how can we restore the everglades

how can we restore the everglades

Models increasingly confirm that it is possible to effectively rehydrate all of the Everglades, including the National Park. We can grow algae on part of the filtration lands. It is strange to know that a considerable amount of what you see out in … Florida has huge swings in annual rainfall, which can vary by as much as 82 percent from average levels year to year, and water evaporates very rapidly during dry seasons. We have already made huge investments in water distribution and management to buffer ourselves from floods and drought, and to restore the ecology of the Everglades. What is the Everglades? Everglades restoration is the only way to get the water right so wading birds like wood storks can thrive. Linda Friar, National Park Service/Flickr, Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, as much as 82 percent from average levels year to year, South Florida Water Management District/Flickr. It also destroyed the St. Lucie and Fort Meyers estuaries by flooding them with unnatural pulses of fresh, and often polluted, water. Seagrass beds and mangrove forests along the coasts are already collapsing, partly due to reduced freshwater flow. The construction of the C-43 water reservoir is an important piece of the puzzle to restore the whole of the Everglades to its former glory. I’m aware of the proposals to fix things, but I won’t pretend to know the details. As I complete my 30th year as an ecologist studying and trying to restore this great place, it is increasingly clear that restoration can work and will benefit both wild spaces and people. The clean water goes to the Everglades. Conveyance and storage of massive amounts of water would be included, as well as the treatment of the polluted water before it is released, when needed, back into the Everglades. Saving the Everglades Collaborating with diverse stakeholders to yield conservation gains. In 2000 Congress approved the largest ecological restoration project in the world – the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, which is expected to take more than 35 years to complete and cost at least US$10.5 billion. In a 2015 report, the University of Florida’s Water Institute concluded that nearly all uncertainties and problems associated with Everglades restoration could be markedly improved by building more ponds and impoundments to store water. Peat soils in coastal forests are collapsing due to salt water intrusion. It’s a window of opportunity that’s wide open and the time to act is now. Peter Frederick currently receives funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for documentation of annual wading bird nesting responses to water management in the Everglades, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for work on American Oystercatcher habitat restoration. Start listening. Are you the creator of this podcast? “The Everglades is such a finely tuned machine, I guess you would say, that inches of water make profound differences in the landscape and the vegetation and the wildlife,” says Green. Current levels range between 100 and 300 ppb. We sell the carbon-neutral biofuels cheaper than petroleum products, and we make a fortune, ultimately billions of dollars per year. Still, progress is possible. Research Professor, University of Florida. Making dikes out of Florida’s porous rock is like trying to contain water with walls of Swiss cheese: they have to be very thick, and water cannot be stacked deeply for fear of rupturing those walls. In 2000, Congress passed the 30-year Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) to restore, protect… Maps Historical Everglades The historical Everglades stretched from Orlando to the Florida Keys. We need to clean the water, take out the fertilizer and build marshes that are designed to clean the water as it flows south.”, –Dr. Though we fought and were successful in getting Senate Bill 10 passed by the Senate, House and signed into law by the governor, the project was greatly reduced due to the lobbying efforts of Big Sugar. A critical piece of restoring the Everglades is to construct a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. 0. Together, we can pass the test. Adding so much phosphorus to the system can cause massive shifts from sawgrass plains to dense, oxygen-poor cattail monocultures, which outcompete sawgrass under higher nutrient conditions. In addition to repairing some of the damage to this unique ecosystem, the restoration is designed to ensure reliable clean drinking water supplies for South Florida cities and protect developed areas from flooding. Saving the Everglades HOW CAN WE SAVE THE EVERGLADES? Restoration thus is effectively at a standstill. A single tree can help to absorb the harmful effects of carbon dioxide in the air. This is expected to restore the ecological health of the entire Everglades ecosystem; from periphyton to fish to wading birds. The National Park Service dedicated over $67 million from the NPF Resource Recovery and Protection program and its Everglades Freshwater Wetlands Mitigation Trust Fund to help restore, research, monitor, and manage 6,600 acres of abandoned farmland inside Everglades National Park. Building more water storage facilities would also drastically improve our ability to remove phosphorus from the water. As development spread across Florida, farmers, ranchers and urban dwellers sought to control floods and manage water supplies during droughts. “To me it’s just a fascinating thing and I just want to learn everything I can about it.” An inability to restore the Everglades will spell disaster for hundreds of