SOC: Everglades National Park (United States of America)
VII.12 Everglades National Park (United States of America)
At its last session (Naples, 1997), the Committee noted significant progress made in the state of conservation of this site following generous Federal and State allocations of financial and human resources. The Delegate of the United States of America provided a detailed state of conservation report on this site, which outlined important measures undertaken to ensure continuing progress in the restoration of this site. In particular, the Committee noted the following:
(i) US$ 26 million worth of land purchases have been completed in the East Everglades Expansion Area; an additional US$ 40 million are needed to finalize the total of 109,000 acres of additional land purchases foreseen as part of the programme to expand the total extent of the Everglades National Park;
(ii) The western population of the cape sable seaside sparrow has suffered from abnormally prolonged wet periods which had been created by water management structures that artificially keep waters in the western Shark Slough in order to keep the eastern parts dry. Flooding denies the sparrow access to its nesting sites, found only in the transitional grasslands of the western Shark Slough. Restoration of water flows to the eastern Shark Slough is a high priority measure for the restoration of the overall Everglades ecosystem and will serve the interests of the sparrow as well. Everglades National Park and the Fish and Wildlife Services are planning water diversions to the Eastern Shark Slough. Fortunate dry weather conditions coincided with the nesting season of the sparrow in April 1998 and enabled breeding success comparable to the previous year;
(iii) Legislation has been introduced in the US Congress that would permanently retain the presence of the Miccosukee Tribe within the Everglades National Park. Any agreement for providing a site for the Tribe's continued practice of its living culture may come into conflict with the restoration of water flows through the eastern Shark Slough (where the Miccosukee Tribe is located), considered to be a essential measure for the restoration of the overall Everglades ecosystem.
The Delegate of the United States informed the Committee that despite significant progress in acquiring land, and allocating financial and human resources necessary for the restoration of the Everglades, the US Government believes that the site continues to be in Danger. In response to a question raised by IUCN as to how the State Party would determine when the site could be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger, the United States Delegate pointed that success measures to determine effects of the restoration activities are being developed and will be reported to the Committee in due course.
The Committee agreed to the request of the State Party and decided to retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger.