The 2014 Florida Legislature is poised to finalize the 2015 budget and the Everglades is getting record amounts, including a whopping $90 million three-year commitment tomatch federal funds for Tamiami Trail bridging. The budget also funds a range of important projects and programs for the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee and estuaries.
Other Everglades line items include $40 million for the C-44 reservoir project to help reduce harmful discharges to the St. Lucie Estuary, $32 million for the state’s Everglades Water Quality Plan, and $18 million for the C-43 reservoir to help improve the health of the Caloosahatchee Estuary. The budget also funds a number of projects to store and clean water throughout the Northern Everglades and estuaries.
While not giving specific numbers, the budget states that funds may be increased or decreased to expedite the completion of the Kissimmee River Restoration, C-111 South Dade, and the Picayune Strand restoration projects. These are three top priority projects which will help restore the flow of water from the Northern Everglades south to rehydrate Florida Bay.
Audubon acknowledges the Everglades Foundation for their leadership to increase Everglades funding. We will continue to advance the construction and operation of these projects through vigorous advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels.
This record Everglades budget is due in part to Senator Joe Negron (R-Palm City) who convened a Select Senate Committee that held public hearings and recommended many of the projects in the budget.
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