The South Florida Everglades Restoration Project

Table of Contents


According to William Blake, “... the universe is reflected in the sides of a grain of sand.” The region defining the South Florida Everglades is a perfect example of this statement. Beyond the unique landscape, the plant and animal species native only to this region, its status as the only wetland of its kind on the continent, the Everglades is a microcosm of the entire environmental movement. The recent attempt to restore this region is typical of the movement from utilitarianism, where natural resources were exploited for their usefulness to the populace, to an era of conservation, where the limits of these resources were recognized, and most recently to attempts at restoration, or the revitalization of the natural environment. The eyes of the world are watching the Everglades Project, seeing just how much damage a hundred years of forced controls have inflicted, and just how far the public will extend itself towards remediation.

Restoration, however, is not just a matter of technical know-how. Cultural and economic influences play a vital role in the outcome of the project. Factors such as who is responsible for past damages, who can initiate restoration plans without compromising the integrity of the ecosystem, and who will support, both financially and philosophically, future water management schemes. This project marks the first time a major public works initiative has been reversed for ecological reasons, which is significant progress for the environmental movement, but also an important impetus towards a growing distrust of governmental controls. There is a very vague line between regulation restricting the environment and regulation restoring the environment, making public perception crucial for the support of such a task. Struggles in legislation are a recurring theme in the Everglades restoration project and, unfortunately, have yet to be completely resolved. The final accomplishments of this undertaking are still years ahead, so the result of this struggle, and the impact on other ecosystems worldwide, remain to be seen.


Region Characteristics

The Everglades region is a subtropical wetland, the only one of its kind in the U.S. (Boucher) Historically, it covered much of South Florida, comprising over 4,000 square miles stretching from Lake Okeechobee in the north to the Florida Bay at the southern end of the peninsula. It is part of the Kissimmee - Lake Okeechobee - Everglades watershed, a huge drainage basin extending over an area of approximately 11,000 square miles. (Gunderson) Lake Okeechobee itself is unique in its large surface area, close to 730 square miles, and relatively shallow depth, an average of only around 12 feet. The natural land characteristics of this area are highly variable, as it is a quiltwork of a variety of landscapes, including freshwater marshes, wetland tree islands, pinelands, mangrove swamps, and coastal marine waters. The land elevation and slope, however, are fairly uniform, with an average gradient of only 3 to 6 cm per km. (Finkl)


Because of the unique land and water characteristics of the Everglades, the plant and animal life is also extremely specialized to the region. There is a tremendous amount of biodiversity among the species. Traditionally, the ecosystem was plagued with low nutrient levels in the water and soil and fluctuating water patterns, obtaining most of its riches from variable rainfall. The ecosystem, however, adapted to these characteristics with species that thrive on little nutrients and only seasonal water supplies. Many plants and animals are indigenous only to the Everglades wetland region, so any changes in the ecosystem threaten the survival of the entire species. Since water management controls have been implemented, 56 Everglades plant and animal species are now considered endangered or threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. (Boucher) Endangered species include the Florida panther, the manatee, the American crocodile, the snail kite, and the Southern bald eagle.

Water Movement

Water flow through the wetlands region is subject to extreme seasonal variations. The wet season ranges from May to October and accounts for 76% of the total rainfall. An average yearly rainfall to the watershed lies between 40 and 65 inches, but, again, this is subject to significant variation. Inflow to the region is dependent almost entirely on this rainfall, accounting for 89% of the total inflow in direct rainfall and 11% in rainfall-induced runoff from neighboring regions. Less than 1% of the total water inflow comes from groundwater. (Finkl) Because of this high level of dependence, inflows are variable in quantity. A primary channel for water flow into the watershed is the Kissimmee River at the very northern edge. Water from precipitation flows down the Kissimmee into Lake Okeechobee. During periods of high rainfall, water overflows the shallow boundaries defining the lake on the south end, at times flooding the entire southern shore, and moves into the Everglades area. From here the water creeps down the landscape, flowing in sheets up to 50 miles wide and 100 miles long, at a pace of about 100 feet per day. (Hinrichsen)

Because of the large amount of surface area covered by the flow, and the relatively small landscape slope, the water flow is subject to a tremendous amount of evapotranspiration. The majority of water lost from the watershed is due to this effect, claiming almost 66% of the total outflow. Another 22% of the surface water flow heads towards the coast and is lost to tidewaters. (Finkl) The remaining water is claimed by the subsurface. The primary foundation for the southern end of the Florida peninsula is composed of highly porous limestone, capable of holding huge volumes of water. Surface water inundating the landscape during high flood periods is absorbed into this limestone earth , then gradually released into lakes, springs, and marshes. This “sponge” effect supplies the region with water during seasonally dry periods. (Duplaix)

