Marl Prairie

In the Everglades, both Shark River Slough and Taylor Slough are flanked by short hydroperiod (3–8 months) marl prairies, habitat of the endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow. In the marl prairie landscape, a normal dry season is essential for its characteristic vegetation and habitat quality.

See the results for marl prairie in the Greater Everglades.

Photo credit: Emily Nastase.

How is it measured?

This indicator is measured in the Greater Everglades. Conditions of marl prairies within the habitat of all six sub-populations (A–F) of the sparrow were regularly monitored from 2003–2010. After 2010, monitoring focused mainly on habitat change along marl prairie-slough gradient transects, within C111 Spreader Canal Project area (Sub-population D), and recently burned areas. In 2016, monitoring of sparrow habitat partly resumed and additional monitoring sites were added in the northeastern portion of sub-population A, the western portion of sub-population E, and between sub-populations E and F. Evaluation of marl prairie conditions includes an analysis of EDEN data-derived hydrologic metrics, and an assessment of the change in vegetation-inferred hydroperiod. Analyzing relative changes in vegetation-inferred hydroperiod between successive sampling years tests the hypothesis that vegetation in the Cape Sable seaside sparrow habitat has changed in response to short-term hydrological changes over the same period. There are two indicators for Marl Prairie; vegetation inferred hydroperiod (Marl Prairies and Slough Gradient) and Vegetation inferred hydroperiod (Cape Sable seaside sparrow habitat).