Everglades Agricultural Area

Everglades Agricultural AreaIn 1948, the “Central and South Florida Project for Flood Control and Other Purposes” designated a large area of the northern Everglades as the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA).

Completed in 1962, the project included 15 canals and 25 water control structures managed by the South Florida Water Management District to serve the EAA. The canals and structures were used to artificially control water depth in the historic sheet flow area, diverting water from Lake Okeechobee for farm irrigation.

Today, the EAA spans 700,000 acres and encompasses 27 percent of the historic Everglades where sugarcane is the major crop. Nutrient runoff from the EAA, the result of fertilizers and the use of herbicides and pesticides, as well as the intensive use of water for sugar and other crops, are critical problems for south Florida. Restoring the EAA to it’s historic function of storage and treatment of water may be a key to the restoration of the Everglades. Most recently, the State of Florida purchased land from U.S. Sugar that is vital is the restoration of the Everglades.