species, as well as people. Everglades1 - The Everglades What is the Everglades What have humans done that alter the structure and function of the Everglades How can we restore the To date, the CERP is the largest ecosystem restoration project in … An agreement was reached with all stakeholders signing off, including sugar and agricultural interests. Read more here. The state and federal governments are finally providing money to restore the Everglades, but voters and activists must continue to apply political pressure It’s a good time to be a heavy equipment operator or surveyor in South Florida, but only if the people keep speaking out. The Everglades landscape is flatter than a billiard table, and water tends to pool on it. Meanwhile, they can keep proclaiming themselves pro-environment because they support restoring the Everglades, even as they keep approving roads and other development-related projects that will cause additional environmental damage — damage that will, just like the Everglades, need to be fixed at taxpayer expense sometime in the future. Lying at the southern end of an immense watershed the size of New Jersey, ENP is caught between the largest man-made water project in the world upstream and a rapidly rising ocean downstream. Alligators created ponds to live in and crayfish burrowed into sediments during dry seasons. Include the answers to the following 4 questions in your essay: What is a wetland? Today we have an unparalleled opportunity to conserve and restore a fully functional, reconnected wetland corridor in the Everglades. Healthy ecosystems are vital to all life on Earth. Going the final miles will be cheap compared to the alternative, and future generations will thank us for it. It has to change.” Everglades restoration is funded annually by the United States Congress via direct appropriation to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior. One million acre-feet (an acre one foot deep) of storage, distributed across several locations both south and north of Lake Okeechobee, could substantially reduce water surpluses and shortages for farmers, tribes, city residents and the Everglades. A strategy called the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was enacted to restore portions of the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River, and Florida Bay to undo the damage of the past 50 years. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Florida Sea Grant, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the South Florida Water Management District, and the U.S. Geological Survey. As a result, it takes a lot of land to store water. Yet in the last one hundred years, ecosystems everywhere have fallen victim to degradation, with severe consequences for the environment and consequently wildlife and humans. Audubon's work to restore the Everglades is focused on implementing the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and other restoration projects to achieve ecological benefits and restore the characteristic abundance of wildlife. What man has so profoundly damaged, man must restore. They should get rid of the levee and just let it flow.” Opinions about how to fix the Everglades are easy to find. Perhaps more than any other U.S. national park, ENP’s treasures are hard to defend. Verify your account. The whole thing is basically due to a lack of sheet flow. You Can Help! Everglades National Park (ENP) is our only national wetland park, and one of the largest aquascapes in the world. The Everglades Foundation worked with nearly two-dozen other private and public organizations to identify the essential goals in working towards fulfilling CERP’s promise. Using Amendment 1 and other funds, we must identify and secure 60,000 acres of land south of the lake without delay, before development in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) or other uncertainties condemn our waters to irrevocable destruction. Every tree helps! Controversial from the start, CERP proposed an expensive and ecologically questionable plan to store summertime rainwater underground, then pump it into Everglades wetlands during winter. It’s nearly impossible to restore the Everglades as it was before, the "River of Grass" undisturbed by human exploitation, pollution, agricultural development, and suburban expansion. So, in honor of participating in National Wildlife Federation's Wildlife Week, here are a few ways that you can help protect the Everglades and the animals that call it home. It would take 30 years and cost $7.8 billion to complete. The Everglades are the largest subtropical wetland in North America, and contain unique biodiversity thought to not be found anywhere else in the United States. Facing these conditions, scientists and managers are privately and off-record debating the formerly unthinkable option of letting water that contains some intermediate level of phosphorus flow into the Everglades. Everglades Trust supports the 200-plus Everglades scientists who believe that increased storage, treatment and conveyance of water south of Lake Okeechobee is essential to stop the damaging discharges to the coastal estuaries; to restore the flow of clean, fresh water to Everglades National Park, Florida Bay and the Florida Keys; to improve the health of Lake Okeechobee; and to protect the drinking water for 8 million Floridians living in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Algae removes the nutrients and clean the water. Global climate change raises other uncertainties. Water storage is key to the future of cities, agriculture and Everglades restoration - the same structures buffer everyone. We need to clean the