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The Everglades: Restoration Efforts Are Showing Promising Results

The Everglades: Restoration Efforts Are Showing Promising Results

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Known for being one of the largest wetlands in the world, the Everglades is truly a place to be marvelled at. However, over the last century, it has had its fair share of problems.

Large parts of the Everglades have been drained for predominantly two reasons: agriculture and urban needs. Its natural water flow has been disrupted causing disastrous consequences for the wildlife that call the wetlands home, as well as impacted our economy, and freshwater supply. As a result, federal and state agencies have been working together to restore this ecosystem through implementing the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).

The main objective is to introduce more clean water into the everglades without flooding the different communities that live around the edges.
Go Latinos Magazine was lucky enough to be invited to see recovery efforts first-hand. We met up with members of The Everglades Foundation science team and went on an insightful airboat tour through the marshes, off of Tamiami Trail, north of Everglades National Park.

The Tour
Kicking off at 9:30 am, we headed to the Tigertail Airboat Tours dock. Upon our arrival, we met up with The Everglades Foundation’s Chief Science Officer Dr. Steve Davis,, Ecosystem and Resilience Scientist Dr. Meenakshi Chabba, and Chief Economist Paul Hindsley for an introduction on the ecosystem and its impact on South Florida.

Then we headed out on the airboat to explore Everglades habitats including cypress domes, wetlands and marshes. Lush habitats were brimming with wildlife in places that were previously empty due to lack of freshwater.
With that being said, there was still evidence that more work needed to be done to get the Everglades back to full strength – as our guides explained.

Digging Deeper Into The Restoration Projects
Everglades restoration is the largest ecosystem restoration project in the world. With 68 infrastructure projects across South Florida, it aims to store, clean and send water south through the Everglades and into Florida Bay, as it once did. Restoring this ecosystem’s water flow is not only important for the habitats and wildlife of the Everglades, but also for the 9 million people who rely on it for the freshwater they use every day.
North of Lake Okeechobee, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers already finished restoring the Kissimmee River. Its importance cannot be underestimated; the restoration of the ecosystem shows that nature can rebound as evidence by these flood plains once again teeming with wildlife.

Reservoirs to store water, stormwater treatment areas to clean it, and pump stations and canals to deliver it, when and where is needed, are under construction east, west and south of Lake Okeechobee.
Las month, the Army Corps broke ground on the most important of the restoration projects. The Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir, by the Crops, and its accompanying stormwater treatment, by the South Florida Water Management District, will be the size of the island of Manhattan.

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The new reservoir, together with other projects already underway, will help reduce the number of unwanted polluted discharges into Florida’s east and west coast estuaries that trigger harmful algae blooms, cause fish kills, and impact the state’s economy. The projects will send an annual average of 370,000 acre-feet of much needed clean water south.

Wrapping Things Up
It was great to see meaningful projects that are having a direct impact on the health of the Everglades and in our communities. Wildlife is certainly returning to many areas, but there is still a lot more work to be done.
Nonetheless, the collaboration of talented individuals at both the federal and state level, as well as the work of non-profit organizations like The Everglades Foundation are certainly moving the restoration project down the right path.
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Click para leerlo en Español: Los Everglades: esfuerzos de restauración están mostrando resultados prometedores

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