"WASHINGTON -- A new fast-track planning effort could shave years off the next phase of Everglades restoration, putting more fresh and clean water into the central and southern portions of Florida's 'River of Grass' more quickly."
"A restoration task force that met Thursday in West Palm Beach, Fla., announced a rapid planning effort that, if approved by Congress, could transform how large public-works projects across the country are built. It's also expected to cut the planning process for the next major restoration project in the central Everglades from six years to 18 months.
'The reality is the ecosystem has continued to degrade,' said Dawn Shirreffs, the Everglades restoration program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association. 'We're running out of time. We don't have the time to spend six years on a project anymore.'
Thursday's announcement came out of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' effort to streamline large projects nationwide. The Army corps decided to use the planning process for the next major restoration project, which will provide more a natural flow and deeper clean new water through the central Everglades and Everglades National Park, as a pilot.
Previous plans were overly detailed, expensive and time-consuming, the Army Corps of Engineers found. The time - as well as data - being invested in studies wasn't leading to a better product, officials said in materials that were prepared for Thursday's task force meeting."