Last week, Everglades enthusiasts had another reason to smile. With $120 million dollars proposed for Everglades restoration projects, the President’s 2016 budget identifies “protecting America’s wetlands” as an important priority. This year’s proposed budget doubles the amount that was allocated for Everglades restoration last year. Yet despite increases, many wonder if it will be enough. Unfortunately, the administration’s budget is not a done deal, and still needs to pass both houses of Congress before anything can happen, but Florida residents and officials feel positive that the budget is a good start.
A Quality of Life Floridians Enjoy
The Florida Everglades are iconic. With stunning imagery, incredible wildlife and unique vegetation, families and outdoor enthusiasts come from all over the world for a chance to get up close and personal with the state’s most exciting natural resource. Protecting the Everglades is a practical, smart strategy for ensuring locals and tourists alike continue to enjoy the wetlands and their educational value. Whether it’s zipping through the “River of Grass” on an incredible airboat ride, viewing an exciting live alligator presentation or simply enjoying the ecosystem and its inhabitants, Floridians enjoy an exceptional quality of life thanks to the Everglades.
Local Support of Everglades Restoration is Strong
This past November, Floridians overwhelmingly voted “yes” on Amendment I, allocating up to a third of the state’s excise tax revenue for Everglades restoration. Funding is now guaranteed in the state constitution, meaning Everglades restoration efforts may soon be backed by money rather than just good intention. In addition, Governor Rick Scott says he plans to assemble $5 billion, with a “B”, for Everglades restoration efforts over the next 20 years. Assuming the Governor’s budget passes, $150 million will be used on projects this year, and if newly mandated funds are available and used properly on the right projects, then efforts to restore the natural flow of water in the Everglades and protect the fragile ecosystem will be met with success - and that’s good news for all of us.
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