Editorial: Everglades restoration/Gulf research … our tax dollars at work where we can watch

By NaplesNews.com
November 8, 2009 at 3:36 p.m

Looking for worthwhile investments of your federal tax dollars?

Two are in our backyards. 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded $53 million for a contract to restart an Everglades restoration project in eastern Collier County.

It will include plugging 14 miles of canals and removing 95 miles of roads in the Picayune Strand between Interstate 75 and U.S. 41 east.

There is political as well as parochial significance: it is the first federal contribution to what started nine years ago as a 50-50 state-federal Everglades restoration partnership.

The package merits $41 million of stimulus money because it will employ up to 300 workers over its two-year course, with most of them targeted to come from our area. 

Meanwhile, there is a federal grant for continuing research into the so-called dead zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Nearly $2.5 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will go toward answering how the dead zone forms and how it affects flora and fauna.

It is a national issue because the suspected culprit pollutants come from Louisiana as well as states around it, and the impacts spread out as well. 

While we are pleased to see these signs of progress, there is a cautionary note: being proactive and smart — not doing damage in the first place — is a lot cheaper.