A view of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Capitol Hill. Photo: Caitlin Newcamp/Audubon Florida
Capitol Hill. Photo: Caitlin Newcamp/Audubon Florida


Audubon Travels to Washington, D.C. to Talk Everglades

Audubon traveled to Washington, D.C. this fall to be a voice for Everglades restoration in South Florida.

In 1996, Congress created an intergovernmental task force to coordinate on a long-term plan to restore the environment of South Florida: the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (SFER).

SFER includes members from federal, state, tribal, and local agencies that have an interest in or are impacted by Everglades restoration. The group reviews Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects, shares information and science, and supports public participation.

This fall, the SFER Task Force convened in D.C. to discuss issues affecting South Florida’s environment.

Audubon Everglades Policy Associate Caitlin Newcamp attended the event along with Caitlin Wall, Policy Manager for Water Conservation at National Audubon Society. The Audubon team — with partners from the Everglades Foundation, National Parks Conservation Association, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership — made the most out of the D.C. rendezvous by meeting with various members of Congress at Capitol Hill, including representatives from the offices of Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Maria Elvira Salazar, and Mario Diaz-Balart. They also met with members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. They had productive conversations on Everglades initiatives, the timing of bills such as the Water Resources Development Act, and ideas for state visits in the upcoming year.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland welcomed participants to the SFER meeting with remarks on the impacts of Hurricane Ian and the importance of the Everglades to South Florida resilience. In addition, the Army Corps of Engineers presented the new Integrated Delivery Schedule with timeline updates on all CERP and non-CERP projects.

Overall, there was great collaboration and interactions between all stakeholders and excitement around the momentum and current progress of Everglades restoration. Caitlin Newcamp thanked the Task Force for their efforts, especially those involved in Hurricane Ian recovery, while highlighting the need for a better strategy on resilience measures in South Florida going forward. Audubon co-hosted a reception for Congressional leaders, staff, agency decision-makers, and partners at the Florida House to commemorate the occasion. 

This article was published in the Fall 2022 State of the Everglades report.

How you can help, right now