GIZMODO: The Everglades Took a Beating From Hurricane Irma

Gizomodo: Written by Maddie Stone. September 16, 2017.

Floridians were spared the brunt of Hurricane Irma’s destructive power last week, when the storm instead took direct aim at some of the most pristine sections of the Everglades. Early reports from scientists suggest that these ecosystems saw serious damage, and could face a long road to recovery.

It’ll be some time before scientists can fully assess the damage Hurricane Irma inflicted on the sweaty, soupy swamp that covers much of South Florida south of Lake Okeechobee and west of Miami. But a recent aerial flyover by wetland ecologist Steve Davis of the Everglades Foundation revealed widespread destruction of seagrass beds in Florida Bay. Further up the coast, mangrove forests that were picked clean of their leaves are looking more like mass graveyards.

“Just large racks of floating dead seagrass in western Florida Bay, as far as the eye can see,” Davis told Gizmodo, describing the scene. “You could smell hydrogen sulfide, smell the decay underway.”

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