Everglades National Park

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Sawgrass, Everglades National Park, Florida- click to see full size image
This is the Shark River Slough in the north part of the park, near the Shark Valley Visitor Center off state highway 41. The Shark River Slough is the main "river of grass" in the Everglades and flows across the park from the north, sweeping in a wide curve to the west and the gulf of Mexico. It is a very shallow slough, ranging from a few inches to 3 feet deep. The width of the slough is between 10 and 30 miles if you only count the deeper areas. If the shallower areas (often called prairie rather than slough) are included it is up to 70 miles wide. The water flows very slowly through the slough, moving maybe 100 feet each day. It flows even slower in the shallow prairies. Sawgrass creates the primary plant in the slough and prairie. During the dry winter season some of the most shallow areas dry out. This photo was taken at the end of the dry winter season, so the grass is more brown than it would be at other seasons. The Sawgrass name comes from the tiny sharp teeth on the edges of the grass blades. They will cut bare skin if you are not careful. The large dark green plants in the photo are islands in the slough, these islands are called hardwood hammocks. The hammocks are covered with a dense growth of shrubs, vines and trees.

 


Text, photos, and images by Jess Stryker, unless noted. Copyright © Jess Stryker, 2008. All rights reserved.
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