Rising Seas Threaten Everglades’ Rare Plants: Study

A new study has revealed that rise in the sea level and invasive species is a growing threat to rare plants in Everglades National Park.

The study was conducted for a 10-year period on 59 plant species, by the Delray Beach-based Institute for Regional Conservation.

In the study, the researchers have found that 16 of those species may have already vanished from the park whereas other species have not fully recovered yet from long-ago damage caused by orchid collectors and attempts to drain the Everglades.

According to the researchers, rising seas and invasive plants such as Brazilian pepper are responsible for the complications faced by recovery efforts in a complex, remote ecosystem.

The park officials said that the study findings will prove helpful to them as they will be able to prioritize the most vulnerable plants present along the coast during the adjustment in the park management plans.

Last year, a congressionally mandate report had suggested incorporating climate change and invasive species management into Everglades restoration.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced 20 grant projects costing more than $4 million for the conservation of the plants. These projects are a part of the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program.

It is part of Michigan's new invasive species initiative, aiming to address the ongoing problem of harmful, non-native species.

The main projects that will be funded under this initiate include plans to map and treat oak wilt, enhance collaboration of the Clean Boats, Clean Waters campaign and integrate aquatic invasive species plan management, and many more.

DNR Director Keith Creagh said the grants will be used in the funding of crucial work to battle invasive species, posing a major threat to Michigan's world-class natural resources.

He added, "State agencies can't undertake this effort alone. Partnerships are vital to keeping our waters, woods and coasts thriving as healthy ecosystems, while at the same time providing the economic and recreational benefits that citizens expect from their outdoor experiences".