Historical Water Management

Since the early 1900’s, the Everglades region has been the subject of water management plans and practices. The result today is one of the most highly regulated and controlled watersheds in the world, putting to work over 1,400 miles of canals, levees, and dikes. The history leading up to today’s system can be divided into 4 major eras based on the general trends of the time period. These periods were taken from an article researching past water management controls in South Florida by Lance Gunderson (Gunderson). In the first two eras, construction of water controls are initiated as a result of major flooding in the region. In the third era, emphasis shifts towards drought management, while the fourth era, where the Everglades currently sits, signifies an attempt to fix the past problems created be management. The listed figures show historical land-use maps for the South Florida region, illustrating some of the major trends described in the following eras.

Land-Use Distribution in:

  • 1900
  • 1953
  • 1973

    The “Cut ‘n Try” Era

    A major flood occurred in 1903, destroying the majority of the crops and farms in the Everglades watershed. It became such an important issue that the governor’s election of 1905 was perched atop a platform of flood control. The elected Napoleon Bonaparte Broward won primarily on a promise to “drain that abominable, pestilence-ridden swamp.” (Hinrichsen) He and his successors began what was to become a long series of drainage projects to reclaim land for agriculture. By 1917 four major canals were installed, routing water from Lake Okeechobee to the Atlantic Ocean and making the region dry enough for crops and farms to survive.

    A series of hurricanes from 1926 to 1928 brought tremendous flooding to the area, killing almost 2500 people. This was enough to shift emphasis from drainage of the land to flood control. In 1930 the Army Corps of Engineers was brought in to initiate a major flood control project. Its first attempt was to construct a continuous ridge of levees around the perimeter of Lake Okeechobee to contain future flood waters. This provided enough security for agriculture to rebuild, regaining a hold on the region that it has yet to relinquish. Sugar cane was, and remains, the main agricultural crop in the Everglades area, and sugar production doubled in the decade between 1931 and 1941. (Gunderson)

    The Era of “Turning Green Lines into Red”

    Another major group of hurricanes struck South Florida in 1947 and 1948, drowning 2000 people and over 25,000 cows in its flood waters. Hundreds of thousands of acres of land, both agricultural and urban, were inundated with water for almost six months as 108 inches of rain fell on the region. This major disaster proved the inadequacy of the Corps’ first attempt at controlling nature’s will, so in 1948 the Corps initiated its Central and Southern Florida Project for Flood Control and other Purposes (C&SF). This was a tremendous undertaking, as governmental agencies were busy turning the green lines on their plans into actual physical structures, shown as red lines on their maps. The motto of the Corps and its cohorts during this era can be abbreviated “the four D’s”: “Dike it, dam it, divert it, and drain it!” (Hinrichsen)

    Overall, the C&SF Project resulted in the creation of specific land-use areas, titled the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), Water Control Areas (WCAs), and the Everglades National Park (ENP). The locations of these areas are shown in Figure 4. In the working system, they were divided up by a mammoth water management infrastructure with an overall ability to control 3.8 billion liters of water per day. Water regulation schedules for controlling this capacity were also developed under this project. The massive construction carried out in this era began a tremendous growth spurt in the population of South Florida, continuing into the high growth rate the region still enjoys today. (Gunderson)

    The Era of “No Easy Answers”

    While South Florida was enjoying this population influx, the 1960’s and 1970’s brought a series of major droughts into contention. As an example, in the water year from 1970 to 1971 only 30 inches of rain fell at Miami International Airport, compared to the average of 55 inches (and the 108 inches during the flood of 1947!) The land in the watershed became so dry that massive fires broke out, consuming over 300 hectares of land. This major natural disaster brought about the realization that the water management practices of the past 70 years were causing a tremendous stress on the natural system, and that a change was definitely needed. However, it was also recognized that all of the “easy” solutions had been tried, and had failed. (Gunderson) The problem of how to balance water management between flood control, drought prevention, and agricultural needs was brought to the forefront of political issues.

