In 2000, Congress passed a multibillion dollar Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. In 2010, one of the Plan’s funded projects began construction on the Spreader Canal, one of a dozen initiatives that aimed to restore the natural flow of freshwater through the Everglades into the ailing Florida Bay.
The project’s official dedication was recently marked with the rush of water through a new pumping station. It plugs an existing canal and pumps 290 million gallons of water each day to build a kind of wall of water at the eastern edge of the Everglades National Park, which has lost too much water to a flood control system and other development in Miami Dade County.
It will be a few years before the success of the project can be measured adequately. But there have been several positive developments. Lower water levels have been recorded in the flood control system, meaning the barrier is stopping freshwater from seeping out of the park. Additionally, by the end of South Florida’s rainy season, water levels in the slough leading into Florida Bay were higher than they had been for a long time. Getting the water flow corrected is seen as the key to the ecosystem’s survival.