"Report warns that rising temperatures threaten the Everglades, including changing rainfall patterns and accelerating sea-level rise.
Sea water encroaching on the Everglades will hamper decades of work by a government program to reverse manmade damage to the vast, fragile ecosystem at the tip of Florida, according to a new report published on Wednesday.
The federal, multibillion-dollar Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, authorized by Congress in 2000, was designed to redirect fresh water, reducing sea water incursion in a long-term effort to bring the tropical wetland ecosystem back to the way it looked in the early 20th century, before influxes of people to southern Florida drained much of it for development. The region, known as the “river of grass”, is less than an hour’s drive from Miami but is home to mangrove forests and cypress swamps housing alligators, orchids, storks and ibises, as well as threatened species such as the Florida panther. But it has long struggled to recover from water diversions for agriculture, swelling communities and other forms of environmental degradation, such as fertilizer runoff.
Now a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine warns that rising global temperatures are also changing the Everglades in ways the state and federal government must consider, including changing rainfall patterns and accelerating sea-level rise. “It is clear that the Greater Everglades of 2050 and beyond will be much different from what was envisioned at the time of the [plan],” the biennial report says."