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Contact: Everglades National Park, 305-242-7700
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 305-242-7714
Everglades National Park News Release
Release Date: September 14, 2016
Project Contact: Carol Mitchell, NPS South Florida Natural Resources Center, 305-224-4253 Media Contact: Public Affairs Office, 305-242-7714
Finding of No Significant Impact Approved for Cape Sable Plugs Restoration –Phase II Project
Homestead, FL: The National Park Service (NPS) has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Cape Sable Plugs Restoration –Phase II project. Southeast Regional Director Stan Austin approved the FONSI based on the environmental assessment (EA) recommended by Everglades National Park Superintendent Pedro M. Ramos.
The NPS is planning to replace the failed plug at Raulerson Canal and repair the eroded plugs on House and Slagle Ditches in the Cape Sable area of Everglades National Park. The goal of this project is to reestablish the natural function of the marl ridge and restore natural ecological processes to the Cape Sable region by eliminating the unnatural exchange of salt and freshwater through man-made canals.
Stopping the unnatural exchange of water through man-made waterways is vital to stabilizing the natural function of the interior wetlands. While this landscape is naturally dynamic, slowing the rate of human-induced change may also bring about greater resilience to the cape in the face of predicted sea level rise and the possibility of more frequent and intense storms as a result of climate change.
Public and agency involvement played an important role in developing the alternatives and environmental assessment for this project. The approved FONSI is based on Alternatives 2 and 4a, identified as the Preferred Alternatives, when the EA was released for public review and comment from April 24 through May 27, 2016. Upon completion, the plugs are expected to function for a 50-year life-cycle, the natural and cultural resources will be protected, and safety hazards from the failed plug at Raulerson Canal will be removed. The plugs will also help to prevent illegal motorized boat entry into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness Area.
Superintendent Ramos is pleased with the outcome of the planning process and the cooperative spirit in which it was developed. Funding support for the EA was provided by the Everglades Foundation. "I'm eager to focus on moving forward to obtain funds to repair the canal plugs. This has been a long-term restoration goal of the park and we are committed to completing it as soon as funding becomes available."
The EA and FONSI are available on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/documentsList.cfm?projectID=56562 -NPS-