Great White Egret from Above

A Unique Ecosystem

Encompassing three million acres of wetlands, the Everglades is home to more than 350 species of birds, including the Everglade Snail Kite, Southern Bald Eagle, Wood Stork, and Roseate Spoonbill.

 Often called the "River of Grass," the Everglades is a subtropical wilderness featuring slow-moving fresh water that flows south from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, through Lake Okeechobee, and further south through sawgrass and tree islands to the mangroves and seagrasses of Florida Bay. An international ecological treasure for its unique diversity of life, there is no other ecosystem like it in the world.

 The Greater Everglades Ecosystem is also an essential element for Florida's economy as an international center for business, agriculture, and tourism. More than 6 million people depend directly on the Everglades for their fresh water supply, making restoration an important issue to maintain quality of life.

 The decline of the once widespread populations of wading birds, by as much as 90 percent, was a clear indication that the Everglades ecosystem was threatened. Recovering these populations is therefore the key to restoration as we work to repair the damage from drainage and development, restoring hundreds of thousands of acres of wetlands and estuarine habitat.

 Audubon's Unique Conservation Strategy

 Audubon established the Everglades Conservation Office in 1992 as our largest nationwide conservation initiative. Restoring the Greater Everglades Ecosystem is one of our highest nationwide priorities.

 Audubon recognizes that abundant birdlife is the true measure of restoration success, and our unique approach uses science and policy to advocate decisions that promote protection and recovery of these birds and their habitats. Key elements of this strategy include (1) participating closely with restoration decision makers, providing scientific guidance to ensure restoration efforts provide the most possible benefits for the life of the ecosystem, (2) developing and implementing local, regional, and national advocacy, and (3) cultivating an informed and engaged public constituency.

 For the latest information about Everglades restoration efforts, please visit the Audubon of Florida Everglades Blog.