Few images feel more iconic to coastal Florida shorelines than the twisted, tumbling limbs of the mangrove. Beneath their clumping root systems, life thrives, providing physical protection for marine species that gather under, seek refuge and sustenance within, and cling to mangroves’ protruding appendages. Above the water, dense canopies provide shelter and important nesting habitat for coastal birds and mammals. The aerial root structures of mangroves have been credited with helping to reduce waves and absorb storm surge. A common sight along much of Florida’s coast, mangroves can be likened to anchors that help to stabilize coastline ecosystems and serve as a first line of defense against coastal flooding and erosion — [...]
It’s no wonder that life under a hot, Florida sun comes to a lazy, alligator crawl in the heat of the summer. Let’s face it — as temperatures soar and humidity rises, getting outdoors in the middle of the day this time of year can feel downright brutal. But the summer season also boasts bluebird skies and lush, rain-fueled greenery that makes for some of the most beautiful days of the year. Our multimedia producer, Leah Voss, showed us just how rewarding a late afternoon hike at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County can be, sharing scenic images of expansive foliage, fields of wildflowers, and buzzing animal life that is all well [...]
Jeff VanderMeer is a realist — but that doesn't mean he's without hope for the future of wild Florida. During today's Clean Water Conversation, the bestselling author and Tallahassee resident talked with Friends of the Everglades Executive Director Eve Samples about his recent article in Current Affairs, "The Annihilation of Florida: An Overlooked National Tragedy." Jeff discussed special interests that work against environmental protection in Florida, the rapid pace of habitat loss, and the expanses of Florida's wilderness that still need to be protected. Several football fields-worth of forest and other valuable habitat are cleared every day in Florida. And we have 11 million acres of wetlands that remain vulnerable, down from 20 million acres prior to the 1800s. Jeff [...]
Friends of the Everglades joined 37 organization in signing a letter asking NOAA to oppose the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s proposed Amendment 10 to the Coral, Coral Reefs, and Hard Bottom Fishery Management Plan which would allow shrimp trawlers to destroy the last deep-sea Oculina reefs off Florida. As the letter states, The Oculina Bank off the east coast of central Florida is the only known place in the world where deep-sea Oculina varicosa form reef structures. This one-of-a-kind ecosystem supports marine life throughout the region well beyond the reef itself. A single 12-inch coral can host up to 2,000 animals, including small fish, crabs, shrimp, and mollusks—many of which are food for higher trophic levels. Oculina Bank is [...]
There are over 90 species of butterflies found in the Everglades, including this one — the Long-tailed Skipper. It’s just one example of the incredible diversity of species in this treasured ecosystem. Friends of the Everglades is dedicated to protecting America’s Everglades and its inhabitants through our policy advocacy, scientific research, and educational outreach. You can invest in the grassroots movement to save the Everglades this Earth Day by contributing $22 on April 22, 2022. Your support will help us stand up for one of the most ecologically biodiverse regions of the world. Give back today to make a positive impact. After all, this planet is home — and it’s the only one we’ve got.
Spotted in the Everglades: A critically endangered smalltooth sawfish A friend of the Everglades recently took a boat trip from Flamingo to the Shark River basin where he shared a chance encounter with an extremely special Everglades species. In the video below, you'll see the protruding double dorsal fins and tail of a smalltooth sawfish as it patrols the shallow shoreline of Shark River. The species gets it name from its most distinct feature, detailed in the drawing above — a long, flat snout lined with teeth that looks like a saw and is known as a rostrum. These saws are extremely sensitive to currents given off by [...]
We have a system that helps us identify impaired water bodies. We have established targets for necessary pollution reduction to bring water bodies back to health. But the state of Florida is failing to crack down on polluters by adequately enforcing these rules. The results are catastrophic. Just look to the prolonged red tide event happening right now on the west coast for proof. We'd like to extend a big thanks to Jacki Lopez of Center for Biological Diversity, Justin Bloom of Suncoast Waterkeeper, and our own Gil Smart for sharing their insight and knowledge with us as we talked red tide during today's Clean Water Conversation. If you missed the event today, you can find the full recording below. And as recommended during [...]
The Everglades is vast, and restoration is complex. We're breaking it down visually for you. *Rectangles indicate general study areas New toll road would cut through vital panther territory Last week, two South Florida lawmakers filed legislation to kill the construction of three controversial toll roads through rural Florida known as M-CORES. The proposed "Roads to Ruin," slated to span hundreds of miles from southern Georgia to Collier County, would carve directly through territory identified as critical for one of Florida's most iconic and elusive species: the Florida panther. Panther sightings identified above as orange dots by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission paint a grave picture for the big cats when overlaid with the three study areas being considered for construction. The new toll roads would span the heart of panther [...]
Remind yourself of the natural world we're fighting for by joining an artist talk with Everglades photographer Clyde Butcher 2-3 p.m. Feb. 11. The virtual event, co-hosted by Friends of the Everglades and the Arts Council of Martin County, will take place on Zoom and allow audience members to ask questions via the chat. Tickets are $25 and will be available via this link on Jan. 21. Butcher’s America’s Everglades photography exhibit is on display now through March 13 at the Arts Council’s Court House Cultural Center in Stuart. We're offering after-hours access to the exhibit to our Marjory's Circle members. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a private visit to see the exhibit.