The Everglades is a vast subtropical wetland that dominates the landscape of south Florida and is widely recognized as an ecosystem of great ecological importance. As a result of anthropogenic disturbances over the past 100 years (i.e., agricultural and urban development, eutrophication resulting from stormwater runoff, changes in hydrology and invasion of exotic species), the biotic integrity of the entire Everglades is now threatened. To protect this valuable resource, the state of Florida and the Federal Government, in cooperation with other interested parties, have developed a comprehensive restoration strategy that addresses controlling excess nutrient loading and reestablishment of a more natural hydrology. These efforts include building approximately 17,000 ha of treatment wetlands, referred to as Stormwater Treatment Areas, to treat surface runoff before it is discharged into the Everglades. We briefly discuss the history of the Everglades in the context of environmental disturbance and outline the steps being taken to ensure its survival for future generations.

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