Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Sunset over the River of Grass, NPSphoto, G.Gardner (9255157507).jpg
Sunset over the Everglades river of grass
Map showing the location of Everglades National Park
Map showing the location of Everglades National Park
Location in the United States
Map showing the location of Everglades National Park
Map showing the location of Everglades National Park
Location in Florida
LocationMiami-Dade, Monroe, & Collier counties, Florida, United States
Nearest cityFlorida City
Everglades City
Coordinates25°18′45″N 80°41′15″W / 25°18′45″N 80°41′15″W / 25.3125000; -80.6875000 Edit this at Wikidata
TypeNatural
Criteriaviii, ix, x
Designated1979 (3rd 76
State PartyUnited States
RegionEurope and North America
Endangered1993–2007;
2010–present
Designated4 June 1987
Reference no.374[4]

Everglades National Park is an American national park that protects the southern twenty percent of the original Everglades in Florida. The park is the largest tropical wilderness in the United States, and the largest wilderness of any kind east of the Mississippi River. An average of one million people visit the park each year.[5] Everglades is the third-largest national park in the contiguous United States after Death Valley and Yellowstone. UNESCO declared the Everglades & Dry Tortugas Biosphere Reserve in 1976, and listed the park as a World Heritage Site in 1979, while the Ramsar Convention included the park on its list of Wetlands of International Importance in 1987. Everglades is one of only three locations in the world to appear on all three lists.[6]

Most national parks preserve unique geographic features; Everglades National Park was the first created to protect a fragile ecosystem. The Everglades are a network of wetlands and forests fed by a river flowing 0.25 miles (0.40 km) per day out of Lake Okeechobee, southwest into Florida Bay.[7] The park is the most significant breeding ground for tropical wading birds in North America and contains the largest mangrove ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere.[8] Thirty-six threatened or protected species inhabit the park, including the Florida panther, the American crocodile, and the West Indian manatee, along with 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish, 40 species of mammals, and 50 species of reptiles.[9] The majority of South Florida's fresh water, which is stored in the Biscayne Aquifer, is recharged in the park.[10]

Humans have lived for thousands of years in or around the Everglades. Plans arose in 1882 to drain the wetlands and develop the land for agricultural and residential use. As the 20th century progressed, water flow from Lake Okeechobee was increasingly controlled and diverted to enable explosive growth of the South Florida metropolitan area. The park was established in 1934, to protect the quickly vanishing Everglades, and dedicated in 1947, as major canal building projects were initiated across South Florida. The ecosystems in Everglades National Park have suffered significantly from human activity, and restoration of the Everglades is a politically charged issue in South Florida.

Geography

Park map

Everglades National Park covers 1,508,976 acres (2,357.8 sq mi; 6,106.6 km2), throughout Dade, Monroe, and Collier counties in Florida, at the southern tip of the Atlantic coastal plain.[2] The elevation typically ranges from 0 to 8 feet (2.4 m) above sea level, but a Calusa-built shell mound on the Gulf Coast rises 20 feet (6.1 m) above sea level.

Geology

The terrain of South Florida is relatively and consistently flat. The limestone that underlies the Everglades is integral to the diverse ecosystems within the park. Florida was once part of the African portion of the supercontinent Gondwana. After it separated, conditions allowed a shallow marine environment to deposit calcium carbonate in sand, shells, and coral to be converted into limestone.[11] Tiny bits of shell, sand, and bryozoans compressed over multiple layers forming structures in the limestone called ooids, which created permeable conditions that hold water.[12]

The Florida peninsula appeared above sea level between 100,000 and 150,000 years ago. As sea levels rose at the end of the Wisconsin ice age, the water table appeared closer to land. Lake Okeechobee began to flood, and convection thunderstorms were created.[13] Vast peat deposits south of Lake Okeechobee indicate that regular flooding had occurred about 5,000 years ago. Plants began to migrate, subtropical ones from the northern part of Florida, and tropicals carried as seeds by birds from islands in the Caribbean.[14] The limestone shelf appears to be flat, but there are slight rises—called pinnacles—and depressions caused by the erosion of limestone by the acidic properties of the water. The amount of time throughout the year that water is present in a location in the Everglades determines the type of soil, of which there only two in the Everglades: peat, created by many years of decomposing plant matter, and marl, the result of dried periphyton, or chunks of algae and microorganisms that create a grayish mud. Portions of the Everglades that remain flooded for more than nine months out of the year are usually covered by peat. Areas that are flooded six months or less are covered by marl. Plant communities are determined by the type of soil and amount of water present.[15][16]

