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FL Residents, Wildlife Breathe Easier with Everglades' Cash Injection

Dedicated funding for Everglades restoration projects has been 16 years in the making. (Fred Ward/Wikimedia Commons)
Dedicated funding for Everglades restoration projects has been 16 years in the making. (Fred Ward/Wikimedia Commons)
April 11, 2016

MAITLAND, Fla. – Conservation groups are praising the Florida Legislature's $200 million funding for projects in the Everglades.

Everglades restoration projects have been under way for a few years now, but they lacked a stable source of funding, which groups have been working on for about 16 years.

Beth Lewis, director of water resources for The Nature Conservancy's Florida chapter, says some of the most critical projects can now move forward, and they will have a far-reaching effect.

"It helps rehydrate those natural areas on the coast that provide resilience against sea level rise, against hurricane impacts that we have in Florida," she explains.

Lewis says the funding will support river and lake improvement projects and ensure the health of the Floridan Aquifer, which runs under the entire state and is the primary drinking water supply for Miami-Dade County's more than 8 million residents.

She stresses the aquifer's health is critical.

"Through the ability to put more fresh, clean water into the Everglades, we replenish that aquifer, which keeps that water supply for people sustainable and healthy," she states.

Everglades wildlife should also appreciate the funding, according to Lewis. The projects should help rehydrate wetlands and return them to a healthier natural state.

"The wildlife will return to those areas and will use those areas for growth and propagation," she points out.

The legislation also includes $50 million per year to protect Florida's springs, though Lewis says more funding is necessary for some of the larger, billion dollar projects.

Deborah Kaye, Public News Service - FL