VII.20 Everglades National Park (United States of America)
The Committee recalled that the site was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1993 and that at its last session, it examined the detailed monitoring report presented by the State Party, which outlined the precedent-setting long-term experimental restoration work necessary to restore the balance of the Everglades ecosystem. The State Party presented an interim monitoring report dated May 1996 outlining the Federal and State of Florida government's US$2 billion partnership efforts with the private sector to protect the World Heritage values of the site and that Everglades now has the largest science staff of any unit in the U.S. National Park System.
The Delegate of the United States of America informed the Committee that the President signed the Water Resources Development Act on 12 October 1996, which contains most of the components of the Everglades Restoration Plan. This includes the completion of a comprehensive plan to restore, preserve, and protect the South Florida ecosystem, a re-study of the water management system, an authority to design and construct projects that will accelerate the restoration effort, implementation of critical projects with funding of a total of US$ 75 million, strengthened partnership with the State of Florida and cost sharing of projects, establishment of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, full consultation of the public in the work of the Task Force, approval of US$ 12 million for the land acquisition, US$ 8 million for ecosystem research and US$ 2.8 million for the Shark River Slough restoration.
Despite significant progress made (acquisition of additional land, improved ecological indicators), the Park remains in danger.
Due to the long-term nature of the rehabilitation activities, the Committee (a) commended the State Party and the State of Florida and private sector partners for their extraordinary efforts to protect the World Heritage values of this site; (b) encouraged the State Party to consider sharing the knowledge and experience gained through this restorative effort in the rehabilitation of aquatic ecosystems with other State Parties with internationally significant wetlands, and (c) decided to retain the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger until further rehabilitation progress is demonstrated.