In the beginning of January, a high school group from Iowa on an Alternative Winter Break (AWB), traveled to Everglades National Park for service learning.They spent one day immersing themselves in the resources by participated on a Ranger guided canoe tour, and a wilderness walk in the Cypress habitat.For their service project, the 9 students and two teachers created 250 sandbags.Weighing 50lbs, they dumped the sand from its "paper bag" shipping container into acrylic military grade mesh sandbags. Do to their organization, and the students’ hard work - they accomplished this task extremely quickly!
(This group also re-organized the hydrology pipe-rack to clean out old material, weed, and sort the materials. Now the pipe rack is looking neater and will be easier to maintain.)
The sand bags were transported to Shark Valley by staff in preparation for another AWB group. In mid-January, a college group from University of Wisconsin met hydrologist Damon Rondeau at the Shark Valley Loop road off of Tamiami trail. Their job was to use the 250 sandbags created by the Iowa group to plug culverts along the western half of the tram road. This basically involved loading sandbags onto a trailer, then unloading them from the trailer and putting them in the culverts. This included either fully plugging or adding reinforcement bags to some 56 culverts along the road.
These two groups helped the SFNRC Physical Resource group maintain the necessary mitigation measures to help ensure possible operation changes in the water control features along Tamiami do not interfere with Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow nesting season. Just to point it out - the 250 sandbags equal 6.25 tons.