"After decades of decline in the Everglades, the people of south Florida and the nation should take great pride in the steps we have taken together to bring them back. Restoration will take many years of hard work and cooperation, but we know we are on the right track."
-- President Bill Clinton
"The Florida Everglades is one of the most unique and beautiful natural areas in North America. It is critical that the Everglades ecosystem be protected and restored."
-- Governor Lawton Chiles

The Everglades on its way back: A Restoration Progress Report

[Photo of Vice President Gore] Today we are charting a course that will lead Florida's families, Florida's economy, and Florida's children into a future of limitless possibility. We are announcing more than a restoration plan. It is an investment in Florida's - and our nation's - future."
-- Vice President Gore

As America celebrates the 50th anniversary of Everglades National Park, there is good reason to expect a healthy future for one of the world's most treasured and threatened natural wonders. The Clinton Administration's agressive $1.5 billion program to restore the Florida Everglades and the South Florida ecosystem is producing real environmental results. Since Vice President Gore announced the Everglades Restoration Plan in February 1996, the Clinton Adminstration, the Chiles/MacKay Administration, Florida's Congressional delegation, their partners in local and tribal governments, and the private sector can list many accomplishments in their work to restore the natural and economic heart of South Florida. This brochure is a status report on the progress of Everglades restoration.

The Problem: A Natural System in Trouble

[South Florida Location Map]

The Everglades is one of America's unique treasures -- a truly magnificent bio-community whose natural systems sustain South Florida's quality of life and economy. The Everglades provide and protect the fresh water that enables people to live and do business in this spectacular area. It is the source of drinking water for the region's five million people, and sustains a productive agricultural industry.

The natural systems of Everglades National Park, Florida Bay, and the Keys are vital to the survival of fish,wildlife, and the recreational areas that support the region's $13 billion annual tourist industry. Covering over 10,800 square miles, South Florida's system of wetlands, uplands, bays and reefs is connected by the flow of water.

Over the past century, changes in land and water use, and the creation of canals and levees have altered the flow and content of the freshwater that sustained South Florida. These changes, along with urban sprawl and population growth, have resulted in numerous threats to the health of the Everglades, Florida Bay, coral reefs and other areas in South Florida.

There are many signs that the South Florida ecosystem is in trouble:

[Photo from 1912 and 1997]
Loss of water
The Everglades are now about half their original size of four million acres; large portions of the remaining area is degraded.
Loss of diversity:
native wetland plants, wading birds, seagrasses, corals and fish have declined.
Increased species invasions
non-native animal and plant species have spread and displaced native species and created an imbalance in the natural flora and fauna
Increased contaimination
Mercury, nutrients, and other compounds now contaminate surface waters, ground water, and wildlife

In the next 20-25 years, South Florida's population is expected to increase from 5 to 12 million people. South Florida and the nation cannot afford to let the Everglades deteriorate further.

[Deer photo] [Mud cracks photo]

Our Mission: Restoring the Everglades and Preserving South Florida's Economy

[Agricultural operations] Everglades restoration is a national priority for the Clinton Administration. The Restoration Plan takes aggressive action to acquire the land necessary to restore the heart of the Everglades and "replumb" the system of canals, dikes and pumps built over the last century. These actions will help to restore the South Florida ecosystem, including the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee, and Florida Bay. The plan outlines several crucial areas for action, including restoring and protecting the ecosystem, explanding partnerships with the people of Florida, supporting cost-sharing for infrastructure projects, and relying upon the best science available. This enormously complicated and challenging plan will rejuvenate the largest wetlands in the world, help maintain sustainable agricuture, and preserve the $13 billiion tourist industry, the backbone of Florida's economy. The plan relies upon the broad participation of all who have a stake in the Everglades survival, and calls upon all parties to contribute their share to the total cost.

Since the plan's announcement, the Admininstration and its partners have made remarkable strides in moving forward on crucial action items.

Progress Report on Everglades Restoration

Restoring Water Flow

A master plan for re-plumbing South Florida's 1,800-mile system of cnals and levees is underway, and will be completed by July 1999.

Construction has already begun to improve water delivery to the Everglades and other areas.

Land purchases and better farming practices wsill restore water delivery and ecosystem health.

Restoring and Enhancing the Natural System

Efficiently Using Existing Development

Relying Upon Sound Science

The Future of Everglades Restoration

Ecosystem Restoration Needs You

[Fishing at sunset]

The South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Project is the largest joint federal/state/local restoration project in history. This integrated effort needs your input and support to succeed. There are many was to find out more and get invovled.

For more information on South Florida Ecosystem Restoration contact:

South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force;
Office of the Executive Director
c/o: Florida International University, OE 148
Miami FL 33199
Phone: 305/348-1662
Internet Web Page: http://www.sfrestore.org
Governor's Commission for a Sustainable South Florida;
1550 Madruga Avenue, Suite 220
Miami, Florida 33146
Phone: 305/669-6973
EPA South Florida Office
Phone: 561/616-8880

| Taskforce Homepage | Everglades Digital Library |

This document was digitized and adapted by the Everglades Digital Library from a printed brochure of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Taskforce.
Project Director
Everglades Information Network & Digital Library
Florida International University Libraries

Markup copyright © 1998. All rights reserved.