By then, dredging and pumping and draining of the sloughs — the technical term for the shallow, slow-moving water under the grasses — and species decimation was well underway. In 2000, the state and federal government agreed to a $4 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. This significant law would not have been achieved without the broad … Critics Say The State Isn't Equipped To Do The Job. 1520 includes a record-setting $250 million in funding to restore the Everglades. There are success stories. The project has been in … It once covered most of the peninsula of Florida, from Lake Okeechobee (the 10th largest fresh water lake in the United States) down to Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. In 2000, the state and federal government agreed to a $4 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Two big sugar companies now control 500,000 acres; today, more than eight million people also depend upon the glades for their drinking water. "Funding for Everglades restoration, South Florida ecosystem restoration, our waterways funding as a whole." Dredging, levee building, pumping water in and out, more than 2,100 miles of canals, 2,000 miles of levees and hundreds of floodgates, pump stations and other water-control structures, usually initiated with a blind zeal for progress and indifference to — or ignorance about — the fact that engineers were playing a game of Jenga on an interconnected fragile system. “The Everglades is such a finely tuned machine, I guess you would say, that inches of water make profound differences in the landscape and the vegetation and the wildlife,” says Green. Nothing else. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that anything in Florida — with its postcard palms plastered against postcard sunsets, its coconut tanning oil and Lily Pulitzer pinks and greens, its schmaltz and buffoonery and hanging chads and “Florida Man,” with his love of Styrofoam, weapons and monster trucks — affects me this way. Slightly lower are the hardwood hammocks, just a few feet elevation above the river of grass but still in it. Of course we saw alligators. What’s gone is gone, and what’s still there is threatened by invasives like the cattails and the ornamental plant Brazilian pepper that leapt from people’s manicured gardens and into the Everglades. But it is profoundly imperiled by pollution, human schemes to drain and control it, animal and plant invasives and sea level rise. Governor, Please Veto Two Bad Bills May 14, 2019. Ron DeSantis and Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott — had urged President Donald Trump for the spending. Twenty years ago, the original Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan envisioned more than 300 underground aquifer storage recovery (ASR) wells north of Lake Okeechobee. The Everglades formed 5,000 years ago. These islands are historical hide-outs for pirates, hermits and criminals. Distant rain over the saw grass in the Everglades National Park. But it does. Florida Gov. Sky and grass. It’s a huge milestone in the restoration of the Everglades. Roseate Spoonbills in Big Cypress National Preserve. Florida Bay has not recovered from a great sea grass die-off in 2015. Restoration projects in the Florida Everglades will be on the upswing in coming years with growing political interest in the effort and recent boosts … Read: Massive Everglades restoration project in Picayune Strand more than two thirds complete Both projects, which are still in the planning stages, should be … We got up close to them as they dozed dry and oblivious in the sun, alongside roads or paths. An American Crocodile basks in the sun at Flamingo, the southernmost point in the Everglades National Park. Naples Daily News. Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Without Everglades restoration, Florida’s tourism-based economy is at risk.”. Hammocks are visible for miles on the flat grasses. Work is now underway on a better way to move water into the parched Everglades. She describes the Everglades as ‘beautiful but confounding.”. Anti-plumage campaigns at the turn of the 20th century stopped that. Two centuries ago, the great naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt was the first to comprehend the interconnectedness of nature, and how human activity affected it. Every few feet of elevation produces a discrete ecosystem with its own animals and plants that are not only adapted to but maintain the systems as well. “We simply cannot afford to wait any longer. In a promising development, Congress just authorized $200 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Everglades restoration. What We Mean When We Talk About Everglades Restoration March 21, 2017 There’s a lot of attention - and a lot of money - going towards restoring the Everglades. "The president has already in the past couple of years supported Everglades restoration and putting it in his budget, so there is the expectation that that would continue," Perry said. As salt water breaches the limestone bedrock around the Florida peninsula and enters the aquifer, this natural freshwater wonder is threatened like never before. But There's A Fix: More Water, Federal Judge Orders Army Corps To Study Toxic Algae In Lake O Releases, Florida Wants To Control Wetlands Permitting. One, visible as a hump of trees from the main park road, is so cinematic on the inside that it is named “The Movie Dome.” It is a set-designer’s idea of a storybook tropical paradise: sunlight shafting in, white branches festooned with proliferations of flowering epiphytes or air flowers, including rare orchids like the ghost orchid, plumed birds beating their wings so close you can feel the air