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In Southwest Florida, on the western edge of the Everglades, restoration projects include filling in canals and removing roads in the Picayune Strand State Forest. The Conservancy has played a major role in the consolidation and reclamation of Picayune, a 55,000 acre wetlands system.
Once part of the Southern Golden Gates Estates development, Picayune Strand State Forest was over-drained by a system of canals in an attempt to build a large scale housing development. More than 290 miles of roads and 48 miles of drainage canals were constructed. The roads and canals radically altered the flow of water through Southwest Florida.
An estimated 411 million gallons of freshwater unnaturally flow into the Gulf of Mexico, disrupting resident species of plants, animals and marine life.
Restoration has now begun with the filling in of canals and the removal of roads. Conservancy staff has been surveying wildlife species in Picayune Strand to serve as a baseline to measure the success of restoration efforts. The Conservancy remains hopeful the parched wetlands will once again become a functioning part of Southwest Florida.
The Conservancy team actively participates in lobbying and development of legislation to fund and protect water flows into the Everglades for restoration.
Learn About the Everglades
The Everglades Story
The Everglades is an enormous freshwater marsh that once covered an area of 4,000 miles. Read more
Everglades Agricultural Area
This 700,000 acres of farmland was created from draining the northern Everglades. Drainage and flood control converted these wetlands to dry lands and drastically altered the water flows to the remaining Everglades. Read more
Fixing the Everglades
In the late 1950s, one of Florida's most infamous swampland swindles was about to begin when Gulf American Corporation announced plans to build the "world's largest subdivision" – Golden Gate and Golden Gate Estates. Read more about the beginning of the restoration of the Western Everglades and how the Conservancy helped lead the charge here.
The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan provides a framework and guide to restore, protect and preserve the water resources of central and southern Florida, including the Everglades. Read more
Conservancy Everglades Research
The Conservancy is actively pursuing a study to determine how many of these elusive creatures may exist today. Read more
Currently, there are only an estimated 90-120 adult Florida panthers in existence and the Conservancy has been actively involved in researching and protecting their habitat. Read more
The health of the population of certain species mirrors the health of their environment and ultimately ours. The Conservancy is in the process of conducting a study of frog populations in the Western Everglades. Read more
Refugia is a water-holding “oasis” that offer refuge to hundreds of species during a dry season. Conservancy biologists have been studying refugia areas in the western edge of the Everglades to monitor species’ populations during dry season. Read more