Copyright 2020 WMFE. As salt water breaches the limestone bedrock around the Florida peninsula and enters the aquifer, this natural freshwater wonder is threatened like never before. 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 Two big sugar companies now control 500,000 acres; today, more than eight million people also depend upon the glades for their drinking water. Twenty years on, a few of the major infrastructure projects have been built, but most are still on the drawing board, awaiting money. I also thought about the animal life that we werenât going to see because of the invasive species problem, and that humans are the worst invasive species of all. We hiked thigh-deep in cafe latte-colored water, slogging to explore the mysteries of the cypress domes. The long-awaited stimulus package approved by Congress Monday night includes $250 million for Everglades restoration. Floridaâs freshwater wonder is threatened like never before with a rising sea level as restoration efforts lag. 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. 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 DRAINAGE and FIRE! We took kayaks and a skiff out into a maze of mangrove and shallow salt water called the Ten Thousand Islands, on Floridaâs southwest edge. 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. 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. “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. Since 1845, when Florida became a state, man has been refashioning the glades, chiefly, to dry, build on, farm and make money off the land, some of the most fertile in the world. 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. 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 winner of the 2020 âPython Bowlâ gets a truck.). So have the birds. 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 â or ignorance about â the fact that engineers were playing a game of Jenga on an interconnected fragile system. For 175 years, the drive to control the flow of water was planned, plotted and executed with devastating results for the native inhabitants â flora, fauna and human. Iâve traveled far but never found a place where the Garden of Eden and the Fall of Man are so palpable in one place. She said the slog was the high point of the day. The USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Program provides science to support management and restoration of America’s Everglades. An American alligator on the shore of the Turner River in Big Cypress National Preserve.Â Alligators were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1960s but surged back after restrictions. Everglades restoration has its own language of acronyms that abbreviate the various processes, places and projects, like CERP, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project. But, I told them â and I really mean it â that experience will really stick with me.â. âThe dome felt otherworldly, calm and peaceful. Dry and high, prime real estate for mammals â of course man claimed it first. An American Crocodile basks in the sun at Flamingo, the southernmost point in the Everglades National Park. This program supports multi-year monitoring, modeling, and research projects that span the entire range of scientific disciplines. Quick fix for Lake O algae woes uses land now roamed by cows. Shovels hit dirt on the first contract for the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) South, which calls for the construction of culverts and a gap […] The state’s top Republican leaders — including Gov. Most of the old pine woods are paved over with towns and apartment complexes and strip malls whose names â Pine Crest, Pine Heights, Pines â refer to what was there. Funding has been secured to raise the Tamiami Trail, reroute water into Shark River Slough and mitigate damage near the Taylor Slough. âWe simply cannot afford to wait any longer. Humboldt never visited the Everglades, but it is surely one of the best places on earth to observe natureâs complex harmony up close. The state sponsors annual python-killing competitions. 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. Viewed from above, they are teardrop shaped, narrow at the top and bulging at the bottom, marking the shape of the water flowing in and around the holes. â¦ Thus the magnificent monument that took ages to construct has been wrecked within the fraction of a generation!â. The experience can be transformative. Ron DeSantis headed off an attempt to kill the reservoir planned for south of Lake Okeechobee and President Trump signed a … What’s going on with Everglades restoration? The project has been in … Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Published December 11, 2020 at 12:10 PM EST, One Of A Kind Shelter Helps Traumatized Dogs Learn To Trust Humans Again, Detroit Pistons Owner Urged To Sell Team Over His Investment In Prison Telecom Firm, Trump's Threat To Veto Latest Pandemic Relief Bill Leaves Congress In Chaos, U.K. And EU Agree To A New Free Trade Deal, As U.K. Finalizes Brexit, A Soggy, Stormy, Flooded South Florida And Increasing COVID-19 Infections, U.S. Army Corps Warns Lake Okeechobee Could Rise By 10 Inches As Eta Crosses South Florida, Everglades Marshes Contain Mercury That Can Poison Birds. All over the Everglades, efforts to save something rare are underway. Republican Congressman Brian Mast of Stuart says H.R. He picks up clients barefoot â in a 12-person Ford van in the parking lot of a fruit stand outside Homestead city limits. Knowing all that, I wasnât so bothered by the legendary Everglades mosquitoes that came out with the spectacular sunset (âYou can set your watch to that,â locals say). One, visible as a hump of trees from the main park road, is so cinematic on the inside that it is named âThe Movie Dome.â It is a set-designerâs 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. âThere are no other Everglades in the world. Kirby Storter Roadside Park in Big Cypress National Preserve. 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. 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. Read: Massive Everglades restoration project in Picayune Strand more than two thirds complete Both projects, which are still in the planning stages, should be … But the ecosystem today is half the size it was before development. The bromeliads in the trees and the variety of plant life was fascinating. They wiped out 99 percent of the marsh rabbit and the raccoons, decimated the otters and are now setting their sights on the birds. Panthers are collared and tracked near Big Cypress Preserve, but 21 were hit by cars last year, out of an estimated statewide population of only 150. The highest elevations in the Everglades are called pine rockland, and they are considered endangered habitat. Lots of them. 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 … âHere we were again very forcibly impressed with the terrible destruction which is returning Florida to its primitive geological condition, namely a barren desert. WMFE environmental reporter Amy Green has spent some 10 years looking into the progress- and this year she produced a podcast to explore some of the details behind this mind bogglingly complex plan to restore the River of Grass. It is overrun by invasive plants and animals. Florida Bay has not recovered from a great sea grass die-off in 2015 because of unusual salinity caused by the man-made diversion of fresh water away from the bay. The Everglades were designated a national park in 1947, the same year that its most ardent fan, the environmentalist Douglas, published her book. 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. 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. Florida Bay has not recovered from a great sea grass die-off in 2015. They look to be on high ground but signal areas of deep water formed by dips in the limestone bedrock. Critics Say The State Isn't Equipped To Do The Job. In a promising development, Congress just authorized $200 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Everglades restoration. 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. Sections of Tamiami Trail â the main east-west road connecting Miami and Naples â 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. 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 â the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland â forever associated with the 2018 school massacre that left 17 people dead. FIU experts are available to discuss the … Here … âWhen I first came down, this water was clear, and I used to dip my hand in here and pull up a handful of sand and sea grass and find dozens of baby clams and tiny living shells,â he said. Garl â as he prefers to be known â grew up in Michigan, went south several decades ago, doffed his shoes, walked into the swamp, and never looked back â or put his shoes back on for work. The fresh river flows.â. Naples Daily News. âThe grass stays. "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. Twenty years ago this month President Bill Clinton signed into law a plan to save the Florida Everglades. Kayaking at sunset in the Florida Bay, the Everglades National Park. Governor, Please Veto Two Bad Bills May 14, 2019. 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.