    Repairing the Everglades

    Another drought, a 200-year event, occurred in 1981, followed shortly by hurricane-induced floods during 1983. These events served as the breaking point between considering the problems and initiating solutions. In 1983, Governor Bob Graham began his “Save Our Everglades” campaign, calling for the restoration of the previously gutted Kissimmee River, the reinstallation of natural flows into the ENP, and the protection of a variety of threatened species native to the region. Questions about the quality of water in Lake Okeechobee arose in 1986 as a huge algae bloom consumed the surface of the lake. The new algae growth signified a change in the nutrient loading in the lake, and made obvious the need for legislation controlling water quality. (Gunderson) In response, the Surface Water Improvement Act (SWMM) of 1987 was passed, requiring, among other things, a mandatory 40% reduction in the phosphorus loading in Lake Okeechobee by 1992. The most recent piece of legislation supporting Everglades restoration was Governor Lawton Chiles’ Everglades Forever Act, which passed in 1994.


    Agriculture in the South Florida region plays a dominant role in any water management decisions involving the Kissimmee - Okeechobee - Everglades watershed. The original draining of much of this region was the result of a desire to make the land more suitable for agricultural purposes. Under the Corps’ C&SF Project, the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) was created from the upper quarter of the original Everglades wetland. In its entirety, it covers approximately 750,000 acres. Figure 3 shows the overall distribution of land-use for agricultural purposes as of 1973. Overall sales from South Florida dairies and crops total almost $500 million, and the agricultural industry in the EAA accounts for over $1.2 billion of economic activity every year. (Bottcher) Along with this tremendous revenue, however, the EAA also consumes the majority of the region’s surface water supply, making its existence both vital for the economy and detrimental to the ecology.


    More than half of the EAA is controlled by the sugar industry, as sugarcane crops cover 440,000 acres of land in this region. Although the Everglades land is not the perfect medium for crop development, the sugar industry survives due to government support. The national government limits sugarcane imports from foreign countries, in effect limiting the market to domestic sugar, while also providing subsidized loans to growers. So, while the land may not be ideal, the profits are, and sugar continues to flourish.

    Vegetables and Dairy

    The other main industries represented in this region are vegetable growers and dairy farmers. Dairy farmers, while outside the EAA on the northern side of Lake Okeechobee, contribute to the effects of agriculture on the area and are similarly significant to the economy. A variety of vegetable crops cover the most substantial area of the EAA next to sugar, close to 60,000 acres of land. These vegetable crops are important mainly as a source of winter vegetables, due to the moderate year-round climate they enjoy. The EAA is, during certain times of the year, the major source of winter crops for the entire U.S. market. (Bottcher)

    Effects of Past Water Management Controls

    The history of water management in the Everglades region, the series of canals, levees, and impoundments that have completely restructured the watershed, have caused major problems to the ecosystem as well as to the overall water supply. These problems are inextricably linked, as one problem flows down the water system to cause new and sometimes unexpected complications.

    Modified flow pattern

    A computer-based model was developed to describe the natural flow of water through the park and adjacent regions. This model, when run without the past 100 years of controls, shows a significant change in the flow patterns and locations of water than can be seen in the region today. According to the model, virtually all of South Florida would be wetland without the controls in place. The region would be uninhabitable except for a small area along the eastern coast. (Cohn) This implies that, while changes in the current water management system are necessary, removal of all controls is not a feasible solution.

    However, a change is necessary. Water flow south to the Everglades and the Florida Bay used to be, if not constant in level, at least smooth and continuous. The elaborate system of controls now lying upstream, however, regulates this flow based on scheduled releases determined by water levels, not the needs of the ecosystem. Flow is sporadic and pulsed where the natural system is adapted to historical delivery patterns based on natural rainfall. (Finkl) One of the most notable effects is the dampening of the hydroperiod of the wetlands, or the average annual period of flooding, which has decreased from the traditional range of 7 to 10 months. This has resulted in longer periods of drought as well as a higher frequency of drought. (Finkl)


    Significant drainage in the agricultural area has lowered the water table within that region. However, beyond just affecting that specific region, drainage has forced connecting canals to draw water from the Everglades Park. This amount has been estimated to be as high as 200,000 acre-feet per year. The significant water loss has led to the lowering of the water table within the park, in some places by as much as 2 to 4 feet. (Cohn) Not only does this threaten the overall availability of groundwater, especially as the primary source of drinking water for the east coast population, but it increases the threat of salt water intrusion into the aquifer. Both the quality and quantity of the groundwater supply over the entire wartershed area has been effected by past water management controls.

