Everglades Flooding (753 words) Essay

Everglades Flooding
Perhaps we take it for granted that our beautiful homeland will be forever
changed because of the effects of modern civilizations. The environment, local
animals, plants, and neighboring niches are all being affected by a few factors.

The insensitivity of humans towards our fellow living creatures has caused the
Everglades to shrink dramatically in the last one hundred years. The health of
the everglades has been compromised because we as humans need more space to live
on, bigger roads, and adventures on which we embark. In the following
paragraphs, I will explain one of the most threatening factors to Florida’s
Everglades, habitat loss. Originally, the Everglades consisted of nearly 8,100
square miles, now, it has been reduced to about 2,300 square miles of which
about three-fifths is in set-designated water conservation areas. Two-thirds of
the original everglades is the water that falls on one-thirds of the original
watershed. In simpler terms, the water in the Everglades is being washed into
the ocean at a faster rate than the animal and plant life can adapt to. If this
problem continues on the same route it is on, the death toll of animals and
plants will reach catastrophic proportions. Many years ago, the Everglades was
much deeper than it is now and the wet season lasted many months. Now, huge
amounts of water come in short intervals and are dried up more quickly than it
can be replaced due to drainage. Grasses who survive in deep water are being
killed rapidly. Due to the death of these grasses, several species of fish have
decreased dramatically in number. The loss of these grasses allows the melalueca
to dominate these areas as the supreme species of plants. Fourteen animal
species in the everglades are endangered and many more are threatened. The loss
of habitat and overcrowding of certain species are disturbing animal population.

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Since the 1900’s, ninety percent of the bird population has died. In 1988 a
serious drought left many animal species homeless and many dead. Food loss due
to lack of water killed many plant species. By 1989, only 5,000 bird nests and
15 colonies were present in the watershed of the everglades. In only one year,
that number dropped to 1,000 nests. As we all know and love, the food web
explains how countless animal and plants are co-dependents of each other and how
the domino effect can change each and every one of those species. Many
conservation efforts have been done to save the everglades, yet they have all
failed miserably in a feeble attempt to erase the damage cause by the most
abundant predator to any species world wide, mankind. The Everglade Agriculture
Area has been set up to enrich the soil in the Everglades, hopefully restoring
the animal and plant life to the original numbers that they used to be. When the
water levels plummet and new nutrients are added, the soil is exposed to large
amounts of oxygen. This speeds up the bacterial growth and can further harm
plant life. The soil can then turn to fine dust and lower the water level
several feet. Another effort to save the everglades it to kill the melalueca
trees, which suck up large quantities of water. Cutting down the trees was first
attempted, but that effort further spread the melalueca seeds. Another method
was tried, poison. Poisons are being developed to kill small islands of
melalueca trees with out harming the neighboring plants. Everyone can agree on
one thing, the distribution of melalueca trees in the Everglades by humans is
one of the worst ideas to plague the Everglades epidemic. Overall, vast amounts
of money have been spent to save the Everglades. The Clinton administration has
donated 1.5 billion dollars on conservation efforts. The 13 billion-dollar
tourism industry to the Everglades and the Keys has helped with funds for the
Everglades Wildlife Fund and other organizations. On average, the amount of
money donated per year to Everglade’s conservation efforts is about 2 billion
dollars. The reason I chose to do this report on the Everglade is because I got
an offhand look at how the Everglades is being destroyed slowly. While going on
an airboat tour of the Everglades, I saw an alligator, which got its leg cut off
from a boat propeller. While this greatly disturbed me, the airboat driver
jokingly referred to the alligator as stumpy. I hope that one day, the
Everglades wildlife and humans can co-exist.

Muller, Peter O. (1992) The World Book Encyclopedia: Everglades. Chicago, IL:
World Book, Inc. National Geographic Interactive (1998) [Computer Program].

Washington, D.C: The Learning Company Everglades Ecosystem (1999). www.nps.gov/ever/eco.[World
Wide Web]. Viewed: September 22, 1999. World Wildlife Federation (1999).

www.wwf.org. [World Wide Web]. Viewed: September 22, 1999


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