everglades

Tom Hudson / WLRN

Water, water everywhere, but a lot of it’s contaminated.

That’s a theme of World Water Day 2017, which took place Wednesday. It extends to South Florida, where high phosphorus levels in the Everglades contribute to harmful algae blooms and cattails that dominate native sawgrass.

A Florida senator who once hunted down a 9-foot Burmese python wants the state to pay private contractors to eradicate pythons and other invasive species from the Everglades.


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Seagrass in Florida Bay has died off rapidly over the past couple of years. About 40,000 acres have been lost, harming the habitat of animals from manatees to toadfish and imperiling the area's fishing industry.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Artist Jenna Efrein loves the Everglades. Since moving to South Florida, she's spent a lot of time exploring the ecosystem and learning about the challenges it faces. That passion -- and 10 years of gymnastics experience -- have shaped an installation of her work on display now at the Wynwood Building.

Peter Haden / WLRN

Hundreds of people packed a town hall meeting in Pahokee Friday with Florida Senate President Joe Negron. They say his proposal to build a 60,000-acre reservoir on prime farmland would be a plague to their region.

“The devastation from the loss of jobs is unimaginable at this point,” said lifelong Pahokee resident Lynda Moss. Her family owns a trucking business in the region.

[Read More about the Everglades and the efforts to restore it: River of Grass, Dying of Thirst]


Few animals arouse the instinct to hunt quite like the Burmese Python. The invasive species has slithered across the Everglades and into every corner of South Florida, taking over habitat from native species and consuming thousands of pounds of prey animals. 

The lingering nature of water through the Everglades has been matched by the slow progress toward the massive goal of reviving the region with more water and cleaner water.

It’s been 17 years since President Bill Clinton signed into law the bill that included the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. That began the modern day effort to restore the Everglades after a century of draining and redirecting the water to create today’s South Florida.

More than half way through the expected time frame for the work only a half dozen projects are underway.

Amy Green / WMFE

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reversing its stance and now says it must follow a schedule calling for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee in 2021.

The corps had said it could accelerate the project aimed at improving water flow after toxic algae blooms last year prompted emergency declarations in four counties.

Colonel Jason Kirk now says the reservoir must wait.

Amy Green / WMFE

U.S. Sugar Corp. says it would honor a previous agreement putting land south of Lake Okeechobee toward Everglades restoration.

U.S. Sugar staunchly has opposed a reservoir on the land, aimed at improving water flow after toxic algae blooms last year prompted emergency declarations in four counties.

But spokeswoman Judy Sanchez says if the Legislature approves the plan the company would honor a previous agreement authorizing the state to buy 153,000 acres.

Negron Water Plan Picks Up Other Projects Across The State

Mar 8, 2017
Amy Green / WMFE

A controversial plan to speed construction of a 60,000-acre reservoir on farmland south of Lake Okeechobee --- to reduce the risk of more "guacamole-thick" water appearing in Treasure Coast communities --- was expanded Wednesday to include water projects in other parts of the state.

And the measure (SB 10), now called the "Coast-to-Coast Comprehensive Water Resource Program," might not be done growing, its sponsor said.

Wading bird nests in the Everglades were at their lowest number last year since 2008.

Kate Stein / WLRN

The Tamil word for python is "malaippāmpu." Translated literally, it means "mountain snake."

But two Tamil-speaking snake trackers from India, who are in South Florida to help with the region's python problem, think "water snake" would be a more appropriate name.

Sugar Farmers ‘At War’ With Senate President Negron

Mar 7, 2017

Farmers and agricultural businesses south of Lake Okeechobee said Monday that Senate President Joe Negron is at "war" with them in his push for state lawmakers to back a $2.4 billion reservoir project.

Amy Green / WMFE

Karson Turner reaches into a grassy row of sugar cane. He grips a stalk, jointed like bamboo, and breaks it, revealing the sweetness inside.

"This will go into the mill, which you can just about see if you take about 20 steps backward you can see the smokestacks. And those get grinded, that raw sucrose that gets pushed out becomes the basis of table sugar that you and I consume all the time," says Turner. 

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