Twenty years on, a few of the major infrastructure projects have been built, but most are still on the drawing board, awaiting money. In a promising development, Congress just authorized $200 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Everglades restoration. Read: Massive Everglades restoration project in Picayune Strand more than two thirds complete Both projects, which are still in the planning stages, should be … In 2000, the state and federal government agreed to a $4 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. 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. Twenty years ago this month President Bill Clinton signed into law a plan to save the Florida Everglades. Funding has been secured to raise the Tamiami Trail, reroute water into Shark River Slough and mitigate damage near the Taylor Slough. 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. As of 2015, in the Everglades, 60 plants were listed as endangered. Garl — as he prefers to be known — grew up in Michigan, went south several decades ago, doffed his shoes, walked into the swamp, and never looked back — or put his shoes back on for work. 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. Filter. 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 “We simply cannot afford to wait any longer. Sky and grass. In just two days, we saw two giants caught by the roadside in the area, and heard tell of a third. 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. The Everglades were designated a national park in 1947, the same year that its most ardent fan, the environmentalist Douglas, published her book. The Everglades Foundation is among many area nonprofits studying the effects of human activity on the fresh water flow, and advocating efforts to restore the ecosystem. The state’s top Republican leaders — including Gov. Florida Gov. They look to be on high ground but signal areas of deep water formed by dips in the limestone bedrock. All Florida shores have also been plagued by a series of deadly red tides caused by fertilizer and other pollutants. 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. 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. The long-awaited stimulus package approved by Congress Monday night includes $250 million for Everglades restoration. Martha Calloway of San Antonio was touring the Everglades for a day while her husband fished in Key Largo. At night, only their eyes glitter in the beam of a flashlight. 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. FWF Challenges Water Management District Sugar Leases “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. 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. They wiped out 99 percent of the marsh rabbit and the raccoons, decimated the otters and are now setting their sights on the birds. “Here we were again very forcibly impressed with the terrible destruction which is returning Florida to its primitive geological condition, namely a barren desert. An American Crocodile basks in the sun at Flamingo, the southernmost point in the Everglades National Park. The Palm Beach Post. He picks up clients barefoot — in a 12-person Ford van in the parking lot of a fruit stand outside Homestead city limits. Ron DeSantis headed off an attempt to kill the reservoir planned for south of Lake Okeechobee and President Trump signed a … The two processes are tending to eliminate all the native life from the state. 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. But, I told them — and I really mean it — that experience will really stick with me.”. 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 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. The state sponsors annual python-killing competitions. Quick fix for Lake O algae woes uses land now roamed by cows. Getting into and out of these domes can be a nerve-pricking enterprise, not for the faint of heart. 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. An anhinga, a water bird, on the Anhinga Trail in the scenic Royal Palm area of the Everglades National Park. 1520 includes a record-setting $250 million in funding to restore the Everglades. 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. Without Everglades restoration, Florida’s tourism-based economy is at risk.”. Copyright 2020 WMFE. 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. Filed Under: Everglades Restoration, Local TV, Miami News, Tamiami Trail MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida’s efforts to restore the Everglades received a … The project has been in … Kayaking at sunset in the Florida Bay, the Everglades National Park. 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. Kirby Storter Roadside Park in Big Cypress National Preserve. Distant rain over the saw grass in the Everglades National Park. “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. From afar and in the water, these dinosaur relics resemble half-submerged junked tires. Everglades' Restoration. Ron DeSantis and Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott — had urged President Donald Trump for the spending. Republican Congressman Brian Mast of Stuart says H.R. So have the birds. Anti-plumage campaigns at the turn of the 20th century stopped that. Roseate Spoonbills in Big Cypress National Preserve. She describes the Everglades as ‘beautiful but confounding.”. We hiked thigh-deep in cafe latte-colored water, slogging to explore the mysteries of the cypress domes. “When 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,” he said. Saw grass at sunset in the Everglades National Park.Credit...Erik Freeland for The New York Times. “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. 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. 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 This program supports multi-year monitoring, modeling, and research projects that span the entire range of scientific disciplines. It is the only place where both alligators and crocodiles coexist. 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. 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. 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. Over the last year, with different family members as companions, I made several visits deeper into the Everglades than I’d ever been. 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 … 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 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. 