¼ of the EAA’s land already in public ownership.
In 1948, Historic Central & Southern Florida
Flood Control Project set aside portions of Historic Everglades for specific uses:
16% for urban development on the East
37% for Water Conservation Areas (WCA) - aka reservoirs providing excess water to the South Florida metropolitan area, or flushing it into the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico
27% agricultural development
Today, the agricultural land/EAA is only about 19% Historic Everglades. Approximately a quarter of the land originally allocated to agricultural use has been taken into public ownership. In the past two decades alone, over a hundred and twenty thousand acres of land have been sold by farmers south of Lake Okeechobee for Everglades restoration projects. But is the land being used? Unfortunately not.
In 1999 Talisman Sugar Corporation was pressured to sell 50,000 acres to the state for creating water storage and treatment facilities to meet Everglades restoration goals
A sugar mill is forced to close its doors as result, and several thousand farming jobs are lost
Construction of the EAA Reservoir began on the land in 2006
In 2008, environmentalist (anti-farmer activist) groups filed a lawsuit that derailed the EAA-A-1 reservoir
In 2010, US Sugar sells 26,000 acres to the state for Everglades restoration water projects
17,000 acres of this land is still un-used