Klein joins with Florida Delegation to secure over $1.8 Billion for the Everglades and Millions more to restore Peanut Island and improve South Florida's beaches in WRDA Conference Report
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - U.S. Rep. Ron Klein enthusiastically lauded the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 Conference Report (WRDA) today, which contains nearly $2 billion dollars in funding for the Florida Everglades, as well as millions of dollars in funding to protect South Florida beaches and restore Peanut Island.
"When I came to Congress, I promised the people of South Florida that I would fight to restore and protect the Everglades, and restore our beaches. And after almost seven years of Congressional inaction to tackle Florida's Everglades restoration, we in the 110th Congress have come through, and delivered.
"I'm pleased to see the 110th Congress reaffirm its commitment to the Florida Everglades - one our country's most unique and fragile ecosystems," continued Klein. "I am also grateful that Congress has taken the concerns of my coastal residents seriously. Shore protection, whether through beach renourishment or repairing bulkheads, protects people's lives and personal property from deadly storms. Peanut Island's restoration was a great, though expensive, success story. These projects deserve the full reimbursement of the federal government's share, and the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 delivers it."
Klein secured the following South Florida projects which were authorized up to $18.75 million as part of the WRDA bill:
· The Peanut Island Environmental Restoration Project: This provision would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to spend up to $9.75 million for its share of the restoration of Peanut Island. Previously, the Army Corps' contribution was capped at $5 million. This project was a joint effort of the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), Palm Beach County and the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) to environmentally restore and enhancement Peanut Island as well as to add more recreational amenities.
· Lake Worth Bulkhead: This provision would authorize $9 million to carry out necessary repairs to the Lake Worth bulkhead replacement project. Currently, the entire seawall has deteriorated over the past several years, putting residents of Lake Worth and their property in jeopardy.
· Broward County and Hillsboro Inlet: This provision would ensure that the construction of 10.1 acres of shoreline mitigation to offset the negative impacts to sensitive or endangered habitat and species from beach construction is eligible for Federal reimbursement. Currently, Army Corps does not have statutory authority to reimburse Broward County because the project was not in their original Project Cooperation Agreement. This provision would grant the Corps this authority so that Broward County is properly reimbursed for their work.
· Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR): This provision would authorize the implementation of the ASR Pilot Project to help verify the feasibility of this important water storage feature of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. This study will also take into account any and all impact this project would potentially have on the environment, ensuring this project is environmentally sound. It would also authorize an increase in cost for the pilot projects to adjust for inflation and the cost of construction materials and design changes since 1999.
Funding for the following Everglades Projects Were Authorized as part of the WRDA Bill:
· Indian River Lagoon South: The WRDA Conference Report authorizes $1.365 billion for restoration of the Indian River Lagoon South, to be split evenly by federal and non-federal costs. The project provides for ecosystem restoration, water supply, flood damage reduction, and protection of water quality.
· Picayune Strand: The WRDA Conference Report authorizes $375.33 million to be split evenly between federal and non-federal costs, for environmental restoration of Picayune Strand. The Picayune Strand ecosystem restoration plan would help increase freshwater flows to natural areas.
· Site 1 Impoundment: The WRDA Conference Report authorizes $80.84 million for the environmental restoration of Site 1 Impoundment, Florida to be split evenly between federal and non-federal costs. The project consists of an aboveground reservoir covering 1,660 acres, with a normal water storage depth of approximately 8 feet. An inflow pump station will move water into the preserve from the Hillsboro Canal. Additional project components include a seepage control; system and remote-controlled gated culverts. The project is located in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.
"Passing the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 provides needed funds for critical Everglades restoration projects in Florida, particularly the Indian River Lagoon, Picayune Strand Restoration, and Site 1 Impoundment projects," said Klein. "Although the federal government still lags behind the State of Florida in dedicated funding despite their 50-50 partnership, I vow to keep fighting to ensure that the federal government fulfills its promise to restore the 'River of Grass' to its original splendor."
The House and Senate are expected to vote on the WRDA Conference Report this week. Once Congress passes the legislation, it will go to the President for his signature.
OFFICE OF CONGRESSMAN RON KLEIN
FLORIDA'S 22ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
CONTACT: Adrienne Elrod 202.997.5510