25/06/2018 – MiamiHerald. / Florida is blessed with beautiful landscapes, exotic creatures, and exciting outdoor recreation opportunities. Whether you want to observe alligators or witness rockets being launched into space, you can do it along Florida’s protected public coasts.
There is a historic national program known as the Land and Water Conservation Fund which unites many of these unique outdoor experiences. Called “LWCF” for short, the fund uses a portion of fees from offshore oil drilling to protect special places. Without the use of taxpayer dollars, LWCF supports the acquisition of land and conservation easements to protect America’s parks and wildlife refuges.
I was fortunately able to witness the benefits of LWCF firsthand during my career working with the National Park Service at multiple locations across the country. While serving as superintendent of Everglades National Park in the early 2000’s, I led the implementation of the Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Plan . Authorized by Congress in 2000, the success of that plan is due in part to the LWCF.
In Fiscal Year 2012, the Everglades National Park and the Big Cypress National Preserve to its north together received $30 million in LWCF funding . These funds will enable the restoration of the Florida Everglades to continue. With the help of local stakeholders, the Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will work to repair the natural flow of water in the Everglades ecosystem. Among the many benefits of this restoration project, fish populations will improve as will related commercial and recreational fishing opportunities.