Hurricane Irma may have altered the ecosystem of the Everglades in Florida, restoring some of the dynamics that disappeared during decades of development.
When Hurricane Irma hit Florida, it blasted an estimated 3 to 10 feet of storm surge into the Everglades. Combined with the drenching rain, the storm may change the vegetation patterns of the enormous wetland and perhaps prod the people of South Florida to rethink how it lives with its water.
The Everglades, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has shrunk to about half of its original size since people started draining it for development and agriculture in the 1800s. The so-called 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.