Monday, September 26, 2005

The Everglades and South Florida

The area known as "The Everglades" is divided into four major areas, Water Conservation Area 1 which is managed by the Feds as the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, Water Conservation Area 2, Water Conservation Area 3, and Everglades National Park. These are all artificial boundaries imposed on one large ecosystem that is basically a giant freshwater marsh that flows south from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay north of the keys. It is a monotonous landscape unless you are down in it and then it gets interesting. The sawgrass grows about ten feet tall and will slice your skin like surgical scalpels. The alligators will probably not bother you but there is now a population explosion of Burmese Pythons out there that are giving the alligators a run for their money. It is a natural system turned crazy by the ten million people living along its boundaries mostly on the east in the cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. The drainage system is purely artificial and regulated by giant pumps and spillways much as they do in the Netherlands. It is an area that is both strange and fascinating. An area whee we see Iguanas crossing the road every day and parrots in our backyards. A place that gave Dave Barry at the Miami Herald a lifetime of material to write about and Miami CSI seasons of scripts for their shows. You either love it or hate it.

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