    Soil Depletion

    The soils covering the South Florida landscape were formed predominantly under wetland conditions. Submerged in water for a majority of the year, the organic material in the soil was slow to decompose because less oxygen was readily available. So, wetland soil contains a high amount of organic material. After drainage, however, the soil is exposed to air and an increased availability of oxygen. Decomposition of this organic material occurs at a much faster rate, and the soil surface elevation drops accordingly. (Bottcher) The most important impact of this process on the Everglades region is the loss of soil, especially in the agricultural regions. Current estimates place this rate of soil loss at approximately 1 inch per year, meaning nearly 6 feet of soil have oxidized and blown away since drainage first began in 1900. (Derr) Under these continuing conditions, some predict that the surface may reach the bedrock level in as little as 25 years. (Derr)

    Reduced flow to Florida Bay

    Another consequence of the disrupted flow patterns through the watershed is a decrease in the amount of water reaching the Florida Bay at the very southern tip of Florida. During attempts at drainage and flood control, water was rerouted, making a quicker escape to the surrounding ocean waters of either the Atlantic on the east or the Gulf of Mexico on the west. This resulted in less water flowing south to the Florida Bay. To make up for this difference, the bay takes in an increasing amount of marine water each year, raising the salinity of the natural water. This is extremely damaging to the fish and wildlife native to the bay, which are accustomed to only limited levels of saline water. Not only are the effects felt by the ecosystem, but they are also detrimental to the economy, as fishing in the Florida Bay is a major source of revenue for the region.

    Nutrient Overload

    Nutrient overload in Lake Okeechobee and the downstream wetlands is one of the most visible, and therefore the most publicized, of management effects. Runoff from the dairy farms and agricultural areas contain high concentrations of phosphorus and nitrogen, both from fertilizers and from raw waste. Lake Okeechobee receives 1.5 tons of phosphorus per day from the upstream dairy farms. These increased minerals accumulate on the bottom of the lake, accelerating the natural eutrophication process. (Duplaix) The Water Conservation Areas are also directly affected by agricultural runoff. The water discharged into the WCA’s from the agricultural areas just to the north contains anywhere between 10 and 20 times the normal concentration of both phosphorus and nitrogen. When these high concentrations of nutrients enter the natural water, traditionally carrying only small amounts of each, the entire ecosystem is disrupted. Vegetative patterns are altered as species that thrive in high nutrient concentrations overpower the native species. (Duplaix) These effects similarly translate downstream into the Everglades Park, since water from the WCAs is a significant source of water inflow to the region.

    Disruption of the ecosystem

    All of the above effects have led to significant changes in the natural environment. Wildlife habitats have been disrupted and in some cases destroyed by deviations from the traditional water flow patterns. The introduction of high concentrations of nutrients, previously only found in the trace amounts characteristic of precipitation, has varied the types of plant species that can survive in the wetlands. These foreign species, such as the cattails that now cover the landscape and drown out the traditional sawgrass, tend to overpower the species native to the area.

    Water Management Issues

    Based on these observed effects, there are certain primary concerns that a comprehensive water management plan needs to focus on. These fundamental issues are listed below (taken from Finkl):

    1) Development of a comprehensive water budget for the region, including the ENP, the EAA, and the municipal areas.
    2) Reduction of inflows into Lake Okeechobee and the WCAs from the agricultural areas.
    3) Impacts of past water management controls.
    4) Regulation water flow schedules.
    5) Backpumping from urban areas and storm water management.
    6) Minimum deliveries to the ENP and the EAA and patterns of delivery.
    7) Water levels, both surface water and groundwater, and the associated frequency of fire.
    8) Possible water shortages and their effects on the different areas.

    One example of the integration of some of these concepts into a water management scheme is the limiting of backpumping and the resulting drought management plan. The traditional flow regime for the canal system called for flow into Lake Okeechobee and the WCAs from residential and agricultural areas under flood protection conditions. This process was known as backpumping, since flow under normal conditions would leave these water reservoirs and flow through the other areas downstream. When the problems associated with nutrient overloading were first observed, the Interim Action Plan was devised, which, in effect, reversed these flow directions and prevented backpumping except under severe conditions, either flood protection under extended rainfall conditions or water supply under prolonged drought. This plan, in effect, increased the demands placed on Lake Okeechobee as the primary source of upstream water.

