Vice President Joe Biden was in Florida this week touring the Everglades and touting the benefits of federally funded restoration projects to restore the historical flow of water from the Northern Everglades Watershed to Everglades National Park. He brought his granddaughter along on the airboat tour of the Everglades area, where they were joined by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings. I was honored to be asked to represent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) at the event.
After what the Vice President said was his first airboat ride, he spoke to a small group of attendees and reporters. During his speech he praised the USDA for its work in the Northern Everglades area, mentioning our collaboration with farmers and ranchers to restore 50,000 acres of wetlands and help in the Everglades restoration efforts.
USDA and its agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), are committed to helping restore America’s Everglades. In 2011, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack came to Florida to announce $100 million in Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) funding for the Northern Everglades watershed area, which eventually flows into the Everglades.
NRCS employees in Florida are processing applications for wetland easements and working hard to achieve wetland restoration. We know that after restoration, the water running off of these wetlands will occur over a more natural period of time, helping to reduce the concentrations of nutrients entering Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades.
The conservation work done to restore the natural functions of the Everglades wetlands will help Florida improve water quality, quantity and seasonal distribution. As Vice President Biden pointed out, Everglades restoration helps guarantee fresh water for almost a third of the state’s population and a large part of its agricultural industry.
Find out more about the Wetlands Reserve Program
Check out more conservation stories on the USDA blog
Follow NRCS on Twitter