Also known as the River of Grass, the Florida Everglades is indeed a slow-moving river that feeds into the Florida Bay. Visited by about 1 million people every year, the Everglades National Park was established in 1934 to help preserve the precious ecosystem in the area.
Why the Everglades is Unique
The Everglades National Park is currently the tenth largest park in America, and it is the biggest tropical wildernesses in the country. The Everglades is very interesting and unique in many ways. Over 340 species of flora and fauna co-exist in the park area; 120 types of trees serve as homes for 16 classes of birds such as the great egret and the roseate spoonbill. The Florida Panther, the most endangered species in the Everglades, and many other animals call the Everglades home.
Over half of the park is covered in water or swampland, and there is both fresh water and salt water in the Everglades. In this area of Southern Florida, there are only two seasons – winter, or the dry season, and summer, the wet season. During the dry season, wildfires in the Everglades are common. Though they may seem harmful, wildfires are beneficial as they serve to protect and maintain the ecosystems in the prairies and pinelands.
Why Protecting the Everglades Is So Important
Home to a diverse ecosystem that includes everything from microscopic bacteria to the American Alligator, Everglades National Park hosts 30 species that appear on federal threatened and endangered lists. To help preserve these species that rely on the swamplands of the Everglades for survival, the area must be protected.
Water supply from the Everglades serves 1 in 3 Floridians. That’s approximately 8 million people that depend on the wetlands for drinking water and other household needs. Without protection of the Everglades, a huge burden would be placed on other water systems.
There is also an aesthetic benefit to protecting the Everglades, as the beauty of nature holds value. In addition to inspiring the literary works of Thoreau and other authors, nature leads to advancements in science. Humankind has invented ways to fly, improved upon how ships sail, and developed many other innovations based on how plants and animals operate in nature.
Rescuing the Everglades
Only about half its original size, the Everglades covered nearly 3 million acres at one point in time. Canals and dams built to develop land near the park have diverted much of the water that previously flowed in and out of the Everglades, drastically reducing its size.
Conservation efforts began in the 1960s and continue to this day. The Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and other legislation has helped to preserve what is left of the natural wonder. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and other conservationists work to ensure that laws that protect the area are enacted and enforced. Improving levels of phosphorus and other vital nutrients and correcting water diversion so the region receives the amount of water it needs are top priorities, in addition to protecting endangered wildlife.
Let Captain Bill take you up close and personal with the unique beauty of the Florida Everglades on an airboat tour in Fort Lauderdale. Our private adventures take you through the backcountry to see the American Alligator and other species native to the Florida Everglades. Call us today at (954) 260-1096 or book your adventure online.