December 17, 2010
Hugh Vickery, 202-208-6416
Salazar Proposes Additional Bridging of Tamiami Trail to Restore Historic Water Flows to Everglades
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today proposed an additional 5.5 miles of bridging of the Tamiami Trail to restore historic water flows and distribution to the Everglades.
“An additional 5.5 miles of bridging will allow us to fully restore historic water flow and complement the efforts the State of Florida is making to increase water quantity and treatment, two key elements for Everglades restoration,” Salazar said. “If ultimately authorized and funded by Congress, this proposal will benefit the environment and economy of South Florida.”
Salazar announced the release of the National Park Service’s Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Tamiami Trail Modifications: Next Steps Project. The impact statement sets forth a science-based plan to restore habitat within the remaining natural Everglades, including Everglades National Park, Florida Bay and the State’s Water Conservation Areas.
The preferred plan identified in the impact statement adds 5.5 miles of bridging to the current 1-mile bridge under construction, increasing the total amount of bridge span within the 10.7-mile corridor to 6.5 miles.
When coupled with other planned restoration projects, the additional bridging would provide for unconstrained flow of water to Northeast Shark River Slough in Everglades National Park.
The increased water volumes and improved flow distributions will re-establish seasonal water depths and flooding durations that are critical to the survival of many fish and wildlife species, including the federally endangered wood stork, Everglades snail kite, and Cape Sable seaside sparrow, and state-listed Roseate spoonbill.
“This science-based plan fully responds to the question Congress asked, which is what amount of water is needed to restore the Everglades,” said Tom Strickland, Interior assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, who chairs the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force.
“We worked hard to develop a win-win solution based upon sound science,” said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis. “This is the first time that the National Park Service has been able to articulate a solution for one of the most vexing and long-standing problems facing restoration managers, which is how to restore historic sheet flow.”
“This has been a challenging project and we are particularly proud of the collaborative effort with our many partners that has contributed to this milestone,” said Everglades National Park Superintendent Dan Kimball.
The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 (H.R. 1105; P.L. 111-008, March 11, 2009) directed the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service to evaluate the feasibility of additional bridging of the Tamiami Trail beyond that currently being constructed, pursuant to the Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park Project (16 U.S.C. § 410r-S).
The impact statement was prepared by Everglades National Park in technical collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During the course of the preparation of the FEIS, the National Park Service worked with a Project Delivery Team consisting of other federal, state, local government representatives in the methodology as well as the subsequent evaluation of alternatives presented in the document.
The public can view the FEIS on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website: http://parkplanning.nps.gov , by clicking on the "Parks"
button on the homepage, selecting “Everglades National Park”, then “Tamiami Trail Modifications: Next Steps Project/EIS". The FEIS can then be accessed by clicking on the "Document List" on the left side of the project page.
For more information, questions, or to request a copy of the FEIS, contact Bruce Boler, Project Manager at 305-224-4234 or firstname.lastname@example.org .