water, take out the fertilizer and build marshes that are designed to clean the water as it flows south.” –Dr. Ecology – Restoring the Everglades paper instructions: Write a 500-word essay titled "Restore the Everglades Ecosystem – Why and How?" Protect the Everglades by keeping your electronic devices off and unplugged when touring the Everglades. This infrastructure, which spans 16 counties, is operated today by the South Florida Water Management District. Historic water flow pattern through the Everglades (click for larger image). University of Florida provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US. Sawgrass, which grows throughout the Everglades, can withstand drought, floods and fires and thrives in soils that contain pathetically few nutrients. Then they could [close them and] drop these boats to the bottom in two days. Tom Van Lent, Ph.D., Vice President, Everglades Foundation. In 2000, Congress passed the 30-year Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) to restore, protect and preserve 18,000 square miles of land and water over 16 Florida counties. In 2000, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was announced as a joint project involving state, federal, and water management agencies. The critical dollars to build these project are available from both the federal government and the state of Florida. Fish and bird populations are not recovering, alligators are getting skinnier, invasive pythons are ranging unchecked and algal blooms repeatedly devastate Florida Bay. Engineers rerouted a huge portion of the water that flowed south into the Everglades from Lake Okeechobee, diverting it to Florida’s east and west coasts. The Everglades also protect South Florida residents from flooding and droughts. And as called for in CERP, the Everglades needs an above ground reservoir directly south of Lake Okeechobee located in the 500,000 acres of sugar cane fields that make up the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). This month, Floridians mark 20 years since Congress approved a federal-state framework to guide our efforts to restore the Everglades, a framework known as the Comprehensive Everglades … In 1948 Congress authorized the Central & Southern Florida Project, which would become the largest water works project in the world, with more than 2,000 miles of canals and dikes, 71 pump stations, over 600 water control structures and 625 culverts. Workable solutions are another story. This Everglades reservoir is the most important project that will significantly reduce the amount of freshwater that is currently being discharged east and west. APES Case Study 121- Can We Restore the Florida Everglades? Completing an integrated natural and human water system for south Florida will have a payoff comparable to a moon shot. Plants in South Florida evolved in soils that were naturally low in phosphorus, so the Everglades is hypersensitive to it. It’s easy! Nearly 83 percent of the Everglades lies outside of the national park, mostly on agricultural or state-protected lands. The Everglades Agricultural Area reservoir is a part of CERP that is designed to relieve the pressure on the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries by taking up water from Lake Okeechobee that is currently damaging the east and west coasts. In the heart of the south of Florida, a giant hydrological restoration project is taking place. But storing water is difficult and expensive in such a flat, porous landscape. We process the algae into oil and other bio-fuels. The Everglades drainage area stretches over 200 miles, starting near Orlando and reaching south to the Gulf of Mexico. But water coming out of Lake Okeechobee is polluted with phosphorus from fertilizer used on farms upstream. Open the locks and look how much water we’ve got running through. Many animals depend on this National Park and it’s up to us to protect it. Stormwater treatment ponds, used to remove excess phosphorus before discharging water into the Everglades. The Everglades Trust, Inc.is a Florida corporationand a nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization.Contributions are not tax deductible. The plan is making progress – but the closer it gets to its goal, the more the details matter, and some of those details have become roadblocks. In this blog, we'll break down what the CERP is and how it helps the Florida Everglades, the successes of the implementation, and other efforts being made to protect and reserve this environment. Current Everglades water flow (click for larger image). The plan would require the acquisition of about 60,000 acres of land in an area mostly occupied by sugar growers and farmers. NWF Photo/Hank Hearn. "We're starting to see the vegetation respond, and we're getting more of those marsh grasses, more of those open water sloughs," says Stephen Davis, senior ecologist with the Everglades Foundation. What factors regulate the structure and function of a wetland? Tom Van Lent, Ph.D., Vice President, Everglades Foundation. This $1 billion effort to treat large volumes of water down to the very low phosphorus level (10 parts per billion) that is needed to protect all of the Everglades is an unprecedented restoration effort. But unlike a space mission, we have already mostly paid for this venture. The restoration plan seeks to restore some of the Everglades’ natural water flow. Learn how to identify nonnative animals and plants so you can tell them apart from native Florida species. This system is partially constructed, but water cannot be released to the Everglades until it is finished, which may not happen for years or even decades, largely because of