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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Environmental Issue in Florida: the Everglades

Environmental Issue in Florida:

The Everglades

     The Everglades National Park, which sits at the Southern end of the ecosystem is being overrun by the invasive species known as the Burmese Python. Because of this many small animals, (mammals) including raccoons, and opossums have been lost due to predation. This has been occurring over the last fifteen years, and dwindled down those mammals to less than ninety-nine percent. This will affect the ecosystem, causing change. A snake will go from animal to animal, it will keep taking, it will not starve, and it will keep reproducing. 

     Many of you may not be aware, but the Everglades provides fresh drinking water to Southern Florida. The Everglades also serves as watershed to coastal estuaries, including Biscayne Bay and the Ten Thousand Islands. Mankind went into the glades, and made pipelines into and through to help th humans, disrupting again, the natural habits of animals and the ecosystem. 

     How did we damage the Everglades? Here are some examples: to allow crops to flourish, farmers drained the peat soil via canals. Once exposed to air, the drained peat soils were gradually oxidized away by aerobic bacteria that degraded the aquatic plant remnants in the peat soil. Scientists uncovered other problems. They discovered eutrophication which caused the overgrowth of plant and algal species due to the excess nutrients which was the normally low-nutrient ecosystem this hereby caused harming to the Everglades’ vegetation. The extra nutrients were allowing nutrient-loving plants like cattails to invade the wetlands and displace the sawgrass and other native plant species. Phosphorus was discovered entering the Everglades from canal-water discharge originating within Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades Agricultural Area, where farmers enriched their fields with phosphorus-heavy fertilizers. Mercury had been found in many species of the fish in the glades, causing mercury poisoning. 
Aerial view of the Glades
     Because of all the damage of the Everglades, it has gone into Florida’s coastline and on into the Florida reefs as well. In all reality, this will keep spreading, just like a disease. 

     The original damage began when mankind started disturbing the quiet nature of the secluded Everglades with their noisy machinery to harvest the wild grown sugarcane. Animals were flocking and playing and living happily, together and alone. They felt safe. Once the machines made noise, they were startled and ran, became confused. Then mankind started investigating further into the glades. Taking what wasn’t there’s. Stealing soil, putting water lines in and out, hunting, and making themselves at home in what was a natural habitat. The life line of nature began to change, because mankind disrupted everything.
Everglades South of the Yellow Line
     Repair: It is going to cost well over thirteen billion both state and federal to repair the Everglades. This will be the costliest environment project in history. However, the repair is also another case of disruption, as we have made newer and better pipelines, and have them flowing freshwater into the standing waters, in hopes of adjusting how it sits, and flows, and other things that mankind ‘thinks’ may help. 

     What would I have done differently? It is one thing to take, but to keep taking until you cannot take anymore is another. We can take and replenish, we can share, and we can help all at the same time. Why not take the cane by hand quietly, as they have done in Africa, rather than being so noisy and rude? While we are using machinery, we are also polluting not just with noise, but with gasoline and air pollutants as well. Mankind thinks they have to do things faster, and make it easier, while in the meantime, they are causing destruction and leaving a path, a path that will show our future generations that we did not care. 
Mangrove Trees in Everglades National Park

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