A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Salazar: Tamiami Trail a Major Milestone in Restoration of Everglades and in Vision for America's Great Outdoors
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FL – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Tom Strickland today joined officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District to break ground today on a 1-mile bridge on the Tamiami Trail, a key component of on-going efforts to revive the Everglades.
The $81 million project, which has been 20 years in the making, is the largest construction project in the history of the National Park Service and a key component of the Modified Waters Delivery Project to restore fresh water flows to Everglades National Park and the South Florida Ecosystem.
“Today we have reached an historic milestone in the restoration of the Everglades and in our agenda to help protect America's great outdoors for future generations,” Salazar said. “The Everglades are one of America's most treasured places, but for more than 90 years, the Tamiami Trail has effectively served as a dike, interrupting natural water flows that are vital to the natural ecosystem. Today, thanks to the hard work of many stakeholders in South Florida, we are building a bridge that will help to restore those water flows while still allowing the Trail to serve its important transportation function for the people of this state.”
“Partnership has been and always will be the key to successful Everglades restoration,” said Tom Strickland, assistant secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. “While it took years of hard work to reach this day, the Tamiami Bridge proves what we can do when we continue to work together. We can piece by piece, project by project, lay the foundation for a renewed and healthy Everglades.”
Salazar noted that the Obama administration has made Everglades restoration a high priority in its efforts to protect America's great outdoors. The President's economic recovery plan included $117 million for the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior to restore habitat and to provide additional fresh water for the South Florida ecosystem.
The Tamiami Trail was constructed in the 1920s with the intention of linking Tampa and Miami, hence its name. The bridge project, which is expected to be completed in May 2013, is located in Miami-Dade County, adjacent to the northern boundary of Everglades National Park.
The process to reach agreement on the bridge was at times complex and time-consuming, involving many stakeholders and subject to rigorous environmental review. In November, the Army Corps of Engineers awarded an $81 million contract that includes constructing the bridge, and raising and reinforcing an additional 9.7 miles of the trail.
As a major component of the Modified Water Deliveries Project – also known as Mod Waters – the bridge will specifically restore more natural water flow to Northeast Shark River Slough, a portion of Everglades National Park which Congress added in 1989.
Once completed, Mod Waters will provide a foundation for other restoration projects that will be implemented in the future to increase the quantity, quality, timing and distribution of fresh water to the Everglades.