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Resource Management

GBH - Lance Warley - Promo Large

A variety of management programs enhance wildlife habitats on the refuge.

  • Fire Management

    Firefighters - Promo List

    Prescribed fire is an important tool used for managing wildlife habitat. The refuge staff and partners conduct prescribed burns to enhance a variety of habitats and to control innvasive and exotic plants. The refuge has a variety of vegetation types which are either dependent upon fire, susceptible to fire, or spread fire.

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  • Invasive Species Management

    Invasives - Promo List

    An invasive species is one that is not native to an ecosystem and which causes, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.  Invasive species are harmful to our natural resources (fish, wildlife, plants and overall ecosystem health) because they disrupt natural communities and ecological processes.  This causes harm to the native species because they are forced to compete with a new species for the same resources (food, water, shelter, etc.).  The invasive species typically outcompete the native species for food and habitats and sometimes even cause their extinction.  Even if the native species are not completely eliminated, the ecosystem often becomes much less diverse. A less diverse ecosystem is more susceptible to further disturbances from diseases and natural disasters.

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  • Water Management

    water monitoring - Promo List

    The Everglades ecosystem depends on the natural seasonal water patterns of South Florida which rely on rain patterns. Historically, the Everglades’ dry season occurs in the winter months whereas the rainy season takes place in the summer. However, the rain does not always fall in the same, predictable way each and every year. The amount of rain that falls influences water levels in the wetlands of the Everglades. The wetlands act like a sponge, absorbing heavy rains to help prevent flooding, and slowly releasing water during dry times to combat drought.

    Wading birds can catch more prey more easily when water is shallow. But as the water recedes in the dry season, prey populations can become depleted. As water levels rise in the wet season, prey can be harder to catch, but the deeper water gives prey populations a chance to rebound.

    The quality or cleanliness of the water is also important. Water with chemicals enters the Everglades from canals from our cities and from farm fields that produce our food crops. These chemicals, called nutrients, affect how fast or slow some of the plants in the refuge will grow. Too many nutrients can cause non-native plants to grow and crowd out the native ones. Even if a plant is “native” or belongs in the system, excessive amounts of these nutrients can make certain plants grow much too fast which would consequently disrupt the balance of the ecosystem.

    Tiny organisms called periphyton are the lowest level of the food chain here in the refuge. Periphyton is a spongy looking mat of algae and bacteria.  Fish and invertebrates, like crayfish and apple snails, eat the periphyton.  They, in turn, become food for all the reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals that live here. The kind of periphyton found in the sloughs and open water of our refuge is not found anywhere else in the entire Everglades ecosystem.The quantity and quality of the water in our refuge affect these periphyton and all the animals that depend on them.

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Page Photo Credits — Great Blue Heron - Lance Warley
Last Updated: Feb 09, 2017
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