Cooperatove Conservation Project

Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration

Restoring the Everglades Forevermore

Location: Southeastern Region: Florida

Project Summary: The Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration initiative puts in place the largest and most ambitious watershed recovery program in U.S. history.
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Field studies conducted in the Everglades support ecosystem management and restoration
Resource Challenge
The Florida Everglades is a complex ecosystem. Once spanning four million acres, the Everglades have shrunk to half that amount.  Ecosystem decline began with draining wetlands for irrigation channels. Hurricane-related flooding in the 1920s accelerated drainage projects, culminating in the Congressionally-authorized  Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Flood Control Project in 1948, which further fragmented the Everglades.
During the past two decades, the Florida Legislature and Congress have enacted several laws and programs aimed at restoring the Greater Everglades ecosystem. In 2000, the U.S. Congress authorized the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), expected to be implemented over the next four decades.  
Examples of Key Partners
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USDI Fish and Wildlife Service, USDI National Park Service, USDI Bureau of Indian Affairs, Florida  Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Geological Survey, Florida Institute of Oceanography, Florida Bay and Adjacent Marine Systems Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,  National Marine Sanctuary, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Florida Office of the Governor, South Florida Water  Management District, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and  others.  
Results and Accomplishments
The USDI is collaborating with the State of Florida, the South Florida Water Management District, and the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers to implement the world’s largest watershed restoration project, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Designed to restore, conserve, and protect the South Florida ecosystem, Plan-inspired initiatives have reduced pollution flowing into the Everglades by almost 50 percent during the past several years. Water flows are beginning to be restored to the ecosystem, while habitat improvements are helping the recovery of endangered species.
The USDI leads the Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, consisting of state, federal and local stakeholders, and  tribes. The Task Force oversees the complex engineering, legal, and environmental issues facing Everglades restoration. Accomplishments to date include:
  • An agreement was made to ensure that water captured under the Everglades restoration program can be used for restoring the Everglades.
  • Regulations were adopted to guide the implementation of the Everglades restoration plan.
  • Key parcels of land were acquired for restoration. 
  • Conservation and habitat recovery projects were established for endangered species.
  • $74 million was secured in FY 2004 for restoration of water flows and protection of wildlife habitat.
  • As a result of the concentrated attention to Everglades restoration, the State of Florida has announced its “Acceler8” Initiative to  speed-up restoration of the Everglades and signifi cantly increase water supplies. 

A massive wetland restoration project built on unprecedented federal, state and inter-agency cooperation and partnerships

Project Contact
Martha N. Garcia

U.S. Geological Survey

703 648-6960

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