As if the Everglades weren’t green enough, scientists are releasing fluorescent green dye into Florida’s most famous wetland ecosystem. What? But it’s not even St. Patrick’s Day! No...but it is a celebration of sorts. Officials are letting part of the Everglades flow freely for the first time since the 1960s, when canals and levees were constructed to control flooding. From now until the end of December, researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, the South Florida Water Management District, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will track the nontoxic dye to see how water flows naturally through the “river of grass.”
The water will course through canals, moving sediment and nutrients that have been stuck in the swamp for decades. How fast the eerie dye creeps through the waterway, and how much sediment the lime-green water carries into the Florida Bay, will help inform decisions about the Everglades’ future restoration. As one advisor said: “It’s not just an engineering question. It’s also a biological question.”
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