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

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

The property was re-inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, on the request of the State Party, due to concerns that the property's aquatic ecosystem continues to deteriorate, in particular as a result of:

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4348

Corrective measures identified

Developed 2006 (IUCN technical workshop), see page: https://whc.unesco.org/archive/2006/whc06-30com-07Ae.pdf

Adopted (refiments have been suggested), see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4348

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4348

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

April 2006: IUCN participation in a technical workshop to identify benchmarks and corrective measures; January 2011: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission.

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 2012

A report on the state of conservation of the property was received from the State Party on 17 February 2012. The State Party provides detailed information on progress of the 14 corrective measures adopted in 2006 and 2010 and the ecological indicators identified during the 2011 reactive monitoring mission and formalized as the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The State Party refined and quantified eleven indicators to monitor the integrity and ecological rehabilitation, as well as management effectiveness of the property in view of removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. A detailed description of the indicators, and their connection to the 14 corrective measures, are provided in the State Party state of conservation report. Six of the indicators were not met, particularly those related to the volume, levels and distribution of water flow which are essential to the integrity of the property. Five indicators were partially met, including those related to improvement of water quality. However, it was also indicated that substantive new land conversions will be needed by 2018 to meet desired water quality standards. Small positive trends were reported on two of the indicators related to Everglades’ wading birds nesting, but it was noted that increases correspond to the 2005 to 2010 period of more stable hydrologic conditions in the property, not to any specific restoration.

a) All East Everglades Land Acquisition complete

Land acquisition is 99% complete, 300 hectares of commercial lands remain, and the funds are in the 2012 National Park Service budget. A land exchange is contemplated for the largest parcel.

b) Complete Water Control Plan and complete 8.5 Square Mile Area Construction

Construction of all of the originally planned Modified Water Deliveries (MWD) flood mitigation features (the L-357 canal and levee and the S-356 and S-357 pump stations) was completed by 2008. Construction of a new supplemental seepage canal has been recommended. The funding needed to coincide with the Tamiami Trail improvements. The Everglades Restoration Transition Plan (ERTP) operational changes are scheduled to be implemented by early 2012. A related field test of operational adjustments that would begin to modestly increase water flows into Northeast Shark River Slough is also stated to begin in mid 2012, and run for approximately two years.

c) Construction projects for the L-67A and C and L-29 water conveyance structures, Tamiami Trail Bridges, and road modifications are all underway

The MWD project that was initially approved in 1992 included a series of water conveyance structures that would pass water across the L-67 A/C levees reconnecting WCA 3A with WCA. These conveyance features have been dropped from the Modified Water Deliveries project, but will be re-evaluated via a new Army Corps of Engineers Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) that was initiated in November 2011, and will be completed by mid 2013. The initial phase of the Tamiami Trail bridging and roadway improvements are approximately 49% complete. Current funding shortfalls are being resolved, and the completion date for the Tamiami Trail improvements is December 2013.

d) Complete C-111 land exchange between the South Florida Water Management District and the US Government

Nearly all of the required land acquisition or securing of real estate interests needed to construct the C-111 South Dade Project features was completed by 2006 and have been achieving their seepage management goals for the last two years.

e) Complete the Water Control Plan (CSOP Final EIS)

The alternative modeling and environmental assessments are scheduled to begin in 2012, and a new water control plan is expected to be completed by 2015.

f) Complete the construction of the C-111 Detention Area features from the 8.5 Square Mile Area to Frog Pond

The delay in completing the C-111 northern detention area is related to unresolved issues: increased costs for levee construction and off-site disposal of unsuitable materials, and the cost sharing formula between the Federal and State agencies. Construction is now scheduled for completion in 2017.

g) Meet or exceed the interim and long-term phosphorous reduction limits for water flowing into Shark River Slough and the long-term phosphorous reduction limits for water flowing into the Taylor Slough/Coastal Basin areas in Everglades National Park

Improvements have reduced phosphorus loadings to the Everglades by approximately 70%. For the 2011 water year (October 2010 to September 2011), the flow weighted mean total phosphorus (TP) concentration entering Shark River Slough was 9.2 ppb, which was well below the long-term compliance limit of 12.0 ppb. Approximately 4,900 ha of storm water treatment areas (STA) are currently under construction and are expected to be operational by 2013.

h) Complete the construction of the C-111 Detention Area features from the 8.5 Square Mile Area to Frog Pond and implement CSOP operations

The originally planned features in the C-111 South Dade project have been completed and were all fully operational by 2009. Remaining is the C-111 North Detention area, currently scheduled for completion in 2017.

i) Complete the C-111N Spreader Canal and revised operations

In southern Taylor Slough, the C-111 Spreader Canal Western project (or phase 1 project) is complete and ready for operational testing in 2012.

j) Strengthen the cooperation among all partners involved in the restoration projects through adoption of a common vision which includes conservation of the OutstandingUniversal Value of the property as a consistent high priority. This common vision should be integrated in the General Management Plan expected in Spring 2011

Key restoration partners and community stakeholders have recently recognized the benefits of this watershed approach and begun development of a common vision that would accelerate the central and southern Everglades flow improvements.It is unclear to what extent the common vision is integrated in the General Management Plan.

k) Ensure the importance of an entire catchment scale approach to land and water planning and management in South Florida is fully recognized across all relevant agencies and stakeholders (e.g., through cross-compliance) and that decisions far upstream do not further impact the conservation of the property. The catchment scale approach should be reflected in and implemented through the General Management Plan expected in Spring 2011

