|"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
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
The Problem: A Natural System in Trouble
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
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:
- 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.
Our Mission: Restoring the Everglades and Preserving South Florida's Economy
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.
- The goal of the project is to restore natural water flow to the Everglades
while ensuring improvement in flood-control and other water-related needs of the region.
- The Administration has furthered its commitment to cost-sharing on restoration
projects with the State of Florida through enactment of the Water Resources Development
Act of 1996, which provides for a 50/50 cost share for all restoration projects.
Construction has already begun to improve water delivery to the Everglades and other
- Stormwater Treatement Area 6 was completed in October 1997, which will allow
natural processes to reduce nutrient runoff from the Everglades Agricultural Area.
- Modification of Canal 111 began in 1996, and will maintain flood protection
and restore more natural flows into the Everglades.
Land purchases and better farming practices wsill restore water delivery and
- 80,000 acreas (85%) of the lands necessary to restore the Kissimmee River have
been purchased, with the goal of restoring the river and 27,000 acreas of wetlands by
2009, while maintaining flood protection.
- 61,000 acreas have been added to Everglades Natioal Park and an additional
48,000 acreas will be acquired to help restore the natural flow
of water to the Everglades "river of grass."
- Nutrient runoff from the Everglades Agricultural Area was reduced significantly
between 1995 and 1997.
Restoring and Enhancing the Natural System
- The State/Federal Management Plan for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was
adopted in January 1996 to protect and restore Florida Bay and Florida's coral reefs.
- 90,000 acreas were cleared of introduced melaleuca plants as part of the expansion
of the exotic species control program in order to restore the natural balance between
flora and fauna in the region.
- A multi-species recovery plan is being developed for threatened and endangered
species in the region.
Efficiently Using Existing Development
- The Eastward Ho! Project is revitalizing South Florida's urban core by providing
incentives and assistance to reuse developed lands not adjacent to the Everglades.
- Acquisition of buffer area between the Everglades and developed areas.
- Studies are ongoing to help communities make wise land-use decision that protect
water quality in the Florida Keys.
Relying Upon Sound Science
- Monitoring and educational programs have been established
to provide ecosystem managers and the public with information on mercury,
pesticides and other pollutants that threaten human health and ongoing environmental
- Monitoring in coastal waters is ongoing to assess water quality, and seagrass and
coral reef health in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
- Research and monitoring projects are underway in the Everglades
to assess the progress of restoration efforts and provide solutions for restoration
The Future of Everglades Restoration
- The State and Federal governments will work with Congress to continue land
acquisition in sensitive areas further protecting South Florida's natural systems.
- The Clinton Administration will complete the study of the Central and South Florida
Restoration Proejct and seek congressional authorization to begin remaining
- The State and Federal governments will continue needed research to ensure all
restoration decisions are based on sound science.
Ecosystem Restoration Needs You
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:
This document was digitized and adapted by the Everglades Digital Library from a printed brochure of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Taskforce.
South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force;
Office of the Executive Director
c/o: Florida International University, OE 148
Miami FL 33199
Internet Web Page: http://www.sfrestore.org
Governor's Commission for a Sustainable South Florida;
1550 Madruga Avenue, Suite 220
Miami, Florida 33146
EPA South Florida Office
Everglades Information Network & Digital Library
Florida International University Libraries
Markup copyright © 1998. All rights reserved.