    Because of the increased importance of water levels in Lake Okeechobee on the entire water management system, the Drought Management Plan was devised to set certain standard actions based on lake stages. This management plan represents what the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) believes to be a best management procedure (BMP), or the best allocation of the limited water supply under drought conditions. This procedure, however, is suspended and backpumping is stopped if nutrient levels in the water being backpumped reach certain maximum levels. If inorganic nitrogen reaches 3.5 ppm and total phosphorus reaches 0.5 ppm, then backpumping is suspended only if the lake level falls in between the minimum and maximum curves. At any stage of lake water, backpumping is completely halted if the concentration of inorganic nitrogen in the canal water exceeds 10 ppm. This exception to the original plan is seen as a reasonable balance between maintaining the natural level of nutrients in the lake and providing an adequate water supply under drought conditions. (Bottcher)


    The Everglades restoration project represents what the SFWMD and other agencies involved hope to be a total integration of BMPs such as this drought management plan. The accumulation of past effects and a desire to remedy the problems created by these effects resulted in Governor Chiles’ Everglades Forever Act (1994). This piece of legislation authorized the initiation of a major project, referred to as the Everglades Construction Project, to “clean and restore the Everglades Protection Area.” Overall, this single project developed into 55 subprojects installed by the SFWMD the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with the help of the Corps of Engineers. (Hinrichsen) While some of these projects are relatively small in scale, some require extensive research, years of planning, and a huge budget before they can be implemented in their entirety. Some of these, and their predicted costs, are described below.

    Everglades Nutrient Removal Project:

    This project arose from the problems previously discussed involving overburdening of the wetland region with nutrients, specifically nitrogen and phosphorus. The goal of this specific project is to meet the standards legislated by the government for phosphorus concentrations in the region, specifically a decrease from an initial concentration of 200 ppb to a final concentration of 50 ppb, a 75% reduction. The creators of this project hope to do this by constructing 43,000 acres of artificial wetlands to the south and east of the EAA, the predominant areas of flow. These artificial wetlands will act as storm water treatment areas (STAs). Specific plants, chosen for their heavy use of nutrients, will biologically remove phosphorus from the runoff water before it flows into the Everglades. (Goforth)

    As part of the planning stages of this project, a test STA has been constructed on approximately 3680 acres. A flow of 100,000 acre-feet per year is diverted into this test STA. Entering water stays within the region for 15 to 20 days at an average depth of 1.5 to 3 feet. (Goforth) This water then continues on into the Everglades region. In its first year of operation, the test STA decreased the phosphorus concentration in the runoff to between 20 and 40 ppb, an average decrease of 83%. (Young) This is a very positive outcome for the project, but questions of aging in the constructed wetlands and diminishing phosphorus removal imply that more research needs to be done before the project can be implemented on its full scale. (Young) The total predicted cost to actually do this: $700 million.

    Restoration of the Kissimmee River

    The Kissimmee River was one of the earliest and most severely damaged victims of the Corps of Engineers’ C&S Florida Project. What was once a winding 103-mile-long river that gradually flowed down the landscape to Lake Okeechobee was converted into C-38, a straight 56-mile-long canal. This resulted in the destruction of the surrounding wetlands, which could not survive without the Kissimmee’s flowing water. This restoration project authorizes the Corps to return to the scene of their crime and make amends. They plan to recreate 52 miles of the central stretch of the river and restore 29,000 acres of wetlands. (Derr) The total cost of this planned restoration: $558 million.

    Water Preserve Areas

    Another segment of the restoration project, perhaps the most ambitious of all the subprojects, is the creation of what the SFWMD refers to as Water Preserve Areas (not to be confused with Water Conservation Areas of the Corps’ early project). These areas are, in essence, constructed wetlands located east of the Everglades. These areas will serve a number of purposes, the main one being to provide a “buffer zone” between the developed areas along the east coast and the wetlands of the Everglades National Park. (Derr) They would also serve as a replenishing water supply for the Biscayne Aquifer and allow an increased amount of runoff to reach the Florida Bay, thus pushing back the intrusion of salt water from the coast. The preserve areas would also provide a habitat for plants and wildlife previously pushed out of the region due to development. Despite all of these benefits from the proposed wetland construction, it remains a heavily debated proposal and has yet to reach a stage of implementation. (Derr) The cost of this project, because it is still in the early proposal stages, is unknown.

