Monday, February 21, 2011

Everglades Restoration

Environmentalists say Everglades restoration has economic benefits

February 21, 2011 - Another big Everglades project broke ground on Friday, a $79 million job in Southwest Florida to plug a drainage canal, install a massive pump to pulse freshwater back into thirsty wetlands and salty estuaries and rip out 100 miles of overgrown roadbed, remnants of a long-dead real estate fiasco.

It’s the second phase of work on the Picayune Strand, a landscape of pine forests, cypress stands and soggy prairie that form a critical puzzle piece connecting surrounding parks, preserves and refuges. It’s the latest of a half dozen Everglades construction projects now under way and – at 55,000 acres – it’s also the single largest Glades project on the books.

And there’s another much smaller number that has become increasingly important for environmentalists and state and federal agencies fighting to keep restoration momentum alive: 150 new jobs on the site and a ripple effect that will support hundreds more.

“In this environment, when you have the governor talking about creating private sector jobs and you have the Obama administration talking about creating jobs, there’s no doubt that the economic impacts are important part of the equation,’’ said Kirk Fordham, chief executive officer of the Everglades Foundation. {continued}

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