Florida Everglades Wetlands Ecosystems
In the 1800s, bands of Seminole Indians eluded the US Army by hiding out in the marshes of the Florida Everglades on the southern tip of the state. Today, the
Everglades continue to provide shelter, not only for diverse wildlife but also for the sensitive yet integral wetlands ecosystem in which they live. Called pa-hay-okee (grassy water) by the Seminoles, the Everglades is a wide expanse of mostly sawgrass, hammock-peppered land that extends from Lake Okeechobee in the north to Florida Bay in the south.
Over the years, both the Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee have been reined in and rerouted in an attempt to make the land more inhabitable and farmable (and less mosquito-ridden). As a result, much of the ecosystem has been starved of its natural water supply, as it is pumped into manmade canals, retaining ponds and even out to sea.Today, vegetable and
sugarcane is farmed on former wetland areas, and the political power of big sugar still dominates in discussions about restoration. The biggest threat to the Everglades, however, is residential and commercial development. Ironically, the areas Native Americans are now encamped in their own casinos, towering high above the grassy terrain that was their former refuge.
But there’s still hope for the area. Within the Everglades, which encompasses about 1.5 million acres, visitors can get a glimpse of one of the earth’s most unique ecosystems. With freshwater water habitats, the park is still a generative cauldron of wildlife diversity. Whether you’re driving or boating you’ll be amazed at the other-worldly atmosphere you encounter here. The sounds are musical, and the sights – with both sunrise and sunset visible on the horizon – are magical. Then there are the gators, which look like half-sunken logs floating calmly in the water until you see their eyeballs at the waterline peeking up at you.
The FL Everglade is the largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the continental United States. The abundant wildlife includes rare and colorful birds and is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles exist side by side. So be sure to bring your camera and take a tour!
By the way, this fishery holds the state record for the highest number of fish per person, a statistic from the Fish and Game Wildlife Department. When you consider all the great lakes and rivers in Florida, that’s pretty impressive. So come see the sights of the Everglades and catch lots of fish! For more information on Everglades fishing click here!
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