December 7, 2008

Water balance restored in Everglades

Florida officials say they have successfully moved water dumped by Tropical Storm Fay, ending flooding that threatened wildlife in one part of the Everglades.

Water north of the Tamiami Trail had been so deep that wading birds such as herons and egrets could not ,and deer and other mammals sought higher ground, The Miami Herald reported Sunday. The trail, the old Miami-to-Tampa highway that runs along the northern border of Everglades National Park, acts as a dam, blocking the natural flow of the River of Grass.

Now water levels are a foot lower, the birds are back and deer have moved off the dikes and into the swamps.

Ironically, while Water Conservation Area 3A, as the area north of the trail and the park is known, was at risk because of flooding, the park was abnormally dry. By allowing more water than usual into the canal bordering the trail, which forced more water through culverts under the highway, and opening gaps in the trail roadbed balance has been restored.

We're out of the crisis at least, said Ron Bergeron, a state wildlife commissioner.