|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||May 19, 2010|
|Contact:||Sara Fain, Everglades Restoration Program Manager
National Parks Conservation Association; Phone: 305-546-6689
John Adornato, Regional Director National Parks Conservation Association; Phone: 954-309-9307
Parks Advocacy Group Applauds New Plan to Bridge Tamiami Trail to Restore Everglades National Park
Hollywood, FL – The National Park Service (NPS) today released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for its plan to further bridge Tamiami Trail to allow water to flow south into Everglades National Park. The proposed plan, which endorses 5.5 miles of bridging and builds upon the one-mile bridge project currently under construction, is a critical element needed to achieve full Everglades restoration.
In response, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) applauds the vision of the NPS for developing a plan that is both compatible with existing uses and bridging projects, and will ultimately address the 80 year problem of the Trail acting as an unnatural dam to water flow.
“We are thrilled that the Obama Administration has made such a strong commitment to restoring Everglades National Park. Five and a half miles of bridging along the Tamiami Trail will result in vital wetland recovery benefits to the park and Florida Bay,” said Sara Fain, Everglades Restoration Program Manager. “Moving this project forward is key to reversing the current ecological decline and ensuring we protect this nationally significant treasure for our children and grandchildren.”
In March 2009, Congress directed the Department of the Interior, through the NPS, to immediately evaluate the feasibility of additional bridging along the Tamiami Trail, beyond that to be built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Modified Water Deliveries restoration project. Congress underlined the importance of this restoration project to deliver more natural water flow to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.
“We now call on Congress to support and fund this project,” said Fain. “It can serve not only as a landmark restoration project for the nation, but will also put people back to work in south Florida.”
In addition to complementing the one-mile bridge currently under construction, NPCA believes that plans to include the greatest amount of bridging possible will enable water managers to take full advantage of the restoration benefits that will be provided from the State of Florida’s River of Grass land acquisition in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA).
Since the 1920s, Tamiami Trail has acted as a dam, preventing water from freely flowing along its historic and natural path through the greater Everglades ecosystem from Water Conservation Area 3 into Everglades National Park and out to Florida Bay. The current NPS planning process provides an unparalleled opportunity to reverse this damage.
Click here to learn more about Tamiami Trail.