    Political “Complications”

    Sustainability, or the overall survival of the Everglades and its surrounding regions, must integrate urban, agricultural, and ecological interests. The above restoration plans attempt to do this on a technical basis by replenishing the physical characteristics of the region. However, these plans are at the whim of a completely separate set of controls, that of political machinery. In this system, all is not black and white or good and bad. It becomes a matter of good for whom, and bad for whom, and the question of who will pay the price in either case. Research done by authors Zubrow, Schumm, Finn, Panetski, and Van Ness tries to answer some of these questions as conceived by public perception. They investigated economic, demographic, social, and political influences on opinions involving the Everglades restoration project. While some correlation was found in demographic and social trends among the population, the most notable influences were economic and political.


    Economically speaking, the contrast in the opinions of the Florida population is divided along the lines of pro-agriculture and non-pro-agriculture. Those involved in the agriculture industry, while certainly not against environmental improvements, believe that Everglades restoration is impossible. They claim that they are taking care of the land by growing crops, thereby providing the best use for the natural resources. Though there are many arguments against such a belief, agriculture controls a huge portion of the Florida economy and its opinion is extremely important to the politicians of Florida.


    Political influences are most notable in the differences between various levels of government. Florida residents are the most likely to see problems in the current state of the Everglades, and may be active in remedying the local effects. However, they see the more regional problems, and Everglades restoration as a whole, as the responsibility of higher political powers. As the authors state, “Although the populace wishes environmental sustainability, it is couched in local terms operationally.” (Zubrow) Few local politicians see restoration as their responsibility or even know the effects it may have on their contingency, such as higher water prices or increased taxes. Increased distance away from the problem also decreases the importance of an issue, and since the majority of the population does not have direct contact with the Everglades wetlands, this pushes emphasis away from the central issue, that of the restoration of an ecosystem. (Zubrow)

    Legislative Battles

    Both political and economic influences along with environmental concerns have culminated in years of legislative battles. Beginning in 1988, the federal government sued the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation for allowing contamination to reach such high levels in the Everglades National Park and two other neighboring national refuges. The DER responded by countersuing, claiming that the Army Corps of Engineers carried out the initial construction of the water management controls that caused the contamination. Needless to say, the battle continued until the state finally surrendered in 1992. The resulting settlement, among other things, required the agricultural industry to reduce phosphorus concentrations to an intermediate level set for 1997 and a final limit set for 2002. Growers, most notably “Big Sugar,” called upon their economic clout to challenge this settlement in court, not wanting to pay for remediation. This was similarly dragged out in the courts, until a mediator, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, finally announced an agreement in 1993. The “Babbitt Plan” allowed growers an extra ten years to meet the standards previously established and required agriculture to pay only a fraction of the total costs. (Derr) So far, sugarcane growers have paid only $11 million, and were reluctant to do that, towards water pollution reduction. (Katel)


    Despite the complications caused by these economic and political influences, tremendous progress has been and continues to be made in terms of restoration of the South Florida Everglades. With parts of the Everglades Restoration Project underway and others in the planning stages, there are substantial steps being taken towards recreating the natural environment and ensuring that past mistakes in water management are not reinstated. However, this is a very slow process, especially with powerful economic influences opposing every stage of the project.

    An important factor that is not currently affecting the restoration process is the demand on the system as a water supply for the population along the eastern coast. Florida is currently enjoying the fourth highest growth rate in the nation, and a large portion of it is concentrated along the lower eastern coast. This tremendous population growth will place a strain on the existing water supply, the Biscayne Aquifer. More research needs to be done to determine the exact effects this will have on the system and what can be done to prevent water shortages.

    With or without this population spurt, the Everglades restoration project is developing into a major national undertaking of international importance, bringing with this a very steep price tag. The budget planned for 1996 alone shows staggering costs devoted towards this project.

    While the federal government under President Bill Clinton recently promised federal funding for the project, as well as a tax on sugar to provide added support, this may not be enough to complete the proposed restoration. This could only result in a rise in the price of water or higher taxes for the residents of Florida, currently enjoying only the 47th highest tax rate in the nation. This increased revenue for the project may become crucial, along with unwavering political support which in the past has been characterized as “like the Everglades - very wide, very shallow.” (Derr) Overall, this project stands as a critical example of the current trend towards ecosystem restoration, and the entire world is watching this “grain of sand” to see the final results.

    Cool Links:

  • South Florida Water Management District Home Page
  • South Florida Ecosystem Home Page
  • Everglades National Park Home Page

    Return to Title Page
    Return to Aubrey's Home Page