"Waterways” explores Big Cypress and Keys’ canals

Photo Key Largo canal. Poor water quality in Keys' canals is being addressed.

The "Waterways" series continues its exploration of the south Florida ecosystem in a new two-segment episode. This latest episode takes a look at Everglades National Park’s neighbor to the north—Big Cypress National Preserve—and a plan to clean-up the manmade canals in the Florida Keys.

The first segment, “Keys’ Canal Clean-up, Demonstration Restoration,” delves into efforts to improve water quality in Florida Keys canals, which were historically dug too long and deep, resulting in little or no circulation, and where decades of septic tank and cess-pit leaks have degraded water quality. To combat these problems, Monroe County completed a Phase 1 Canal Management Master Plan to develop a framework for Keys canal restoration and management.

“Exploring Big Cypress, America’s First National Preserve” travels through the freshwaters of the Big Cypress Swamp, essential to the health of neighboring Everglades National Park. Protecting over 729,000 acres, Big Cypress National Preserve contains a mixture of tropical and temperate plant communities that are home to a diversity of wildlife, including the elusive Florida panther. Today, nearly one million visitors explore the preserve each year.

With more than 200 episodes produced since 1993, the "Waterways" series is a joint project between Everglades National Park, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, informing viewers of the diverse wonders of the south Florida ecosystem, and the research and conservation programs that protect them.

“Waterways” airs on public and government channels throughout the state of Florida — check local listings for scheduling. Episodes can be viewed on the WaterwaysTvShow YouTube channel.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects 2,900 square nautical miles of critical marine habitat, including coral reef, hard bottom, sea grass meadows, mangrove communities and sand flats. NOAA and the state of Florida manage the sanctuary.

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency supports the Waterways program through the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program established in 1993 and dedicated to the restoration and protection of corals, shellfish, wildlife and recreational activities on the water.

To learn more, visit the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program.