WASHINGTON, D.C. – Joined by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Florida's Republican Governor Charlie Crist, and Congressman Kendrick Meek (D-FL), Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today underscored President Obama's commitment to restoring the Florida Everglades, calling the unprecedented initiative a national priority requiring continuing commitment and bi-partisan support.
“Restoring this treasured landscape, one of our nation's crown jewels, is the largest project of its kind ever undertaken in the United States,” Salazar said after meeting with Everglades Restoration support groups and touring a section of the ‘River of Grass' with Sen. Nelson and Gov. Crist. “This administration is firmly committed to the federal-state partnership working to achieve this goal and has already proposed more than $600 million to fund ongoing projects and to generate good jobs in design, engineering, construction and rehabilitation work.”
“I want to thank Sen. Nelson for his leadership in the Senate on this historic effort,” Salazar said. “I also want to commend Gov. Crist and the State of Florida for their partnership and support. This complex and challenging effort needs and deserves bi-partisan support from state and federal leaders. Our presence here today reflects that approach and that commitment to restore a national treasure while creating jobs for Americans.”
In addition to Nelson and Crist, Interior Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks Tom Strickland accompanied the Secretary.
The Everglades Restoration partnership works to restore, preserve, and protect the South Florida ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region, including water supply and flood protection. With an estimated total cost of $10.7 billion to the Federal Government and $11.8 billion to the state of Florida, the initiative is the largest hydrologic restoration project in U.S. history.
The Omnibus Appropriation Act for fiscal year 2009 provides a total of $241 million for Everglades' projects, including $118 million from the Department of the Interior and $123 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In addition, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, enacted earlier this year, provided $119.2 million in stimulus funding for Everglades work, including $18.6 million for Interior agencies and $100.6 million from the Army Corps of Engineers.
President Obama's budget request for 2010 would provide $278 million for Everglades' restoration, including $64 million from Interior and $214 million from the Corps. The 2010 budget for Everglades is $37 million above the 2009 enacted level
Interior's National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and U.S. Geological Survey fund operations on U.S. public and tribal lands in South Florida. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides Everglades restoration construction services. The State of Florida manages issues relative to State and private lands.