Coastal Prairies

  • Coastal prairies are located inland from the mud flats of the Florida Bay

coastal prairie landscape

Coastal prairie. Photo courtesy U.S Geological Survey

Coastal prairies occur along the western coast of the Everglades. Located between the dry land and tidal mud flats of the Florida Bay, coastal prairies are formed by the inland movement of mud during strong storms and hurricanes. These arid habitats often experience strong winds and may become flooded by storms and hurricanes.

Fire Impact

  • Lightning strikes are responsible for the majority of fires

coastal prairie fire

Scorched habitat. Photo courtesy South Florida Water Management District

Fires are often started by lightning strikes, burning large areas of land. However, these fires rarely threaten human life or property and are often allowed to burn freely. Coastal prairie diversity is maintained by these periodic fires.

coastal lightning strike  NOAA

Lightning. Photo courtesy National Weather Service

Glossary terms on page:

  • diversity: refers to the variety of species within a given association, areas of high diversity are characterized by a great variety of species.