Famous for its abundance of bird life, the Everglades covers two million acres from the south side of Orlando all the way to the Florida Keys and Florida Reef Tract—one of the largest wetlands in the world. Home to endangered Florida panthers, the only large cats remaining in the eastern United States, as well as pink Roseate Spoonbills and both alligators and crocodiles, the Everglades provides critical habitat for wildlife but also clean water and flood protection for nearby communities.
From the murder of Audubon Warden Guy Bradley by plume hunters as he fought to protect some of the Everglades’ iconic species, to the devastating changes wrought by twentieth-century efforts to ditch, dike, and drain the watershed for development and agriculture, the Everglades, also known as the River of Grass, is only now beginning to recover.
- The Everglades stretches across two million acres in South Florida—double the size of New Jersey.
- In addition to hosting American alligators, Florida panthers, as well as breeding colonies of Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, herons, egrets, and ibis, a healthy Everglades plays a crucial role in safeguarding drinking water for more than nine million Floridians while protecting nearby communities from flooding, catastrophic wildfire, and storm surge.
- Current Everglades restoration efforts represent the largest ecosystem-wide restoration initiative in the world. A resilient Everglades means a resilient future for the Sunshine State.
The most ambitious ecosystem restoration plan ever attempted is underway to provide the River of Grass with clean, fresh water in the right place at the right time. Audubon's work to restore the Everglades is focused on implementing the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and other restoration projects to achieve ecological benefits and restore the characteristic abundance of wildlife. (A great example is the 1,000-acre marsh and prairie restoration underway at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; the heart of the Western Everglades.)
Unique to this effort, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan includes an Integrated Delivery Schedule—a timeline for restoration projects that outlines state and federal government cost-share responsibilities and strategy for planning, designing, and constructing projects.
Our science and policy staff works throughout the Everglades to ensure that sound science underpins plans for restoration and that projects stay focused on increasing target bird populations as a measure of success. The Audubon Florida state office, Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, and Florida’s 45 chapters work with other partners and local, state, and federal decision-makers to build widespread support for this effort.
Click here to learn more about Audubon Florida’s work.
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