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The Kissimmee Prairie Sanctuary has a neighboring ranch actively blocking all southward water flow and impounding the water on the Sanctuary. This ongoing drainage problem floods the Sanctuary so deeply that the federally and state endangered population of Florida Grasshopper Sparrows have not successfully reproduced in the past 3 years. El Nino weather patterns have produced so much precipitation this year that presently, the Sanctuary is not suitable for the upcoming breeding season in March. For more than two years, Audubon has worked with State and Federal Agencies to re-establish southward water flow but has no on-the-ground results to date. Therefore, Audubon presently has two options: 1) allow the drainage problem to continue this year, probably creating a fourth consecutive failed breeding season, or 2) breach the dike that blocks water flow, releasing excess water, and giving the sparrows a better chance to breed. Option 1 risks the sparrow and Audubon's purpose for having the Sanctuary; option 2 puts Audubon at risk with government agencies and neighbors who will receive this water. A third option-emergency agency intervention-is being vigorously pursued and agencies have been notified of our predicament, with the request for emergency action. In this document, I outline the history of the problem and offer support for a recommendation that Audubon follow option 2 if option 3 does not materialize.
Ranchers, Law and legislation, Florida, Okeechobee, Lake (Fla.), Grasshopper sparrow
Ranchers; Law and legislation; Grasshopper sparrow
Florida; Okeechobee, Lake (Fla.)
University of South Florida USF
Lorida Audubon Collection