Fly Fishing Shaman
My name is Flip Pallot and I write in response to having read your Miami Herald piece on python invasion...I was born and raised, as were my parents, in South Dade County. I grew up in the Everglades alongside many of its' pioneers, or Gladesmen. I knew the Glades intimately from Cape Sable to Alligator Alley...from west of Miami to the Gulf of Mexico...I ran airboats, polled canoes, Glade Skiffs, walked and waded the best part of my life through what was the most precious eco-system on the planet. The number of ducks, wading birds, deer, otters, hogs, bear, lions and other fur bearers was astounding and virtually remembered today by very few! The road from Florida City down through the Everglades National Park to the village of Flamingo, at the bottom of the State, was literally infested with deer, swamp rabbits, snakes, frogs, crawfish, gators, hawks, nesting turtles and crows...while the prairies on either side of the road were covered in vegetation which no longer exists. As far as the eye could see there were thousands of wading birds of every species...now all gone, their rookeries abandoned. Ride down that road for the next 100 mornings and you will not see a single deer or swamp rabbit and birds only where a very few puddles of water exist.
It's mostly gone now, never to be restored, which has nothing at all to do with wild hog invasions, python invasions or the "Skunk Ape". Someone should have the "Stones" to look the problem in the eye and call it what it is rather than blame the python and hog for the death of the Everglades! It's like saying
"My eyesight is getting really bad because of my hemorrhoids".
What the loss of every single thing in the Everglades has in common is WATER!....The lack of it when and where needed and the quality of it when it is present, is the only issue. The fact that so much of the Everglades is closed and/or inaccessible to the people who care about it and would blow the whistle on real problems does not help. Focus your attention for a moment on the dollar value of chemicals that the State and municipalities buy each year to kill unwanted aquatic vegetation. EVERY SINGLE DAY, AROUND THE ENTIRE STATE, IN EVERY ROADSIDE DRAINAGE DITCH, EVERY LAKE, EVERY RIVER AND STREAM...VIRTUALLY EVERY BODY OF WATER IN THE ENTIRE STATE is being sprayed with herbicides...basically a generic "Round Up" manufactured by Monsanto. There is little or no science, other than that supplied by the manufacturer, dealing with its effects upon amphibians, larval stages of fish or crustaceans or the life of the chemical in marl, mud or the decomposed plant matter that it creates. All this to eliminate hydrilla, hyacinth, water lettuce and other aquatics deemed noxious by governments. This chemical and others, surely find their way into the aquifer which underlies the State. It also finds its way into rivers, braids and sheet flow that ultimately make their way into the Everglades and other estuaries which are suffering from algae blooms and sea grass die offs and even the death of offshore coral reefs. Follow the dollars back to the providers of these chemicals and you will understand the real nature of the problem. Add to all that, the damage done by agri-interests north of the Everglades, run-off from golf courses, private homes, public streets, effluent releases untreated for anti-biotics and steroids, the flushing of millions of toilets, the selfish manipulation of water levels in the Everglades.......and then, in prospective,......figure how much damage the python has really caused. Hell, we should be nice to the python...he may be the last creature standing in the Everglades as that national treasure slips away!
My God....We're doing this to ourselves!!!!!!!
- Flip Pallot