Everglades National Park

Page - December 10, 2009
Everglades National Park lies at or close to the level of the sea and is vulnerable to sea level rise. A sea level rise of just two feet would transform up to 50 percent of the park's freshwater marsh, causing erosion and devastating ecosystems along the coastline.

Greenpeace image Everglades National Park

More climate impacts:

• As sea levels rise, mangroves and shallow mud banks will likely be submerged. This will lead to more risk of hurricane damage, since Mangroves provide protection against storms by absorbing flood waters and preventing erosion.

• Beach erosion will decrease the amount of habitat for nesting sea turtles and other amphibians.

• Sea level rise would also impact park infrastructure, such as trails, campgrounds, roads, and historic sites. Docks, camping platforms and boardwalks could be compromised by rising water levels and could become unusable.

• As sea level rise, salt water will contaminate the freshwater systems of the Everglades, and could threaten the drinking water supply of five million people in South Florida.

• As sea surface temperatures rise, more intense hurricanes are expected and these could destroy buildings and other infrastructure in the park. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma damaged the Flamingo area, causing the long-term closure of the park's only overnight lodging and a restaurant.

• Rising ocean temperatures have also been linked seagrass die-off and harmful algae blooms, and could promote marine diseases in and near the park. .

• Climate change is also causing the ocean to become more acidic, which threatens numerous species that reside on or near the coastline.