Florida’s Everglades restoration is crucial not only for the wetland’s flora and fauna, but also for the population of South Florida.
In addition to the dozens of endangered species that inhabit the marshes, the wetlands act as a natural filtration system, providing clean drinking water for 8.1 million people.
And its health is central to the economy: the Everglades stands as a pillar of Florida’s $67 billion tourism industry, and $100 billion agriculture sector, making it vital to local and regional commerce.
Restoring the Everglades will take time: even if fully funded, restoration efforts will take decades to complete.
Still, newly created wetlands have emerged from this effort. And the Everglades Foundation estimates that restoration will generate $46.5 billion in economic benefits.
Stormwater treatment areas (STAs) driven by green technology are now in place, reducing the too-high phosphorus levels so that by 2013, 57,000 acres of treatment wetlands were thriving. Further, there are plans to create more than 6,500 acres of new STAs and 116,000 acre-feet of water storage through construction of flow equalization basins (FEBs); those basins steady the flow of water to the treatment areas, and optimize the water quality treatment process.