The Everglades: Worth saving
One of Florida's (and the entire nation's) most important, complex and diverse ecosystems is half of what it used to be -- but it's no time to give up hope.
Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 15:50
ALL DRIED UP: Though plants in the Everglades can survive minor droughts, they may not survive this human error. (Photo: Shawna Feinman)
The Florida Everglades is the state's best un-kept secret. This slow moving river and wetland area sees over one million visitors each year, making it the most visited ecotourism destination of Florida. Unfortunately, the established National Park can't protect the entire Everglades ecosystem as it spans through most of central Florida.
Rich in history, the Everglades area is believed to be the former home of the Seminole Indian Tribe. When I visited the Everglades in April, I found it hard to believe anybody could have lived in such arid conditions. However, a ranger described to me a wetter Everglades that once was and the history behind man's blunder.
In 1948, Congress authorized a project in southern Florida to help control the floods that haunted Floridians. The U.S. Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District constructed what was deemed the "most elaborate and effective water management system in the world." Unfortunately, all the rearranging of northern waterways harmed the Everglades ecosystem and allowed for even more harmful development. It's been over 50 years since the "management" of the Everglades, and over 50 percent is now gone.
The Everglades are too precious to lose -- and Florida citizens can fight back. Send a letter to the Miami Dade County Commissioners telling them to "hold the line" on Everglades protection. But most importantly, visit the Everglades and support the park with visits and donations.
This park is one place you want to see before it's too late.