For years environmental groups warned the Florida Everglades, a vast 1.5m-acre (607,000-hectare) subtropical preserve, may be doomed to extinction. Agricultural pollution, saltwater intrusion and rampant real estate development had turned the waterways toxic and the state’s environmental landmark was left to slowly choke to death. Perhaps until now.
A sweeping Everglades restoration effort decades in the making is finally seeing renewed optimism thanks to a cast of unlikely champions: Florida state Republicans. In April, Ron DeSantis, the governor, signed an agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers to build a massive $3.4bn reservoir west of Palm Beach, which would help restore the flow of freshwater to the Everglades. Other state-funded projects to revitalize the region’s delicate ecosystem are already months ahead of schedule, DeSantis said.