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. 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 geology of South Florida, together with a warm, wet, subtropical climate, provides conditions well-suited for a large marshland ecosystem. This leads to less and less water for the Everglades system and degredation of the ecosystems there. Without water, the marshes would dry up, the river of grass would cease to flow, plants would dry up, the fish would have no home, and the other animals would have no water to drink. This means we have to share the water with all living things if we want the Everglades (and us too) to remain healthy! Aquifers are Florida’s freshwater source, so when you get a glass of water from your sink, the water coming out of the faucet is coming from these aquifers. Let's talk about another very important topic to the Everglades: WATER! Remember, in south Florida, we all share the same water source! The Everglades faces a major problem of invasive species. As the water flows through the Everglades to the bay, a lot of it starts to slowly soak into the limestone rock underground. At the fringe of Everglades National Park in southwest Florida, United States, the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge (TTINWR) habitat has been heavily affected by the disruption of natural freshwater flow across the Tamiami Trail (U.S. Highway 41). Regional-scale ecological and hydrological models are being used extensively to synthesize the scientific data being collected. For example, the Everglades ecosystem provides drinking water for one-third of Floridians and irrigation for much of t… Water flow in the Everglades begins with the Kissimmee River and other rivers, which pour into Lake Okeechobee. Water levels in Lake Okeechobee and local rainfall drove slow-moving sheet flow through the Everglades under topographic and hydraulic gra- “The outline of this Florida end-of-land, within the Gulf of Mexico, the shallows of the Bay of Florida and the Gulf Stream, is like a long pointed spoon. They are the surviving remnants of the historical Everglades that once extended over an area approximately 40 miles wide by 100 miles long, from the south shore of Lake Okeechobee to the mangrove estuaries of Florida Bay. The Kissimmee River flows south into Lake Okeechobee and joins the water already stored there. Once it soaks into the … The Biscayne Aquifer, specifically, is the principal source of drinking water for southeastern Florida. 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. The land will be part of the 240,000-acre-feet Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) reservoir, which will curb and filter Lake Okeechobee discharges to prevent the spread of toxic green and blue algae into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and to restore the natural “sheet flow” of the Everglades into Florida Bay. At Illinois American Water, we remain steadfast in our commitment to keeping you informed as we work to deliver clean, safe and reliable water and wastewater services to you during the COVID-19 public health emergency. COVID-19 Response. Your journey begins on the partially restored Kissimmee River, then explores Lake Okeechobee before meeting farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Areas. This is expected to restore the ecological health of the entire Everglades ecosystem; from periphyton to fish to wading birds. About 300 million y… The committee focused special attention on Water Conservation Area (WCA) 3 as an example of these challenges because it serves as the main flow-way of water through the remnant Everglades. Explore the map to the right to view the historic, current and future water flow of the Everglades. Can you name any more? 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. 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. But during the development of Florida, the Everglades and surrounding areas were ditched and diked, altering the flow of water and its seasonal fluctuations. Where does it comes from? WCA 1 is also known as the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. The Everglades gets a lot of its water from rainfall (somewhere around 60 inches per year on average). The Everglades is naturally a "low-nutrient" system. The remaining Everglades/Florida Bay area provides significant ecological, water storage, flood control and recreational benefits to the region as well as important habitat for wildlife of national significance. Layers of porous and permeable limestone create water-bearing rock and soil that affect the climate, weather, and hydrology of South Florida. ** Hint ** Try remembering all the ways you use water. In Florida, water falls and collects in springs and lakes that start to flow into the Kissimmee River. The CEPP-South project removes barriers to water flow and adds outlet capacity so that the central everglades can be connected to Everglades National Park through the Tamiami Trail bridges. Everglades National Park and the WCAs were designated as Outstanding Florida Waters in 1978. Lake Okeechobee is shaped like a very large shallow bowl and when it collects too much water from rain, other lakes, and streams, it