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Bureaucracy Floats Through the Everglades - (PICTURES)

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Author Topic: Bureaucracy Floats Through the Everglades - (PICTURES)  (Read 2495 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #105 on: January 04, 2008, 08:51:11 am »



WHITE TAILED DEER
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« Reply #106 on: January 04, 2008, 08:54:09 am »

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« Reply #107 on: January 20, 2008, 09:54:27 am »

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« Reply #108 on: June 25, 2008, 10:45:53 am »



       










                                               Florida megadeal aims to restore Everglades






Jun 25,2008
 
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Florida has reached a tentative 1.75-billion-dollar deal to buy the largest US sugar producer and turn its vast swaths of farmland into reservoirs to protect the fabled Everglades wetlands, US media reported Wednesday.
 
"The plan, described by Governor Charlie Crist as the largest conservation purchase in Florida's history, envisions restoring some of the natural flow of water to the Everglades from Lake Okeechobee," The Washington Post reported. The amount of land involved is some 187,000 acres (75,678 hectares).

Crist has been named as a potential running mate for Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

The announcement by Crist Tuesday capped months of secret negotiations with US Sugar. He called the deal as "monumental" in scope.

Spanning 1.5 million acres, the Everglades is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 US states, after Death Valley and Yellowstone.

For decades water from areas north of the massive wetlands has been diverted to fast-growing cities and for farming. Pollution has taken a growing toll.

The deal with US Sugar would help restore more of the pre-development ecosystem; water could move from Lake Okeechobee into marshes that filter it and then on to the "sea of grass" at the southern end of the Florida peninsula. A direct lake-Everglades connection has been a dream of environmental groups.

"It was a really well-kept secret. I think the Pentagon would be jealous of how well it was kept," Susan Kennedy, executive director of the Everglades Coalition, was quoted by the Post as saying.

Under part of the deal still to be negotiated, the South Florida Water Management District, a state agency will make the purchase in part with property taxes earmarked for Everglades restoration.

Since US Sugar landholdings are not contiguous, the state will try to swap land with other sugar cane companies to forge a corridor for water to flow into the reservoirs to the Everglades.

"Acquiring this large swath south of Lake Okeechobee will be an historic turning point for the largest watershed project in the world," Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said.

Of what is being described as the biggest land acquisition ever by the state of Florida, Crist said: "I can envision no better gift to the Everglades, the people of Florida and the people of America, as well as our planet, than to place in public ownership this missing link that represents the key to true restoration."

It was not immediately clear if US Sugar workers would approve the deal, or seek to derail it. US Sugar, operating in this location since 1931, technically is owned by the workers.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 06:02:38 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #109 on: July 02, 2008, 09:00:27 am »



           










                                                      A Chance for the Everglades





 
Published:
June 26, 2008

The languishing effort to revive and restore the Everglades — one of the most ambitious environmental initiatives on the planet — received an unexpected and potentially spectacular boost on Tuesday when Gov. Charlie Crist announced that Florida had agreed in principle to buy 187,000 acres of farmland from the United States Sugar Corporation, the state’s (and the nation’s) largest sugar-cane producer.

The farmland, located along the southern edge of Lake Okeechobee, would be converted into reservoirs to store water and artificial marshes to help clean it.

The $1.75 billion deal would remove a big source of phosphorus pollution, which sugar-cane farming produces in abundance. The greater benefit would come from restoring a good part of the historic water flow between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades — a flow that sustained the Everglades for centuries but has since been diverted (at great cost to the ecosystem and its wildlife) to Florida’s cities and farms.

We also hope that the deal will shame Washington into shouldering its full responsibility. The landmark $8 billion restoration plan signed into law by President Clinton in 2000 called for a 50-50 split in costs between Florida and the federal government.

Florida has been living up to its share, contributing $2.4 billion even before this latest deal. Under President Bush, willfully indifferent to most environmental issues, and an inattentive Congress, the federal government has contributed less than $400 million — a pathetic showing.

As a result, the restoration project is way behind schedule. And while the state got a bargain from United States Sugar — which has suffered internal financial problems as well as pressure from state regulators — rising land values have pushed the plan’s price tag to more than $11 billion, making federal support even more essential.

The cooperation of the notoriously dysfunctional Army Corps of Engineers will be at least as important as more federal dollars. There is no point in storing billions of gallons of fresh water unless a path can be cleared for it to reach the Everglades. That will require the Army Corps to reshape the spider web of canals and levees standing between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades.

Success will also require a fundamental shift in Florida’s politics far beyond this deal. There are many reasons for restoring the Everglades. It is, even now, an irreplaceably diverse storehouse of plant and animal life. But it will have no real future if the commercial powerhouses that have ruled Florida for so long — the developers, the water utilities and their political allies — continue to grab a disproportionate share of the water.

Governor Crist, at least, seems determined to make sure that, this time, nature gets its due. The next president and Congress, and the Army Corps, must help him.
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« Reply #110 on: August 27, 2008, 05:56:47 pm »










                                      Fay leaves behind lots of water for Florida lake






By BRIAN SKOLOFF,
Associated Press Writer
Aug. 27, 2008
 
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Tropical Storm Fay brought some good news to the state's parched Everglades and its liquid heart, Lake Okeechobee — lots and lots of water.
 
The lake, a backup drinking water source for 5 million people, rose more than 2 feet in a single week. That's about 288 billion gallons, equivalent to about 84 days worth of water used in South Florida for drinking, watering lawns and other purposes.

It was the first time since record-keeping started in 1931 that the lake saw such a dramatic rise, according to the South Florida Water Management District.

Lake Okeechobee was at about 13.6 feet on Wednesday, up from about 11.3 feet Aug. 19, during the first part of Fay's nearly weeklong slog through the state.

