Since the 1800s, humans have been altering the Everglades landscape by creating water diversions and flood control structures to restrict the flow of water. Combined with agricultural and encroaching urban development, the Everglades has decreased in size and quality dramatically, affecting the quality of all habitats in the area.
In 1947, Marjory Stoneman Douglas named The Everglades a "river of grass," most people considered the area worthless swamp land that needed to be changed for agriculture and farming. Douglas brought the need to preserve the Everglades to the world in her book
The Everglades also provides critical benefits to people by providing drinking water for one-third of Floridians and irrigation for much of the state's agriculture. The wetlands improve water quality by filtering out pollutants and absorbing excess nutrients, replenish aquifers, and reduce flooding.