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Leak Protection Okeechobee
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The Greater Everglades Partnership Initative would protect and improve water quality north of Lake Okeechobee, restore wetlands, and connect existing conservation lands and important wildlife corridors to support the Everglades restoration effort. – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (More) http://www.fws.gov/southeast/greatereverglades/ Map of the area of interest: http://www.fws.gov/southeast/greatereverglades/images/areaofinterest1.jpg

1/18/2011 – http://www.news-press.com/article/20110118/NEWS0105/110117041/ (Excerpt)
The Everglades Headwaters refuge would be the 554th national wildlife refuge and the 29th in Florida.

With the preliminary proposal written, the wildlife service will hold a series of public workshops in late January and February — the workshops haven’t been scheduled.

Next would be the development of a land protection plan and National Environmental Policy Act document, then more public comment and, by September, a final plan.

If the wildlife service approves the plan, the process of buying land and easements could begin. According to the preliminary proposal, land acquisition could cost as much as 0 million.

As to when the refuge would be designated: It depends.

“I don’t know if there’s any money, or how much, or how much the land will cost,” Ehrhardt said. “If there’s lots of money, and landowners are interested in participating, it could happen quickly. If there’s no money, and landowners aren’t interested, it could be 10 years.”

1/17/2011 – Prospects for new ‘Glades plan far from certain http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20110117/ARTICLE/101171049/2055/ By Kate Spinner http://hurricanereport.blogs.heraldtribune.com/about/ (Excerpts)
As another grand plan to restore the Everglades fades to obscurity, a new one is emerging. But like others before in the nation’s most expensive environmental restoration project, it, too, has questionable prospects for success.

The shift northward to cleaning up ranch lands that flow into the lake is another in a long line of fits and starts in the protracted, .5 billion effort to repair a natural system considered one of the world’s rare environmental gems.

But water quality is just one part of the puzzle. The Everglades also need the right quantity of water, and that will be impossible without more land, said Tom Van Lent, senior scientist with the Everglades Foundation.

“This new plan just cleans up the water that’s currently going onto the Everglades,” he said. “It doesn’t get us toward a strategy to restoring the hydrology in the Everglades.”

01/07/20 – 11Salazar Announces Initiative to Conserve Working Lands and Wildlife Habitat in the Everglades Headwaters http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Salazar-Announces-Initiative-to-Conserve-Working-Lands-and-Wildlife-Habitat-in-the-Everglades-Headwaters.cfm

Ron Bergeron discussing a visit by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Governor Charlie Crist and Senator Bill Nelson to the Florida Everglades on Thursday, May 28, 2009, http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/2009_05_27_release.cfm

1/7/2010 http://www.fws.gov/southeast/news/2011/11-003.html (Excerpts)
The Service, along with its partners, is conducting a preliminary study to establish a new National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area of approximately 150,000 acres of important environmental and cultural landscapes in the Kissimmee River Valley south of Orlando. The proposed area includes 50,000 acres for potential purchase, and an additional 100,000 acres that could be protected through conservation easements and cooperative agreements, keeping the land in private ownership. The Service will only work with willing sellers to purchase land rights. …the public will be invited to participate in a series of workshops on the proposal in January and February.
More: http://www.fws.gov/southeast/greatereverglades/

1/7/2010 – http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/01/07/v-fullstory/2006012/wildlife-refuge-plan-aims-for.html (Excerpts)
For now, the proposal lacks a detailed map and any money. But even with costs easily running into the hundreds of millions of dollars, Salazar is confident the idea will win support in Washington. . . . In addition to what would be called the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area, Draper said activists are urging the administration to expand the existing Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in Southwest Florida and to create a third refuge in between — with the goal of creating wildlife corridors that help species such as the Florida panther expand their range and population.

1/7/2011 – Ask Interior: Secretary Salazar answers what’s being done by his department to help the Everglades – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s63kcU_hnk8

This is from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzughV0fSB8

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