Due to a century of drainage and development, much of the Everglades has been lost. Only recently have we become committed to preserving what is left and undoing some of the damage.
The Everglades ecological system provides crucial habitat for countless species of plants, birds, fish and other wildlife, and offers recreational opportunities for Broward County's residents and visitors. Surface water flows and groundwater seepage from the Everglades system also provide critical water supply to the entire South Florida region. The system is unlike any other, and is truly one of Florida's greatest treasures.
However, the Everglades' ecological system is endangered because of adverse changes in water quality and quantity, distribution, and timing of flows. Encroaching development has drastically transformed this ecological jewel and reduced its size by nearly half over the past century.
Realizing the importance of this ecological system and the need to preserve it for the future, scientists, environmentalists, and water resource specialists began developing a plan for its restoration. Called the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), it was approved in the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 as the framework for Everglades restoration. The plan is now being implemented as a joint project between the federal, state, and local governments. With over 60 components, it is a major undertaking that will result in more natural water flows throughout South Florida. Under the plan, hundreds of miles of canals and levees will be removed to allow for the free flow of water through the Everglades system of ridges and sloughs.
Other components of the plan include the construction of surface water storage reservoirs and water preserve areas, the creation of underground water storage, the reduction of stormwater discharge to local estuaries, and the construction of nearly 36,000 acres of manmade wetlands, which will serve as natural stormwater treatment areas.