Relative distribution, abundance, and demographic structure of the American alligator in relation to habitat, water levels, and salinities
As important as alligators are in the Everglades ecosystem, surprisingly little is known about them outside of Everglades National Park. In this project, alligator surveys are performed in A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Water Conservation Areas 2 and 3, through Everglades National Park, which includes the estuaries of the Gulf of Mexico. The alligator survey network described above is the first system-wide, systematic effort to look at alligators throughout the Everglades.
The alligator survey network can provide information required for making policy decisions. For example, it can answer several questions including if canals affect the alligator population, and more importantly, how will the proposed removal of canals affect alligator populations and subsequently the surrounding marsh habitat.
An identified weakness of CERP is a lack of evidence for significant improvement of freshwater deliveries to estuarine areas, especially those draining into the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Bay. Because the distribution and abundance of alligators in estuaries is limited by the availability of freshwater, restoring alligator populations in areas of former importance would be an excellent indicator of restoration success.
2003 Report: Alligator Survey Network Monitoring Program: Relative Distribution, Abundance, and Demographic Structure of the American Alligator In Relation to Habitat, Water Level, and Salinities (PDF)