Everglades restoration conference to draw top experts

First global meeting to examine the ecosystem May 2-4. Convened by the American Water Resources Association and South Florida Water Management District, this conference is a unique opportunity for the participants to contribute to the largest ecosystem restoration program in the world...

WEST PALM BEACH, FL, April 14, 2005 -- Environmental experts from around the globe will gather May 2 - 4, 2005 to discuss the ongoing restoration of America's Everglades. Hosted in Palm Beach Gardens at the gateway to the famed wetland ecosystem, the conference marks the first International Conference on Restoring the Everglades.

Scientists, engineers, government, educators and legal experts in ecosystem restoration will examine the Everglades restoration through seminars, workshops and presentations. All sessions will be open to conference participants and the media.

Journalists covering the meeting will also have the opportunity to tour Everglades sites where restoration is under way or successfully completed with the scientists and engineers involved in those projects.

Convened by the American Water Resources Association (AWRA), together with the South Florida Water Management District, this conference is a unique opportunity for the participants to contribute to the largest ecosystem restoration program in the world.

Within the framework of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, (CERP), Florida is accelerating the funding, design and construction of eight key restoration components. Known as Acceler8, this initiative puts large, significant projects in the ground by 2010, allowing the Everglades to benefit sooner than originally anticipated, and in a more cost-effective manner.

Conference participants will gain an in-depth understanding of the massive program to restore the Everglades and will be actively involved in reviewing the first designs of Acceler8. This includes evaluating project details and assessing and solving potential restoration challenges.

The opening plenary session will provide the technical and policy framework for Everglades restoration, including details on the Acceler8 initiative. Conference participants will then choose from four main themes on restoration challenges and solutions, each with facilitated dialogue aimed at developing strategies for project implementation.

The four main themes and their breakout sessions are:
Water quality issues in Everglades restoration
-- Florida's legal framework for improving water quality
-- Successes and challenges in phosphorus source control
-- Successes and challenges in phosphorus removal
-- The long-term plan for achieving water quality goals
-- Acceler8 restoration projects that address water quality

Improving water quality in the greater everglades
-- Challenges in restoring Everglades hydro-patterns
-- Monitoring efforts and indicators of success
-- Acceler8 restoration projects that address water storage

Getting the water right for Florida's coastal environment
-- Coastal watershed restoration: South Florida's challenge
-- Managing freshwater flows to the coast: The Lake Okeechobee story
-- Biological indicators of ecosystem health
-- Acceler8 restoration projects that address coastal challenges

Reservoirs to the rescue - Water storage and distribution
-- Surface storage for managing Florida's water
-- Overcoming seepage issues: Data from reservoir test cells
-- Meeting construction standards for surface water storage in Florida
-- Acceler8 restoration projects that address water storage

The South Florida Water Management District (www.sfwmd.gov) is a regional, governmental agency that oversees the water resources in the southern half of the state -- 16 counties from Orlando to the Keys. It is the oldest and largest of the state's five water management districts. The agency mission is to manage and protect water resources of the region by balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply. A key initiative is cleanup and restoration of the Everglades.

AWRA (www.awra.org) is the premier professional organization dedicated to the advancement of multidiscipline water resources management, education and research. For over 40 years, AWRA has provided a forum for water resources conversation and networking. AWRA has members in every state and in over 50 nations. For questions, call 540-687-8390 or email info@awra.org.

For related news, see: "Everglades restoration named best national engineering achievement of 2004".

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