move, all of it mirrored and doubled in crystal water around our knees. An 8.5 square-mile community in South Florida has stymied Everglades restoration for years by blocking water flow to parched areas at the tip of the state, but new plans ranging in … Get weekly updates from our Travel Dispatch newsletter, with tips on traveling smarter, destination coverage and photos from all over the world. Worse, as sea levels rise around Florida, increased salinity on the edges of the Everglades is killing the saw grass, setting off a cycle of damage to the sediment, allowing even more salty water farther inland. Everglades restoration needs to do more to account for climate change. The cypress domes are worth the challenge. I know by the way eyes fill with tears when people get to talking about the glades. We took kayaks and a skiff out into a maze of mangrove and shallow salt water called the Ten Thousand Islands, on Florida’s southwest edge. The USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Program provides science to support management and restoration of America’s Everglades. Sections of Tamiami Trail — the main east-west road connecting Miami and Naples — are being turned into bridges to allow water to flow back into the sloughs to the south, bringing back native vegetation for the first time in a century. I’ve traveled far but never found a place where the Garden of Eden and the Fall of Man are so palpable in one place. Humboldt never visited the Everglades, but it is surely one of the best places on earth to observe nature’s complex harmony up close. He picks up clients barefoot — in a 12-person Ford van in the parking lot of a fruit stand outside Homestead city limits. But, I told them — and I really mean it — that experience will really stick with me.”. Learn more about the Everglades’ restoration. Depending on time, I drove as deep into the saw grass void as I could, parked, got out and gazed up at tropical clouds racing unimpeded by tree or building. Researchers chip male pythons and track them to the nests of huge mother snakes, removing hundreds of eggs. To see more, visit WMFE. Quick fix for Lake O algae woes uses land now roamed by cows. An update is expected this week in a legal dispute over Everglades restoration.The South Florida Water Management District wants an end to federal… Health News Florida DeSantis Offers ‘Bold’ Plan To Address Water Woes Nonnative bamboo now chokes waterways and birding marshes throughout the park. Florida’s freshwater wonder is threatened like never before with a rising sea level as restoration efforts lag. At least one river, the Kissimmee, straightened by the Army Corps of Engineers to benefit the northern farms, has been returned to its natural bed. But the ecosystem today is half the size it was before development. The fresh river flows.”. The South Florida Water Management District started construction in 2014 on an Everglades restoration reservoir, which is called the Everglades Agricultural Area … An anhinga, a water bird, on the Anhinga Trail in the scenic Royal Palm area of the Everglades National Park. The man to see for that is the Everglades guide Garl Harrold. Paddling in Florida Bay one night at twilight, Garl trailed his hand in the warm salty water and pulled up some gray muck, let it drip back into the murk. What’s going on with Everglades restoration? Twenty years ago this month President Bill Clinton signed into law a plan to save the Florida Everglades. They wiped out 99 percent of the marsh rabbit and the raccoons, decimated the otters and are now setting their sights on the birds. “There are no other Everglades in the world. “We know what the consequences of inaction are, because we’ve already experienced it: polluted waterways, toxic algae, sea grass die-off, continued habitat loss, and even threats to imperiled species,” said Stephen Davis, a foundation scientist. The Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir water reservation regulations, the completion of the S-333N water control structure, and the award of a contract for construction on the L-67A levee will improve water flow in the River of Grass. The mysterious cypress domes also tower above the grass, but they thrive just a few feet closer to sea level, or even in holes in the limestone below sea level. FIU experts are available to discuss the … As they pricked away at exposed skin and whined in my ears, I took it as proof that, for now anyway, the threatened glades biome lives on. All Florida shores have also been plagued by a series of deadly red tides caused by fertilizer and other pollutants. The snakes grow to tremendous length and weights — 15-foot 90 pounders have been found. … Thus the magnificent monument that took ages to construct has been wrecked within the fraction of a generation!”. Even a large mama-gator surrounded by about a dozen babies, sprawled lazily by the cycling path at the National Park’s Shark Valley, as groups of tourists five feet away recorded the family on their iPhones. We have got to be more careful with the earth.” Her cousin Carrie LoBasso agreed: “When I told all my friends I slogged through a swamp, traveled with a python, and went hunting for ‘alligator eyes’ in the dark night, most of them called me crazy. “The grass stays. They look to be on high ground but signal areas of deep water formed by dips in the limestone bedrock. If doubt remains that Eden and the Fall coexist here, consider that the name of the author who extolled the wonders of this paradise is affixed to a school — the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland — forever associated with the 2018 school massacre that left 17 people dead. Tears for the Magnificent and Shrinking Everglades, a ‘River of Grass’. In just two days, we saw two giants caught by the roadside in the area, and heard tell of a third. 