Thursday, August 22, 2013

Shovel Nose Sharks

“Are there sharks in Shark River Slough?” For once, to a certain degree, Rangers can say, “Yes, the Shovel Nose Shark.” However, this isn’t the classic shark found in Jaws or the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. This is a shark that is more commonly found in the hands of volunteers, also known as a shovel.

President Truman once said, “Here are no lofty peaks seeking the sky,” but he failed to foresee man’s manipulation of the land where now we have lofty peaks like Mt. Schinus as a result of Hole-in-the-Donut restoration, and military soil berms surrounding missile barns.  It’s those mountains, specifically the Nike berms, which are eroding onto the launch pads below. To maintain the integrity of the site, volunteers use shovel nose sharks to dig away the excess dirt and rocks, and replace it back onto the berms.

Truman also said, “Here are no . . . rushing streams.” Again, he perceived the natural world and not the manmade. Everglades National Park has one main black river with several tributaries. Although not free flowing like the River of Grass, the black river of concrete does allow traffic to flow freely.  Over time, the black river is merely an obstacle for the ever growing vegetation to consume.  Plants, and later on dirt, encroaches and accumulates on the banks and shorelines minimizing the navigable path of the black river and its tributaries.  Volunteers have come again with their shovel nose sharks to increase the capacity and usability of the roads, parking lots, and paved trails within the park.

Want to learn more and handle a shovel nose shark?  Contact the Volunteer Coordinator today!

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