High water is devastating because a natural wetland is designed for shallow depth of water. High water destroys that habitat.
We’ve already seen the sad, manmade consequences in recent history. In 1994, wildlife suffered from 18 months of extreme high water. Hundreds of animals died, and plants died as well. This is the reality we work every day to avoid.
A hundred years ago, you could trace the flow of water from the Kissimmee River into Lake Okeechobee, followed by the Everglades marsh and Florida Bay flats, what the Department of Environmental Protection describes as “the ultimate destination of the pure sheet flow.” Flooding wasn’t an ongoing issue because we didn’t interfere with this beautiful, 11,000-square foot “River of Grass.”
How critical water levels are:
The highest points of the Everglades have small areas of land where deer roam, birds land and feed and panthers hunt, called Deer Islands. The current compartmentalized structure of the Everglades does not allow the water coming in to flow properly through the Everglades. This creates areas of extreme flooding, as well as areas that are completely lacking in water.
Just three feet of water at the highest points of the Everglades means:
- Birds cannot eat or feed
- Deer and other fur-bearing animals can’t rest or find food
- Panthers cannot hunt or move around