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[email protected]. 01.11.13

The last few years have been good for Everglades restoration.

After a decade of delay, there have been a string of ground-breakings and dedications, most recently Friday for a pump station in deep South Miami-Dade that will send more freshwater to both parched Everglades National Park and a too-salty swath of Florida Bay. Next month, a ribbon-cutting is scheduled for a new one-mile bridge along Tamiami Trail, which has blocked the flow of the River of Grass for a century.

Florida, which fought a federal lawsuit for years, also finally agreed in June to an $880 million expansion of vast artificial marshes intended to clean up damaging farm pollution.

The challenge now: Maintain progress and, most important, the flow of money for complex and expensive projects. That was the message Friday at the annual meeting of the Everglades Coalition at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, a three-day gathering that brought together some 300 activists, state and federal agency managers and political leaders.

The tone was generally optimistic from activists and the Obama administration, which has kick-started stalled efforts with some $1.5 billion in the last four years.

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