But storing water is difficult and expensive in such a flat, porous landscape. 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. 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. 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. Tom Van Lent, Ph.D., Vice President, Everglades Foundation. ORDER THIS ESSAY HERE NOW AND GET A DISCOUNT !! Workable solutions are another story. NWF Photo/Hank Hearn. Every tree helps! 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. The Everglades is very close to sea level, and is already being affected by sea level rise. Under natural conditions water flowing into the Everglades would contain 8-10 parts per billion (ppb) of phosphorus. In the past five years he has also received funding from the U.S. 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. Together, we can pass the test. Change Your lightbulbs. However, that view rests heavily on the assumption that we will commit to fixing a central problem – water storage. 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. 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. The critical dollars to build these project are available from both the federal government and the state of Florida. 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. Are you the creator of this podcast? Include the answers to the following 4 questions in your essay: What is a wetland? Going the final miles will be cheap compared to the alternative, and future generations will thank us for it. the STAs have permits required under the Clean Water … Historic water flow pattern through the Everglades (click for larger image). 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. 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. The Everglades landscape is flatter than a billiard table, and water tends to pool on it. Alligators created ponds to live in and crayfish burrowed into sediments during dry seasons. 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. 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. 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. Write an article and join a growing community of more than 119,900 academics and researchers from 3,854 institutions. The whole thing is basically due to a lack of sheet flow. The restoration plan seeks to restore some of the Everglades’ natural water flow. In 2000, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was announced as a joint project involving state, federal, and water management agencies. You Can Help! Learn how to identify nonnative animals and plants so you can tell them apart from native Florida species. The Everglades CISMA offers many identification tools on our Publications & Tools page. View all episodes. 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. What man has so profoundly damaged, man must restore. Copyright © 2010–2021, The Conversation US, Inc. In the heart of the south of Florida, a giant hydrological restoration project is taking place. Planned flow after Everglades restoration (click for larger view). It’s easy! 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. 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. Ecology – Restoring the Everglades paper instructions: Write a 500-word essay titled "Restore the Everglades Ecosystem – Why and How?" Stormwater treatment ponds, used to remove excess phosphorus before discharging water into the Everglades. 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. 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. It would take 30 years and cost $7.8 billion to complete. 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 "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. The Everglades also protect South Florida residents from flooding and droughts. Restoration thus is effectively at a standstill. In 2000, in an effort to protect and restore the area, Congress passed the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). 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. Today we have an unparalleled opportunity to conserve and restore a fully functional, reconnected wetland corridor in the Everglades. 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). Although the Everglades is important for our wildlife, it impacts the residents of Florida, too! The influx of fresh water will keep salt water at bay. “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. Replacing one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb will save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. We can grow algae on part of the filtration lands. Start listening. Can a wetland be restored? Verify your account. As a result, it takes a lot of land to store water. A critical piece of restoring the Everglades is to construct a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. Water storage is key to the future of cities, agriculture and Everglades restoration - the same structures buffer everyone. ! Global climate change raises other uncertainties. APES Case Study 121- Can We Restore the Florida Everglades? They should get rid of the levee and just let it flow.” Opinions about how to fix the Everglades are easy to find. Healthy ecosystems are vital to all life on Earth. 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. 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. Models increasingly confirm that it is possible to effectively rehydrate all of the Everglades, including the National Park. 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. 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. A single tree can help to absorb the harmful effects of carbon dioxide in the air. and pick the featured episodes for your show. Public reports can help us detect new invaders and better understand the abundance and locations of established invasive species. Peat soils in coastal forests are collapsing due to salt water intrusion. Sawgrass, which grows throughout the Everglades, can withstand drought, floods and fires and thrives in soils that contain pathetically few nutrients. What factors regulate the structure and function of a wetland? Then they could [close them and] drop these boats to the bottom in two days. At least 100 miles of it is made up of the wide-open grasslands called the Everglades. 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. Read more here. It’s a window of opportunity that’s wide open and the time to act is now. “The managers still control the water flow. It also destroyed the St. Lucie and Fort Meyers estuaries by flooding them with unnatural pulses of fresh, and often polluted, water. Current levels range between 100 and 300 ppb. Research Professor, University of Florida. Completing an integrated natural and human water system for south Florida will have a payoff comparable to a moon shot. 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. Everglades National Park (ENP) is our only national wetland park, and one of the largest aquascapes in the world. 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. 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. The mission is to secure the waterflows to a healthy level after decades of draining the land. We process the algae into oil and other bio-fuels. But unlike a space mission, we have already mostly paid for this venture. 0. 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. An inability to restore the Everglades will spell disaster for hundreds of species, as well as people. The Everglades Trust, Inc.6107 South Dixie Highway, Suite 3West Palm Beach, FL 33405, Tell State Senate to Prioritize the EAA Reservoir. How can we save the Everglades? Everglades restoration is the only way to get the water right so wading birds like wood storks can thrive. 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. Perhaps more than any other U.S. national park, ENP’s treasures are hard to defend. Water storage is key to the future of cities, agriculture and Everglades restoration - the same structures buffer everyone. To date, the CERP is the largest ecosystem restoration project in … The construction of the C-43 water reservoir is an important piece of the puzzle to restore the whole of the Everglades … Saving the Everglades HOW CAN WE SAVE THE EVERGLADES? This Everglades reservoir is the most important project that will significantly reduce the amount of freshwater that is currently being discharged east and west. Plants in South Florida evolved in soils that were naturally low in phosphorus, so the Everglades is hypersensitive to it. 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. An agreement was reached with all stakeholders signing off, including sugar and agricultural interests. 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. 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. What man has so profoundly damaged, man must restore. 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. 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. Open the locks and look how much water we’ve got running through. Seagrass beds and mangrove forests along the coasts are already collapsing, partly due to reduced freshwater flow. I’m aware of the proposals to fix things, but I won’t pretend to know the details. 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. 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 … 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. 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. 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. 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. The clean water goes to the Everglades. Meanwhile, the Everglades ecosystem south of Lake Okeechobee is rapidly deteriorating. Tom Van Lent, Ph.D., Vice President, Everglades Foundation. Nearly 83 percent of the Everglades lies outside of the national park, mostly on agricultural or state-protected lands. Florida is now under federal court orders not to release water to the Everglades until phosphorus levels have been reduced close to natural concentrations. Flood control, Wilderness preservation. 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. “To me it’s just a fascinating thing and I just want to learn everything I can about it.” University of Florida provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US. Saving the Everglades Collaborating with diverse stakeholders to yield conservation gains. Still, progress is possible. But water coming out of Lake Okeechobee is polluted with phosphorus from fertilizer used on farms upstream. The battle to restore the Everglades originally started to remedy the damage inflicted on … Restoring a more natural water flow means more clean water delivered to the right places at the right times of year. Building more water storage facilities would also drastically improve our ability to remove phosphorus from the water. It is strange to know that a considerable amount of what you see out in … 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. 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. Although the rainy season in Florida has finally begun, this year’s drought shows how important it is to restore America’s Everglades. 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. We sell the carbon-neutral biofuels cheaper than petroleum products, and we make a fortune, ultimately billions of dollars per year. This enabled agricultural development and a huge western expansion of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. 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