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The next episode of Waterways ventures 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, to Dry Tortugas National Park, where park staff, masons, conservation specialists and the 482nd Civil Engineers Squadron from Homestead Air Reserve Base are hard at work preserving Fort Jefferson.
Preservation has been ongoing at the fort for a number of years-from repairing the fort's walls and its brick façade, replacing the Totten shutters designed to protect the fort and the men firing the cannon, to preserving 25-ton Rodman cannon and replicating their platforms and carriages.
Fort Jefferson's cannon never did fire a shot in battle-the fort's size and design was enough of a deterrent. Located on Garden Key, Fort Jefferson is the largest all-masonry fort in the United States. It was under construction from 1846 until 1889, but was never completed because the growth of the United States Navy, technological advances in warship design, and the advent of large ship-borne rifled artillery advanced beyond the fort's defensive capabilities.
More than 200 episodes of Waterways have aired since 1993. The series is a joint endeavor between Everglades National Park, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Waterways provides viewers with information on the diverse wonders of the south Florida ecosystem and the waterways that help support it.
Waterways: Fort Jefferson Preservation will begin airing this month on public and government channels throughout the state of Florida-check your local listings for scheduling. This and other episodes of Waterways can be also viewed on YouTube.