New residents of the Everglades area began diverting the flow of water south from the Everglade’s source, Lake Okeechobee, in an effort to curb flooding and provide water and irrigation for a growing population. However, this diversion had unwelcome consequences, as the water receded from the region the habitats of many birds and fish diminished. Saltwater started flowing further into the marsh than ever before and pollution from the new cities hurt the water quality. Despite these setbacks, recent preservation efforts and limits on overall water diversion have curbed the degradation of the everglades ecosystem.
It’s no secret that the Everglades boast an impressive list of wildlife inhabitants. No animal is more synonymous with the Everglades than the American Alligator. These behemoths can grow upwards of sixteen feet and live for thirty-five years. Everglades National Park is also the only place in the world where Alligators coexist with Crocodiles. In fact, the Everglades is the only place in the United States where one can see Crocodiles. It is the mixture of freshwater from Lake Okeechobee and saltwater from the ocean that makes this dual existence possible.