In the wake of large-scale budget cuts, the South Florida Water Management District laid off 134 employees in the past week, according to the Palm Beach Post.

From the Post:

The 134 workers laid off from the South Florida Water Management District in the last week will save the district $9 million in salaries but cost more than 1,785 years of experience and institutional knowledge.

Those who lost their jobs include 20 scientists with an average of 15 years of service. Eleven of those were senior or lead scientists. Those layoffs, coupled with 19 scientists who took a buyout in June and several others who found jobs at other agencies or institutions before the layoffs, mean the agency has a much-receded talent pool to handle its highly technical projects, such as the restoration of the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and the Everglades.

Environmentalists are concerned that the cuts could spell trouble for restoration projects in the area. In signing his budget, Gov. Rick Scott slashed $305 million targeted for potential environmental land buys, a possible blow to already suffering areas like the Everglades. A glimmer of hope came last week via U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who pledged $100 million in financial assistance for Florida wetland restoration.

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