Audubon Florida is praising the Obama Administration’s FY 2013 budget released today for its inclusion of $231.75 million in funding for Everglades restoration. This request builds upon recent federal commitments to protect and restore this unique ecological treasure.
Last month, the U.S. Department of the Interior established the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area North of Lake Okeechobee and listed 4 species of invasive exotic snakes that are plaguing the Everglades as “injurious” species that cannot be imported or sold across state lines. This funding request reaffirms that the urgency to restore the Everglades is being recognized in Washington.
“We have progressed farther than any ecosystem restoration program in the nation. Our top priority is to make sure that the investment in the largest ongoing construction project in South Florida reaps benefits for wildlife and people,” said Julie Hill-Gabriel, Audubon Florida’s Director of Everglades Policy. “The funding proposed today would make sure that job-creating projects under construction do not come to a halt.”
Audubon urges Congress to support the request that would among other things, continue restoration of the Kissimmee River, bridging along Tamiami Trail, returning 55,000 acres of wetlands in southwest Florida to natural lands and improving the health of the Indian River Lagoon.
“Today, the federal government has demonstrated its continued commitment to Everglades restoration,” said Eric Draper, Audubon Florida Executive Director, adding, “Audubon Florida applauds the dedication and commitment of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior to restoring America’s Everglades.”