Important Bird Areas

Everglades National Park

Florida

At the southern tip of the Florida Peninsula, in western Miami-Dade County and virtually all of mainland Monroe County, ranging from Everglades City in the northwest to Florida City in the southeast. The Park is 43 miles (70 km) east to west and the same distance north to south. U.S. Highway 41 east of Forty-Mile Bend forms the Park's northern boundary, while its southern boundary extends into Florida Bay, including dozens of small keys, and approaches to within a few miles (km) of the Mainline Florida Keys. Contiguous with the Big Cypress Swamp Watershed IBA to the north, and near the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge IBAs to the northwest. Everglades National Park is the largest single conservation area in Florida, and certainly is one of the world's best-known natural treasures. It is an extremely diverse area and receives over 1,000,000 recreationists annually, of which one-third are from other countries. The former fishing village of Flamingo now contains a campground, visitor's center, lodge, restaurants, and living quarters for Park employees. The park and the entire Everglades ecosystem are currently targeted for the largest habitat restoration project in history, expected to cost $8 billion and take 30 years to complete. This IBA also includes over 40,000 acres (16,188 hectares) of adjacent marshland purchased to improve water flow to the park and to buffer it from development. These sites are the Frog Pond Wildlife Management Area), Southern Glades SOR Tract (30,722 acres; 12,433 hectares), and the 8.5 Square-Mile Area (5440 acres; 2201 ha, some acquired).

Ornithological Summary

Everglades National Park is the most ornithologically diverse site in Florida, supporting 344 native species. Although reduced by over 90% of their historic numbersfrom 265,000 pairs in the 1930s to 18,500 pairs presently (reference?)wading birds remain the most conspicuous birds of the Everglades. A few of the numerous other species with significant populations in the park are Bald Eagles, wintering American Kestrels and shorebirds, perhaps half of the state's breeding White-crowned Pigeons, and perhaps most of the world's population of Cape Sable Seaside Sparrows. Wintering wood-warblers are abundant in the Park. Over 20 species are reported annually, some in small numbers. Along with the Florida Keys, Everglades National Park probably contains the greatest diversity of wintering wood-warblers in North America.

Conservation Issues

*exotic plants, *altered hydrology, feral hogs

The hydrology of the Park has been disrupted for agriculture and flood-control, which has severely impacted its wildlife and the health of Florida Bay. An $8-billion, 30-year Everglades restoration project recently began, which is projected to involve filling in many drainage canals, reflooding marshes cut off from natural water flow, delivering more water to the park, and acquiring additional acreage. Funding is intended to be split evenly between the federal and state governments, but the project already is behind schedule. It is absolutely critical to the ecosystems?and human residents?of South Florida that the Everglades restoration projects are completed. ? A management plan, including an intensive prescribed-burning program, is in place.

Ownership

U.S. National Park Service (Everglades National Park), South Florida Water Management District (Southern Glades SOR Tract), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Frog Pond Wildlife Management Area), and private owners (unacquired acreage of the East Everglades CARL?FF Project, and the 8.5 Square-Mile Area)

Habitat

*sawgrass marsh, *tidal marsh, *tropical hammock, *mangrove forest, *estuarine, *cypress swamp, slash pine flatwoods, bayhead, freshwater marsh, cattail marsh, riverine, lacustrine, coastal strand, artificial