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Everglades Restoration Means Climate Change Protection, Advocates Say

January 16, 2013 | WMFE- South Florida leaders say there's a new reason to restore the Everglades. They think bringing Florida's famed ecosystem back to full health will prevent salt water from getting into interior parts of the state. 90.7's Amy Green reports that to them, repairs to the Everglades including its headwaters in Central Florida are key to preserving the state's water supply.

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South Florida leaders say rising sea levels already cause flooding in residential areas during high tide, without any help from rain.

They're concerned the region's interior is at risk, too, because of the porous limestone that makes up much of the state.

At this weekend's Everglades Coalition conference in Coral Gables, environmental scientists said rising salt water pushes fresh water out from underground and into places where it isn't supposed to be.

Ernie Barnett, director of Everglades policy at the South Florida Water Management District, says that means flooding and contaminated drinking water.

"Fresh water flowing through the Everglades will push the salt water back. In addition to that the actual land mass will increase in size because the organic soils that are underneath the surface in the Everglades are built up."

Already a seven-county coalition of South Florida public and private stakeholders is working to prepare for climate change and rising sea levels. 


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