In November 2011, the Army Corps of Engineers initiated a new 18-month Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) which will incorporate new scientific information, enhance opportunities for public engagement, and develop a plan to integrate the most critical Everglades flows restoration features. This new approach represents the third generation of planned projects, and will focus on a watershed scale approach for restoring the Lake Okeechobee/Everglades connection and integrating the design of four key flow restoration components. It is unclear to what extent the common vision is integrated in the General Management Plan.

l)  Address the delays in the implementation of the Modified Water Deliveries (MWD), C-111 and Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects, and related water quality initiatives which will result in continued degradation of the property and likely reduce the resilience of the Everglades ecosystem in the face of climate change

CERP aims to run in parallel with efforts to complete the ongoing Modified Water Deliveries and C-111 South Dade projects. CEPP envisions to include expanded Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) water storage and treatment areas needed to handle existing EAA runoff as well as incorporating features that would store and clean new water that would be routed southward from Lake Okeechobee.

m) Ensure progress on the further modifications on the Tamiami Trail to include extending the bridging to a further 5.5 miles together with additional road raising and other associated infrastructure changes to reduce groundwater seepage losses from the property whilst also addressing the concerns of other stakeholders

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this project was completed in December 2010. The recommended plan would add up to 5.5 miles of bridges and raise the remaining eastern roadway to allow for unconstrained flow into Northeast Shark River Slough. Congressional authorization was received in 2011 with the goal of completing construction by 2017/2018, but a funding source has not yet been identified.

A new seepage control pump station (S-356) was completed in 2005 under the Modified Water Deliveries project. CERP included an Everglades National Park Seepage Management project that would add additional S-356 pump stations as well as a sub-surface seepage barrier by 2015. An initial 2002 seepage management pilot has stalled and is now on hold while a shallow seepage barrier test is being conducted by a private rock-mining group. Future actions are dependent on these test results.

n) Resolve uncertainties upstream of the property arising from the legal actions linked in particular to water quality

The State of Florida developed a new recommended water quality treatment approach that optimizes EAA water management operations, thereby reducing the land needed for the new water storage and water quality treatments to just over 8,100 ha. Federal government agencies are currently reviewing this proposal. The new Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) will incorporate the needed water quality treatment requirements for the central Everglades flow path by integrating water flow and water quality features in the plan formulation process.

Just under 4,900 ha of new storm water treatment areas are expected to be completed by 2013, while approximately 23,000 ha of publicly owned Everglades Agricultural Area lands will eventually need to be converted into expanded of storm water treatment areas and new flow equalization basins by 2018 to meet the new Environmental Protection Agency requirements.

Other conservation issues (exotic invasive plant and animal species)

 

Based on a historic and current status of a wide range of invasive species and a quantitative assessment of a smaller subset of priority invasive species, the State Party concludes that exotic species in the property are affecting native animal communities as well as the biological processes that are the foundation of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value. Approximately one in five plant species found in the Park is non-native, thus altering the natural composition of the plant community present. Exotic plant species are estimated to affect approximately 15 to 20% of the total area of the property. There is no similar quantitative indication for exotic invasive animals. The State Party indicates the establishment of an Exotic Invasive Wildlife Programme which will develop an appropriate framework and funding for exotic wildlife prevention and control throughout the country. A proposal was created to use Everglades National Park as a priority pilot for implementation of this framework.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that the State Party is moving forward with the implementation of the 14 corrective measures and has partially addressed funding shortfalls for important projects such as the completion of the Tamiami Trail improvements that are important to the delivery of more natural flow of water to the property. They note that progress is also made toward adoption of a common vision for a catchment-scale approach to land and water planning, but consider there is a need to more clearly indicate (a) how this progress is being incorporated in the existing Management Plans for Everglades National Park, (b) how the proposed new plans will provide added value to the corrective measures already underway, and (c) when actions in the proposed plans will be implemented. Progress is also being made on corrective measures related to water quality improvements with major projects expected to be completed by 2013. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the Committee expresses its concern about the State Party’s conclusion of the assessment of exotic invasive plant and animal species, in particular that the natural composition of the plant and animal community present in the property is being altered, with exotic plant species affecting an estimated 15 to 20% of the property.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN acknowledge the work done by the State Party to refine and quantify the indicators of the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, and to connect them to the implementation of the 14 corrective measures so that progress toward achieving the indicators can now be measured comprehensively.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note the remaining significant work to be done to meet the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and recall that the 2011 mission considered it may take several decades before the property would be sufficiently recovered. Therefore, they recommend that the World Heritage Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. 

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7A.14

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7A,

2.   Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.14, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.   Welcomes the significant effort of the State Party to refine and quantify the indicators developed for the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and to connect them to the 14 corrective measures allowing a comprehensive report on progress;

4.   Expresses concern about the results of the assessment of the effects of exotic invasive plant and animal species which concludes that exotic species are affecting native animal communities as well as the biological processes that are the foundation of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value, and also welcomes the establishment of an appropriate framework and funding for addressing this threat;

5.   Notes with appreciation that the State Party is making progress on the implementation of the corrective measures, including the adoption of a common vision for a catchment scale approach to land and water planning and mobilizing the outstanding budget necessary for the full implementation of projects crucial to the delivery of more natural flow of water and improved water quality, and encourages the State Party to maintain this level of effort;

6.   Also notes that significant work remains to be done to recover the integrity of the property, and requests the State Party to consider, in its next report to the Committee:

a)  How progress with the corrective measures is being incorporated in the existing Management Plans for Everglades National Park,

b)  How the proposed new plans will provide added value to the corrective measures already underway,

c)  When actions in the proposed plans will be implemented;

7.   Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property, including progress achieved in implementing the corrective measures and in meeting the indicators developed for the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013;

8.   Decides to retain Everglades National Park (United States of America) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-12/36.COM/7A and WHC-12/36.COM/7A.Add),

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