From its headwaters north of Lake Okeechobee to the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, the Florida Everglades is an integral part of our ecology, culture and economy. Recognized as a World Heritage Site, the Everglades provides habitat for over 67 endangered and threatened species. The Everglades is home to countless wading birds, diverse flora and fauna, and is the only place in the world where the American Alligator and American Crocodile co-exist in the wild. With tens of thousands of people visiting from around the world each year, the Everglades also serves an important role in Florida’s economy. Unfortunately, while considered a national treasure, overdevelopment, polluted runoff, ditching, mining and other human activities have resulted in the loss of approximately half of the Everglades wetlands, the wading bird population has been reduced by about 90 percent, and populations of rare species found nowhere else in the world – including the iconic Florida panther – have been decimated.
In response to these threats, the Everglades Law Center was founded to provide high quality legal assistance to advocate, negotiate, and, when necessary, litigate to protect and restore the ecosystems of the Florida Everglades. Since our inception in 1995, our legal team has stopped the expansion of nearly 20,000 acres of lime rock mines in the Everglades Agricultural Area, prevented the construction of a commercial airport that would have been located between two national parks, and successfully challenged numerous developments that violated Florida’s growth laws. Our work led to the relocation of a major biotech campus from the edge of the Everglades – where it would have threatened restoration efforts – to a location adjacent to a state university and city life. And, in 2013, we successfully negotiated an agreement with a major public utility that kept electrical transmission lines out of Everglades National Park and other sensitive wetland areas.
The Everglades Law Center team brings more than five decades of legal expertise in its work with over thirty national, state, and local environmental and conservation groups. Our attorneys are uniquely positioned throughout the Everglades ecosystem and handle a wide range of environmental matters, including land use, wetlands permitting, endangered species, public lands, and sustainable energy development. Building on over two decades of success, we look forward to providing our partners with the top-notch legal services, on-the-ground analysis, and thoughtful leadership they expect from us for many years to come.