Video: Saving Lake Okeechobee

Florida's Everglades have a huge advocate in Nathaniel Reed, who's been fighting for decades to preserve the vast ecosystem. In this video, he reflects on the condition of the Everglades' lifeblood—Lake Okeechobee.

Florida’s Everglades are a national treasure. This huge, complex ecosystem, a place of sawgrass prairies, brackish marshes, deepwater sloughs, and hardwood “hammocks,” is home to a vast array of wildlife, including the American crocodile, the rare Florida panther, and an amazing variety of birdlife, from wood storks and roseate spoonbills to the endangered Everglade snail kite. (Read "Life Support," Incite, November-December 2011.)

The key to the health of the Everglades is fresh water, most of it flowing out of central Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. Without a healthy Okeechobee, the fabled River of Grass cannot survive. As development and agriculture claim an ever-growing part of this life-sustaining water, it’s up to us, all of us, to defend this natural wonder.

Perhaps no one has worked harder and longer for the Everglades and Okeechobee than Nathaniel Reed. A former Audubon board member and Assistant Secretary of the Interior under two U.S. presidents, Reed has spent decades fighting on behalf of the ecosystem, from Okeechobee to Florida Bay, working today through the Everglades Foundation. Perhaps just as important, few love the Everglades like he does. Here, in this remarkable video from Audubon, let Reed be your guide to this place of wonder.