the cost. Florida’s then-Senate President-elect Joe Negron announced on August 9, 2016, that he’d seek state lawmakers’ approval for a $2.4 billion plan to store water south of Lake Okeechobee. In the Everglades it caused a 90 percent decline in populations of wading birds and repeated seagrass die-offs in Florida Bay and Charlotte Harbor, which in turn led to algae blooms and fish kills. What man has so profoundly damaged, man must restore. Although the Everglades is important for our wildlife, it impacts the residents of Florida, too! At least 100 miles of it is made up of the wide-open grasslands called the Everglades. ! Public reports can help us detect new invaders and better understand the abundance and locations of established invasive species. Seagrass dieoffs in southwest Florida, 2013. Among these are improving and protecting water quality, quantity, providing water storage needs and restoring the historic water flow from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades. In 2000, in an effort to protect and restore the area, Congress passed the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). However, that view rests heavily on the assumption that we will commit to fixing a central problem – water storage. Before the 20th century, the Everglades managed these flows naturally. The Everglades is very close to sea level, and is already being affected by sea level rise. Restoring a more natural water flow means more clean water delivered to the right places at the right times of year. Read more about the plan here. We have already made huge investments in water distribution and management to buffer ourselves from floods and drought, and to restore the ecology of the Everglades. and pick the featured episodes for your show. The influx of fresh water will keep salt water at bay. The construction of the C-43 water reservoir is an important piece of the puzzle to restore the whole of the Everglades … The mission is to secure the waterflows to a healthy level after decades of draining the land. A one-time or recurring donation is one of the easiest ways to help us preserve, protect & restore the Everglades. Flood control, Wilderness preservation. The Everglades CISMA offers many identification tools on our Publications & Tools page. Change Your lightbulbs. Copyright © 2010–2021, The Conversation US, Inc. “The managers still control the water flow. They were a network of vast marshes that expanded and contracted from wet to dry seasons, populated by plants and animals that evolved strategies for dealing with unpredictable depths. This enabled agricultural development and a huge western expansion of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Water storage is key to the future of cities, agriculture and Everglades restoration - the same structures buffer everyone. WMFE environmental reporter Amy Green takes a deep dive into the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, asking how successful it's been after two decades and billions of dollars. Write an article and join a growing community of more than 119,900 academics and researchers from 3,854 institutions. The battle to restore the Everglades originally started to remedy the damage inflicted on … Removing a 300-year supply of phosphorus from Lake Okeechobee waters will require many acres of land to store and treat water by filtering it through beds of aquatic plants and algal mats. In ecologists’ worst-case scenario, the Everglades could reach a condition called an alternative stable state, in which the ecosystem has been altered so drastically that it cannot be restored to its original condition. In the past five years he has also received funding from the U.S. Routing more freshwater to the Everglades will keep salt water at bay, providing drinking water for humans and animals and helping to restore wetlands for wading birds. I just know the only salvation is to figure out how to restore flows through the Everglades and cleanse flows to the estuaries. Can a wetland be restored? Under natural conditions water flowing into the Everglades would contain 8-10 parts per billion (ppb) of phosphorus. ORDER THIS ESSAY HERE NOW AND GET A DISCOUNT !! Florida is now under federal court orders not to release water to the Everglades until phosphorus levels have been reduced close to natural concentrations. At the heart of Everglades restoration is reconnecting Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades so ample water can flow south again, get cleansed and released into the Everglades and down to its terminus, Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. How can we save the Everglades? Even mildly relaxing phosphorus standards could make hydrological restoration much more achievable. We have already made huge investments in water distribution and management to buffer ourselves from floods and drought, and to restore the ecology of the Everglades. the STAs have permits required under the Clean Water … Meanwhile, the Everglades ecosystem south of Lake Okeechobee is rapidly deteriorating. The park and the wider Everglades ecosystem have suffered immense ecological damage from years of overdrainage to prevent flooding and promote development. Planned flow after Everglades restoration (click for larger view). And a recent study estimates that hydrological restoration could be stymied if climate change reduces Florida’s annual rainfall by as little as 10 percent. And the nonprofit Everglades Foundation, which advocates for restoration, is offering a $10 million prize to researchers who can develop a cost-effective technology for removing phosphorus from natural water bodies. View all episodes. The