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Invasive Species

  • Experts from academic, government and non-profit agencies gathered to evaluate potential invasive species to Florida based on the likelihood of arrival, likelihood of establishment and spread, and potential ecological, economical and human health impacts. Of 460 vertebrates, invertebrates, algae and plants determined to have some invasive characteristics suitable to Florida, 40 species were classified as being at higher risk of invasion. The determination of a species as high-risk does not mean it is of immediate concern; more thorough analyses are required to consider, for example, placement on a monitoring or regulatory list.
  • A coordinated series of efforts over 10 years to eradicate the spectacled caiman from the Western Everglades resulted in the removal of 251 of the creatures
  • Naples resident Jake Waleri, who is 22 and an amateur python hunter, caught a world-record 19-footer with some friends earlier this month in the Big Cypress National Preserve.
  • Fifteen years ago, there was no noticeable problem with the Carolina willows at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Slowly, the native plant species grew to the extent of being considered invasive.This particular willow, almost by itself, has expanded the definition of “invasive species” to include particularly aggressive plants that are native to Florida, not just faraway exotics.
  • As director of new UF/IFAS Invasion Science Research, Dr. Matthew Thomas will bring together more than 120 UF/IFAS scientists dedicated to the control of nonnative and invasive wildlife and plant species.
  • Let’s say that, for fun, you wanted to go into alligator-infested area, hip-deep in water where you can’t see the bottom, standing in mushy marl, in the middle of the night, and try to capture a huge snake that in turn may want to capture you. Then, the Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “2022 Florida Python Challenge®” is for you.
  • The largest Burmese python ever discovered in Florida was captured from the Everglades and brought to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida for research. The female python, weighing in at 215 pounds and 18 feet long, had 122 eggs inside of her, which is the largest egg count ever recorded for a python.
  • Right now there is a box-shaped, metal contraption sliding along the surface of Lake Okeechobee. It’s called a boat, but it resembles an aluminum scooper that doesn’t look like it should float. It moves with paddlewheels and sports a pitchfork. The smelly, messy endeavor is the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s latest stab at ways to rid Lake Okeechobee of the invasive species.
  • Roseate spoonbills and other wading birds are loving Florida Audubon’s efforts to remove invasive Carolina willows that have overtaken vital wet prairies inside the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary east of Naples. “Our marsh and prairie restoration efforts are helping bring birds back to areas within the sanctuary that had been overtaken by Carolina willow,” Lisa Korte, director of the sanctuary, said Friday. “Nature’s response to our restoration process is rapid." Wet prairies are a vital part of the Everglades. The low-depressions fill with moving water, grasses thrive, and critters crawl and swim in the shallow marsh. That, in turn, brings wading birds and other creatures to enjoy the cool water and poke around for a meal." The Carolina willow is among the plants and animals native to Florida that are expanding the definition of “invasive species.”
  • Environmental groups working to restore the Florida Everglades were elated to learn Wednesday that $1.1 billion from the federal infrastructure package has been earmarked to help pay for the massive, multi-decade restoration. The money will be used to hasten the efforts to undo the extensive environmental damage the Everglades suffered in the early 1900s, when the Army Corps built canals, locks and levees in a massive water management and flood control plan before the damaging environmental impacts of such efforts were fully known. Improving water quality and quantity is the Everglades is a top priority.