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by Clyde Powell




Key West Parks  
What is going on now in the Everglades National Park

One of the biggest things happening that I have noticed is the elimination of
plants not native to the everglades. There is a big problem with the intrusion
of Cattails replacing sawgrass around the edge of the park. Main reason is they
like the nutrient rich runoff form the neighboring farms. The cattails grow too
dense for the native animals to use as they would the sawgrass.

The removal of non native trees is also noticeable. The Brazilian Pepper tree
grows in dense thickets crowding out native plants. They are being removed.
All the ones at the Flamingo campgrounds are gone.

Key West Parks everglades national park

X's along the road from Coe Visitor Center to Flamingo.

You will see a couple of these as you drive. They are explained in the
flyer you get when you enter the park. They are part of an on-going study 
by the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service biologist. Trying
to figure out the the migration habits of different fish. During the dry season
December thru June the area is dry. Soon after the first rain and flooding of
the area fish and other aquatic animals are back. Question is do they hide under-
ground or spend the dry season in deeper water holes that hold water year round.
Along these X's are traps facing north south east and west. After the first summer rains
these traps are checked regularly. They have found that some species are showing
up right after the area floods. Meaning they are hiding in the area during the dry
season. While others show up about a week after. These are spending the dry times
in other areas. They also discovered they move with the flow of the water.

Finally Things looking up

International Biosphere Reserves
International Biosphere Reserves are a project of the Man and the Biosphere program of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Reserves are protected samples of the world's major ecosystem types. These sites are standards against which we can measure human impact on our environment and predict its probable effects. There are now over 190 reserves in 50 countries. Established for its biological values, Everglades National Park was added to this world list on October 26, 1976.

World Heritage Site
World Heritage Sites are also designated by UNESCO under the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. By the World Heritage Convention's 25th anniversary in 1997, nearly 150 nations had ratified the agreement and placed more than 500 sites on the World Heritage List.

The Everglades, a subtropical mosaic of surprising diversity, is a refuge for 13 threatened or endangered animal species. Here, human history spans over 2000 years--from nomadic Calusa to modern settler. Because of this unique weave of natural and cultural history, Everglades National Park became a World Heritage Site on October 26, 1979.

The U.S. Congress has recently joined in the
fight to protect and restore the Everglades.

In 1999, the Clinton administration proposed a plan to give the remaining Everglades much-needed water stolen away by South Florida's vast canal-and-dike drainage apparatus. The earth-moving projects it mapped out would create ways to capture and store a majority of the storm water now flushed away into the ocean.

The plan, spearheaded by the Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District, also would generate water to meet the needs of the region's growing population through 2050.

An Everglades restoration bill passed the House in 1999, and in June 2000, the Senate passed a variation on Clinton's plan, approving a $7.8 billion expenditure for Everglades restoration.

The measure contains $1.4 billion worth of projects to nurture South Florida's famous marsh, a first installment on a massive environmental public works program that would build reservoirs, tear down levees, elevate part of the Tamiami Trail and drill hundreds of water-storage wells.

The overall plan would eliminate some 240 miles of levees and canals, but also add new water-control features around the perimeter of the Everglades to beef up the current man-made drainage system that keeps it on life-support.

In 1999, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed the Florida Forever bill, which designates $2 billion over the next 10 years to pay for restoration.

More Questions

It looks like the everglades will finally get the water it used to receive, or
at lease most of it. Now new problem arrive. The different eco-systems
that you see as you drive thru the park are all separated and thrive by only
inches in elevation. Many species have adapted to the current water levels.
This is mostly snails, insects and other amphibious creatures. How to increase
the water levels and not do harm to the breeding cycles. Do we just go for it
knowing  of the problems and trust in nature that after all is done the balance
we have now will return in time.

If you are driving to Key West either from home or after
flying into Miami this is a must side trip.
Clyde's Key West Parks


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