Software will track Everglades land

South Florida Water Management District

This summer, the South Florida Water Management District will begin using a Web-based permitting application, integrated with a geographic information system (GIS), to better track land acquisitions in the multibillion-dollar restoration of Florida's Everglades.

The district, which manages and protects water resources spanning nearly 18,000 square miles in a 16-county region, last November selected permitting software from Accela Inc. to replace a largely home-grown version in use now.

That version, which was created at least 15 years ago, is not integrated with GIS and is somewhat inflexible, said Dolores Cwalino, the district's technology business analyst. She said Accela's Automation product was chosen for its workflow capability. It will be bundled with ESRI's ArcIMS software so that land data can be shown in a tabular format with maps.

The district, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is leading the effort to restore the sensitive Everglades ecosystem by acquiring thousands of acres of land in central and south Florida and developing and administering programs to correct decades of abuse.

Three years ago, federal, state, tribal and local agency collaboration produced a plan called the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, which provides the framework for restoring, protecting and preserving the region's water.

During the next 30 years and at an estimated cost of $7.8 billion, the plan calls for ecological and water system improvements through about 60 interrelated projects.

Cwalino said a majority of the land will be acquired in the first 10 years of the project and projects will be ongoing as land is purchased.

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