The Everglades once covered 11,000 square miles of south Florida. About 100 years ago, water flowed down the Kissimmee River into Lake Okeechobee. Then it made its way south through the Everglades marsh to the flats of Florida Bay. This occurrence damaged the ecosystem and many living organisms. The result was damage to the ecosystem and the species there. Then, in 1905, the Florida governor began to drain the Everglades to make the land suitable for agriculture and development. The large swamps were turned into productive farmland. Cities, like Miami, began moving to the coast. As more people came, the need to provide flood control to new residents grew. In 1948, the U.S. Congress came up with a project called the Central and South Florida Project. This project created the most effective water management system in the world. Gallons of water from the Everglades flowed out into the ocean. This damaged the organisms habitat. With the help from scientists and other helpers, the Everglades National Park was established in 1947 to keep the natural landscape safe and prevent any further damage to the land, animals, and plants.