Audubon’s Everglades Science Coordinator, Dr. Paul Gray said to expect the area to host 14 species of wading birds, 20 species of waterfowl, lots of fish, amphibians, and even otters. He claimed the wetlands might have the largest impact on North American migratory birds, whose populations have declined 30% in the last three decades.
Because Florida acts as a “funnel” for North American birds going south for the winter, they often spend time in our area “fattening up” for the long flight over the water to South America, Gray said.
“Songbirds can double their body weight in two weeks. They may only be here for two weeks, but those two weeks are extremely important. You’ve got to make it all the way across,” Gray said.
A TRUE PARTNERSHIP
Another unexpected benefit of the Brighton Valley water project might be the truly win-win nature of the collaboration. For those who work the land, it’s a welcome opportunity to practice good land stewardship (one of Lykes’ core values).
For policymakers and water management districts, it’s a cost- effective way to move the needle forward on lofty environmental and public health goals. For ecologists and the species they care about, it’s a gift.
Meanwhile, amongst the bird calls, rustling palm fronds, and the gentle whisper of moving water deep in the heart of old Florida, there’s something else to be felt: inspiration. And hope.
As Senator Ben Albritton said during his turn at the mic, “Twenty-five years ago this kind of stuff wasn’t popular, but we see today the value. What are we going to see the value in next?”