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Everglades restoration endangers historic sites

A project underway to restore the Everglades is threatening to destroy historic sites.

Multibillion-dollar plans to recreate once-natural water flows to the Everglades involve building massive reservoirs and filter marshes across hundreds of thousands of acres south of Lake Okeechobee.

But saving an environmental treasure threatens to trample sacred ground. Some of the land identified for restoration includes historic sites where South Florida’s earliest Native American inhabitants lived and buried their dead.

An infusion of federal money has been a shot in the arm for long-stalled Everglades restoration construction. Now South Florida’s tribes and other advocates for preserving historic sites are calling for caution as construction plans spread to more land.

Saving what remains of the Everglades shouldn’t mean disturbing what remains of some of the Everglades’ earliest human inhabitants, said archaeologist Bob Carr, executive director of the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy in Davie.

“Our mission is to preserve as many of the sites as possible in South Florida,” Carr said. “We are not convinced that destroying them is a necessity of restoration.”

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