More than 160 white ibises are housed at the University of Floridas new Wetlands Ecological Research Aviary in Gainesville. The ibis is about the size of a chicken and has a long, decurved bill and blue eyes. Researchers at the facility will help federal and state agencies and other wildlife managers determine safe mercury levels for wildlife, especially for wading birds in the Florida Everglades. [The above photo depicts gray ibises.] (AP Photo/University of Florida/IFAS/ Josh Wickham)
Wading birds like ibises and egrets fail to thrive when water levels are too high for wading birds to reach aquatic plants and animals. Likewise, during periods of drought and water levels that are too low, the number of marine plants and animals diminishes. Good ecology attempts to balance all needs to the extent that those responsible for water management can manage those resources responsibly.