map of the Everglades watershed

America's Everglades once covered almost 11,000 square miles of South Florida. Just a century ago, water flowed down the Kissimmee River into Lake Okeechobee, then south through the vast Everglades to Florida Bay, the ultimate destination of uninterrupted sheetflow. Because of efforts to drain the marshland for agriculture, development and flood control, the Everglades is today half the size it was a century ago. This "River of Grass" is a mosaic of sawgrass marshes, freshwater ponds, prairies and forested uplands that supports a rich plant and wildlife community. Renowned for its wading birds and wildlife, the Everglades is home to dozens of federally threatened and endangered species, including the Florida panther, American crocodile, snail kite and wood stork. The mix of salt and fresh water makes it the only place on Earth where alligators and crocodiles exist side by side.

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Everglades Restoration Projects

Recognizing that a healthy ecosystem is vital to a healthy economy, the South Florida Water Management District working with our local, state and federal partners is committed to restoring, revitalizing and protecting this national treasure. A number of initiatives and construction projects are under way, and significant progress has been made in many areas.

Related Projects and Programs

Reviving the River of Grass

Background of the Everglades/Florida Bay Ecosystem
The Everglades/Florida Bay system is an internationally recognized ecosystem that covers approximately 2 million acres in South Florida and contains the largest subtropical wetland in the United States. This area has been described as a vast sawgrass marsh, dotted with tree islands and interspersed with wet prairies and aquatic sloughs that historically covered most of southeastern Florida. more »
Science Supporting Everglades/Florida Bay Watershed
In addition to working with our local, state and federal partners on a number of Everglades restoration construction projects and initiatives, the South Florida Water Management District conducts multidisciplinary scientific research to understand the Everglades/Florida Bay system. Research focuses on understanding the role of nutrients within this interconnected system; the movement, distribution and quality of water needed for restoring or enhancing the ecosystem; and water's linkage to plant, soil and wildlife health. more »

photo of gator in the Everglades

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SFWMD Headquarters: 3301 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach, Florida 33406
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