Posted on April 10, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Burmese pythons, native to southern Asia, have taken up a comfortable residence in the state of Florida, especially in the Everglades. In addition to out-competing native wildlife for resources and habitat, the pythons are eating the native wildlife. PHOTO COURTESY SARAH L. STEWART.
Invasive pythons found to be eating eggs in addition to birds
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Burmese pythons aren’t just sitting and waiting for native birds in the Everglades — they’re actively seeking out nests and eating eggs, according to a new report by Smithsonian scientists who are trying to assess the impacts of the unwelcome invaders.
The findings suggest a new dimension in the threat to native wildlife, with tens of thousands of snakes on the loose in the subtropical ecosystem. The team’s findings are published in the online journal Reptiles & Amphibians: Conservation and Natural History.
“This finding is significant because it suggests that the Burmese python is not simply a sit-and-wait predator, but … is opportunistic enough to find the nests of birds,” said Carla Dove, ornithologist at the Smithsonian’s Feather Identification Lab in the National Museum of Natural History and lead author of the study. “Although the sample size is small, these findings suggest that the snakes have the potential to negatively affect the breeding success of native birds.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, national parks | Tagged: biodiversity, Burmese Python, Everglades, Everglades National Park, invasive species, Smithsonian Institution | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 21, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Green areas on the map represent the network of already acquired public lands which would surround this monster sized project – the Big Cypress National Preserve to the south; Holeyland and Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas and Storm Water Treatment Areas 3, 4, 5 and 6 to the east; the Dinner Island Wildlife Management Area and the Okaloacoochee State Forest to the north and west. In addition to direct loss of habitat, a plant of this size would also dramatically increase traffic and open up the entire area to sprawl, road building, and habitat fragmentation.
New land deals in Southern Florida could benefit rare cats if they’re mapped carefully
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Florida panthers could get a bit more room to roam in the southern part of the state with a proposed expansion of the National Wildlife Refuge System in the region — but conservation groups says federal land managers are missing a key part of the conservation puzzle.
The proposed Headwaters of the Everglades National Wildlife Refuge would protect 150,000 acres of ranch lands north of Lake Okeechobee at a price tag of 700 million dollars. The patchwork quilt of properties created would include 50,000 acres purchased outright while a conservation easement would be placed on 100,000 additional acres to prevent development.
The plan is aimed at Everglades restoration, but wildlife advocates said that, if the project is planned right, it could be a huge benefit to on the country’s rarest animals. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: Big Cypress National Preserve, conservation, Environment, Everglades National Park, Florida panther, Summit County News, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife | 9 Comments »
Posted on October 28, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Planning effort aims to restore critical flows and protect water quality
An egret roams a cypress grove in Everglades National Park. PHOTO COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A new fast-track planning effort involving state and federal agencies could speed recovery of the Everglades ecoystem — if Congress authorizes the effort.
Specifically the Central Everglades planning process will evaluate opportunities to use publicly owned lands to store and treat water in the Everglades Agricultural Area and move the water south to the Water Conservation Areas and Everglades National Park. That could help restore a more natural hydrological regime to the greater ecoystem.
There is a need to move water south and allow more flow in the Central Everglades and Everglades National Park which is extremely critical to the health of the entire Everglades ecosystem. In addition to this major planning effort, state and federal agencies are working on measures to ensure that existing waters flowing into the Everglades meet water quality standards. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, federal government, national parks, public lands, Summit County news, wildlife | Tagged: Environment, Everglades National Park, Everglades restoration, Florida, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Interior Department, Lisa P. Jackson | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 25, 2011 by Jenney Coberly
Nutrient transport connects saltwater, freshwater and estuarine ecosystems
A young alligator floats in the Myakka River estuary in southwest Florida.
By Summit Voice
Alligators get around, scientists have discovered while studying the Shark River estuary in Florida’s Everglades. And as they move between fresh water and saltwater, they may be playing an important role in transporting nutrients between the two ecosystems.
“Nutrient translocation by highly mobile predators like alligators, may be important to the entire coastal Everglades ecosystem,” said scientist Adam Rosenblatt of Florida International University. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, rivers, water, wetlands, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Everglades, Everglades National Park, Florida, Florida International University, Shark River, Summit County News, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 26, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Major landscape types in the Everglades before human action. USGS map.
Human ecosystem disturbance not always negative, researchers say
By Summit Voice
Garbage mounds left by prehistoric humans might have driven the formation of many of the Florida Everglades‘ tree islands, distinctive havens of exceptional ecological richness in the sprawling marsh that are today threatened by human development.
Tree islands are patches of relatively high and dry ground that dot the marshes of the Everglades. Typically about three feet high, many of them are elevated enough to allow trees to grow. They provide nesting sites for alligators and a refuge for birds, panthers, and other wildlife.
Scientists have thought for many years that the so-called fixed tree islands (a larger type of tree island frequently found in the Everglades’ main channel, Shark River Slough) developed on protrusions from the rocky layer of a mineral called carbonate that sits beneath the marsh.
Now, new research indicates that the real trigger for island development might have been middens, or trash piles left behind from human settlements that date to about 5,000 years ago. (more…)
Filed under: Archaeology, biodiversity, national parks, public lands, wetlands, wildlife | Tagged: American Geophysical Union, archeology, Environment, Everglades, Everglades National Park, McGill University, National Park Service, Shark River Slough Archeological District, Summit County News | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 31, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
A great egret guards a cypress grove in Everglades National Park. PHOTO COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.
Oil and dispersants are toxic to seagrasses, which are one of the cornerstones of the Everglades ecosystem
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Florida’s Everglades National Park, which already faces a slew of environmental challenges, could be under the gun from millions of gallons of dispersed oil still floating around the Gulf of Mexico.
Some recent research suggests that those oil plumes are degrading slowly, and while there doesn’t appear to be an immediate threat to the vast 1.5 million acre preserve of mangrove swamps, sawgrass prairies and subtropical jungles, a shift in currents could transport some of the oil toward the southern tip of Florida.
Because of the potential threat to this important national resource, the National Science Foundation has awarded a rapid response grant to scientists working at the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research site. (more…)
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, Environment, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Environment, Everglades National Park, Florida International University, Gulf of Mexico, Gulf oil spill, National Science Foundation, Oil spill, Summit County News | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 2, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
A great egret in the cypress swamps of Everglades National Park. National Park Service Photo by Rodney Cammauf.
Everglades National Park put back on list of threatened sites
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The designation of Hawaii’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument as a world heritage site will highlight the contribution of Oceanic peoples to world heritage and help protect the largest tropical seabird rookery in the world, officials said after UNESCO’s world heritage committee announced its selections during the weekend.
Papahānaumokuākea, encompassing 140,000 square miles at the northwestern end of the island chain, is the first world heritage site to be added in the U.S. 15 years, and the country’s first mixed world heritage site — recognized for both its natural and cultural attributes. That rare designation underscores that fact that, for many indigenous people around the world, there is no separation between nature and culture. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: conservation, Environment, Everglades National Park, Papahānaumokuākea national marine reserve, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, UNESCO, world heritage sites | Leave a Comment »