New South Florida Water Management District Report Highlights Steep Decline in Wading Bird Nesting
Last month the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) released the annual South Florida Wading Bird Report (http://bit.ly/1CkSKCK), which showed a steep decline in wading bird nesting in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem.
“The poor nesting efforts seen this year show that Everglades restoration cannot wait,” said Dr. Tabitha Cale, Audubon Everglades Policy Associate. “Continued implementation of restoration will allow the Everglades to support greater wading bird nesting even in the face of other factors like sea level rise, invasive species threats, and fluctuations in rainfall patterns.”
In their report, the SFWMD estimated wading bird nesting in 2014 to be 28% lower than last year. A total of 34,714 nests were recorded. Little Blue Herons, Tricolored Herons, and Snowy Egrets showed the most dramatic reductions in nesting, dropping by 83%, 42%, and 47% respectively.
The decline in nesting of these and other wading birds species is due to the lack of suitable foraging habitat across South Florida, highlighting the urgency of Everglades restoration projects. The survival of wading birds in the Everglades depends on how quickly important restoration projects move forward and restore the flow of freshwater. Nesting data are more positive from areas where restoration efforts are making progress.
“Despite the mediocre overall year, the 2014 South Florida Wading Bird Report shows that where Everglades restoration projects start working, the birds and wildlife rebound,” added Dr. Paul Gray, Audubon’s Northern Everglades Science Coordinator.
Additional information can be found in Audubon Florida’s latest Fact Sheet: http://bit.ly/1BHRdHG. The SFWMD report can be found here: http://bit.ly/1CkSKCK.