Naples, FL – Audubon Florida applauds South Florida Water Management District (District) Governing Board Member and Big Cypress Basin Board Chair Charlette Roman for her vision of early restoration for thousands of acres of wetlands in the Picayune Strand Restoration Project of Collier County’s Western Everglades region. Two years ago, she urged the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to model plugging 3.3 miles of the Faka Union Canal ahead of schedule, including removal of many miles of roads from this section of the failed subdivision. Last Friday, the Faka-Union pump station was turned on several years ahead of schedule allowing for over 2,000 acres of parched wetlands to be brought back to life.
"Chair Roman's creative and opportunistic thinking is the kind of leadership that makes Everglades Restoration work," said Brad Cornell, Southwest Florida Policy Associate for Audubon Florida.
The Picayune Strand Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project is the first and largest Everglades initiative, started in 2007 with an expected completion date by 2025. Approximately 70,000 acres of wetland and upland habitats will be restored, including downstream estuarine waters of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. More than 260 miles of roads will be removed and 48 miles of canals plugged, plus removal of invasive and exotic trees and plants on tens of thousands of acres. As restoration advances, wading birds, Florida panthers, black bears and many other iconic Everglades wildlife species are already returning.
This Everglades project partnership between the Corps and District is part of the largest wetland restoration project in the world. Audubon works collaboratively with these agencies and our Everglades science and restoration staff at Audubon’s Tavernier, Okeechobee, and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Science Centers to advance the best restoration strategies possible.
With Roman’s recent reappointment to the District Governing Board and Basin Board Chair, Audubon looks forward to continued collaboration with her and her board colleagues and staff to further Everglades Restoration outcomes such as Picayune Strand.
Audubon Florida protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow.