Published: Jan 11, 2013 11:17 AM EST

FLORIDA CITY, Fla. (AP) - Officials are hoping that a long-awaited Everglades restoration project will improve the health of the ailing Florida Bay.
    
The South Florida Water Management District is officially dedicating the so-called C-111 Spreader Canal on Friday. The project plugs an existing canal and pumps 290 million gallons of water each day to build a kind of wall of water at the eastern edge of the Everglades National Park.
    
Officials say the barrier will keep freshwater from seeping into urban areas. Instead, it will flow southwest through the park into Florida Bay, where high salinity levels threaten marine life.
    
The project falls under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan that Congress approved in 2000.
    
Meanwhile, Everglades activists, elected officials and business leaders are meeting in Coral Gables to discuss state and federal restoration projects.

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