“Ecological deterioration is occurring across all parts of the ecosystem” – SFWMD

“Ecological deterioration is occurring across all parts of the ecosystem” – SFWMD

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AP –  Nesting declines for some species of wading birds shows the long-term damage suffered by Florida’s Everglades, and targets set for higher numbers of nests may become unattainable if conditions in the unique wetlands do not improve soon, state officials said.

 

The gains seen for some species last year suggest that conditions in some parts of the Everglades have become more favorable for birds, possibly because of changes in the way water flows through the wetlands, a reduction in mercury levels and cyclical weather patterns, according to an annual report on wading bird nesting released Thursday by the South Florida Water Management District, the state agency that oversees Everglades restoration.

 

But steep declines or a lack of improvement for other birds show that conditions still don’t compare to water levels in the Everglades before officials sought to drain the wetlands half a century ago to make way for development and farming.

 

“Ecological deterioration is occurring across all parts of the ecosystem, and this increases the probability of irreversible ecosystem changes that limit our ability to recover the essential defining characteristics of the historical Everglades,” Mark Cook, lead scientist for the district’s Everglades systems assessment section, wrote in the report.

 

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