Water is the lifeblood of the the Greater Everglades region, internationally known for its dazzling array of wildlife — from Florida Panthers to manatees, wading birds to crocodiles. Surrounding the “River of Grass” are spectacular beaches and mangrove coastlines, forests, rivers, and lakes, natural wonders that make Florida a tourism mecca.
But polluters and developers have put the region at risk. In the last century, the Everglades have been drained for subdivisions and sugar plantations. Fertilizer, sewage, and manure pollution increasingly chokes Florida’s beautiful inland and coastal waters with green slime. Red Tide and other toxic algae outbreaks make it difficult to breathe, spark massive fish kills, and destroy quality of life.
Meanwhile, the Florida Panther — the state animal listed on the endangered species list since 1967 — struggles to survive in an increasingly hostile landscape and diminishing habitat. Dozens are killed by cars each year, and it is estimated that only 100 to 150 Florida Panthers survive today.
The Sierra Club is working to:
- Restore the flow of clean water to the Everglades by elevating a portion of U.S. Route 41, a highway that has blocked the water flow for more than 80 years;
- Keep pollution out of Florida’s lakes, rivers, springs and estuaries by aggressively fighting for strong water quality standards;
- Secure critical habitat protection for the Florida panther;
- Reduce the improper and excessive use of lawn fertilizers to keep polluted stormwater and the slime that feeds on it out of Florida waterways;
- Stop offshore oil drilling to protect Florida’s coastline; and
- Purchase sugar lands to clean and store water and let it flow through the Everglades.