PALMETTO BAY, Fla. — Today on the 46th annual Earth Day, the Everglades Foundation celebrates the groundbreaking of the next phase of Tamiami Trail bridging. Building on the success of the one-mile bridge completed in 2013 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Park Service and the State of Florida, construction of this next phase advances a critical project to eliminate barriers that prevent water flow south to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay where it is needed.
“Today’s groundbreaking on the next 2.6 miles of bridging along the Tamiami Trail shows significant progress toward sending water south into the Everglades and Florida Bay,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of Everglades Foundation. “The next phase of Everglades restoration is to reconnect Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay, allowing lake water to flow south under these newly constructed bridges to reduce the billions of gallons of fresh water wasted annually and prevent occurrences of ‘zombie grass‘ in Florida Bay.
We appreciate the leadership of our state and federal partners to advance this important project and look forward to continue working together to implement long-term solutions necessary to send water south and restore America’s Everglades.”
The Trail currently acts as a dam, blocking water flow south into Everglades National Park. Completion of this 2.6 mile bridge advances ecological connectivity and increases the volume of water allowed to flow freely south of the Tamiami Trail which has been blocked since the 1920s. In August 2013, Gov. Scott announced a $90 million commitment toward this $180 million initiative by the National Park Service.