Beyond the Boundaries

Everglades

Help Us Restore the Greater Everglades
for People and Wildlife

From the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in the north to Big Cypress National Preserve in the south, the Greater Everglades region contains a wealth of habitats, including dry prairies, longleaf pine savannas, expansive working ranches and seasonally wet grasslands. This landscape provides homes and travel corridors for more than 30 threatened and endangered species, including rare Florida panthers.

Significance and Threats

Florida Panther resting in a tree | Karen and John Hollingsworth

Florida’s vast Everglades region is a unique and world-famous wildlife resource. It is the home of iconic creatures such as American alligators, brown pelicans, egrets, spoonbills, herons and ibis. It also shelters one of our nation’s rarest animals, the endangered Florida panther, as well as the more common American black bear and bobcat. Among the imperiled bird species found in this landscape are the Everglades snail-kite, the Florida scrub jay and the crested caracara. This region also shelters some unique reptiles such as the gopher tortoise, indigo snake and the sand skink – a rare legless lizard that travels underneath the sand.

The Everglades also plays a crucial role in the lives of Florida’s human residents. It provides water supplies vital to millions of domestic users, along with businesses and farms. It also helps sustain livelihoods by providing fertile croplands and pastures for livestock grazing, as well as recreational opportunities that draw millions of tourists and their dollars.

As Florida’s human population has grown, the strain on the Everglades has increased. Land has been drained, paved over and plowed under; water supplies have been diverted and polluted. In addition to the direct threats to wildlife posed by these human activities, climate change poses a significant new challenge.

Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area

The Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area was established in 2012 as a result of unprecedented cooperation among federal agencies, state agencies, cattle ranchers, Everglades sportsmen, and conservation groups. This year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the opportunity realize the collaborative vision of the new refuge by working with willing sellers and partner agencies to conserve highest priority wildlife habitat and water resources.

The Time is Now

In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the opportunity to purchase conservation easements from willing sellers but it must happen soon, as the real estate market recovers and landowners face difficult decisions. These landowners, members of the locally formed Northern Everglades Alliance, have championed the efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and are eager to become long-term partners in managing their lands for wildlife, water, and as working cattle ranches. There is no better time to bring state and federal partners together to create a legacy of wildlife, water resources, and a rural way of life.

What The Refuge Association is doing

Northern Everglades Landcape ©Reed Bowman, Research Biologist, Archbold Biological Station
Northern Everglades Landcape ©Reed Bowman, Research Biologist, Archbold Biological Station

The Refuge Association is playing a significant role within The Greater Everglades Partnership Initiative to help conserve this landscape. The Refuge Association’s role includes:

  • Organizing diverse stakeholders around common objectives;
  • Preparing resource maps, studies and reports needed for refuge creation and expansion;
  • Providing outreach and communication assistance to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
  • Advocating for federal funds to acquire land and conservation easements;
  • Organizing grassroots support from “Friends” groups and others to help bring decision makers on board.

Find out more information in our fact sheet.

What can you do to help?

By making a tax-deductible contribution to NWRA, you’ll enable our team to continue its efforts to conserve the Greater Everglades and other landscapes and wildlife across the country. Please consider making a donation today.

You can also join our Action Team and receive alerts about actions you can take on behalf of the refuge system and the wildlife. Through the Action Network you will be able to learn about pending legislation in Congress and send your thoughts about these measures directly to your congressperson. Please join today and help us stand up for the refuges!

Map of the Everglades Headwaters Conservation Partnership National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area:

Areas identified for conservation. Click map for a larger version.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://refugeassociation.org/everglades/