Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. While there's still an abundance of wild creatures that make use of the waters and remaining wetland habitats associated with Lake Okeechobee, their numbers are diminished and the relative numbers of different species have changed. Now, the Everglades Coalition, including both governmental and private groups, hope to change the negative course for the past several decades. Efforts to restore Lake Okeechobee will include curbs on run-off waters from agricultural lands, storing water in the system rather than sending it straight to the ocean, and greater sensitivity to providing flows of water from Lake Okeechobee to mimic the timing and extent of natural flows prior to dike construction. This will limit future pollution and begin to restore the natural conditions of the Everglades. But decades of pollution and retention of water behind Okeechobee's dikes have resulted in sediments rich in phosphorus and other pollutants. Recent studies have suggested that a major hurricane stirs up these sediments, re-polluting the Okeechobee system. One restoration effort may involve removing contaminated mud from the lake bottom. The task is a big one, but the commitment is strong.'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.