President Barack Obama’s Earth Day visit to the Everglades marks an important moment in the nation’s continued commitment to the world’s largest ecosystem restoration project.

Audubon measures Everglades restoration success using indicator bird species like the Roseate Spoonbill. When the birds return to nest and forage, scientists know the ecosystem is healthy.

Today, these species are telling us that restoration is working, but we need to do more. Projects like bridging the Tamiami Trail and storing more water in the Everglades Agricultural Area are important pieces to the larger restoration puzzle.

“President Obama is providing important leadership  for continued Everglades restoration,” said Eric Draper, Audubon Florida executive director. “Today’s visit comes at an important time. Recent declines in wading bird nesting highlight the urgency of putting freshwater back into the marshes.”

The Greater Everglades Ecosystem plays an important role in South Florida’s economic wellbeing. Over 7 million Florida residents get their drinking water from this imperiled ecosystem.

Everglades restoration is also the central tool for combating the increasing threats from sea level rise and salt water intrusion in South Florida. Projects like the Cape Sable Dams restoration and C-111 Spreader Canal will help move freshwater to some of the most vulnerable coastal areas. Restoring freshwater in the right location is the best defense to salt water intrusion.  

“Everglades restoration is the key to combating impacts from climate change in South Florida,” said Julie Hill-Gabriel, Audubon Florida’s Director of Everglades Policy. “We applaud the President for highlighting this important connection in his Earth Day remarks.”

For more information about the link between Everglades restoration and climate change, click here to view Audubon Florida’s Adapting to Climate Change in the Everglades fact sheet.

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