Challenged with exotic plant and animal species, sea-level rise, nutrient pollution, saltwater intrusion, and development, the Florida Everglades is one of the most magnificent and fragile ecosystems in the world. In its natural state, water in the Southern Everglades moved from Northeast to Southwest at an almost imperceptible rate of speed across a nearly 60 mile wide flat floodplain which covered most of Florida south of Lake Okeechobee. Today water is moved through a series of stormwater treatment areas and water conservation areas toward Shark River slough and Florida Bay. Efforts are being made to remove barriers so that more water can be moved through the Western Everglades, toward the Gulf of Mexico where most of it naturally flowed.
While we will never fully return the natural flow of water to the Everglades because we’ve ditched, drained, developed and moved into over 50 percent of this ecosystem, we must ensure what is left of the system is preserved. Continual Everglades Restoration efforts to mimic natural flows will need to be prioritized and accelerated.
Learn more about The Everglades here.