As well as devastating Florida communities, Hurricane Irma blasted an estimated three to ten feet of storm surge into the Everglades. This “River of Grass” extends from Lake Okeechobee in central Florida down to its southern tip at the Gulf of Mexico, and much of it is a National Park. Host Steve Curwood asked University of Maryland hydrologist Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm how the hurricane’s storm surge and severe downpours, added to the steady rising of the seas, could affect this threatened ecosystem. Professor Miralles-Wilhelm says draining and channelizing the wetlands through decades of development weakened the Everglades’ resilience and ability to buffer storms.
CURWOOD: It’s Living on Earth, I’m Steve Curwood.