WFS 270 – The Everglades in Florida with Steve Davis from the Everglades Foundation
Show Notes: wetflyswing.com/270
The purpose of this episode is to raise your awareness about the Everglades in Florida issue – how our actions contribute to the problem and how restoring it would benefit us in the long run.
More than 8 million people rely on the Everglades for drinking water. It supports multi-billion dollar economies of agriculture, recreation, and tourism in South Florida. The Everglades is home to two Native American tribes and contains a diverse array of habitats, ranging from coral reefs and brackish estuaries offshore to sawgrass prairies and cypress swamps inland.
Everglades in Florida Show Notes with Steve Davis
2:50 – Steve has been working as a scientist in the Everglades Foundation around Florida Bay since 1995
4:15 – According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, about 60% of the wetlands have been lost throughout the country (USA) – while in Europe, about 90% have been lost as a result of wetlands development
5:14 – Steve explains the importance of the wetlands, their role in the ecosystem, and why we need to protect them
7:22 – An overview of the problem and how the Everglades Foundation is addressing it
9:22 – How restoring the quality and the quantity of the waters benefit the variety of species that live there – many of which are an essential part of the food chain
11:24 – The things that hold back the Everglades Foundation movement and the things that are keeping them from meeting their goals – #1 is funding
12:01 Everglades restoration is a state-federal partnership and it’s a 50/50 cost-share for a roughly 16 billion USD program – the largest ecosystem restoration program in the world
12:40 – The Kissimmee River restoration is one of the Everglades projects that had huge success recently
13:35 – One of the most important projects is the Everglades reservoir (south of Okeechobee Lake) which is in the early stage of construction and is one of their key projects – it’s a 2 billion dollar reservoir that gets clean water flowing south
14:50 – The Everglades Restoration Story Map
16:50 – In 2015, there was a massive seagrass die-off event in Florida bay with roughly 50,000 acres of seagrass died off in some of the most prime fishing habitats in the backcountry, Everglades National Park
17:40 – The Everglades restoration effort started when the first seagrass die-off with great magnitude happened in Florida Bay in the late 80s and early 90s and it was larger than the ones that happened in 2015 – it led to about 10 years of blue-green algae blooms in Florida Bay which decimated the fishing industries
22:20 – Blue-green Algaes are microscopic plants that are the result of human activities – they can grow so densely and block out the sunlight for the living things under the water like seagrass
24:40 – Once these organisms (algae) start to flourish, they can release toxins out into the water and are detrimental to fish, vertebrates, marine mammals, sea turtles, and are potentially lethal to human beings
25:30 – Education is the key – when people understand the significance of the issue, they can learn some of the most prudent actions
28:18 – What the farmers can do to help reduce pollution
29:49 – Captains for Clean Waters is an organization started by 2 guys that got fed up with how people are polluting our waters – they’re on a mission to raise awareness and advance science-based solutions, to solve Florida’s water mismanagement and secure the health of our water resources, protecting our way of life for future generations
31:48 – Lake Okeechobee is the heart of the Central Everglades – the historical gatekeeper between the watershed from the north and the Southern Everglades and Florida Bay to its south
39:21 – There are signs that the Everglades Restoration can be completed within the next 10 to 15 years (depending on funding)
40:00 – Urban Development Boundary is one of the issues that the organization is dealing with
44:38 – What Steve recommends us to experience when we visit Florida
49:09 – The Lake of Okeechobee System Operating Manual is the new plan that will help cut discharge to both coasts and will allow more water to flow south in the Everglades
Everglades in Florida Conclusion with Steve Davis
Today, we discussed the problem with the Everglades – how our actions greatly contribute to the problem and how we can help restore it.
What will you do differently now that you are aware of the Everglades’ status?
Show Notes: wetflyswing.com/270