Problems in the Florida Everglades and Proposed Solutions Draft #1

This discussion topic submitted by Amy Pierson ( on 2/20/98.

I am going to teach the class about the problems in the Everglades, how the problems were caused, and the solutions that are taking shape to clean up the Everglades.
I feel that this is an important because if the Everglades get much worse, we could lose a valuable ecosystem and everything that lives in it, and losing the Everglades would affect us as a species as well.

I. Introduction/Everglades Info.
A. the size now:park covers 1.5 million acres; river 50 miles wide and 70 miles long and from a few inches to a few feet deep
B. the size it was: originally covered 1/3 of Fl. and river was 110
miles wide at max.
C. what's the problem here? Well, not one but many problems.
A. Cut in half by 1,400 miles of drainage canals
1. drainage is causing rising salt levels
2. supply of Fl. drinking water at risk
B. Pollution
1. 200 tons of phosphates enter each year from fertilizers and
pesticides (used on sugarcane and vegetable farms)
2. sugarcane farms the leading cause for phoshorus pollution
3. 1 million acres of the Everglades drainage system contain
fish with high levels of mercury in 1993; can't find its
C. Endangered Animals
1. over a dozen endangered or threatened animals; 70 plants and
animals endangered or threatened
2. 93% decrease in wading birds since 1930; for every bird in
the Everglades today, 50 years ago there were 10
3. phosphorus promotes cattail growth, which chokes the growth
of saw grass
4. Everglades are overrun by exotic plants, killing off native
plants; 1/4 of plants in Everglades are NOT native
a. Melaleuca tree: expands range by 50 acres a day;
introduced to dry up Everglades, but with no enemies it
is taking over
D. Population
-Miami has 4.5 million people and is gaining 100 people every
day; growing right into the Everglades
E. Florida Bay
-problems of the Everglades are affecting Florida Bay, at the
foot of the Everglades
A. Government to by 107,000 acres over 5 years
B. Plan to reroute 1500 miles of canals and Kissimmee river to more natural routes; more natural flow of Everglades with sustain it in the dry season and more evenly distribute water in the rainy season
C. Filter Water
1. plan to build 35,000 acres of marshes to work as a filter
between agricultural area and Everglades
2. plan to make 6 marshes covering 40,000 acres to filter
chemicals then rerelease the freshwater
3. will possibly release exotic animals to prey on exotic
4. cost is estimated at $4 billion
IV. Conclusion
-with headings like "Everglades fighting for its life", can we
really save the Everglades or are we too late?

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