American Flamingo - Rare
The American Flamingo is only one of seven species in the Flamingo family that used to come within the borders of the United States. Now Rare in North America, except in southern Florida-- notably Everglades National Park-- most are escapes or accidentals from the Bahamas or Yucatan.
Nearly one year has passed since President Clinton signed into law a $7.8 billion measure to restore the Florida Everglades. The bill commanded overwhelmingly bi-partisan support and provided the framework for the most ambitious ecosystem recovery project in history. Because the costs will be shared equally by the federal and state governments, the responsibility for getting this momentous undertaking off to a solid start rests squarely with President Bush and his brother Jeb, the governor of Florida. And that has made many friends of the Everglades a bit nervous.
The president and governor both have pledged their devotion to the Everglades and both have found room in their budgets for $200 million each in first-year costs. The nervousness arises from doubts about their willingness to stay the course against what is sure to be determined opposition from Florida's developers and agricultural interests as well as some local communities.
The purpose of the Everglades project is simply stated -- to replicate as nearly as possible the historical flows of fresh water that once made South Florida a biological wonderland....
After considerable wrangling with the state of Florida, Congress explicitly stipulated that the overarching goal of the plan was the "restoration, preservation and protection of the South Florida ecosystem" and that, in consequence, nature -- not the cities, not the developers, not the farmers -- would have first claim on the newly captured water.
But where Florida is concerned, nothing is certain. Congress stipulated that no federal money could be spent until the president and the governor signed a binding agreement under which the state would promise to provide enough water to ensure "the restoration of the natural system" before diverting it elsewhere. The "agreement of the two Bushes," as some are calling it, has yet to be signed....
We would like to believe [Interior Secretary Gale Norton] and the president give this project the same priority that Congress and the American people do. Without [Norton's] active, aggressive involvement, the forces of regression in Florida -- the developers and the sugar barons and all the others with a stake in business as usual -- could well prevail.
The New York Times
President George W. Bush and his brother Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed this historic agreement January 9, 2002, guaranteeing adequate water for such areas as Everglades National Park and Big Cyprus National Preserve in the fast growing state.