The last drop?

A beautiful sunrise over Drake Bay near Corcovado in Costa Rica. See other beautiful phenomena from Costa Rica.

This discussion topic submitted by Brad Wilcox ( at 7:06 pm on 2/28/02. Additions were last made on Monday, April 15, 2002.

The presentation will address the Everglades from several angles. A brief overview of the "river of grass" provides ecological background on the importance of this system, and insight into the functions of other wetlands. Then I will inroduce several problems that currently affect the vitality of the Everglades, beginning with the Army Corps of Engineers project of 1948. Urban development and a thriving sugar cane industry in South Florida also contribute to the problem. The current initiative to restore the Everglades is a hot topic today. The plan, proposed in 2000 by the Clinton administration, is the source of debate in the capitol. The restoration project represents an unprecedented environmental goal, the largest in history. The presentation will assess the political and scientific conflicts surrounding the project, and its implications and expectations for the future of the Everglades.

This is a seriously hot topic in D.C. and Florida right now. Bush is paying very little attention to federal responsibilities to Florida in the federal budget, and the financial agreement for the restoration is still blurry. The intended completion time for the Army Corp of Engineers is estimated at 30 years, so it is interesting to watch the project evolve early in the process. Will it work? I hope so.

I grew up in Florida in awe of the Everglades. And just the principle of the government taking an interest (not to mention an $8 billion investment)in Florida's most precious resource demonstrates a level of commitment that did not previously exist for environmental issues. The scale of this project is enormous- for the next three decades I guess we'll just keep our fingers crossed.


I. Introduction

a)overview of the ecological complexity of the Everglades
b)the natural state of the Everglades, w/o human intervention

II. Body

a)what happened to the glades?
i."reclaiming" the swamp
ii.sugar cane industry runoff
iii.urbanization (water shortages, runoff, natural flow?)

b)Central & South Florida Project, 1948
ii.what they did; why it was ineffective

c)The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, 2000
i.Gore/Clinton push for legislation
ii.what exactly will be done to restore the Everglades

d)conflict and disagreement
i.D.C. politics
ii.sound science?


1."The Plan to Restore America's Everglades." Development of the Central & South Florida Project, 1948. (27 Feb 2001)

2."A History of the Everglades." The National Journal. (22 July 2000): Environment 2385, Vol 32, No 30.

3.Sargent, Frank. "Senate Acts Wisely on Everglades." Tampa Tribune. (30 Sept 2000), final ed. Nation/World 14.

4.Clinton, William. "Statement on signing the Water Resources Development Act of 2000." Washington, D.C. (18 Dec 2000).

5.Enserink, Martin. "Plan to quench the Everglades' thirst." Science. (9 July 1999) 180.

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