Everglades: a Brief History

Most people would not be living in South Florida if it were not for the Central & Southern Florida Project (C&SF Project). Prior to the turn of the last century, the small number of people who lived in southern Florida were restricted to building on high ground near the coastal and central Florida ridges. It simply was too wet in the interior much of the time to live there.

Photo of 1928 Hurrincane Damage in Palm Beach FloridaDevastating hurricanes in the late 1920s and again in the late 1940s resulted in a cry for help from the citizens and elected officials of Florida. They petitioned the United States Congress to control the flood waters which frequented South Florida. At the time, it seemed like the right thing to do

The C&SF Project was authorized by Congress in 1948. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District constructed the most elaborate and effective water management system in the world. But the project has negatively affected the Everglades and the south Florida ecosystem.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District were called upon again. This time, to restore the Everglades ecosystem. They are not doing it alone. Between 1996-1999, scores of agencies and organizations were involved in a very deliberate planning process to formulate a plan to restore the ecosystem and meet south Florida's water needs for the next 50 years.

This plan is called the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The purpose of the Plan is to restore and preserve south Florida's natural ecosystems while enhancing water supplies and maintaining flood control. This plan is of such significance and magnitude that people of all ages need to be aware and knowledgeable of it. Implementation is expected to take more than 30 years to implement.

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