components and 1 non-CERP project, and although the state was unable to complete all of the original tasks, the program led to increased state investment and expedited project construction timelines for several CERP projects (see Chapter 3).
In 2008, Governor Charlie Crist announced the planned acquisition of 187,000 acres of agricultural land from the U.S. Sugar Corporation to maximize restoration opportunities for the South Florida ecosystem. The SFWMD subsequently launched the River of Grass public planning process to facilitate agency and stakeholder input on future uses of the new lands for restoration. In October 2010, the SFWMD closed on the purchase of 26,800 acres of land for approximately $197 million in cash and retained the option to acquire more than 153,000 additional acres over the next 10 years. Plans for use of the acquired lands have not been finalized at this time.
In 2011, the USACE initiated a pilot program to improve the pace of its project planning. As one of five pilot projects nationwide, the Central Everglades Planning Project was launched in November 2011, with the objective of developing a plan for restoration of the central Everglades that could be delivered for congressional authorization within two years. This effort has focused attention on central Everglades planning at all levels of the CERP partnering agencies and involves extensive stakeholder engagement facilitated by the Task Force. These initiatives are described in more detail in Chapter 3.
Non-CERP Restoration Activities
When Congress authorized the CERP in WRDA 2000, the SFWMD, the USACE, the National Park Service (NPS), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) were already implementing several activities intended to restore key aspects of the Everglades ecosystem. These non-CERP initiatives are critical to the overall restoration progress. In fact, the CERP’s effectiveness was predicated upon the completion of many of these projects, which include Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park (Mod Waters), C-111 (South Dade), and the Everglades Construction Project (see Box 2-3). Several additional projects are also under way to meet the broad restoration goals for the South Florida ecosystem and associated legislative mandates. They include extensive water quality initiatives, such as the Everglades Construction Project, and programs to establish best management practices (BMPs) to reduce nutrient loading.
Developments in the Legal Context for Water Quality
Although an evaluation of the scientific issues associated with Everglades restoration is not constrained by the legal and policy decisions currently being made by the state and federal governments or the courts, the committee recog-