07/21/18. News Everglades Restoration Takes Three Big Steps Forward. The two processes are tending to eliminate all the native life from the state. Republican Congressman Brian Mast of Stuart says H.R. DRAINAGE and FIRE! For 175 years, the drive to control the flow of water was planned, plotted and executed with devastating results for the native inhabitants — flora, fauna and human. Copyright 2020 WMFE. A project designed to improve water flows south to Everglades National Park is underway following a groundbreaking ceremony among federal and state officials on Oct. 21 in western Miami-Dade County. I also thought about the animal life that we weren’t going to see because of the invasive species problem, and that humans are the worst invasive species of all. Tomorrow, December 11, the Everglades Foundation is virtually hosting the 4th annual John Marshall Everglades Symposium–featuring our own Tom Rosenbauer as one of the moderators. Funding has been secured to raise the Tamiami Trail, reroute water into Shark River Slough and mitigate damage near the Taylor Slough. Environmental groups and state water managers are sparring over land for an Everglades restoration project to help with Florida’s algae blooms, following… Listen • 1:30 News SOUTH FLORIDA — Founding leaders of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan initiated a monumental project 20 years ago by gaining national recognition of the need for more freshwater to reach the southern portion of the Everglades and Florida Bay. Everglades restoration has its own language of acronyms that abbreviate the various processes, places and projects, like CERP, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project. “Sneaky, she’s around here somewhere.” “I saw Croc-zilla out here last week.” He is encyclopedic on the flora, pointing out plants like the lemon bacopa that the Calusa and Tequesta tribes used as mosquito repellent, and the saltwort, a pale green crunchy plant great as a snack or in a salad. Alligators were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1960s but surged back after restrictions. She said the slog was the high point of the day. Pot-smuggling on local boats was so common here through the 1980s that locals nicknamed the illicit cargo “square grouper.” Today, sport fishermen ply the waters for boasting rights to the Grand Slam — hooking one each of a redfish, snook, tarpon, trout and spotted sea trout in a single day. In a series of trips to South Florida in the last year, I explored the interior of the River of Grass, the only subtropical wilderness in North America, plunging into microclimates and diminishing habitats, traversing slices of the Everglades National Park and its adjacent neighbor, Big Cypress National Preserve, by car, kayak, foot and even looking down from a small plane. Saw grass at sunset in the Everglades National Park. The state’s top Republican leaders — including Gov. On this episode of Intersection, we do a deep dive into the Everglades with Amy Green as she explains the reporting that went into the podcast, Drained, which was produced in partnership with the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. Researchers from FIU’s Institute of Environment and the South Florida Natural Resources Center of Everglades National Park have been tracking the flow of water here as part of the federally and state funded Everglades restoration efforts. Follow NY Times Travel on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. As the legislative session gets started in Tallahassee this… Kirby Storter Roadside Park in Big Cypress National Preserve. I am not alone. During the dry season, from December through April (when most tourists visit the glades because it is virtually bug-free), these stands of swamp cypress rise, leafless and bone white above the grass, visible for miles. The long-awaited stimulus package approved by Congress Monday night includes $250 million for Everglades restoration. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth; remote, never wholly known,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas wrote in her 1947 book, “The Everglades: River of Grass.” “The spears prick upward, tender green, glass green, bright green, darker green, to spread the blossoms and the fine seeds like brown lace,” she wrote. “It’s all gone. The experience can be transformative. On Dec. 11, 2020 it’ll be 20 years since Congress passed the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan to restore, protect and preserve South Florida’s ecosystem while providing for water-related needs of the region. The state of mourning began at least as far back as the 1920s, when the botanist John Kunkel Small recorded his observations during an expedition, listing the Latin names of hundreds of plants and recording everywhere signs of their degradation and demise, from the “approaching extermination of native coral life” — which has come to pass around the Keys — to the ground itself “being drained and burned until it is unproductive.”, His panic is palpable in the exclamation points and capital letters he deployed in his report on the Lake Okeechobee area. Good news on the Everglades restoration front. Getting into and out of these domes can be a nerve-pricking enterprise, not for the faint of heart. So have the birds. FWF Challenges Water Management District Sugar Leases Along with the plants, the Burmese python is an unwelcome invader, probably introduced into the habitat first by pet owners when they got too big to keep in the condos. Filter. 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