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Word Count: 979
In the mid-1800s the wetlands of southern Florida covered an area of almost nine million acres and remained an untamed wilderness into the early 1900s One hundred years later the area that once stretched from Lake Okeechobee all the way to the Gulf of Mexico has now been reduced by more than 50 percent The Everglades have changed greatly some due to natural factors but most changes have been a result of human interaction These man made impacts have severely changed the ecosystem having a negative effect on all organisms and natural resources 1 Because of a desire for land and raw materials and due too pollution and indiscriminate hunting many plant and wildlife species are on the verge of extinction Drainage of wetlands alteration of overland water flow and hunting have all contributed to species decline 10 In the early days of human settlement in south Florida including before Europeans arrived water limited where people could live how successful their attempts at agriculture would be and how permanent their homes and towns were The problem seemed to be too much water Beginning in the mid-1800s the State of Florida offered cheap farmland in the Everglades to people who could drain it 2 People would drain land for houses and farms and protect them from flooding as well as to increase the water supply for south Florida over the last century engineers drained more than half of the original Everglades marshes channeling the water through 1400 miles of canals 13 Railroads constructed by entrepreneurs like Henry B Plant and Henry M Flagler made the region more accessible and attractive to tourists By the 1920s visitors and new residents flocked to emerging towns like Fort Lauderdale Miami and Fort Myers As they arrived developers cut more canals and built new ro ads The mongroves were replaced by palm trees for a better very of the ocean Little by little canals roads and buildings displaced
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