Most of the area of South Florida
south of Lake Okeechobee
. An environmentally sensitive swampland, also known as the "River of Grass
," where the waters from Lake Okeechobee are slowly filtered through a shallow, slow, and very wide river on its way to the Florida Bay
. The area is lush with wildlife
including many colorful bird
s and of course alligator
In the early 1900s, settlers made attempts to drain the land for agriculture. In the late 1940s, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers
decided to drain the area and reroute water into canals. This resulted in a widespread drying of the swamp. The National Park Service
estimates that 50% of the wetland no longer exists.
About 1.5 million acres are protected by Everglades National Park
. It's an unusual arrangement as most parks protect the sources of rivers and streams, but this one protects the end. They must deal with the pollutant
s dumped into the water by everyone upstream.