The Everglades watershed—a unique aquatic ecosystem spanning more than 18,000 square miles—stretches from just south of Orlando to the Florida Keys. It is an ecological hotspot to thousands of species, 68 of which are either threatened or endangered—including the snail kite, Florida panther, and manatee.
Currently less than 50 percent of the original system remains intact. The Everglades face many natural stresses including fires, hurricanes, floods, and droughts. In addition, this watershed has to combat man-made threats such as pollution, development, and the continuing consequences of a multi-decade effort to achieve flood control—all of which are exacerbated by climate change.
The National Wildlife Federation's approach to protecting the Everglades includes increased funding, law enforcement, and affiliate collaboration.
Congress passed the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) in 2000, putting in motion the largest ecosystem restoration project in the country. At a current estimated cost of $10.9 billion, CERP is projected to take 35 years to complete. The goal of CERP is to "get the water right" by delivering water to the natural system based on historical flows. With Florida particularly vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise, restoration is critical to minimizing the effects of climate change on the Everglades now more than ever.
the National Wildlife Federation, along with its partners, works to ensure that development and restoration projects in the Everglades region follow Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act requirements. Since 2003 the National Wildlife Federation has been challenging two separate development projects that threaten the Cocohatchee Slough, core foraging habitat for the endangered wood stork.
Our affiliate, the Florida Wildlife Federation, represents "thousands of concerned Floridians and other citizens from all walks of life who have a common interest in preserving, managing, and improving Florida's fish, wildlife, soil, water, and plant life."
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