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Irma Serves Another Blow To Fragile Everglades

Florida Everglades. Photo: Chauncey Davis on Flickr.

Researchers fear Hurricane Irma’s impact in the Everglades is exacerbated by sea level rise and long efforts to drain the watershed.

Irma crossed the western Everglades as a Category 3 or Category 4 hurricane.

Evelyn Gaiser of Florida International University says historically the watershed would have been resilient, but that sea level rise and a shortage of fresh water have left it vulnerable.

“We find that there are changes in the resilience in the ecosystem that determine the way an event like this plays out.”

She says the hurricane brought with it a storm surge of up to eight feet and tore up vital sea grass beds in Florida Bay, but that the rain represented a healthy dose of fresh water.

The fragile Everglades are the subject of a $17 billion restoration.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment for 90.7 News. She is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a regular contributor to NPR, PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and other top news organizations. She is a Florida native with a zeal for chronicling the spurts and pains of ... Read Full Bio »