Hydrography

While they are common in the northern portion of Florida, no underground springs feed water into the Everglades system. An underground reservoir called the Floridan aquifer lies about 1,000 feet (300 m) below the surface of South Florida.[17] The Everglades has an immense capacity for water storage, owing to the permeable limestone beneath the exposed land. Most of the water arrives in the form of rainfall, and a significant amount is stored in the limestone. Water evaporating from the Everglades becomes rain over metropolitan areas, providing the fresh water supply for the region. Water also flows into the park after falling as rain to the north onto the watersheds of the Kissimmee River and other sources of Lake Okeechobee, to appear in the Everglades days later. Water overflows Lake Okeechobee into a river 40 to 70 miles (64 to 113 km) wide, which moves almost imperceptibly.[18]

Climate

Most of the central region has a savanna climate while regions closer to shore have a monsoon climate, mainly the eastern quarter of the park. Both climates are characterized by two seasons: wet and dry. The park's dry season lasts from December to April, when temperatures vary from 56–77 °F (13–25 °C) and humidity is low. Since water levels are low at that time, animals congregate at central water locations, providing good opportunities for viewing wildlife.[19] During the wet season from May to November, temperatures are consistently above 90 °F (32 °C) and humidity over 90 percent.[20] Storms can drop 10–12 inches (250–300 mm) of rain at a time, providing half the year's average of 60 inches (150 cm) of rainfall in just two months.[21]

Climate data for Flamingo Ranger Station, FL
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 76.6
(24.8)
78.1
(25.6)
79.6
(26.4)
83.0
(28.3)
86.6
(30.3)
88.9
(31.6)
90.0
(32.2)
90.4
(32.4)
89.3
(31.8)
86.6
(30.3)
82.4
(28)
78.5
(25.8)
84.2
(29)
Average low °F (°C) 56.4
(13.6)
59.0
(15)
61.2
(16.2)
64.2
(17.9)
69.8
(21)
74.5
(23.6)
75.2
(24)
75.4
(24.1)
74.7
(23.7)
70.7
(21.5)
64.8
(18.2)
59.7
(15.4)
67.1
(19.5)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.70
(43)
1.73
(44)
1.99
(51)
1.84
(47)
3.49
(89)
7.18
(182)
5.60
(142)
7.87
(200)
6.31
(160)
3.83
(97)
2.44
(62)
1.67
(42)
45.65
(1,159)
Source: [2]
Climate data for Royal Palm RS 1981-2010, extremes 1949-2018
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 92
(33)
97
(36)
101
(38)
102
(39)
107
(42)
104
(40)
102
(39)
103
(39)
105
(41)
106
(41)
99
(37)
95
(35)
107
(42)
Average high °F (°C) 81.0
(27.2)
83.5
(28.6)
85.4
(29.7)
88.0
(31.1)
91.5
(33.1)
93.3
(34.1)
94.7
(34.8)
94.8
(34.9)
93.6
(34.2)
90.8
(32.7)
86.0
(30)
82.4
(28)
88.8
(31.5)
Average low °F (°C) 54.5
(12.5)
56.0
(13.3)
58.3
(14.6)
61.3
(16.3)
66.1
(18.9)
71.5
(21.9)
73.1
(22.8)
73.7
(23.2)
73.6
(23.1)
70.2
(21.2)
63.4
(17.4)
57.6
(14.2)
64.9
(18.3)
Record low °F (°C) 24
(−4)
29
(−2)
31
(−1)
37
(3)
49
(9)
50
(10)
66
(19)
66
(19)
64
(18)
49
(9)
31
(−1)
27
(−3)
24
(−4)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.68
(43)
1.81
(46)
2.43
(62)
2.31
(59)
5.34
(136)
8.30
(211)
6.63
(168)
9.06
(230)
8.53
(217)
4.84
(123)
2.59
(66)
1.45
(37)
54.97
(1,398)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 6.3 5.8 7.7 6.3 10.1 16.1 17.2 19.1 18.0 11.6 7.8 6.3 132.3
Source: NWS Nowdata from NWS Miami for Royal Palm RS
Other Languages
føroyskt: Everglades
Bahasa Indonesia: Taman Nasional Everglades
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Nacionalni park Everglades