Editorial: Restoring the Everglades

Published May 16, 2013

After too long a time, Florida's River of Grass is reclaiming its name.

Workers on Wednesday cracked the roadbed of what for 85 years had been Tamiami Trail, the two-lane highway that dammed the natural water flow into Everglades National Park. The work is part of a project that ultimately will turn 6 miles of road into an elevated bridge, allowing fresh water to flow southerly again from Lake Okeechobee toward Florida Bay.

Environmentalists wanted more elevated highways along the road, but the existing plan will be a major help without breaking the bank. The White House put $30 million into the budget next year to start work on raising the longest segment, a 2.6-mile stretch. As the benefits of this significant return of water flow become clear, it should be easier to press for elevating more of the highway.

Restoring the Everglades has been a political exercise with its own ebb and flows. But bridging part of the trail is a true success story, and it opens a new chapter for an ecosystem that has long been a source of Florida's beauty and growth.