It’s that time of year again! This is the time of year we plan and prepare for tropical storms and hurricanes making their way toward our coastlines. These natural disasters can devastate human life, property, and infrastructure. However, hurricanes impact more than just humans. They can significantly damage the balance of the delicate wildlife and ecosystems of the affected regions. Read on to learn more about how severe storms affect the beloved wildlife of the Peace River.
Destruction of Habitat
When hurricanes strike, wildlife is subjected to harsh conditions, often leading to injury, displacement, and sometimes death. Powerful and devastating winds uproot trees and vegetation, destroying homes, habitats, and nesting sites, leaving these creatures exposed and without shelter.
Equally harmful, storm surge pushes large amounts of seawater onto the land, flooding habitats and destroying nesting areas for animals such as sea turtles and shorebirds. This change in water levels can disorient marine life, making them prone to injury or death.
Disruption of Migration, Feeding and Breeding
Many animals rely on predictable weather patterns to migrate to breeding and feeding grounds. Hurricanes disrupt these patterns, causing confusion and disorientation among wildlife. Strong headwinds can exhaust migrating birds and throw them off their natural course. In addition, Storm surges and flooding result in seawater and freshwater bodies mixing, altering salinity levels. This can disrupt breeding, affect reproduction cycles, and decline biodiversity within these fragile ecosystems.
Sediment Runoff and Damage to Freshwater species
Heavy flooding often leads to sediment runoff from coastal and inland areas. This sediment influx into waterways can clog fish gills, suffocate organisms, and carry pollutants into aquatic ecosystems, disturbing the balance of marine life and causing harmful algae blooms. As saltwater enters into freshwater habitats, a salinity imbalance occurs. This is harmful to plants and animals that thrive in a freshwater environment.
Recognizing the impact of hurricanes on Florida’s wildlife is crucial in developing strategies for conservation, habitat restoration, and the protection of vulnerable species.
Join us for a tour for an up-close look at the fantastic wildlife and habitats of the Peace River! We’re located in Desoto County, just a short drive from Sarasota, Venice, North Port, and Myakka City. Reserve your spot today!