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President Signs Everglades Restoration Bill

May 01, 2006

Recently, President George W. Bush signed into law a bill that will dedicate millions of dollars for Everglades Restoration. Part of the funding bill for the United States Army Corps of Engineers, these funds will be used specifically for water resource development in South Florida.

“The Modified Water Deliveries project is one of the Corps’ highest priorities and is a lynchpin to restoring sheet flow to Everglades National park and Florida Bay,” said COL Robert Carpenter, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District. “The benefits of completing this project reach far beyond the Park and Florida Bay. Restoring sheet flow under Tamiami Trail will remove a major constraint that is limiting our ability to feed water from Lake Okeechobee to the southern parts of the ecosystem. When we can move more water south, we’ll give life saving relief to the lake and our estuaries.”

Congress has committed $35 million for the Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park Project. Work is already underway to create a levee and canal system to preserve flood control in the 8.5 square mile area and these funds will allow for the continuation of this important project. The legislation was passed on November 15. Combined with the $25 million approved earlier this year, this appropriation will bring $60 million into this key Everglades ecosystem project. This project, which will restore the natural water flow to the Northeast Shark River Slough, is part of the 1989 Everglades Expansion Act.

“An important step in preserving one of our nation’s most beautiful treasures, America’s Everglades will greatly benefit from this project,” said Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Colleen Castille. “This is just one of many examples of how federal, state, and local governments are banding together and remain committed to reviving the famed River of Grass.”

Restoring America’s Everglades is reviving habitat for more than 60 threatened and endangered species, establishing a reliable water supply for more than 8 million Floridians and providing flood control consistent with the restoration—a benefit underscored by the impact of hurricanes on South Florida’s shores.

“We, as the local sponsor, thank our federal partners for their commitment to completing this key project faster,” said Carol Ann Wehle, South Florida Water Management District executive director. “This project will enhance restoration benefits sooner and allow us to more efficiently move water though the system.”

Florida’s share of Everglades restoration is currently ahead of schedule and under budget. Under the leadership of Governor Bush, Florida forged a 50-50 state-federal partnership to implement the $8 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and has invested $1 billion and committed an additional $2.5 billion through the end of the decade to clean up and restore America’s Everglades.

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