Everglades restoration a high priority for FWC
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Media contact: Carli Segelson, 561-882-5703
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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), at its meeting Nov. 20 in Weston, presented a position paper designed to help guide Everglades restoration.
The position paper provides guidance on how to resolve habitat and wildlife issues as the FWC and partners work together on Everglades-restoration efforts. This document is an important tool for managing the habitats and species in this complex ecosystem.
In the position paper, FWC biologists provide science-based information regarding the timing, distribution and flow of water throughout the Everglades ecosystem. It also provides data collected over the past 60 years demonstrating how fluctuating water levels impact the wildlife and habitats in this ecosystem.
“It’s all about the quality, quantity, timing and distribution of water,” said FWC Commissioner Ron Bergeron. “Our approach is adaptive and based on six decades of in-the-field science.”
Extreme high and low water events negatively impact the ecosystem’s native wildlife and habitats. For example, extreme high water levels are detrimental for terrestrial species such as panthers, deer, bobcats and raccoons. High water conditions reduce the amount of available food sources and indirectly may lead to the spread of disease. Extremely low water levels can also have negative impacts such as peat fires that can cause long-lasting damage to tree islands and other plant communities. Returning the water flow back to a more natural state will have positive impacts for native plants and animals.
“We need flexibility in dealing with extreme high or low water events because either means sudden death for the Everglades ecosystem,” said Bergeron. “We need to have the tools and policies to manage emergency water events so that we can keep the Everglades alive during the largest restoration effort in the world.”
FWC staff will continue to protect fish and wildlife resources by participating in planning meetings and providing comments, review and input into future decisions about Everglades restoration.
To learn more about the FWC’s major wildlife management area in this ecosystem, the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA, visit MyFWC.com/Viewing and select “Wildlife Management Areas” then “Explore by Name.”