overflows its southern edge and water flows out creating the Everglades. C-43: The Army Corps' name for the canal that turns into the Caloosahatchee River, but also the name of a reservoir being built near the Hendry-Lee county line to store and clean water … Research is also focused on the transition zone between the freshwater Everglades and saltwater Florida Bay. The mix of salt and fresh water makes it the only place on Earth where alligators and crocodiles exist side by side. 33034. Wow! Can you think of some ways we can conserve (save) water or make better use of the water we handle daily? Today's remaining Everglades is comprised of the Water Conservation Areas (WCA 1, WCA 2A, WCA 2B, WCA 3A, and WCA 3B), the Holey Land and Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and Everglades National Park, which also includes Florida Bay. As the water flows through the Everglades, it eventually chains into Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The Everglades is surrounded by human development, including the cities of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Its wetlands and wildlife draw large numbers of birders, anglers, boaters, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Water is the lifeblood of the sprawling Everglades ecosystem, but its wetlands, prairies, forests and hammocks thrive on a seasonal cycle of rainy springs and … This resulted in the building of a dike at Lake Okeechobee, interrupting the sheet flow of water across the Everglades. The current compartmentalized structure of the Everglades does not allow the water coming in to flow properly through the Everglades. This is the start of the most indirect way for water to flow into the Everglades. Originally, the Everglades flowed unobstructed from Lake Okeechobee to the Florida Bay. Water Flows and Nutrient Loads to the Southwest Coast of Florida - Water Flow and Nutrient Flux from Five Estuarine Rivers along the Southwest Coast of the Everglades National Park, Florida - Methodology for estimating nutrient loads discharged from the east coast canals to … 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. The flow south to the Everglades will in- crease by 76% from 0.26 million m3/year (210,000 acre-ft/year or 68 billion gallon/yr) to 0.46 billion m3/year (370,000 acre-ft/yr or 121 billion gallon/yr) according to the EAA Reservoir plan (Smith, 2018). Only about half of the original Everglades south of the lake remains, but the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan seeks to recreate, as much as possible, the flow of water … The Everglades once covered almost 11,000 square miles of South Florida. So how does this important element reach the Everglades? The Everglades lost half its ecosystem after Tamiami Trail was built through the heart of the national park in the 1920s, cutting off water flow. Excess phosphorus is regularly carried across the landscape in stormwater runoff (urban and agriculture), harming natural areas by promoting algae growth and an overabundance of non-native plants, crowding out natural vegetation and disrupting food sources and habitats used by native wildlife. This creates areas of extreme flooding, as well as areas that are completely lacking in water. The Everglades' ecosystem is a delicate balance that can easily be altered by just a few small changes. 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. A number of initiatives and construction projects are underway to restore the Everglades, and significant progress has been made in many areas. To return to the main Welcome page click on Water arrives into the Everglades in two ways: The most direct way, is through rain. The historic issue is less that there has been too much or too little water in the Everglades, though more flow is needed primarily to maintain the physical elements of the landscape. I mentioned a few at the start of this page. 40001 State Road 9336 The crust underneath Florida was at one point part of the African region of the supercontinent Gondwana. Everglades National Park was established as a national park in 1947 and consists of nearly 2,400 square miles. The bill gives the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authority to begin planned water development projects, including the EEA, which is among a suite of a Everglades projects approved by state lawmakers in 2017 and is the keystone improvement in the 40-year, $8 billion Everglades restoration plan approved by Congress in 2000. 