South Florida Ecosystem Restoration and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan

Publication Date: June 2007

Publisher: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service


Research Area: Environment


Coverage: Florida


The Everglades, a unique network of subtropical wetlands, is now half its original size. Many factors have contributed to its decline, including flood control projects and agricultural and urban development. As part of a larger restoration program for South Florida, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and other federal, state, tribal, and local agencies collaborated to develop a Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP or the plan). CERP focuses on increasing storage of wet season waters to provide more water during the dry season for both the natural system and urban and agricultural users.

The plan consists of 68 projects estimated to take more than 30 years and $10.9 billion to complete. The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2000 (P.L.106-541) authorizes $1.4 billion for initial construction projects and their operation and maintenance. The federal government will pay half the plan's costs and an array of state, tribal, and local agencies the other half. Major issues associated with the plan include project priorities, timely completion of restoration, phosphorous mitigation, effectiveness of restoration efforts, uncertainties in technologies and costs, and effect on the Corps budget. This report outlines the history and current conditions of the Everglades, CERP legislation, and associated issues.