The Everglades stretches from Lake Okeechobee in the north to Florida Bay in the south and was once bounded by the swamp of Big Cypress National Preserve to the west and the Atlantic coast to the east. They have been called river of grass because of the slow flow of the waters from the Okeechobee in a southerly direction and the predominance of a cyperaceae called Cladium mariscus subsp.
jamaicense. In this extremely flat area the few slightly elevated points are generally covered by trees, usually cypresses. There are several small rivers, such as the Miami and New Rivers to the east and the Shark River to the southwest.
Surface water movement is generally in a south-southeast direction. About 50 percent of the original Everglades has been sacrificed for agriculture. Much of what remains is now protected by a National Park and water conservation areas.
Everglades water is still used as a source of water for large area cities such as Miami. The Everglades is traversed west to east by a toll road called Alligator Alley, which is part of Interstate 75.
Everglades have become an extremely vulnerable biome
The Everglades is considered a vulnerable ecoregion.
There are three large protected natural areas in the ecoregion. Everglades National Park (6253 km²), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, preserves the southern portion of the Everglades. the Big Cypress National Preserve (222 km²).
the Arthur Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (572 km²). While the majority of Everglades waters meet current quality standards, approximately 10% of the waters remain polluted. The State of Florida and the Army Corps of Engineers are undertaking several billion-dollar projects under the Everglades Comprehensive Remediation Plan to ensure the right quantity, quality, timing and distribution of water to the Everglades and all of South Florida.
A final settlement between the federal government and the State of Florida, approved by Judge William Hoeveler, ordered the reduction of phosphorus levels in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park as of December 31, 2006.
In addition, in 2004 the State of Florida implemented a phosphorus concentration limit of 10 parts per billion within the Everglades Protected Area, which includes the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park as well as Water Conservation Zones 2 and 3. phosphorus comes mainly from fertilizers used by sugarcane farmers and other agricultural activities.