Fire was the the Everglades natural way of getting rid of dead and dying trees and plants. They would be replaced with new fresh growth. But for the animals, it could be devastating. In the past animals could sense the fire and move to a different area to escape it. Now all the new construction has prevented them from getting from one area to another. Much of the Everglades are covered in peat moss. In a fire the flames could travel underground burning the moss and traveling great distances.
Another problem caused by the drought is water levels are way down. We traveled on roads that would normally be under two feet of water but are now dry. This causes major problems with the animals. The alligators mate in deep water. The males hold the females below the water and mate (not exactly romantic for the female) but with the water levels being so low, mating is not happening at the same rate, so less alligators are being born. They are endangered already. If this was to keep up, who knows what would happen to them.
This is a list of endangered species in the Everglades;
- American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)
- Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)
- Atlantic Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempi)
- Atlantic hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
- Atlantic leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
- Cape Sable seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritima mirabilis)
- Snail (Everglades) kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus)
- Wood stork (Mycteria americana)
- West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus)
- Florida panther (Felis concolor coryi)
- Key Largo wood rat (Neotoma floridana smalli)
- Key Largo cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus allapaticola)
- Red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis)
- Schaus swallowtail butterfly (Papilio aristodemus ponceanus)
- Garber's Spurge (Chamaesyce garberi)
A river still runs through it.
This image shows one of the small water holes along the road
which are normally much larger.
About half way through the fifteen mile loop trip, we came to an observation tower built in 1984. It spiraled skyward about fifty feet. Once on top you can see the River of Sawgrass spreading out as far as you can see.