The Everglades are a vast network of subtropical freshwater wetland and estuarine ecosystems that once spanned the length and breadth of south Florida. Fifty years of dredging and diking, starting in 1948, greatly reduced their extent, altering water flow patterns and causing widespread ecological damage.
For the past 20 years, scientists and engineers have been working on a multi-billion-dollar restoration effort designed to reclaim the Everglades’ past glory. I am a hydrologist and have worked for 25 years in south Florida. Currently I co-lead a team at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences that worked with federal and state agencies to compile a report card on the ecological health of the Everglades.