Friday, October 03, 2008

Little Progress On Everglades Restoration

Delays Abound Says New Report On Florida Everglades

LABELLE, FL. -- Budgeting, planning, and procedural matters are hindering a federal and state effort to restore the Florida Everglades ecosystem, which is making only scant progress toward achieving its goals. So says a new reports by the National Academies.

Good science has been developed to support restoration efforts, but future progress is likely to be limited by the availability of funding and current authorization mechanisms, says the report. To begin reversing decades of decline, managers should address complex planning issues and move forward with projects that have the most potential to restore the natural ecosystem. Ongoing delays in restoration have postponed improving the quality, quantity, timing, distribution, and flow of water in the Everglades and thus have allowed ecological decline to continue.

The numerous delays in implementing the "Mod Waters" project, authorized nearly 20 years ago to restore flows to the northeastern portion of Everglades National Park, have been particularly discouraging. Meanwhile, construction costs continue to rise, and population growth and associated development make restoration increasingly difficult. Unless near-term progress is achieved on major restoration initiatives, the Everglades will likely face further loss of species and habitat deterioration, which could be difficult or impossible to reverse.

The National Academies perform a public service by bringing together committees of experts in all areas of scientific and technological endeavor. These experts serve pro bono to address critical national issues and give advice to the federal government and the public.

Four organizations comprise the Academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. - Everglades Report


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