Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Mercury in the everglades

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Everglades Restoration


The Florida Everglades, the world's second largest wetland, is on border of being lost due to many factors. To fight these factors, the Everglades Restoration Plan has become a major issue in Florida over the last twenty-five to thirty years. As a matter of fact, the Everglades National Park was established in 147. However, there is a lot of work to be done if we want to save the Everglades. A majority of the problem has been blamed on the farmer, that being the phosphorous runoff. Secondly, the Florida Bay is being killed by the amount of fresh water entering it. Many rules have been set in place and many organizations are taking part in the restoration process.

According to many environmentalists, the 1.5 million acre national park and the area around it are dying of something everyone needs to stay alive and that is good, clean water. In seeking to control flood damage, aid development and help agriculture, engineers over the decades built a vast series of canals, dikes and holding pens to control the waters of the Everglades. The results so far from the actions taken by the engineers have been terrible water shortage and water pollution shortage. Some of the major issues that critics bring up are that too much water is being diverted to other uses in the dry season and that phosphorus in farm runoff is harming the Everglades, although the phosphorus runoff has not been proven to be one of the main reasons.

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The point of this study is to inform people who never put forth attention to these issues, and give them some awareness of what they are losing if something is not done about it. It to let them see first-hand what is happening in the Everglades, what the solution is, and how it is to be taken care of.

The level of phosphorous entering the Everglades is part of the problem. Farmers claim that phosphorous is only one of the many problems that are the causes of this restoration attempt. Rainfall has a natural level of phosphorus and is by far the most contributing source; native animal population concentrate phosphorus; and urban shopping malls, residential streets, commercial parking lots, and businesses have four times the phosphorus concentration of farm runoff. A second big concern is Florida Bay. Florida Bay is located south of the Everglades National Park and west of the first three Florida Keys. The problem in this situation is the loss of sixty-eight thousand acres of sea grass habitat from the flowage of fresh water into the bay.

With these two major problems, the environmentalist and the fishing guides that have lived around the Florida Bay for decades are the one noticing the levels of phosphorous entering the Everglades. The Environmentalists are noticing it because they are constantly checking it, and the fishermen because they use to catch lots of fish in the grass flats that have been lost.

To help the process of restoration the Florida legislature passed the Everglades Forever Act (Originally called the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act). The Everglades Forever Act has some major features. One of them includes a strict phosphorus concentration level. It requires that farmer's achieve a twenty-five percent reduction in phosphorus in water leaving their land. This will cause an overall phosphorus reduction of eighty percent for water entering the Everglades. Farmers are actually keeping phosphorus levels lower than what is required.

The rules brought about by the Everglades Forever Act require action from the Federal government, the South Florida Water Management District, and farmers. The controversy now is if the Federal government has paid its share of the restoration, which they have not. "The Federal government has yet to provide its share for the project, while the South Florida Water Management District and the farmer have already spended considerable dollars on the federal components." The South Florida Water Management District has definitely been doing there part of the funding and the farmers are spending their own money to employ workers knowing the techniques to reduce phosphorus levels leaving their farms.


A questionnaire was developed to determine the general; all around knowledge students have towards the Everglades. Students were asked to answer ten questions. Information was analyzed from thirty surveys answered by students enrolled in AEE 0, Technical Writing. The ages of students ranged from eighteen to over thirty. The information collected was organized and put on individual pie graphs (appendix B). The reason the information was individually looked at was because of the broadness of the information presented and looked at by people about the Everglades.


The analysis of the information revealed that some students are totally blank about the Everglades and some students know quite a bit. The first question on the questionnaire was, "Have you ever visited the Everglades (Appendix A)," and surprisingly only forty-three percent of the students had ever visited the Everglades. The reason it was surprising was because not even half of the students have ever visited the Everglades but answered the questions extremely accurate.

Seventy-three percent of the students wanted the Everglades to be restored. The students also gave some great feedback on the question, "What is your opinion on the Everglades Restoration process? (Appendix A)," more that fifty percent of the students gave positive feed back and actually want something started and get process in the procedure that has to be taken to save the Everglades.

Yet the students seemed to be convinced that the farmers are the main cause of phosphorus runoff. Seventy-Two percent of the students either think that the farmers are not donating a fair share or have not even begun to help. Sixty-five percent of students also think that the majority of the phosphorus runoff comes from the sugar cane farms when it really is a natural thing and comes from the rain.

In reality media has really done its part except for getting the farmer in deeper in the hole than what he really is. Sixty-three percent of students sometime in their life have read or seen an article concerning the Everglades or the restoration of the Everglades. This must be how the students were able to answer the question accurately.


Several students ranging in age from eighteen to over thirty answered a ten-question questionnaire for this study. This information was analyzed to see how much general knowledge they might know about the Everglades.

All the information gathered the responses were very interesting and surprising. Of all the students it was not expected that a majority of them have either seen or read about articles concerning the restoration in the Everglades. This was the source of information the relied on when answering these question. That means people care and read things concerning the safety of our natural resources. The reason of assumption that this is where the information is received from is because only forty-three percent of the students had ever visited the Everglades and less than that had ever ridden an airboat or a swamp buggy meaning not even visiting other marshes or swamps.

Something has to be working right because people are concerned and want to save the Everglades. Seventy-three percent of the people would like to see the Everglades restored and have positive responses on the process taking place. One student wrote in response to "What is you opinion on the Everglades Restoration Process," "I think the restoration process is positive because it benefits the ecosystem and helps endangered species." People realize what is being lost and really want to save these sources for other generations to come.

Maybe everyone will realize what a beauty we are losing and come together to decide on how we are going to save it. The only way this is going to work is if everyone works together and quits blaming each other on the problem. If only the citizens of Florida made one visit to the Everglades National Park and took just a ten-minute airboat ride, they would want to help the restoration restoration process of the Everglades.

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