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Oversight Hearing on "Florida Everglades Restoration: What are the Priorities?"
Thursday, November 3, 2011 10:00 AM
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs
1324 Longworth House Office Building


SUBCOMMITTEE ON FISHERIES, WILDLIFE, OCEANS AND INSULAR AFFAIRS
1324 Longworth House Office Building
Thursday, November 3, 2011
10:00 a.m.

OVERSIGHT HEARING ON:

  • "Florida Everglades Restoration: What are the Priorities?"

OPENING STATEMENT:

The Honorable John Fleming
Chairman

WITNESSES AND TESTIMONY:

Panel I

The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
Department of Defense

Rachel Jacobson
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Department of the Interior

Accompanied by:
Mark J. Masaus
Deputy Regional Director, Region 4
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Panel II

The Honorable William P. Horn
Past Member, National Academy of Science’s
Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress
(Truth in Testimony Form)

The Honorable Rick Dantzler
Co-Chairman
Northern Everglades Alliance
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Eric Draper
Executive Director
Audubon of Florida
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Bishop Wright, Jr.
President
Florida Airboat Association
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Jorge P. Gutierrez, Jr.
President
Everglades Coordinating Council
(Truth in Testimony Form)

BACKGROUND:

The hearing will examine the impacts of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, a component of the Water Resources Development Act. In 2000, Congress enacted the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan as a component of the Water Resources Development Act, committing to spend at least $13.5 billion for the restoration of the Florida Everglades. To date, none of the 68 projects of the Comprehensive Restoration Plan are completed. Despite the fact that the Fish and Wildlife Service has an operations and maintenance backlog in excess of $3.4 billion, they plan to acquire 150,000 acres of land in Central Florida for inclusion within the National Wildlife Refuge System at a cost of more than $700 million. The focus of the hearing is to examine how the 150,000 acres acquired will contribute to the overall goal of restoring the Florida Everglades, how the Service intends to pay for the 150,000 acres it intends to acquire through fee titles and conservation easements, what assurances they will provide in terms of public access and wildlife dependent recreation within the refuge and conservation area, and how the four locally affected Florida counties will be compensated for lost tax revenues.

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