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Feds propose more aid for the Everglades

At today's Everglades summit, the National Park Service released a draft environmental statement that identifies "alternatives to restore natural water flows to the Everglades."

The service is looking for reaction to the feasibility of adding 5 miles of bridging on Tamiami Trail -- beyond the 1 mile now under construction.

The Everglades Foundation called it a "big step forward"

"The Tamiami trail has long been recognized as a primary barrier to natural flow of water through the Everglades," said assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Tom Strickland. "Last year, we took a significant step forward when we broke ground on a mile-long bridge to allow water to flow under the trail, but we need to do more if we are going to restore the Everglades ecosystem to health."

He said the new bridging would provide the capability to restore up to 100 percent of the historic volume and
distribution of water that used to flow southward into Northeast Shark River Slough before the trail was constructed. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft for 60 days, which will be published in the Federal Register in the next few days. The National Park Service will evaluate the comments before issuing a final report to Congress, which would have to authorize and fund any future construction.