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Coral Reef  - Florida Keys
The Florida Keys Coral Reef
Photo credit: NOAA

 

The Endangered Ecosystems of Florida

Cypress Everglades Keys Longleaf Okeechobee Ridge Rocklands Sandhills Scrub

 

The Florida Keys

 

To begin, what is an Ecosystem?

It is an Environment within which many Species,

 both Plant (flora) and Animal, (fauna)

maintain a way of daily life, unconsciously

 interdependent upon one another and

the area that they inhabit together.


Our Ecosystems are a reflection of the past

and an implication of the future.


This exquisite chain of over a thousand Islands stretches

from the mainland just south of Homestead to Key West

for about two hundred miles and is one of the most

breathtaking scenic drives in America.

The road to Key West, Big Pine Key westside
The only road to Key West
Photo credit: Marc Averette

 

A narrow two lane road is the only way in and out of paradise

and in the event of a Hurricane, it becomes a bit crowded~

But the views, the wildlife and the natural beauty of the Keys

keep visitors and natives coming back every year.

 

Along the way, you will go through many small towns

on the islands, with a variety of places to investigate,

stay, eat and shop, as well as several state parks.

Entering the Seven Mile Bridge
Entering the Seven Mile Bridge
Photo credit: Matrek

 

The Seven Mile Bridge connects the Upper Keys

 to the Lower Keys and the stunning views from it

shows off the pastel blues of the clear water

and frequently, the Marine life of the Keys.

 

A most remarkable thing about this delicate Ecosystem,

is the dedication by so many to preserve its beauty,

an example is the National Marine Sanctuary.

 

The only Coral Reef in North America lies just off

the Keys on the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico and

is protected by several organizations, including NOAA.

A Green Moray Eel
A Green Moray Eel
Photo credit: NOAA

 

Within this treasure are countless marine creatures

found in few other places, some are Endangered,

others are just being carefully watched.

An initiative to offer protection is here:

Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative

 

*Update March 30, 2009*

Once thought to be a problem only for the Everglades,

now abandoned Burmese Pythons are being found in the Keys.

A group dedicated to stopping them in their tracks,

the Python Patrol is determined to get a head start

on the invasion, before it gets out of control.

 

A 2006 five year no fishing ban for an area just west of

 the Keys to protect Florida's Fish has the sides divided:

New Marine Reserve

Butter Hamlet Fish in Sea Rods
Butter Hamlet Fish in Sea Rods
Photo credit: NOAA

 

The list of Endangered Species in the Keys

includes both Wildlife and Marine Species:

Key Deer, Manatees, Panthers,

Miami Blue and Schaus' Swallowtail Butterflies,

 and a variety of Sea Turtles and Tropical Birds.


 

 

Random pictures from around Key West

Plaza Hotel Key West
The Plaza Hotel Key West
Photo credit: Matrek

Sunset Key West
Another beautiful Key West Sunset
Photo credit: Soeren Rothe/madman1234

The Hemmingway House
The Hemmingway House
Photo credit: Soeren Rothe/madman1234

Key West Lighthouse

The Key West Lighthouse
Photo credit: milan boers

The Southern Most Point in US
The Southern Most Point in the US
Photo credit: Stefan Kokemüller

 


 

This is an abbreviated version of what is probably the most

 important study ever done concerning our Ecosystems:

Endangered Ecosystems: A Status Report

 

A most comprehensive web site describing

 the physical characteristics of Florida:

Florida Environments Online

Geomorphology of Florida Peninsula

 

A printable calendar of when and

where to see Florida Wildlife:

Wildlife Viewing

 


Places to learn more:

 

Defenders of Wildlife

Endangered Ecosystems

 

DEP

Florida's Coral Reef

Keys Land Acquisition

 

Environmental Health News

Environmental Site about Florida's Waters

 

ESWR: Endangered Species and Wetlands Report

Newsletter Covering the Endangered Species Act

 

Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Conducting Investigations of Wetlands and Wildlife resources

 

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

The Post News

 

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The Conservation Commission List

 

Florida Museum of Natural History

Endangered Species of the Keys

Florida Keys

 

Florida Native Plant Society

Ecosystems of Florida

 

Florida Natural Areas Inventory

Ecological Data Concerning Florida Conservation

 

Florida Power and Light Environmental Programs

FPL Programs Protecting Endangered or Threatened Species

 

National Park Service

Coral Reefs

Florida Keys

 

NOAA

Coral Reef Information System

Encyclopedia of National Marine Sanctuaries

Florida Keys Sanctuary

Florida Keys Sanctuary History

 

Preservation 2000

Conserving Florida's Natural Land and Water

 

Sierra Club of Florida

Biodiversity

 

University of Florida IFAS

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation

 

UF/IFAS Extension

Wildlife in Peril: South Florida

 

US Fish & Wildlife Service

The Endangered Species Program

TESS: Directory of FWS Endangered Species

 

USGS

Mapping Florida Coral Reefs

 

USGS - Biological Resources

Endangered Ecosystems

Scientific Data About our Nation's Biological Resources

 

USGS - SOFIA

Habitat and Species Recovery

Land Management

SOFIA: USGS Kids Page for Florida's Ecosystems

South Florida Recovery

Virtual Tour of the Keys

 


 

Walking with the Alligators

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