National Geographic : 1972 Jan
Dead from oxygen starvation, hundreds of bream and carp float on a Shark River Slough canal. First to die as the water level sinks are bream and bass; the last are the hardy gar, which can rise to the surface and gulp the air they need. Vultures became sur feited, and park rangers had the noisome task of hauling away the decaying fish. The park receives 56 percent of its surface water from the swamp. Although many of the large cypress trees have been logged, the unique area is still extremely beautiful. A threat to its beauty-and ecology-was thwarted last year when citizens halted the building of a huge jetport. A leader in the fight was Joe Browder of Washington, D. C., Conservation Director for Friends of the Earth. He joined me as I toured Big Cypress. We went out the Loop Road to Robert's Lake Strand, to a pond Joe knew well. It was dry. Watermarks ringed the fascinating array of cypress knees that studded the ground.