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Major Milestone in Everglades Restoration Celebrated

Everglades National Park

National Park News

On August 28th, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced a $90 million state commitment to match federal funds for a joint federal-state project to build the next portion of Tamiami Trail bridging.  The state will fund up to $30 million a year over three years or $90 million total.   The total cost of the 2.6 mile bridge is estimated to be $180 million. 

“One of the most critical components of the Everglades restoration is increasing water flow under Tamiami Trail into Everglades National Park,” said Superintendent Dan Kimball. “This is a crucial step forward in the Everglades restoration, and we are very thankful to the governor for the commitment he demonstrated today to the Everglades restoration and to the key part it plays in Florida’s economy.” 

In February, the National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed construction of the first mile of bridge on Tamiami Trail.  This component alone is part of the largest construction project in the history of NPS.  Celebrated by Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and other state and federal officials, it is the first step in a total 6.5 miles of planned Tamiami Trail bridging.

The Tamiami Trail, a two-lane highway built in 1928, spans from Miami to Naples - across the Florida peninsula and marks the northern boundary of Everglades National Park.  When it was built, linking the east and west coast of Florida for new residents was a high priority; unfortunately, this dam effect has led to unintended environmental impacts that have slowed restoration of the Everglades ecosystem.

“Several significant advances have been made recently that demonstrate the protection of America’s Everglades remains a national and state priority,” said Kimball, “and that the federal/state partnership necessary for our success is very active in moving forward together.”

 “We welcome Governor Scott’s partnership with the Department in the construction of a 2.6 mile bridge on the Tamiami Trail, a critical next step in our collective efforts to restore the Everglades,” said Secretary Jewell in a statement. “Bridging the Tamiami Trail is a key component of Everglades’ restoration plans to increase water flow through the central Everglades into Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. This will both help restore wildlife habitat in the Everglades and improve flood conditions in the Water Conservation Areas north of the trail." 

The Department of Interior is seeking $30 million in its 2014 budget to help build the 2.6-mile bridge span to further restore this water flow.

Everglades National Park is the third largest national park in the lower 48 states.  At 1.5 million acres, it includes many different habitats, is home to 14 federally listed threatened and endangered species, and is located downstream from the much larger Greater Everglades Ecosystem that covers 18,000 square miles.  

The park’s wetlands are part of the region’s water recharge area, providing the water supply for 8 million people, one of the largest population centers in the United States. The National Park Service is a partner in the regional ecosystem restoration effort, the largest ecosystem restoration project in the world.   



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