How healthy is the Florida Everglades?

Florida’s southernmost alligators are too skinny based on a new report card and interactive website on the Everglades’ ecosystem health. Rising sea levels mean the Everglades is struggling to support the plants and animals that live there.

Reported from May 2012 through April 2017 on a 1 to 100 scale, the Everglades scored a 45, which is considered “fair” but “concerning”.

Jayantha Obeysekera, Florida International University’s Sea Level Solutions Centerdirector, told The Palm Beach Post that even though the report card does not look very good, it could be worse since it’s a highly constrained system with a lot of stakeholders.

However, the report card is an important tool to engage and educate the many people impacted by these ongoing changes. Public awareness and advocacy is critical because without these healthy ecosystems, the economy, tourism and recreational activities of South Florida all suffer.

This article first appeared in Palm Beach Post on May 4, 2019.