By Jacqueline Quynh

PLANTATION KEY (CBSMiami) – The Everglades is set to receive a $1.1 billion boost, it’s the most money set aside by the federal government in a single fiscal year.

News of the funding actually came as a surprise to advocates.

READ MORE: Miami Beach’s Deauville Hotel, made famous by the Beatles, poised for a comeback

“I was shocked,” Jerry Lorenz, Audubon Florida State Director said.

Lorenz has worked to study and push for conservation for over 30 years.

And for decades researchers like him have identified problem areas where fish have died, and seagrass will no longer grow. More recently it’s become a problem for manatees, as they starve to death from lack of food.

“Historically what we’ve seen is that we’ve had degraded water quality and we’ve had really stifled water flow,” Kelly Cox, Everglades Policy Dir. explained.

Cox hopes this money will be used to better direct water flow to spread across the Everglades.

READ MORE: Property insurance changes aimed at stabilizing market

“Functionally speaking it looks like reservoirs, it looks pumps, pipes, conveyances, canals.”

The issues with water flow have not only hurt the wildlife habitat but the local economy.

“When Florida Bay died, nobody came to the keys in the early 90s because it was a sickly place,” Lorenz said.

Now, this funding is providing hope.

“I am very optimistic that this is truly what we need,” Lorenz added.

MORE NEWS: Coral Gables resident says city's automatic license plate recognition cameras are a constitutional violation

The $1.1 billion was set aside from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure and Jobs Act.

Jacqueline Quynh