Where it’s not diverted or blocked by human engineering, the water still trickles south at the rate of a quarter mile a day, as it has for millenniums. For years, whenever I found myself in Miami with an afternoon to spare, I sneaked off west to where a road abruptly separates the urban grid from the Everglades. Critics Say The State Isn't Equipped To Do The Job. 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. Researchers chip male pythons and track them to the nests of huge mother snakes, removing hundreds of eggs. 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. 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. They look to be on high ground but signal areas of deep water formed by dips in the limestone bedrock. 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. News Everglades Restoration Takes Three Big Steps Forward. 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. 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 the imperiled Everglades, cormorants nest for the evening in Ten Thousand Islands, a maze of mangrove and shallow salt water off the coast of Everglades City. She said the slog was the high point of the day. Twenty years on, a few of the major infrastructure projects have been built, but most are still on the drawing board, awaiting money. 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. 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. But the ecosystem today is half the size it was before development. But it is profoundly imperiled by pollution, human schemes to drain and control it, animal and plant invasives and sea level rise. This significant law would not have been achieved without the broad … “The dome felt otherworldly, calm and peaceful. Copyright 2020 WMFE. Ron DeSantis headed off an attempt to kill the reservoir planned for south of Lake Okeechobee and President Trump signed a … The project has been in … Sky and grass. “Restoring the Everglades by improving water infrastructure, movement, quality and timing is a top priority.” The Water Subcabinet and Task Force spent the week on the landscape to firsthand see the work being done and exploring ways to improve partnerships for effective implementation of the CERP. 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. The Everglades were designated a national park in 1947, the same year that its most ardent fan, the environmentalist Douglas, published her book. The bromeliads in the trees and the variety of plant life was fascinating. Today it remains one of the biggest  environmental restoration efforts in the world, but even with a price tag that will be around $17 Billion when it’s all finished, the project remains underfunded and behind schedule. Learn more about the Everglades’ restoration. At night, only their eyes glitter in the beam of a flashlight. Kayaking at sunset in the Florida Bay, the Everglades National Park. “It’s all gone. The Everglades is recognized both nationally and internationally as one of the world's most unique natural and cultural resources. … Thus the magnificent monument that took ages to construct has been wrecked within the fraction of a generation!”. Getting into and out of these domes can be a nerve-pricking enterprise, not for the faint of heart. I am here to attest that it is possible for a non-Floridian to get acclimated to alligators. 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. 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. In a promising development, Congress just authorized $200 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Everglades restoration. Dry and high, prime real estate for mammals — of course man claimed it first. The Republican governor was there to watch Clinton, a Democrat, sign into law a bipartisan bill, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Program, aka “CERP,” hailed as the largest environmental restoration project in the planet’s history. “Here we were again very forcibly impressed with the terrible destruction which is returning Florida to its primitive geological condition, namely a barren desert. They wiped out 99 percent of the marsh rabbit and the raccoons, decimated the otters and are now setting their sights on the birds. 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 grass stays. Like everything in Everglades restoration, which aims to re-establish the natural flow of water through the unique ecosystem after decades of draining and canal-cutting, BBSEER has lofty goals. 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 simply cannot afford to wait any longer. CBS News The Everglades is the largest wetland of its kind in North America, but it's been under assault for generations by residential development, water … Over the last year, with different family members as companions, I made several visits deeper into the Everglades than I’d ever been. Yet after almost two weeks I still barely scratched around the edges of more than a million acres of wetlands with nearly 300 species of fish and about 360 bird species and more than 700 kinds of plants. Alligators were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1960s but surged back after restrictions. Knowing all that, I wasn’t so bothered by the legendary Everglades mosquitoes that came out with the spectacular sunset (“You can set your watch to that,” locals say). An American Crocodile basks in the sun at Flamingo, the southernmost point in the Everglades National Park. 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. 2020 is time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the authorization of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). 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. “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. 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. Everglades restoration needs to do more to account for climate change. It is overrun by invasive plants and animals. Mysterious ploppings, splashings, groanings and crashings emanated from waters shrouded by the dense stands of palm and mangrove, and blue herons and great white egrets soared and settled again in the pink tinted vapor rising around us with the sun. DRAINAGE and FIRE! “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. But, I told them — and I really mean it — that experience will really stick with me.”. Before dawn we drove in darkness to the bird-festooned Marsh Trail in the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. 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 We’re in a dead zone now.” As he spoke, a full moon rose behind us and roseate spoonbills sailed in V-formation across pink cumulus clouds fading into periwinkle to the west. 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. Here … As of 2015, in the Everglades, 60 plants were listed as endangered. Read: Massive Everglades restoration project in Picayune Strand more than two thirds complete Both projects, which are still in the planning stages, should be … Twenty years ago this month President Bill Clinton signed into law a plan to save the Florida Everglades. Governor, Please Veto Two Bad Bills May 14, 2019. Without Everglades restoration, Florida’s tourism-based economy is at risk.”. (The winner of the 2020 “Python Bowl” gets a truck.). The experience can be transformative. As salt water breaches the limestone bedrock around the Florida peninsula and enters the aquifer, this natural freshwater wonder is threatened like never before. The long-awaited stimulus package approved by Congress Monday night includes $250 million for Everglades restoration. 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. 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. In 2000, the state and federal government agreed to a $4 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. FWF Challenges Water Management District Sugar Leases In 2000, the state and federal government agreed to a $4 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Restoration projects in the Florida Everglades will be on the upswing in coming years with growing political interest in the effort and recent boosts … Good news on the Everglades restoration front. Nothing else. Follow NY Times Travel on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Of course we saw alligators. The Everglades formed 5,000 years ago. The pepper is so endemic that the park service is mulching it and sequestering it in small mountains visible from above as bright green squares throughout the backcountry. Anti-plumage campaigns at the turn of the 20th century stopped that. These islands are historical hide-outs for pirates, hermits and criminals. There are success stories. 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. "Funding for Everglades restoration, South Florida ecosystem restoration, our waterways funding as a whole." 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. An American alligator on the shore of the Turner River in Big Cypress National Preserve. Alligators were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1960s but surged back after restrictions. 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. 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