Wetlands

, Volume 34, Supplement 1, pp 189–200 | Cite as

A Review of the Effects of Altered Hydrology and Salinity on Vertebrate Fauna and Their Habitats in Northeastern Florida Bay

Hydrologic Restoration

Abstract

Estuarine productivity is highly dependent on the freshwater sources of the estuary. In Florida Bay, Taylor Slough was historically the main source of fresh water. Beginning in about 1960, and culminating with the completion of the South Dade Conveyance System in 1984, water management practice began to change the quantity and distribution of flow from Taylor Slough into Northeastern Florida Bay. These practices altered salinity and hydrologic parameters that had measurable negative impacts on vertebrate fauna and their habitats. Here, I review those impacts from published and unpublished literature and anecdotal observations. Almost all vertebrates covered in this review have shown some form of population decline since 1984; most of the studies implicate declines in food resources as the main stressor on their populations. My conclusion is that the diversion of fresh water resulted in an ecological cascade starting with hydrologic stresses on primary then secondary producers culminating in population declines at the top of the food web.

Keywords

Florida Bay Everglades Taylor Slough Water management Population declines 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank John Kipp, Lori Oberhofer, Sonny Bass and especially the late John C. Ogden for their contributions to my understanding of the subject matter. This publication was produced as part of a special issue devoted to investigating the ecological response of over 20 years of hydrologic restoration and active management in the Taylor Slough drainage of Everglades National Park. Support for this special issue was provided by; the Everglades National Park, the Southeast Environmental Research Center, the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program (National Science Foundation cooperative agreement #DBI-0620409), the Everglades Foundation and the South Florida Water Management District.

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Audubon Florida Tavernier Science CenterTavernierUSA

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