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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Score One for the Environment, Everglades Cleanup...  

The Associated Press released a story Tuesday 2/24 announcing the start up Monday in southern Florida of the long awaited South Bay Pumping Station. The station is to fill the world's largest man made wetland, 26 square miles, which will in turn, filter water drained from agricultural districts to the north as they flow into the Everglades. The Everglades is actually a river, the Kissimmee River and in some places 50 miles wide. The Everglades flow south into Gulf waters off the southern tip of Florida; at times only inches deep this great grass covered sweep of water is home to countless species of wildlife, birds, insects , panthers and of course Florida's signature carnivore, the alligator.

The project co-sponsored by the State of Florida and the Federal Government under grants directed in part by the Department of Environmental Protection is a major component of the larger project to cleanup and restore part of the sprawling Everglades ecosystem which once stretched through a series of lakes from present day Orlando south to the tip of Florida.

Monday's commencement of pumping was nearly delayed by a decade last year when new legislation threatened to bench construction. Environmentalists and a few key legislators resisted the Executive threat by countering that halting the pump station's construction would jeopardize the estimated $8.4 billion Everglades Restoration Project.

The pump facility at South Bay will be able to provide water as a medium for cattails, floating plants and algae that naturally filter phosphates from agricultural sources which pollute the water and have slowly eroded the health of the Everglades. The man made marsh is expected to complete its task by 2006.


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