1.         Everglades National Park (United States of America) (N 76)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (viii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1993-2007, 2010-present

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/76/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/76/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/76/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2004

In a letter dated 30 January 2004, the State Party provided an update on the situation of Everglades National Park and requested that the property be retained on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

 

IUCN noted that the report provides an update on specific accomplishments to address previously identified threats to the resources and integrity of Everglades National Park. These include:

 

a)       Alterations from the hydrological regime and impacts from adjacent urban growth, including reduced water levels from flood control operations: Government wide appropriations legislation has only recently been passed for the year 2004, and specific allocations are yet to be conveyed to respective agencies and programme management.  Funding is provided for further refinement of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and implementation of initial projects. In April two CERP projects, including Southern Golden Gate Estates and the Indian River Lagoon South Restoration Project are expected to go to Congress for final authorization. The report indicates that if all CERP projects are successfully implemented, Everglades National Park, and other protected natural areas in South Florida could be transformed from some of the most threatened units in the National Park System to restore and unique areas of a healthy South Florida. The report asserts that hydrological restoration is a necessary precursor to biological recovery, citing one indicator species – the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow. Counts of Sparrows conducted during the 2003 breeding season showed an estimated total of 3,216 birds, slightly up from 2002 (2,704 birds) and very similar to the 2001 total of 3,264 birds.  It however raises concerns about this federally listed endangered species, found in areas of Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Reserve.  The once largest subpopulation has decreased by over 90% but has remained relatively constant at approximately 100 birds for the last three years.  The report notes that since April 2003, other endangered species in the park are regarded as either stable in number, declining, or their numbers are undetermined.

 

b)       Increased nutrient pollution from agricultural activities: The report notes that in 2003, the State of Florida revised its Everglades Forever Act.  This revision extended the legal deadline for conforming with numerical water quality standards from 2006 to 2116. The State’s Environmental Regulatory Commission adopted the enforceable standard at 10 parts per billion (ppb) of phosphorous.  In November 2003, the Commission’s Everglades Phosphorous Rule was challenged by several interests before a Florida Administrative Law Judge.  A settlement was reached on one of the challenges, in which the Florida Department of Environmental Protection agreed to changes that will facilitate the enforcement of the 10 ppb phosphorous rule, by providing for measurement of the water quality compliance of effluent from the Everglades Agricultural Area when it first enters the wetland and not at its point of discharge. It is reported that on 1 January 2004 the 10 ppb “default standard” for phosphorous went into effect by operation of the Florida Law and that the US EPA must next approve the new water quality standard.

 

c)       Impacts on the ecology of the Florida Bay: The report notes that with generally wetter weather conditions in South Florida since 1994, relatively more fresh water has reached Florida Bay in the form of localized rainfall, and through drainage from more northern areas of the park.  The result has been a general lowering of water salinity and reductions in the sizes of algal blooms. This suggests that attempts to restore water flows through the extent of the Park, once they are made operational, will be effective in helping to restore the ecological balance of Florida Bay.  The current general management planning process is addressing concerns about numbers of boaters in Florida Bay and their impacts on bottomland wilderness, including especially propeller scars from boat groundings.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 28 COM 15A.11

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Notes the detailed report provided by the State Party and acknowledges its efforts to achieve progress on the different programmes to restore and conserve this property;

2. Commends the State Party for its co-operation with the State of Florida and local governments in the development of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and the Everglades Forever Act which taken together will restore the natural hydrological system, will meet the water supply and flood control needs of the adjacent municipalities, and will reduce the phosphorous levels in agricultural return flows to ensure water quality compliance;

3. Congratulates the State Party and the cooperators for their actions to restore hydrological regimes, to reduce phosphorous levels in return flows, to stabilize the populations of endangered species, and to appropriate US$ 8.3 Billion to accomplish these tasks;

4. Invites the World Heritage Centre and IUCN in co-operation with the State Party to describe the steps and identify the benchmarks and indicators to monitor progress in the restoration of the property in view of facilitating the Committee’s future consideration for possible removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;

5. Requests the State Party to submit by 1 February 2005 an updated report on the progress made in the restoration and conservation of the property for examination by the Committee at its 29th session in 2005;

6. Decides to retain Everglades National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 28 COM 15C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following examination of state of conservation reports of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-04/28.COM/15A Rev),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: