Commentary: Everglades find a friend

Everglades National Park has a welcome friend in the White House, as the Obama administration continues to jump-start long-stalled projects to clean up and restore historic water levels in the River of Grass.

The Everglades is more than a unique ecosystem. It's also South Florida's water-supply reservoir. The cleanup matters as much to suburbanites as to wood storks and alligators.

Not long after President Obama took office, the Interior Department cleared long-standing hurdles to infuse $600 million into the ambitious $12 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.

It was the first significant federal contribution to what is supposed to be a state-federal jointly funded project. Until recently, the state had outspent the feds by a 6-to-1 ratio.

Next came the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' long-awaited groundbreaking in 2009 of a one-mile bridge along the Tamiami Trail to restore some sheet flow to Northeast Shark River Slough, headwaters of eastern Everglades National Park.

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