The Everglades’ New Designation

evergladesEverglades restoration is a hot topic right now, and we’d like to share as much news and updates about progress as we can. Why? Well without the beautiful Everglades, there would be no airboat tours, of course, never mind the fact that hundreds of birds, animals, and plants could possibly disappear from the Earth forever. With that said, the North American Coastal Plain, which includes the Everglades, was recently declared by the Conservation International of the North Atlantic Coastal Plain (NACP) as a Global Hotspot – it is number 36.

This designation will help the ecosystems in Florida, including the Everglades, tremendously. The North American Coastal Plain stretches from northern Massachusetts all the way down to the Florida Keys. Right now, the Everglades is a US National Park, a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve and a RAMSAR Convention Wetland of International Importance. Although it already has all of this global recognition of being such a special place, this recognition calls even more attention to how threatened the wetlands truly are.

To be considered a biodiversity hotspot, an area has to support more than 1,500 endemic vascular plans, while also experiencing more than 70 percent habitat loss. This description fits the Everglades as it is known for its large biodiversity and shrinking habitats due to damming and climate change. It is unclear why it has taken so long to receive this distinction but Evelyn Gaiser, executive director of the School of Environment, Arts, and Society, thinks that because it is relatively young ecosystem, the Everglades’ true diversity has been unrecognized until now. The area developed around 4,000 years ago.

She states, “Protection and restoration of the Everglades is dependent on our ability to predict and influence its future as it responds to these changes. It also depends on the level to which citizens understand and value it, and engage in fostering a viable future for its inhabitants and functions”

This new status helps the Everglades receive recognition as a threated area beyond the state of Florida. All of the world understands that this place is a rare wetland area on the Earth that is home to many unique and endangered living organisms and fresh water.

Enjoy the Everglades

We live in a world that is now working to protect the Everglades. Keeping the Everglades alive and well will ensure so much wildlife can flourish for years to come, while us humans can enjoy the area for pleasure and scientific purposes. Do you want to explore the Everglades firsthand? Take a trip to the Everglades for your chance to see a diverse ecosystem like no other. Airboat tours of the Everglades give visitors an up-close-and-personal view of the country’s treasure. Call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377 or click here to book a trip today!


New Restoration Plan Kicked Off on Earth Day

restorationThis past Earth Day, the Everglades received great news – a new bridge will be built to restore the flow of water flowing into Everglades National Park.

At the end of April, state and federal officials began work to remove part of the Tamiami Trail, which has dammed water going into the park for almost nine decades. The Tamiami Trail was opened in 1928 and was considered a great accomplishment in human engineering, according to the Everglades Foundation. The engineering of the Tamiami Project was a 13-year project that cost $8 million. Years ago, if water was high in the Everglades, the road was closed; in present day, water managers keep the water low around the low so high levels of traffic can go through with no issue. This is how and why the Tamiami Trail acts as a damn across the Everglades. According to the Everglades Foundation, the Everglades National Park only receives a portion of the annual southern water flow it’s supposed to, and it’s not receive most of its water in a historic way.

Has the Tamiami Trail truly hurt the Everglades? Well, it’s certainly transformed its ecology. The reduced water flow had led to lower fish reproduction, less wading-birds nesting sites, and damaged habitats of many endangered species that are unique to the Everglades area. Sawgrass marshes and tree islands have been compromised. With less fresh water flowing into the area, salt water is now seeping inland, which is endangering freshwater aquifer wells.

If the Tamiami Trail isn’t modified, the Everglades cannot and will not survive. In 2008, U.S. Congress approved the funds for an Everglades Skyway bridge to replace part of the Tamiami Trail.  In 2013, a one-mile bridge was completed; it cost $81 million. Now, work has begun to build a second bridge; this bridge will be 2.6 miles long and cost $144 million. An additional three miles to the bridge is also being planned.

It’s become extremely urgent in recent years to get the water flowing properly. A recent summer drought killed more than 25,000 acres of seagrass. John Adornato, a senior director with the National Parks Conservation Association, said “Sending water south is the only way we can hope to restore Everglades National Park and solve Florida’s water crisis.”

Every new bridge added will bring the Everglades back to the way it should be.

Explore the Everglades

The Everglades is a beautiful, natural wonder that has many years to go before full restoration is in place. Although it’s a large undertaking and price tag, these bridges needs to be built before the wetlands disappear before our very eyes. Airboat tours of the Everglades give visitors an up-close-and-personal view of the country’s national treasure. Call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377 or click here to book a trip today!

Everglades Restoration

restoration Back in March, the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers released an update about the massive restoration effort that was launched back in 2000. The update: the cost of the restoration has doubled to $16.4 billion. This report is issued every five years to update Congress on progress of the project done by both the Corps and Florida.

The official name of the report is called the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The CERP is the largest environmental plan to date. Originally, the plan was estimated to last two decades, but it may take another few decades to complete.

The increase in cost is due to inflation, design changes and additional projects. The restoration plan includes 68 projects across the 18,000 square-mile region of the Everglades. The overall goal of the plan to restore the natural flow of water in the Everglades, which is currently threatened by sea levels. Also, the plan aims to even remove exotic species and trees. In the last five years, these are the projects that were started or completed: a reservoir, stormwater treatment area on the Caloosahatchee River, a massive pump in the Picayune Strand, other pollution removal projects, and a spreader canal to

The reason the Everglades needs such an extensive restoration project is because the wetland is in peril. Back in the 1800s, people started to enter the Everglades to dig canals and drain water. Unfortunately, these projects hurt the environment while helping humans receive fresh water and flood protection. As the human population in the area increased, the number of birds and other wildlife got smaller; some species even disappeared from the area. More than half of the wetlands in the Everglades have been lost to the development of canals and levees.

According to Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, “The next five years hold the promise of even more tangible, beneficial change in the south Florida ecosystem and we look forward to continuing progress with the Department of the Interior, the State of Florida, and our other partners.”

Explore the Everglades

The Everglades is a precious gem that needs to be protected. Although it’s a large undertaking, these restoration efforts need to happen before the wetlands disappear before our very eyes. Airboat tours of the Everglades give visitors an up-close-and-personal view of the country’s national treasure. Call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377 or click here to book a trip today!

Obama Shows His Support for the Everglades

President Obama

President Obama supports Everglades restoration.

Good news for the Everglades this week, with President Obama having announced on Monday, February 2nd that he is proposing to spend $195 million on Everglades restoration projects starting in 2015. This is quite a jump from last year’s proposal, showing that Obama will support the Everglades restoration project throughout the remainder of his presidency.

In general, Obama’s plans for his last two years in office include many large-scale public works projects, including the construction and repair of various national roads and bridges, so the project of Everglades restoration fits nicely into his “big picture” plan. The restoration will not only revive the natural landscapes and wetlands of the national park, but because it requires massive construction, it will produce hundreds of jobs in the area as well. Everybody benefits from the Everglades restoration.

Everglades restoration projects include:

  • Addition of multiple water reserves in Broward County
  • Restoration of the Kissimmee Valley

With specific goals for restoration including:

  • Restoration of natural water flow
  • Further protection of endangered wildlife
  • Prevention of future flooding
  • Assurance of clean water supplies throughout Southern Florida

It’s easy to join the President in showing your support for the Florida Everglades, by supporting local businesses who rely on tourist support in order to survive. It is the gentle Gladesmen like Captain Mitch of Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tour Company
who brave the Everglades waters every single day so that others can enjoy the beauty that is the River of Grass from the comfort of an airboat ride.