Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
Millions of acres of unique South Florida environments have been lost to meet the needs of agriculture and growing cities. Restoration of the South Florida ecosystem, including the Everglades, has become one of the largest coordinated conservation and restoration efforts ever undertaken. Private organizations and local, state, and federal governments are working together to restore this fragile environment.
The health of J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and its estuarine environment are dependent on the health of the Everglades watershed, which encompasses the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee, and the Caloosahatchee River. Artificially regulated freshwater releases into the Caloosahatchee directly affect the refuge and its water quality. Too much freshwater (or too little), at the wrong time, can debilitate the fragile estuarine ecosystem and its dependent wildlife.