultural, urban, and environmental interests in South Florida and to ensure the health of the ecosystem. In 2010, the Corps commissioned HRA to provide an epilogue addressing the first decade of CERPs implementation. Water is the essential focus of this history, including its distribution, its quality, and its essentiality for life in South Florida. The following study highlights its importance in the region, as well as the problems that have developed between different interests fighting over the resource. Moreover, this report outlines the environmental transformation of the Corps, the events leading up to CERP, and the initial stages of that program. By doing so, it provides a needed perspective of how and why CERP was developed, and what problems, concerns, and interests informed water management in South Florida between 1948 and 2010.

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Water Pollution and Control

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