This is the eleventh installment of 12 Things to Experience on an Everglades Airboat Tour which can also be downloaded as a free eBook.
Our airboat captains have an inside knowledge of this unique area, and will be able to share stories with you about how it has evolved over the years. So let’s go back a century…..
America’s Everglades once covered almost 11,000 square miles of south Florida. About a century ago, water flowed down the Kissimmee River into Lake Okeechobee, then south through the Everglades marsh to the flats of Florida Bay.
In 1905, former Florida Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward (shown above) began an effort to drain the Everglades in order to make the land suitable for agriculture and development. Large tracts of swamp were transformed into productive farmland, and cities such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale were born.
As the population grew, flood control was needed for the new residents of South Florida. In 1948, the U.S. Congress authorized the Central and South Florida Project Exit DEP Disclaimer, an extensive network of man-made canals, levees and water control structures.
This created the most effective water management system in the world. Today, the project channels 1.7 billion gallons of water daily from the Everglades out into the ocean.
The loss of water changed the natural characteristics of the marsh. The receding water affected the natural habitat of wading birds, fish, and many animals. Saltwater flowed farther into the marsh from the ocean, and pollution flowed in from neighboring farms and cities.
The water quality changes stifled growth of native plants, and allowed exotic plants to take root. It also fueled the growth of algae which worsened the loss of natural habitat.
Today, the Everglades is half the size it was a century ago as a result of this cycle continuing for the last half of the 1900’s.
Despite the damage that was done more than 50 years ago, the Everglades is still considered a national treasure. It is just as remarkable as the Grand Canyon, the Great Lakes or other natural wonders of the world.
A remarkable coalition of highly diverse and bipartisan interests has joined forces to make the restoration possible.
If you’ve enjoyed reading about the history of the Everglades be sure to download the rest of our FREE eBook by clicking the icon on the right and check out the photos & videos from our tours.
If you’re ready to see the Everglades bring your $10 off coupon and start your adventure today!
– Captain Jack