In December 2000, as the nation held its breath over the super-charged Bush-Gore Florida recount, then U.S. president Bill Clinton, Florida governor Jeb Bush and others gathered at the White House to sign off on the largest environmental restoration project in the history of the planet.
The project — an $8 billion rescue of the incomparable but deeply damaged Florida Everglades. Ponce de Leon was mortally wounded there. Alligators, egrets and ghost orchids lived. U.S. soldiers died fighting Seminoles. American dreams of life in sunshine paradise nearly killed the place.
Now, the Katrina-battered Gulf coast is watching. And its fate is still unclear.
Hear about Florida's Everglades — the swamp and the politics of paradise.
Michael Grunwald, author of "The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise"
Alan Scott, park ranger at Everglades National Park
Shea Penland, director of the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of New Orleans.
This program aired on March 2, 2006.