Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.
I'm finishing up a great trip to Florida this week. Tuesday morning, I was with Secretary Salazar and Senator Bill Nelson, along the Tamiami Trail.
No, it's not actually a trail.
It's basically a fill causeway through the heart of the Everglades that was constructed in the early 1900s, connecting Tampa and Miami; hence "Tamiami."
It constricts water flow through the Everglades, and a major part of the Everglades restoration is a project to elevate a 1-mile stretch of the road, allowing water to flow more naturally and letting the "River of Grass" behave more like a river.
But we weren't there to celebrate that project.
We were there to announce our new Lacey Act rule to list 4 species of large constrictor snakes, including Burmese python as injurious and to ban their importation and movement in interstate commerce. Believed to be derived from discarded or escaped pets, there is now a wild, naturally reproducing population of Burmese pythons likely totaling in the tens of thousands.
They can grow to over 20 feet and exceed 200 pounds. On Tuesday, we had a relatively small one on display for a battery of media cameras; a mere 13-footer, weighing about 90 pounds. Plenty of snake for me, thanks very much!
Photo Credit: (Tami Heilemann/Department of Interior)