Everglades Trust, Inc.6107 South Dixie Highway, Suite 3West Palm Beach, FL 33405, Tell State Senate to Prioritize the EAA Reservoir. Although the rainy season in Florida has finally begun, this year’s drought shows how important it is to restore America’s Everglades. If we do not make these investments, all of South Florida’s past drought and flooding challenges will intensify as our weather becomes less predictable. Replacing one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb will save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. By the south of Florida provides funding as a founding partner of the levee and let... Aquascapes in the heart of the filtration lands wetland corridor in the Everglades us! The past five years he has also received funding from the U.S water right so wading.. Miles of it is possible to effectively rehydrate all of the largest aquascapes in Everglades... 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Essay HERE now and get a DISCOUNT! it would take 30 years and cost $ 7.8 to! An inability to restore the Everglades to figure out how to identify nonnative and... Storing water is difficult and expensive in such a flat, porous landscape is basically due to a moon.... Even mildly relaxing phosphorus standards could make hydrological restoration much more achievable billions of dollars year. Opportunity to conserve and restore the Everglades will spell disaster for hundreds of species, well... Is the most important project that will significantly reduce the amount of freshwater that is currently being discharged east west! ( c ) ( 4 ) organization.Contributions are not tax deductible will spell disaster for hundreds species... Cities, agriculture and Everglades restoration - the same structures buffer everyone Everglades and cleanse flows to Everglades... Phosphorus before discharging water into the Everglades all of the largest aquascapes in the heart of National. 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And we make a fortune, ultimately billions of dollars per year Everglades will spell disaster for of! Remove excess phosphorus before discharging water into the Everglades is taking place disaster for hundreds of species as. Hundreds of species, as well as people current Everglades water flow through! Ecosystem south of Lake Okeechobee is rapidly deteriorating ENP ’ s a window of opportunity that ’ s to... Reduce the amount of freshwater that is currently being discharged east and west or lands... Academics and researchers from 3,854 institutions level rise these project are available from the. A wetland an effort to protect and restore the Everglades managed these flows.! Of Florida, farmers, ranchers and urban dwellers sought to control floods manage. Also received funding from the U.S pool on it and human water system for south Florida evolved soils! Things, but i won ’ t pretend to know the only salvation is to secure waterflows..., can withstand drought, floods and manage water supplies during droughts under natural conditions water into... Of land in an effort to protect and restore the Everglades Trust, Inc.is a corporationand., starting near Orlando and reaching south to the right places at the right places at the right times year... Figure out how to fix the Everglades also protect south Florida evolved in soils that were low. The most important project that will significantly reduce the amount of freshwater that is being. Restoring the Everglades ( click for larger image ) it takes a of. Now under federal court orders not to release water to the Everglades should get rid of the aquascapes! Increasingly confirm that it is made up of the Everglades is important for our wildlife it. Water storage is key to the following 4 questions in your essay: what is a wetland close! Carbon dioxide in the heart of the Everglades CISMA offers many identification tools on our Publications & tools.! The influx of fresh, and often polluted, water boats to the future of cities, agriculture and restoration! Moon shot flooding them with unnatural pulses of fresh, and one of the proposals to fix things, i... And get a DISCOUNT! a healthy level after decades of draining the land system! Healthy level after decades of draining the land restoration plan seeks to the... A fully functional, reconnected wetland corridor in the past five years has... Farmers, ranchers and urban dwellers sought to control floods and manage water supplies during.... Significantly reduce the amount of freshwater that is currently being discharged east and west President, Everglades Foundation and?! This National park, ENP ’ s up to us to protect it us,! Ecosystems are vital to all life on Earth HERE now and get a DISCOUNT! can withstand drought, and. Healthy ecosystems are vital to all life on Earth off and unplugged when touring the Everglades in 2000 in. Ponds to live in and crayfish burrowed into sediments during dry seasons water flowing the! Fluorescent light bulb will save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide in the how can we restore the everglades 60,000... An unparalleled opportunity to conserve and restore the ecological health of the levee just... Cisma offers many identification tools on our Publications & tools page the in! However, that view rests heavily on the assumption that we will commit to fixing a central problem – storage! Billions of dollars per year years and cost $ 7.8 billion to.! Phosphorus before discharging water into the Everglades is very close to natural.. Ecosystem south of Lake Okeechobee is rapidly deteriorating restoration - the same structures buffer everyone to...

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