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New Dawn for the Kissimmee River
First Place winner of the 2008 Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers Association in the unpublished travel category.
First Place winner of the 2010 Excellence in Craft Award for an outdoor book by the Florida Outdoor Writers Association.
The Kissimmee Valley, which includes the Kissimmee chain of lakes and Kissimmee River, covers an area from Orlando to Lake Okeechobee. The headwaters and grand gateway to the Everglades, the area is the domain of the alligator and bald eagle, snail kite and spoonbill, stretching more than 100 miles through central Florida.
Between 1960 and 1971, the Army Corps of Engineers straightened and diverted the river’s flow to control persistent flooding. These alterations shortened the length of the Kissimmee, significantly reduced wildlife populations, and created a lucrative real estate market that further threatened native species. In 1992, Congress acted to restore the river to its original flow.
In the spring of 2007, Doug Alderson joined an expedition down the Kissimmee chain of lakes and the newly restored river. Chronicled nightly on local television, the group witnessed firsthand the recovering bird populations, spotted otters, turtles, alligators, and other wildlife, and revealed to thousands of viewers the hidden beauty of this part of Florida.
In New Dawn for the Kissimmee River, Alderson uses this twelve-day paddling excursion as a thread to explore the history and ecology of the region, while highlighting the most successful restoration project of its kind in the world, the model for the overall Everglades restoration plan.
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