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SOUTH FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT AWARDED AN EPA EMPACT GRANT

Release Date: 12/14/1999
Contact Information: Wesley Lambert, EPA Media Relations Office, (404) 562-8316
The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded the South Florida Water Management District an Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) grant in the amount of $488,598. The monies will be used to to make public information pertaining to the health of the Everglades more easily accessible.

Through this EMPACT grant, the local population will have access to information, delivered over the Internet in a manner that is understandable to every level of interest from schoolchildren to researchers. The South Florida Water Management District will provide information management and communications systems for disseminating updated information on the health of the Everglades ecosystem. Based upon user inquiries, this health indicator network on the Internet also will be able to create a graphical interpretation of the data. Residents, scientists, teachers and government agencies in the south Florida area will have direct access to historical and up-to-date information regarding the Everglades ecosystem. In particular, these information users will be able to follow the progress of the important current restoration efforts in the Everglades.

The Everglades in South Florida is an important and unique world ecosystem. International and US interest in preserving the Everglades has led to multiple monitoring and research projects. The South Florida Water Management District counts over 200 environmental parameters being monitored at 6000 sites in South Florida. However, the six million people in the sixteen counties that comprise the South Florida Water Management District have not had access to this information.

The overall goal of the EMPACT program is to assist communities in providing public access to timely, accurate and understandable environmental monitoring information in the largest metropolitan areas in all 50 states. For further information regarding EPA's EMPACT program, see the EPA Internet site at www.epa.gov/empact or contact Dr. Solomon Pollard, Jr. EPA/Region 4 EMPACT Coordinator at (404) 562-8293.