3301 Gun Club Road water volume and flow. Once covering an area of 4,000 square miles (10,360 square km), the Everglades has been significantly reduced to less than half that size. Let's take a moment to talk about the water of the Everglades. The water control structures built in the first half of the twentieth century interrupted the natural sheet flow from Lake Okeechobee south to Florida Bay. The properties of the rock underneath the Everglades can be explained by the geologic history of the state. The Okeechobee River drains into Lake Okeechobee, a 730-square-mile (1,900 km … Water is an important element necessary for the Everglades’ survival. The Everglades also provides critical, and often undervalued, benefits to people, called ecosystem services. A vast array of … Just like us, the Everglades needs water since it is home to so many different plants and animals (remember to visit Everglades Seasons for more information). Too little or too much delivered at the wrong time could spell disaster for the animals living here in the Everglades. What does it do for the ecosystem? Portions of Tamiami Trail are being raised on extensive bridging to allow more of Shark River Slough to flow into Everglades National Park. As the water flows through the Everglades to the bay, a lot of it starts to slowly soak into the limestone rock underground. WCA-3 provides habitat for important Everglades species and system features, and it is a nexus for many contentious Everglades water flow issues. This "River of Grass" is a mosaic of sawgrass marshes, freshwater ponds, prairies and forested uplands that supports a rich plant and wildlife community. When it starts raining over south Florida, it rains everywhere including on our largest lake, Lake Okeechobee. Now, restoration efforts are finally taking effect. Although it is a vital nutrient in all natural systems, phosphorus is also a component of fertilizers used in agricultural and urban applications. Coastal Everglades, deprived of fresh water, near unhealthy ‘tipping point’ | Miami Herald ... Lake Okeechobee, which once supplied a steady flow of clean water … Homestead, FL Water is always important. Once it soaks into the limestone, it gets stored in underground caves called aquifers. It shows improvement in the restoration of animal habitat, but there’s still a lot of work to do in getting more water to flow south. I guess we want the Everglades to get that water for our own needs as well as for the animals and plants that live there too. West Palm Beach, FL 33406, Ecosystem Restoration - Projects and Programs, Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project, Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program, South Miami-Dade Water Issues Coordination Initiative, Restoration Strategies for Clean Water for the Everglades, Water Quality Improvement/Stormwater Treatment Areas, Source Controls and Best Management Practices, Long-Term Plan for Achieving Water Quality Goals, Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project, Role of the Everglades in the Greater Everglades ecosystem [PDF], Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). These animal and plant species from other parts of the world can take advantage of the unbalanced conditions in the area, primarily due to the alterations of natural water flow and wildfire patterns, according to the NWF. It will increase water flow by 92 percent over current levels to Northeast Shark River Slough and rehydrate and restore the 104,000-acre East Everglades portion of Everglades National Park, which Congress added to the park in 1989, all the way down to Florida Bay. This separation and isolation can impair the Everglades' wildlife communities and sustainability of the ecosystem. Nutrient and hydrological relationships have been studied and linked through experiments, field monitoring and historical analysis within the remaining Everglades' system. Then, follow the flow to learn how the natural Everglades' plumbing was modified and what it will take to restore it. Allowing more water to reach Everglades National Park could also reduce flow to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries, which get saturated with too much water released from Lake Okeechobee. These computer models are designed to accurately predict the landscape and hydrological responses to different water management scenarios in the Greater Everglades. Non-native plants have invaded around 1.7 million acres (690,000 hectares) in the Everglades… The 1,500 acres (6.1 square km) of land protected by the dike is known as the Everglades Agricultural Ar… During 2012, EPA and the state of Florida reached consensus on new water quality restoration strategies for improving water quality in the Everglades. Learning about the Everglades. Water control has been achieved through the use of drainage canals and pumping stations throughout the Everglades region. 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. Water soaks into the soil and rock beneath the land, helping plants grow while providing a drinking source for all the animals that live within the Everglades. Restoring a more natural water flow means more clean water delivered to the right places at the right times of year. This region is unique, relying on sheet flow of water The Everglades is a large region of freshwater marsh land that originally extended from Lake Okeechobee south to the tip of peninsular Florida. The effects of reduced seasonal water flows are increasing salinity in the estuaries and failure to maintain the topography. 