WASHINGTON — The Everglades were formed roughly 5,000 years ago and once made up an area about twice the size of the state of New Jersey.
But just in the last one hundred years, about half of these wetlands' original footprint has been lost. They've been plowed under or paved over as South Florida's 8 million inhabitants claimed the area for their homes, livelihoods and recreation.
Nearly two decades and $4 billion into a sweeping restoration program, new data about the pace of climate change has raised questions about how much of the park can ever be regained.
The Everglades National Park protects a unique landscape that is unlike anything on Earth, and is a World Heritage site. The protected area is essential to life for numerous rare endangered species, according to the National Parks Service.