Everglades water levels cause worry

Tropical Storm Isaac leaves parts of Everglades too high

EVERGLADES, Fla. – The high water levels in the Florida Everglades are causing problems for wildlife.

Five miles south of Alligator Alley in the Carmichaels area of the Everglades, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioner Ron Bergeron took Local 10's Jacey Birch on a tour as they looked for deer islands to check water levels.

"At the high point, about 18 inches," said Bergeron. "We're in pretty good shape in this area."

Bergeron is concerned that submerged islands will limit the survival of wildlife dependent on diminished dry land among the wetlands.

"The deer, the bobcats, the panther, the coons, the rabbits and also it can affect the birds," said Bergeron. "This island is just barely above water."

The downpours from Tropical Storm Isaac last month are still affecting the Everglades. A month later, some spots in the sawgrass are still closed.

"Anybody in airboats in the area has to stay 100 yards away from deer islands," said Bergeron.

Bergeron hopes to educate others on the importance of maintaining and restoring the massive ecosystem.

"We always have to look at the global Everglades, because you have state Everglades, you have Miccosukee, you have Big Cyprus preserve, you have Everglades National Park, like four countries," said Bergeron.

If current water levels fail to subside, it could mean devastation for the Everglades.

"As long as we keep the timeframe within the 60 and 90 days, at this point, we're ok. Let's hope God cooperates with us," said Bergeron.

Some help should be coming to the Everglades by the end of next year. Part of the 30-year Everglades Restoration Project includes raising the road and building a bridge on Tamiami Trail which should aid in guiding the flow of water in a more uniform way across the wetlands.