This year South Florida has had the worst drought since 1932, when rainfall record keeping began. Here, we depend on the Biscayne Aquifer for our water. Recently, its level dropped an alarming and unprecedented foot in two weeks’ time. Saltwater intrusion threatens our wells. Lake Okeechobee, the back-up source for South Florida’s water, is so low that additional water restrictions have become effective. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that as of a week ago we officially entered the rainy season. Clear cerulean skies have given way to billowing cumulus clouds. Once again we hear thunder rumbling in the distance. Night skies flash with lightning.
The rains have come! It seems as if all nature has burst forth in celebration. Parched lawns and gardens have greened.
Plants burst into bloom.
Snails prowl on rain-slick twigs.
Treefrogs can be heard singing in the night. When day breaks they seek out shady places to hide and rest.
Brown Anoles seek their mates on water dappled leaves. Males flash their dewlaps. Look at ME!
In the freshened grass, baby toads perfect their hopping skills while feasting on tasty insects.
Is it possible that our drought will end? Perhaps this season’s rains will restore the thirsty Everglades and refill our aquifer. We hope so. For now, it seems that all of nature has joined in a precipitation celebration.
Note: Even if the drought ends, all is not well. We have aliens in our midst. At least two of the animals featured above are invasive species from Cuba, the Cuban Treefrog and Brown Anole. As adorable as they may seem, they’re in the wrong place. The presence of non-native species in South Florida threatens the survival of native populations and upsets the ecological balance of the habitat they invade. Just writing this post has made me more aware of the dangers exotics pose and what I can do to help re-establish nature’s intended balance. I encourage you to research the natural balance in your area and learn how you can preserve it.