Everglades National Park

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It eems as though the Everglades National Park has been inhabited for 10,000 years or maybe 20,000 about 4,000 years ago the Everglades National Park was abundant in food supplies like fish, shellfish, plants and also in land animals. The Everglades National Park is a place very well known for all of the beautiful animals and all of the terrain but what most people don’t know is the bad things that did go on and that do go on. These bad things not only happen with most of the animals but with some parts of land, with the water and the water supply as well.

The first threats to the Everglades ecosystem came when people first stepped foot in hem. Most of the birds were all hunted for their plumage up to the brink of extinction and the basis of existence of the Everglades, known as the river of grass was under attack by the Floridians when they started to divert the water to flow south from Lake Okeechobee to control floods and to provide water to the burgeoning population. During the early 1900’s the then governor Napolean Bonaparte Broward promised to get everything in order, the channeling projects were completed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Everglades National Park 3 The park was never officially created before people started to take notice that the nimals, especially birds needed protection. In the year 1832 a man name J. J. Audubon visited, observed and also studied the very amazing concentration of birds in the Everglades. Due to all of his efforts and his society in 1901 the hunting of birds was prohibited with the exclusion of game birds and due to all of this the interests of Everglades didn’t stop, in the contrary they kept pilling on.

For example, oil drilling started, lumbering and a lot of other activities. But all of these activities made people start thinking more about the preservation of the animals and the park, that is when he Everglades National Park was established and the date was May 20, 1934. On that day a bill was passed for the authorization to create the park but the land for the Everglades was not actually acquired until after World War II.

President Truman finally dedicated the park Everglades National Park on Dec. 6, 1947 in a ceremony at Everglades City and it was the first park ever to be protected because of its biological resources. The Everglades National Park is also well known for a lot of its wild life and in all of that wild life is included the largest number in the American continent of wading irds, alligators and 14 endangered and also threatened species. It is one of the world’s most unique ecosystems.

The most common of animals in the Everglades is the alligator; the alligator is the biggest of all of the retiles in America and they can be found all over the park. The males can grow as long as 14 feet and the females grow to about 8 to 9 feet long. The alligators eat a variety of animals from wading birds, turtles, raccoons, fish such as the gar and even some poisonous snakes. The alligator is a very powerful animal Everglades National Park 4 with about 400 teeth and skin that is made of hundreds of rectangles which the lligators depend on for defense.

The skin of the alligator is precisely the reason for their near extinction. Hunting of this animal began around the 1880’s through the 1960’s; their skin was used to mainly purses and boots but of course it is no longer allowed in the park. Ever since then the alligator population has recovered and they are no longer considered endangered species but the disappearance of their habitat is a cause for concern for their well being in the long run.

The next very common animal that the Everglades is known for is the birds, there are about 326 species of birds that live in the Everglades. They are attracted to all of the fish found in the water as well as some other food. The most common birds found in the Everglades are wading birds such as the great blue heron; the next one is the anhinga and also the great egret but there are much more like the rare wood stork, tricolor heron, white ibis, two types of pelicans the white and brown, purple gallinule or moorhen, ect.

Even though the bird population in the Everglades is great it is nothing compared to how it used to be when John James Audubon, it was about 2 million in the year 1870 and the numbers continue to decline since the 1930’s and 1940’s by about 90%. Although the number of wading birds has started to recover ever since it became illegal to hunt them, there are others things that threatened them. The interruption of the water flow to the Everglades and the destruction of their habitat also has had a very negative effect on the breeding of the wading birds.

In the Everglades National Park there are a lot of landforms, vast vegetation and there are also all of the lakes & waterways. The Everglades isn’t Just a dark green deep swamp, it’s much more than that. For instance there is the sawgrass marsh also known as the “river of grass”, the sawgrass marsh is the heart of the Everglades and he largest in the world. In the Everglades there only exists two seasons one is the wet season which is from around May to October and during the wet season it rains about 53 to 100 inches.

The second season is the dry season which ranges from the month of November to the month of April. But all of the water does not flow freely in the sawgrass marsh; it is interrupted by about 1,400 canals, levees and spillways that where designed to control the flooding and to provide water to the south of Florida and its ever growing population. Besides the very unique “river of grass”, there is the Pine Forest, Hardwood Hammocks, Mangrove Swamp and the Coastal Prairie. The floor of forests in the Everglades is mostly rugged, rough and rocky.

The Pine Forest found on the highest areas of the park and it is rarely covered in water you can find longleaf pines, southern Florida slash pines and also pond pine. You can find Hardwood Hammocks in the sawgrass marsh but only in places where the limestone is a couple of feet higher. When the limestone is a couple of feet higher than the sawgrass marsh, than that is when you will find hardwood trees like mahogany, gumbo limbo and cocoa palm. The hammocks are created by falling leaves that rot; the interior of the ammocks is very thick and dark with vegetation which makes the floor very spongy.

The realm of the Mangrove Trees (Mangrove Swamp) is near the coast where the gulfs salt water and Florida’s Bay meets the fresh water traveling from Lake Okechobee. The Mangrove Swap covers about 500 Everglades National Park 6 square miles and it prefers blackish water because the roots and trunks of the Mangrove trees trap organic material in the water. Last but not least is the Coastal Prairie which is Just north of Eco Pond in the Flamingo area and which holds meadows and woodlands of buttonwood, gumbo limbo, hardwoods, yucca and rasses.

In Conclusion I would like to add and exclaim that the Everglades National Park is a place that holds a lot of endangered and threatened species that we all need to protect as well as the entire park itself. The Everglades National Park is a place where we could keep learning about its geology and ecosystem, a place that in the long run is a place that helps the world’s ecosystem as well. It is up to us to protect the animals, landform, water and its beauty. Who are we to take away the water supply that naturally belongs to the animals and to the Everglades? The Everglades National

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