Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Everglades National Park

The Natural Resource Condition Assessment (NRCA) Program provides framework, funding, and publishing support to parks to aid in the synthesis and documentation of natural resource conditions. Condition assessment reports are a tool to describe selected park resources, and record a snapshot of their current condition, identify trends, and identify potential or current threats and stressors. Understanding the condition and trend of natural resources is key for parks and NPS planners to appropriately prioritize and allocate stewardship resources.

A great white heron stands among green foliage.
Great White Heron (Ardea alba), Everglades National Park.

NPS photo

Everglades National Park covers over 1,506,000 acres (2,353 square miles) of southern Florida, with 1,530 square miles of land and 823 square miles of marine areas under protection. The Everglades National Park is the first national park intended foremost to protect biology. Everglades National Park contains the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness Area – the largest contiguous area designated as wilderness east of the Mississippi River. Everglades National Park protects an unparalleled landscape that provides important habitat for numerous rare and endangered species. The mosaic of habitats contained within the Greater Everglades supports an assemblage of plant and animal species not found elsewhere on planet Earth.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2019

In order to better understand the natural resources present in the park, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was written and published in 2019. National Park Service staff examined available data and park needs, and evaluated the condition of indicators within eight resource topics:

- Landscape dynamics

- Hydrology

- Nutrients and contaminants

- Fire and fuel dynamics

- Soils

- Inland and coastal biological integrity

- Florida Bay and marine biological integrity

- Human experience

Everglades National Park continues to experience profound challenges. Seven resource indicators were given a condition of significant concern, sixteen were considered moderate concern, and one indicator was given a good condition rating. The remaining ten indicators were not assigned a status due to data gaps.

One significant challenge to nearly all of the biological assessments in this NRCA is that they are not fully quantitative. A second type of gap that is conspicuous across most of the biological resource assessments is the absence of explicit use of species community composition information to assess status and trends. Considerable quantities of natural resources remain, and some are clearly improving, but there are clear signs that further deterioration is likely unless there is an effective and timely effort to address the challenges that exist. Given the large spatial scale across which challenges occur, it is essential that solutions are developed with and understood by a broad set of stakeholders in cooperation with the National Park Service.

For other reports and natural resource datasets visit the NPS Data Store.

Source: Data Store Collection 7765 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Last updated: June 29, 2022


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