SOC: Everglades National Park (United States of America)
Everglades National Park (United States of America)
The Committee recalled that the damage caused to the site by Hurricane Andrew on 24 August 1992 was discussed at the sixteenth session of the Committee. Further discussion on the ecological impacts took place at the seventeenth session of the Bureau. IUCN reported that it had not been able to carry out a site mission.
The United States Delegation informed the Committee that the Superintendent of the Everglades National Park was present and that he would be pleased to present a report. The Superintendent indicated that a significant number of threats to the Park have existed since the time of its listing in 1979. These are still present, including alterations to the hydrological regime as well as impacts from adjacent urban growth. Several new threats, both manmade and natural, have aggravated conditions since the initial listing. These include increased nutrient pollution from agricultural activities, reduced water levels from flood control operations and mercury contamination of fish and wildlife. In addition, there had been a dramatic ecological deterioration of Florida Bay, as well as the severe effects of Hurricane Andrew. In response to these conditions, substantial Government actions have been initiated in recent years. Legal actions and negotiations to resolve nutrient pollution are very close to a successful conclusion. An addition of 107,000 acres to protect the north-eastern part of the Park has been incorporated. Structural changes in the water management regime to restore the water level in the north-eastern addition are underway. Experiments are being carried out with respect to optimum water deliveries:
The Government provided 4.5 million US$ for monitoring and research, as well as a significant increase in other management funding. A major new emphasis and commitment has also been undertaken to accomplish long-term restoration through ecosystem management of the entire south Florida system. This brought all appropriate federal agencies together in a collaborative effort which should shortly include state and local governments.
In conclusion, the report stated that the outcome of these efforts was by no means certain, however the outlook was hopeful. At the request of the Chair, IUCN underlined its agreement with the report given and suggested that the Everglades National Park should be a candidate for the List of World Heritage in Danger.
After considerable discussion, the Committee agreed to include the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger and asked the Centre to communicate with the appropriate authorities. The Committee recognized the extensive research and other work underway to alleviate the threats to the Everglades National Park. It therefore congratulated the Government of the United States of America on the new initiatives it had taken and encouraged it to continue its efforts to restore the ecological balance of the Everglade ecosystem. IUCN was invited to monitor and assess the results of the restorative efforts.