Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Whitewater Bay is a unique estuary within Everglades National Park. Near the southwest tip of the Florida peninsula, it separates Cape Sable peninsula from mainland Florida. Whitewater Bay is an expanse of brackish water dotted with myriad mangrove islands. Opening to the northwest into the Gulf of Mexico, Whitewater Bay drains the Everglades river of sawgrass. Sloughs are veins and arteries that carry the lifeblood of this rich estuary: nutrient-laden freshwater from the north. Tidal pulses maintain the brackish environment, flushing nutrients beyond Whitewater Bay to nourish the nearby shallow Gulf of Mexico. The name 'Whitewater Bay' is fair warning to those who venture into this wilderness. This vast estuary has more open water than anywhere else in the Everglades. Storms from the west generate rough wave action and continually reconfigure islands and sloughs. Venturing into Whitewater Bay without a guide or extensive experience can be deadly. Wildlife abounds in this mangrove wilderness and Whitewater Bay manatees, wood storks, ospreys, bald eagles, anhingas, and several heron and egret species harvest the riches of the Everglades ecosystem.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.