February 15, 2011 at 12:11 am
By ERIC STAATS
Naples Daily News
President Obama’s budget keeps money flowing to Florida’s Everglades, advocates said Monday.
The budget request includes $168 million for Everglades restoration projects, including $13.6 million to continue work at the Picayune Strand project in rural Collier County.
That project is tearing out roads and blocking canals to return natural water flows to 55,000 acres of a failed subdivision between Interstate 75 and U.S. 41.
“At the end of the day, it is clear that this administration understands that Everglades restoration is a priority to sustain the water supply, create jobs and provide myriad economic benefits,” Kirk Fordham, CEO of the nonprofit Everglades Foundation, said in a written statement.
The Interior Department’s budget for the Everglades would see a $31 million increase to $103 million.
Included in that boost is $5.5 million to meet legal requirements for the federal government to reimburse the state of Florida for land added to the Big Cypress National Preserve in 1988.
The budget also increases spending for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service endangered species programs in South Florida by $1.8 million, from $2.4 million to $4.2 million.
The money would allow the agency to hire more people to review development permits and Everglades restoration projects for compliance with the Endangered Species Act, spokesman Ken Warren said.