When we think of Florida, the Everglades is often the first thing that comes to mind. This marshland is famous for its diverse wildlife, counting incredible animals such as crocodiles and alligators, amongst many other native and non-native species. However, this delicate ecosystem has been under threat for a long time now. Our captains at Airboat Rides Jupiter Florida, are passionate about protecting this ecosystem. Today we will look at the protection of the Everglades.
The Everglades geographical changes
Once an inhabitable marshland, the Everglades has seen many changes. Large portions of it have been drained of its freshwater to make way to human habitations and agricultural landscapes. It has dramatically affected the Everglades freshwater supply, which in turn has affected its natural growth as well as its animal population.
The transformation started in the early 1990s when people dug large canals to connect Lake Okeechobee’s coat. Humans built the West Palm Beach canal by punching through old river channels. The 1920s saw the construction of a massive dike around Lake Okeechobee as a response to intense hurricanes. It has the devastating effect of cutting most of the lake’s natural Flow.
In 1928, the construction of the Miami Trail resulted in another large dike. This trail would allow the population to travel between Miami and Naples. More hurricanes took place in the 1940s, covering a large portion of southern and central Florida. It only resulted in the expansion of more drainage works. By the 1960s, large earthen dikes enclosed the remainder of the Everglades.
Beyond those geographical changes, humans have also affected the native animal population by bringing non-native species to the Everglades. Before the 19th century, the 16th century saw the introduction of different mammals from around the world to the Everglades. Black rats and ship rats worldwide started to affect the local species of local Key Largo Rats. Other mammals include feral cats, with an estimated 5.3 million free-roaming cats living in Florida.
When taking a tour with Airboat Rides Jupiter Florida, you might also observe many different bird species. A lot of those aren’t native to the area. The Monk parakeet and the Quaker parrot, for example, come from South America through trade lines. Brought in by the end of the 1960s, they populate exceptionally rapidly, degrading the local powerlines and affecting the local bird population.
Other species, mostly reptiles, have also made their way from Southeast Asia in the early 1980s. For example, the Burmese python preys on the local endangered animal species, such as Florida’s white-tailed deer. Other reptiles include iguanas from central America and African lizards. Many more non-native animals are now part of the Everglade’s population, and those have had a mostly negative impact on the local and native animal populations.
Airboat Rides Jupiter Florida supports reverting those changes
The great news is that there are many efforts to restore the Everglades to its former state. Freshwater is getting reintroduced to certain areas, while further human interruption is now being limited. The controlled creation of canals won’t deprive certain areas of freshwater any further.
Bringing back freshwater to those dried areas brings back the local animal population to said areas. The natural ecosystem is slowly making its way back, but there remains a lot to do. The reality is that the Everglades will never be the giant marshland that it once was, but there are now many efforts to stop further damages to the area.
The animal population is also seeing more regulation by removing non-native species and reintroducing native species. There is hope that local endangered species will eventually grow back in numbers and no longer be considered endangered.
An incredible place to visit
Despite all those changes, the Everglades is still one of America’s most beautiful reserves, if not the world. It is why we at Airboat Rides Jupiter Florida will continue to share this ecosystem with you. Our airboats are eco-friendly, making little to no impact on the ecosystem. Our boat’s propellers are above water level, and we glide above the surface, making them much safer for the local animals and plant life.
Please find out more about the Everglades with our captains and book your airboat tour today. We live and breathe the Everglades, and we were hoping you could discover the best natural ecosystem Florida has to offer. Our Captains will teach you about the local ecosystem while showing you the best places and animals inhabiting the Everglades.Back to Blogs