This is the second in my series on how Everglades Restoration would change the wildlife and landscape of South Florida’s River of Grass: The Everglades Snail Kite population has been declining steadily since 2001, and one scientific model projection puts the species on a track towards near extinction in 2030 if conditions don’t change. That means fewer than 50 Snail Kites by as early as 2030. “The bottom line is the population is not doing well. That is not an overstatement, it is an understatement,” said UF Research Ecologist Dr. Wiley Kitchens.
I stopped to take a water break and admire the robust, tall slash pines, some taller than 100 feet. South Florida slash pines are not normally this thick in scrub habitat. The land that is now Seacrest Scrub Natural Area was cleared in the 1920s for the growing of pineapples, and after the land was no longer farmed, the slash pines started to take over the thinner and shorter sand pines’ territory. As I took in the large pines, I looked up and saw an Osprey nearly directly above where I stood.