Everglades funding remains unsettled in House, Senate talks

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The House has upped its offer to fund Everglades restoration, but lawmakers remain apart in agreeing how much to direct towards cleaning the river of grass in the next fiscal year.

With the Senate having proposed $70 million for the Everglades work as part of the anticipated $3 billion in agriculture and natural resources allocations, the House on Saturday countered with an offer of $44 million for work on the South Florida ecosystem. The offer is up from the House’s initial proposal of $32 million.

Gov. Rick Scott has requested $60 million for the Everglades work, $32 million for new water quality plans and $28 million for specific restoration projects that include building reservoirs and expanding stormwater treatment areas. The two chambers have agreed on a $61 million budget for the Department of Citrus. But balanced numbers have yet to be set for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Negotiators have agreed on: $200,000 for oyster re-seeding and rehab; $2.6 million for child nutrition programs; $294,009 for snook research and monitoring; and $376,532 for Florida Black Bear conservation. Gaps in the talks – which will continue on Sunday – remain over items including the eradication of the Giant African Land snail, mosquito control, invasive termite control, beach projects and lake restoration work.

Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.