Wh : Up First Why is it so complicated to save the Everglades?

The Everglades is home to the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere and a sanctuary for over three dozen endangered and threatened species. It also provides fresh water, flood control, and a buffer against hurricanes and rising seas for about 9 million Floridians.

But climate change, pollution, agriculture and rapid development are causing potentially irreversible damage.

In 2000, the state of Florida and the federal government struck an extraordinary deal to save the Everglades. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was the largest ecosystem restoration project in the world.

But from the moment it was signed into law, things got complicated.

Now almost 25 years later, the Everglades is as endangered as ever, and the problems have become even more difficult—and expensive—to solve.

Today on The Sunday Story, Ayesha Rascoe talks with WLRN's Jenny Staletovich. Jenny has a new podcast series out called Bright Lit Place that tells the dramatic story of the Everglades, what's been done to the ecosystem, and what needs to happen to save it.

The Sunday Story: How to Save the Everglades

The Sunday Story: How to Save the Everglades

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Florida Keys Fishing Captain Tim Klein directs a fly fishing client to fish off of Islamorada as the sun rises over Florida Bay. Patrick Farrell/For WLRN News hide caption

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Patrick Farrell/For WLRN News

Florida Keys Fishing Captain Tim Klein directs a fly fishing client to fish off of Islamorada as the sun rises over Florida Bay.

Patrick Farrell/For WLRN News

Why is it so complicated to save the Everglades?

The Everglades is home to the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere and a sanctuary for over three dozen endangered and threatened species. It also provides fresh water, flood control, and a buffer against hurricanes and rising seas for about 9 million Floridians.

Islamorada, Florida: Florida Keys fishing captain Tim Klein takes a fly fishing client off Islamorada in Florida Bay. Patrick Farrell/ For WLRN News hide caption

toggle caption
Patrick Farrell/ For WLRN News

Islamorada, Florida: Florida Keys fishing captain Tim Klein takes a fly fishing client off Islamorada in Florida Bay.

Patrick Farrell/ For WLRN News

But climate change, pollution, agriculture and rapid development are causing potentially irreversible damage.

In 2000, the state of Florida and the federal government struck an extraordinary deal to save the Everglades. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was the largest ecosystem restoration project in the world.

But from the moment it was signed into law, things got complicated.

Now almost 25 years later, the Everglades is as endangered as ever, and the problems have become even more difficult—and expensive—to solve.

Today on The Sunday Story, Ayesha Rascoe talks with WLRN's Jenny Staletovich. Jenny has a new podcast series out called Bright Lit Place that tells the dramatic story of the Everglades, what's been done to the ecosystem, and what needs to happen to save it.

Dawn at Lake Okeechobee, the headwaters of Florida's Everglades. Patrick Farrell/for WLRN hide caption

toggle caption
Patrick Farrell/for WLRN

Dawn at Lake Okeechobee, the headwaters of Florida's Everglades.

Patrick Farrell/for WLRN

This podcast episode was produced by Justine Yan. It was edited by Jennifer Schmidt. Our engineer was Josh Newell. Digital support from Emily Alfin Johnson.

WLRN's Bright Lit Place podcast series was reported by Jenny Staletovich. Rowan Moore Gerety edited. Sound engineering and original music by Merritt Jacob.

Bright Lit Place was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

We'd love to hear from you. Send us an email at TheSundayStory@npr.org. Listen to Up First on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.