Presentation on theme: "In the early 1900’s man began to change this delicate system. It started with a series of canals and levees that were built to provide flood control and."— Presentation transcript:
In the early 1900’s man began to change this delicate system. It started with a series of canals and levees that were built to provide flood control and to drain the land immediately south of Lake Okeechobee for agriculture. Everglades in peril Much of the water that would have flowed naturally from the lake to the Everglades was directed instead to the coastal areas.
The canal system eventually spread like a web, and the Everglades began to go dry. In the winter, the effects were disastrous. Many of the shallow ponds that would have held water dried up completely. This loss of fish and other aquatic species reduced the population of alligators, wading birds and other predators as well.
To make matters worse, the waters flowing south to the Everglades were no longer pure; they were loaded with dissolved fertilizers being applied to the vegetable and sugar cane fields near Lake Okeechobee. Even the water reaching the lake from the Kissimmee Prairie was over enriched by fertilizer from cattle ranches. This was partly due to an epic miscalculation.
In 1961 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began straightening the Kissimmee River in an effort to deliver more water to Lake Okeechobee. But by taking the meanders out of the Kissimmee and bypassing its surrounding marshes, the river lost its ability to cleanse the polluted water. Today algae blooms threaten to kill Lake Okeechobee biologically (when algae die, bacteria feed on them and multiply, depleting the oxygen in the water). The enriched water also causes nutrient- loving cattails to choke out the native sawgrass. Today the Kissimmee is being restored by putting the meanders back. cattails
Although Everglades National Park covers about 1.5 million acres and is the second largest national park in the lower 48 states, it represents only a fraction of what used to be called the Everglades. What was once an incredibly productive ecosystem is now the most endangered national park in the United States. To reclaim the Everglades, ways must be found to restore its water flow, both in quality and quantity.
Over 100 years ago man’s heavy machinery began a gradual devastating drainage of the Everglades. Now, after many years of research, public debate and action by our lawmakers, a plan for fixing up the Everglades has been created. Comprehensive Everglades restoration Plan C.e.r.p
CERP (Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan) was signed into law by president Clinton, Dec. 11, 2000. Considered the largest ecosystem restoration program ever attempted, The original estimate determined that the Implementation Plan will cost over $7.8 billion, with an additional cost of $182 million annually to cover operation and monitoring. Half of this total cost will be paid by the federal government and half by the state of Florida. The entire plan is estimated to take at least 30 years to complete.
A. Improve sheet flow of water to the Everglades. B. Improve quality of water coming into the Everglades. C. Provide flood control. D. Provide water to cities. E. Provide water for agriculture. F. Adaptive Management - adapt the plan according to research. Goals include:
1. Eliminate some canals and levees. 2. Dig a few new canals to improve direction of water flow. 3. Raise part of Tamiami Trail to allow water from Water Conservation Area 3 to flow more freely into Everglades National Park. 4. Create more water storage capacity by creating new reservoirs. 5. Create Stormwater Treatment Areas (STA’s). Projects include:
Humans are a part of the environment, just as sawgrass, fish and alligators are part of their environment. Talk about some of the ways we have affected the areas in which we live. What are some of the ways we have hurt the ecosystem? What are a few things we can do to improve the health of the ecosystem? How does the health of the Everglades affect our own lives? Food for thought
For Everglades National Park: www.nps.gov/ever For information about Everglades Restoration: www.evergladesplan.org For information on how to get involved: www.evergladesfoundation.org Useful websites