23 October 1999

Lorraine Heisler F.F.W.G.C.

225 154 Ave
Vero Beach, Florida 32968

Dear Lorraine,

During the past two months I have been making surveys within Conservation Area Three, taking water depth readings, photographing water lines on islands and dead deer. The health of our Everglades is deplorable to say the least.

I received a letter from Professor Harris of The University of Florida. I thought it worthy to forward to you a copy of the letter.

One important question which has never been answered, what do you intend to return The Everglades to?

There is a written plan, Proposed Plans of work for Tree Islands Research Final V.I.O. put out by The Florida Center for Environmental Studies in South Florida Water Management District. This proposed plan should be activated immediately before all wildlife and fig trees are killed.

I am forwarding some photographs taken prior and after Hurricane Irene. Note these photographs were taken when the slough measured 30 inches. I have tried to let the Restudy Team understand what damage that just 30 inches of water can do. Hopefully the photos will be helpful. First the deer fall dead second the fig trees fall dead. If Water Management, management practice does not change we will not have any vertebrates or trees left. Maybe the purpose as it was in Area Two. All indications are still moving in that direction swiftly. I am forwarding some photographs and recorded measurements of slough depth and water over islands. I hope you find this information beneficial to your needs. 

Photo #1 Was taken on October 19 on EL RANCHO. Which is one of the highest islands south of the The Alley to Highway 41.  On October 19 slough measured 30 inches. Island was 9 1/2 inches under water. Fig trees normally have a strong and vast root system which extend beyond its branches. Note in photo that all roots have completely rotted away. This very serious trend which is taking place throughout Area Three. The only chance for there survival is to manage a natural drought condition to let the soil firm up and air itself which gives the trees a chance to regain its strength to grow a new root system.

Photo #2 September 23. Dead doe off Smoker Island. Slough measured 20"

Photo #3 Dead doe with two fawns, one fawn dead the other alive. Photo was taken before Hurricane Irene on October 14, Slough measured 20".

Photo #4 Taken on October 19 on Bergeron Island. Fawn standing on only dry area is wooden walkway. Dead doe and fawn in water. Seven and a half inches of water over the island. One fig tree fallen, the tree with stop sign can fall anytime. Slough measured 30" NOTICE. This island clearly tells us what 30" of water does to vertebrates and plant life. This is why I have tried so hard to make the Restudy Team understand the seriousness of water depths and time tables. These pictures show exactly what I was trying to avoid.


Tom Shirley

P.S.   To say to The Restudy Team "I told you so" does not give me joy, only hurt and bewilderment, that the team can be so far off in understanding the cause of life and death of The Everglades.

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