The Everglades national forest is a 5000-year-old network of swamps, wetlands and forests well beyond what the tourists see. It is where 1500 species of plants and animals co-exist. It is the first national park in America preserved purely for its diversity of wildlife.
The problem is, it is in trouble. The wading bird population is down 93 percent. 68 species of plants and animals, some which are nowhere else on the planet, are endangered. This is one of the reasons why. From outside of the protected park, we drain water from the wilderness via canals and levies to urban areas and starve this fragile eco-system. This is how it used to work.
When Lake Okeechobee just to the north would overflow, a large sheet of water would travel south to feed the everglades. 1.7 billion gallons a day. We have diverted up to 70 percent of this shallow sheet of slow moving water. The water, without diversion is only at times a few inches deep and has to travel past pinelands, marshes and wetlands to a shallow bay, which is a mixing bowl for fresh and saltwater crucial for crocodiles and manatees alike.
Thank you for printing my letter in your wonderful beach newspaper.
Fort Myers Beach