Park Employee for a Day Geocache #3
In 1993, Everglades National Park, Miami-Dade County, and the National Park Foundation entered into a partnership to restore about 6,300 acres of former agricultural land in Everglades National Park, known as the "Hole-in-the-Donut." Over previous decades, most of this area had become infested with a monoculture of Brazilian pepper.
Through cooperation with Miami-Dade County, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Hole-in-the-Donut was established as a mitigation bank, the first in Florida. Using the mitigation funds from permitted development projects in Miami-Dade County, the park has undertaken a precedent-setting program of exotic plant removal and wetland restoration for the entire Hole-in-the-Donut.
Following restoration, communities of short-to-medium hydroperiod prairie develop within the first year. Wildlife, such as wading birds and deer, return to the area to forage for food and leave seeds behind in their waste, helping to reestablish native vegetation. As of 2010, a total of 4,100 acres of wetlands had been restored.
Did You Know?
Everglades National Park, which protects over 1.5 million acres, is the 3rd largest national park in the lower 48 states, behind Yellowstone National Park (2nd) and Death Valley National Park (1st).