The Florida Everglades: An Overview of Alteration and Restoration

  • Charles W. FinklEmail author
  • Christopher Makowski
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 21)


The Florida Everglades, currently designated as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Convention), an International Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO), and a World Heritage Site in Danger (UNESCO), was administered around the turn of twentieth century by federal and state ditch and drain policies to ‘reclaim’ the coastal wetlands for urban sprawl, agriculture, and flood control. Today, the so-called ‘river of grass’ is only about half of its original extent; the remaining oligotrophic wetlands have been compromised by an ingress of nutrient-rich polluted and contaminated waters from agriculture and urban development. Furthermore, the spread of invasive flora and fauna have further compromised these wetland environments. In attempts to repair some of the damage wreaked upon this unique subtropical coastal ecosystem, numerous programs have been implemented to produce the world’s most expensive reclamation effort that amounts to more than US$8 billion. Positionalities of special interest groups and hegemonial overthrusts by various governmental agencies have produced a bewildering array of projects that fail to address the real causes of degradation while treating only symptoms instead. Due to the lack of common sense approaches of the restoration that deal with causes rather than symptoms, such as further wetland alteration to naturalize surface flow patterns of water and the inability to hinder the introduction/spread of exotic alien species, the Florida Everglades has evolved into something quite different from pre-settlement conditions, with major doubts that the ecosystem can be put back together again.


Wetlands Urban sprawl Agricultural runoff Oligotrophic Eutrophification Invasive species Flooding Everglades Agricultural Area Pollution Environmental remediation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Coastal Education and Research Foundation (CERF)FletcherUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeosciencesFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA
  3. 3.Coastal Education and Research Foundation (CERF)Coconut CreekUSA

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