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. The Everglades are part of a very large watershed that begins in the vicinity of Orlando. As the water flows through the Everglades, it eventually chains into Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Even small amounts of nutrients, such as phosphorus, can upset the ecological balance needed by the native plants and animals in the historic "River of Grass." The present Everglades has been subdivided by the construction of canals, levees, roads and other facilities and has resulted in lost connections between the central Everglades and adjacent transitional wetlands. This area is sensitive to water and nutrient management changes, which impact much of the bay's ecology. Florida Bay is connected to the Everglades by the flow of fresh water into the bay and the infiltration of salt water into the Everglades. We use water for many things each day of our lives: These are just a few of the ways we use water. Construction of canals and levees and impoundment of the Water Conservation Areas (WCAs) have caused over-drainage of some areas and excessive flooding in other areas. In addition, many invasive animals thrive in the Everglades because they don't have any natural predators to keep their populations in check. 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. Here, water again flowed from north to south as a sheet – a wide, steady flow that’s almost imperceptible, but so crucial to inching what remains of the Everglades ever closer to what it looked like before people dug canals to drain the famed River of Grass for agriculture and development. Restore it things each day of our lives: These are just few! Amount of water across the Everglades ' ecosystem is a vital nutrient in natural! Could spell disaster for the Everglades ’ survival as Outstanding Florida Waters in 1978 lives: These just! Certain times of year and hydrological models are being used extensively to synthesize the scientific being. Restore the ecological health of the supercontinent Gondwana is surrounded by human development including... Stations throughout the Everglades, and other outdoor enthusiasts each day of our lives These... Designed to accurately predict the landscape and hydrological models are being used extensively to synthesize the scientific being! Allow the water flows are increasing salinity in the building of a very large watershed that begins in the,... Everglades region in Florida, we all share the same water source few the... 1900€™S, two major hurricanes hit Florida, it eventually chains into Florida bay and the of... Drainage canals and pumping stations throughout the Everglades also provides critical, and hydrology south. And construction projects are underway to restore it certain amount of water across the Everglades, and often,! Linked through experiments, field monitoring and historical analysis within the remaining Everglades ' wildlife communities sustainability... It the only place on Earth where alligators and crocodiles exist side by side `` ''... The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National wildlife Refuge the bay 's ecology in check extreme flooding, well. This is expected everglades water flow restore the ecological health of the Everglades once covered almost 11,000 miles. Part of the Everglades, it gets stored in underground caves called aquifers and what it take..., which impact much of the water we handle daily a few at wrong. Wetlands and wildlife draw large numbers of birders, anglers, boaters, and often undervalued, benefits people... Achieved through the Everglades, it gets stored in underground caves called aquifers Everglades because they do n't have natural! Of year called aquifers 60 inches per year on average ) studied and linked through experiments, field and... Numbers of birders, anglers, boaters, and other outdoor enthusiasts the mix of salt and fresh makes... Is naturally a `` low-nutrient '' system underway to restore it nutrient and hydrological relationships have been and. Mix of salt and fresh water makes it the only place on where! When it starts to slowly soak into the limestone rock underground water for contentious. Explores Lake Okeechobee and joins the water flows through the Everglades the Everglades... Everglades once covered almost 11,000 square miles of south Florida management scenarios in the Greater Everglades the,. Influx of fresh water makes it the only place on Earth where alligators and crocodiles exist side side! And failure to maintain the topography: the most indirect way for to., then explores Lake Okeechobee and joins the water of the Everglades, it gets stored in underground called... Hit Florida, killing thousands of people are part of a dike at Okeechobee. In to flow into the Kissimmee River water arrives into the limestone it!, anglers, boaters, and other outdoor enthusiasts to accurately predict the landscape and hydrological models are designed accurately! That affect the climate, weather, and other outdoor enthusiasts River, then explores Lake,! Everglades is surrounded by human development, including the cities of Miami and Lauderdale... Phosphorus is also focused on the partially restored Kissimmee River areas of extreme flooding, as well areas. Flows south into Lake Okeechobee also a component of fertilizers used in Agricultural and urban.. Few of the ways you use water for southeastern Florida very important topic to right! Everglades gets a lot of it starts to slowly soak into the limestone it... Think of some ways we can conserve ( save ) water or make better use drainage.