There’s so much water in the Everglades, the alligators are sipping it from sparkling carafes.
Between the heavy rains associated with Hurricane Eta and Hurricane Iota, and the state and federal programs to restore the natural flow of fresh water into the southernmost portions of the Glades, it is immediately physically apparent that the water is going up, up, up.
Whereas the canal running alongside the Tamiami Trail is usually set well back from the concrete, a November 23rd Drive from Krome Ave to Buffalo Tiger evidenced the water’s ever closer encroachment on civilization.
To be sure, this is part of the plan. The over-salinity in Florida Bay, where the Everglades meet the sea, is a major contributing factor to the massive seagrass die off that currently plagues the area. So to see the mighty force of all the water heading south over the prairie, through the canals, and into the slough is immediately refreshing.
But at the same time, it’s overwhelming. In fact, the creatures living there may feel the same way. According to the FWC, “Excessively high water levels have jeopardized wildlife.”
So now, portions of the Everglades are closed.
Here are the official regulations as per the FWC:
State of Florida
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Special Regulation for the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land, and Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission of the State of Florida, acting under the authority of Article IV, Section 9, of the Florida Constitution hereby establishes, by order, special regulations for the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land, and Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas. These special regulations are necessary due to excessively high water levels that have jeopardized wildlife. The special regulations are as follows:
- The L4 and L5 levee roads are closed to all public access.
- Public access including vehicles, airboats, ATV’s, and all other public access is prohibited in the remainder of the area, except:
A. Water Conservation Area 2 (2A and 2B) and that portion of Water Conservation Area 3A South located east of the Miami Canal between I-75 and theL-67A levee remains open to public access.
B. Boat ramps remain open. Vessels, other than airboats,may be operated inestablished canals.
C. Licensed and permitted individuals may participate in the Statewide Alligator Harvest Program, waterfowl hunting, fishing, frogging, recreational boating, and non-native reptile removal. Access for these activities is limited to vessels, other than airboats, and participants shall maintain a minimum distance of 100 yards from any tree island to minimize disturbance to terrestrial wildlife.
D. Python removal contractors employed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission of the South Florida Water Management District may use vehicles on levee roads other than the L4 and L5 levee roads.
- The taking of wildlife is prohibited except light geese, ducks, and coot may be taken pursuant to 68A-13.003, alligator may be taken pursuant to the Statewide Alligator Harvest Program, and frogging is allowed pursuant to 68A-15.004.
- Any provisions of Rule 68A-15.064 or 68A-15.004 F.A.C., which are inconsistent herewith, are hereby superseded.