Fay also swelled the rainfall total for August so far to about 10.6 inches throughout the district's 16-county region from Orlando to the Keys, a welcome sight in an area that has suffered a two-year drought. That's about double the typical amount for this time of year.

Across the state, Fay dropped more than 30 inches of rain in some places along the Atlantic coast, causing widespread flooding.

Lake Okeechobee's water level hit an all-time record low of about 8.8 feet in July last year, prompting officials to issue the region's most severe water restrictions ever, limiting outside watering of yards and gardens to once a week.

Those restrictions were later eased as the state entered its wet season, but even with Fay, water managers warn the drought may continue.

South Floridians in the region consume about 3.4 billion gallons of water a day, about 50 percent of it used outside for irrigation. The state estimates that number will rise to about 4.3 billion gallons a day by 2025.

Lake Okeechobee levels were expected to continue rising, possibly more than a foot in coming weeks, from Fay's rains falling in the Kissimmee River basin that feeds the lake.

The water district operates a 2,000-mile grid of drainage canals across South Florida, and lowered levels throughout the system to lessen the risk of flooding, sending water out to sea as Fay approached.

But many neighborhoods in hard-hit areas along Florida's Atlantic coast saw flooding of 5 feet of water or more and are still dealing with the mess more than a week after Fay came ashore in Key West, then slogged slowly up the state.

In other fallout from Fay, survey crews from the National Weather Service Office in Birmingham, Ala., confirmed that eight tornadoes touched down in the state Monday. They were blamed for property damage in five counties but there were no reported injuries.

Fay's remnants were soaking North Carolina on Wednesday, flooding streams and prompting evacuations of low-lying homes around the Charlotte area. Several funnel clouds were reported, but tornado touchdowns had not been confirmed. No deaths or serious injuries were reported.

State damage-assessment teams were headed to the flooded areas and emergency officials opened shelters for those who could be evacuated Wednesday night as the rains continued.

In Georgia, officials declared a state of emergency in seven counties hit hard by Fay's remnants. A National Weather Service survey Wednesday determined that five tornadoes had touched down Tuesday in northeast Georgia, damaging homes and schools and destroying several mobile homes.
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« Reply #111 on: August 27, 2008, 06:05:51 pm »

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« Reply #112 on: August 27, 2008, 06:11:53 pm »



EVERGLADES OVERLOOK
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« Reply #113 on: August 27, 2008, 06:13:07 pm »

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« Reply #114 on: August 27, 2008, 06:15:20 pm »

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« Reply #115 on: May 28, 2009, 08:23:41 pm »











                                  Everglades swamped with invading  Burmese pythons
 




Jim Loney 
May 28, 2009
THE EVERGLADES,
Florida
(Reuters)

– The population of Burmese pythons in Florida's Everglades may have grown to as many as 150,000 as the non-native snakes make a home and breed in the fragile wetlands, officials said Thursday.

Wildlife biologists say the troublesome invaders -- dumped in the Everglades by pet owners who no longer want them -- have become a pest and pose a significant threat to endangered species like the wood stork and Key Largo woodrat.

"They eat things that we care about," said Skip Snow, an Everglades National Park biologist, as he showed a captured, 15-foot (4.6-meter) Burmese python to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who was on his first fact-finding mission to the Everglades since the Obama administration took office.

With Snow maintaining a strong grip on its head, the massive snake hissed angrily at Salazar and the other federal officials who gathered around it at a recreation area off Alligator Alley in the vast saw grass prairie. It took two other snake wranglers to control the python's body.

"A snake this size could eat a small deer or a bobcat without too much trouble," Snow told Salazar before the secretary boarded an airboat for a tour of the Everglades.

Everglades biologists have been grappling with the growing python problem for a decade. The snakes are one of the largest species in the world and natives of Southeast Asia, but they found a home to their liking in the Everglades when pet owners started using the wetland as a convenient dumping ground.

"They're fine when they're small but they can live 25 to 30 years. When they get bigger you have to feed them small animals like rabbits, and cleaning up after them, it's like cleaning up after a horse," Snow said. "People don't want big snakes."
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« Reply #116 on: May 28, 2009, 08:25:10 pm »









TRAPPERS AND HUNTERS



Pythons captured in the Everglades are often killed. Wildlife officials are trying trapping and other eradication methods, and are considering offering bounties to hunters. Scientists are experimenting with ways to lure the snakes into traps, including the use of pheromones -- chemicals that serve as sexual attractants -- as bait.

"They are estimating there are 150,000 of these snakes. They proliferate so quickly," said Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who accompanied Salazar on the airboat tour of the Everglades. "They've already found grown deer, they've found full sized bobcats inside them. It's just a matter of time before one gets the highly endangered Florida panther."

But biologists played down the risk to the panther, the most endangered species in the Everglades. There are believed to be only about 100 left, but they range over a territory of some 2 million acres.

"It would take some awfully unique circumstances for a python and a panther to meet up," said Darrell Land, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist. "And the cats are very wary and they have very quick reaction times."

Pythons are not the only invader troubling the Everglades.

New fish and rodent species have also become pests, and two thriving colonies of the Nile monitor lizard, an Africa native that can grow to 7 feet in length, have established themselves on opposite sides of the state.

Nelson, a Democrat, said the Obama administration had committed $200 million, including $100 million of stimulus money, so far this year to Everglades restoration, a 35-year project valued at $8 billion when it was started nearly a decade ago.

The project is designed to restore natural water flow and native wildlife populations to the shallow, slow-moving river that dominates the interior of southern Florida.




(Editing by

Pascal Fletcher
and Mohammad Zargham)
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