A Sweet Deal

A multi-billion dollar land sale could bring the Everglades closer to its natural state.

By Amy Leinbach Marquis

Nobody saw it coming. In June, Florida Governor Charlie Crist floored the environmental community when he announced plans to purchase 187,000 acres of sugar cane and citrus farmland from U.S. Sugar Corporation for $1.75 billion.

“It’s terrific news for the Everglades,” says John Adornato, regional director of NPCA’s Sun Coast offi ce in Florida. Securing the farmland south of Lake Okeechobee, he says, will help improve water quality and increase water flow to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.

In the last century, about half of the “River of Grass” has been drained and converted to farmland, housing, and urban development. Realizing the seriousness of this loss, Florida and the federal government announced plans in 2000 for the largest ecological restoration plan ever undertaken in the world. With the addition of U.S. Sugar land, the state can clean polluted water, store rainwater, and start recreating the landscape.

But Florida can’t do it alone—the state needs federal support to achieve its restoration goals. So far, Congress and the Bush Administration have failed on promises to match funds and advance projects.

“Restoring the Everglades is not only vital to our environment,” Adornato says, “but to our economy and quality of life in South Florida. We must leave a legacy for our children and grandchildren by saving one of the great special places in the world.”

This article appears in the Fall 2008 issue.

National Parks, our award-winning quarterly magazine, is an exclusive benefit of membership in the National Parks Conservation Association. Subscribe today!

Click here to continue reading this issue


Post a Comment

Thoughts about this article? Comments you'd like to share with the editors? Post your comments below* or send an e-mail to npmag@npca.org, and we'll consider printing your letter in the next issue of National Parks magazine. If you write a letter please include your name, city, and state. Published letters may be edited for length and clarity.

Enter this word:

* Your comments will appear once approved by the moderator. NPCA staff do not regularly respond to postings. We reserve the right to remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, or are off-topic. Opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the position(s) of NPCA. By submitting comments you are giving NPCA permission to reuse your words on our website and print materials.


Want to learn more about the  ?

The   can be seen in the wild in America’s national parks. Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect parks in   & other states

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect   and other National Parks

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Please leave this field empty
Yes, please sign me up for NPCA’s newsletter and other emails about protecting our national parks!

National Parks Conservation Association
National Parks Conservation Association

Log In

Or log in with your connected Facebook or Twitter account:


Welcome to our growing community of park advocates. Thanks for signing up!

Sign Up:

Or sign up by connecting your Facebook or Twitter account: