Recently, in a story about the Okefenokee swamp that _________ the Florida-Georgia state line, we noted that it’s a true swamp, unlike the more famous Everglades that cover a _________ lot of South Florida.
In fact, Everglades National Park could be called the world’s _________ river. It’s a vast, extremely slow-moving _________ of water — 180 kilometers (112 miles) wide and no more than a meter deep in most places — stretching all the way from the _________ of Miami on the Atlantic Coast across to Naples on the Gulf of Mexico.
You could call the glades a River of Grass, too: _________ yellow sawgrass that can slice you open
The Everglades were once a formidable frontier. When the United States was pushing Spain out of Florida in the 19th Century, its fiercest _________ was a band of Seminole Indians who harbored escaped U.S. criminals and southern slaves in the Everglades on dry patches of ground called _________.
In the early 20th Century, when Miami, now a great international city, had only 1,600 residents, nobody could figure out how to _________ the Everglades or overcome the _________ of mosquitoes that brought yellow fever and attacked work crews who tried to lay railroad ties or build towns.
Over the years, though, engineers solved the _________ problem, and the edges of the great River of Grass were steadily drained for housing developments, canals, and roads. Sometimes the results were _________, as vegetation dried and caught fire, and ditches _________ away fresh water.
Wildlife has also been threatened as the glades _________. The National Park Service estimates that the number of _________ birds has declined from a quarter of a million in the 1930s to fewer than 20,000 today.
But you’ll still see plenty of alligators. They sun themselves along the old, two-lane state road through the Everglades, which may be _________ but are still an awesome sight. There’s nothing like them, anywhere in the world.