The Florida Everglades have been adversely impacted for decades because of human attempts to control this historical ‘River of Grass’. The reason for our insistence on attempting to control and manage the area can be defined in one word: water. There has always been plenty of water available within the Everglades’ ecosystem, but no logical way to extract it. Our extraction efforts eventually led to devastating results. My paper will focus on the initial policy and practices involved in the extensive downgrading of this once biologically unequaled ecosystem; as well as discuss recent policy initiatives that have been implemented in order to restore the Everglades to its once magnificent status. I will attempt to define the pertinent issues, priorities, actors, and instruments, as well as discuss lessons that can be taken from this case study.
In its natural state, the South Florida ecosystem was connected by the flow of water south from Lake Okeechobee through vast freshwater marshes, known as the Everglades, to Florida Bay and on to the coral reefs of the Florida Keys. The Everglades covered approximately 18,000 square miles and were the heart of a unique and biologically productive and unique region, supporting vast colonies of wading birds, a mixture of temperate and tropical plant and animal species, along with abundant coastal fisheries. These exceptional natural resources were nationally recognized with the establishment of Everglades National Park in 1947. In 1948, Congress authorized the Central and Southern Florida Project in response to a series of devastating floods that had occurred in the area. This project authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to provide: flood control;...
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1) A Comprehensive plan for the Restoration of the Florida Everglades; United States Department of the Interior; January 19, 1996.
2) Restoring the Everglades, an American Legacy Act; Committee on Environment and Public Works, One Hundred Sixth Congress; July 27, 2000.
3) Derr, Mark; Some Kind of Paradise; William Morrow & Company, New York;1989.
4) Glenn, A. Adam; ‘Birthday Gift for the Glades’; ABCNEWS.com; December 2000.
5) Maddox, Jennifer; ‘House Panel Chairman: Everglades Restoration ‘going to go forward’’; Naples Daily News; March 2000.
6) Martin, John; ‘Who’s in Charge: Few Results from Massive Everglades Restoration Project’; ABCNEWS.com; April 2000.
7) Phinney, David; ‘Restoring the Everglades: Congress Must First Pass Plan’; ABCNEWS.com; July 2000.
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