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New Study Determines Why Water Levels are Dropping at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary boardwalk.jpg
Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary boardwalk.

As more and more land has been developed in Collier County over the decades, canals operated to drain water during heavy rains from low-lying communities have also pulled water faster out of Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, and that’s causing significant problems for this 13,000 acre wetland of international significance that’s been protected by Audubon for more than 100 years.

This is the main finding from a recent modelling study conducted by the sanctuary in partnership with Fort Myers-based Water Science Associates, with funding from the South Florida Water Management District’s Big Cypress Basin.

Lower water levels during the dry season have prevented wood stork nesting, reduced water recharge and wildfire protection benefits, and contributed to poor downstream water quality which can lead to harmful algal blooms including red tide. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary was once one of the most abundant wood stork rookeries in the United States.

We’re joined by Dr. Shawn Clem, Research Director at Audubon Florida’s Western Everglades Research Center at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, and Brad Cornell, Southwest Florida Policy Associate with Audubon of the Western Everglades and Audubon Florida, to explore about the study’s results, and explore possible solutions.

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