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. That’s the headline of a report released Wednesday by a Congressionally-appointed committee of scientists. She said the slog was the high point of the day. The Everglades formed 5,000 years ago. Twenty years on, a few of the … “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. 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. These islands are historical hide-outs for pirates, hermits and criminals. Researchers chip male pythons and track them to the nests of huge mother snakes, removing hundreds of eggs. Tears for the Magnificent and Shrinking Everglades, a ‘River of Grass’ Florida’s freshwater wonder is threatened like never before with a rising sea level as restoration efforts lag. The snakes grow to tremendous length and weights — 15-foot 90 pounders have been found. He has silly nicknames for the monsters he claims lurk near his walks. “To me it’s just a fascinating thing and I just want to learn everything I can about it.”. sometimes pulling ourselves through dense mangrove tunnels with our hands. 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. Work is now underway on a better way to move water into the parched Everglades. The cypress domes are worth the challenge. Twenty years ago, the original Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan envisioned more than 300 underground aquifer storage recovery (ASR) wells north of Lake Okeechobee. As the legislative session gets started in Tallahassee this… 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. But it does. The Everglades is recognized both nationally and internationally as one of the world's most unique natural and cultural resources. 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. Tears for the Magnificent and Shrinking Everglades, a ‘River of Grass’. In 2000, the state and federal government agreed to a $4 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. What’s going on with Everglades restoration? The man to see for that is the Everglades guide Garl Harrold. Follow NY Times Travel on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Program provides science to support management and restoration of America’s Everglades. “The dome felt otherworldly, calm and peaceful. 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. Florida’s freshwater wonder is threatened like never before with a rising sea level as restoration efforts lag. News Everglades Restoration Takes Three Big Steps Forward. Today it remains one of the biggest environmental restoration efforts in … 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. But the ecosystem today is half the size it was before development. Everglades Restoration is making headway as several large projects are underway including the C-43 Reservoir along the Caloosahatchee River. Slightly lower are the hardwood hammocks, just a few feet elevation above the river of grass but still in it. The fresh river flows.”. 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. Alligators were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1960s but surged back after restrictions. Nina Burleigh is a journalist and the author, most recently, of “Golden Handcuffs: The Secret History of Trump’s Women,” due out in paperback later this year. There are success stories. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Learn more about the Everglades’ restoration. 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. 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. DRAINAGE and FIRE! 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. Governor, Please Veto Two Bad Bills May 14, 2019. I am not alone. … Thus the magnificent monument that took ages to construct has been wrecked within the fraction of a generation!”. Most of the old pine woods are paved over with towns and apartment complexes and strip malls whose names — Pine Crest, Pine Heights, Pines — refer to what was there. 2020 is time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the authorization of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). Hammocks are visible for miles on the flat grasses. The Victorian taste for big hats with plumage led to near extinction of the Everglades’ snowy egrets and other wading birds, with more than five million birds killed annually by 1900. 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. Restoration projects in the Florida Everglades will be on the upswing in coming years with growing political interest in the effort and recent boosts … We got up close to them as they dozed dry and oblivious in the sun, alongside roads or paths. 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. Everglades restoration needs to do more to account for climate change. 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. Humboldt never visited the Everglades, but it is surely one of the best places on earth to observe nature’s complex harmony up close. 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. “There are no other Everglades in the world. 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. Here … I am here to attest that it is possible for a non-Floridian to get acclimated to alligators. Saw grass at sunset in the Everglades National Park. Of course we saw alligators. (The winner of the 2020 “Python Bowl” gets a truck.). 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. 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. Nothing else. The C-43 Reservoir will be a large water basin that will collect water that is released from Lake Okeechobee and purify it before it … FIU experts are available to discuss the … Twenty years ago this month President Bill Clinton signed into law a plan to save the Florida Everglades. As salt water breaches the limestone bedrock around the Florida peninsula and enters the aquifer, this natural freshwater wonder is threatened like never before. 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. 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. Critics Say The State Isn't Equipped To Do The Job. 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. 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. "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. 07/21/18. It’s a huge milestone in the restoration of the Everglades. 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