shed (Figure 2-2), a connected drainage basin that extends from the Orlando area 250 miles southward to Florida Bay (McPherson and Halley, 1996). The watershed includes three primary sub-basins: the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee and its tributaries, and the Everglades. Prior to economic development and the creation of artificial drainage systems, water flowed from a series of small lakes at the northern end of this system through the Kissimmee River into Lake Okeechobee. During rainy periods, the lake spilled water southward over its low perimeter and into the Everglades, moving as a broad shallow sheet of water until it became more concentrated and flowed to tidewater through Shark River, Taylor, and Loxahatchee sloughs as well as through coastal rivers. Rainfall onto the 4,500 square mile Everglades augmented this overland flow and sustained it during dry periods.
The conversion of the uninhabited Everglades wilderness into an area of high agricultural productivity and cities was a dream of 19th-century investors, and, beginning in the early 1880s, water-control projects were built to drain the wetlands. By the end of the 20th century, the extensive water-control system to supply water to agricultural and urban areas and to provide flood protection to