The biological and environmental effects

The biological and environmental effects caused by agriculture on the Everglades and the surrounding water bodies.

Migration and death of water plants and animals. Threat shares imposed by human settlement and production of sugarcane has redirected water away from the wetlands. Chemical runoff has bloomed algae and water hyacinth. Southern Florida estuaries, being home of different species of animals and birds, therefore, suffers a blow due to competition created for food. Some migrate due to intense competition organized while others, die because of lack of food. Few species of plants and animal are salt water tolerant. Inversion of the salt water from the southern Florida, means migration of various species of animals and alternatively wiping out of a number of plant species in the area. over a century There was drastic drop of wading birds by 90 percent.


Big sugar canes farms, are among the biggest threats of the Everglades. According to Jones, (Big sugar vs. the Everglades pg3) large discharge of phosphorus in the water bodies by sugar cane planting has led to eutrophication. phenomenon which leads to excessive growth of water plants. Jones says that death of aquatic dynasties on the Everglades ecosystem has been evident. This is due to competition of oxygen by the fish and other aquatic animals with marsh plant and algae. Food chain has also been distorted since fish eating birds die as a result of death of fish and Everglades worms. This impose an irreversibly change which will take decade to restore the system balance. Temperature elevation is also evident as Jones wears his light jacket as temperatures has warmed to 80’s.  the effect is felt when Jones shows the author, places not affected by the phosphorus, evidence of mosquito’s eggs, snakes, wild birds running up and down graze their sight.


Environmental imbalance caused by sugarcane growth. The Everglades Agricultural Area cover a vast region of about 700,00-acres. The area is totally covered with sugarcane and borders lake Okeechobees. During wet seasons, South Florida water Management District (SFWMD), drains water from the region. During dry season in waters the region. The reversed rhythm alters water quantity flowing through in each season.  Also, the death of animals and plants due to high toxicity of water due to pollution causes imbalance. The intrusion of salt water, causes by sea water which causes fight over dominance of the everglades. The salty water causes collapse of the peat soil bringing about imbalance. The immediate effect being the death of the saw grass which is hardly tolerant to the salty water.


What are the effects of big agriculture on the Everglades and surrounding water bodies? What are the sources of pollution? What the effects of this pollution to the immediate environment? Can everglades be reclaimed back to its original state?

Discharge of phosphorus from growth of sugar cane. Fertilizer and chemical used in treatment of sugar cane contain vast amount of phosphates. This element is known to cause eutrophication in water bodies. According to Jones, the excessive growth of water plants such as algae and mash plant may create surge in the ecosystem. This overgrowth of plants elevates competition between aquatic animal such as fish and the algae with plants for oxygen. Eventually, fish die out due to lack of oxygen. Fish eating birds such as the wading birds also die. As a result, ecological imbalance is stirred up due to distortion of the food chains. This imposes great threat to humans. Moreover, the death aquatic plants and animals releases foul smell and cause elevation of temperatures to 80s. on everglades on the edge, team members  says ” we are lucky to be in south Florida where the water never gets cold” According to Jones, the system is ‘irreversibly damaged’ and it may take decades to restore back to normal. This means destruction of Florida everglades.

Political and social cohesion. ‘Alfie’ provided financial support to Clinton during the presidential political race against Sen in 1996. Alfonso’s family owns largest sugar producing farm in Florida. It is believed that Clinton mined huge financial support from this sugar growing family. As a result, creating political cohesion as public opinion in Florida turned against the sugar companies in Florida everglades. Moreover, environmentalist claims that Everglades is being destroyed by the excessive growth of the sugarcane. Coca-Cola, Pepsi and other large sugar consuming companies, on the other hand claim that the program has coasted then profit and jobs. Bucker says that the programme does not support financial status of most Americans.  He claims that only few individuals who have ownership to the big sugar plantation tend to be the beneficiaries of the programme. Bucker in a conference confronts the big sugar enemies to defend his federal farm regime. He does not think that the big sugar firms are responsible for provision of AIDS to locals. He also confronts those who champions preservation of wetlands and says that they called it ”swamp” now they want to protect it by saying it’s a fragile ecosystem. Environmentalist, George Burnley on an attempt to fight for moral righteousness of the society was also confronted by the wealthy sugarcane farmers. In 1988 George wanted to sue the state of Florida over the violation of the set water standards. However, he later died on a plane crash in 1995. His wife Mary Berny on the quest to continue with the war for everglades threw $2 million for campaign ”let’s win this for George.” The programme is also said to benefit small population of farmers and live a huge population of citizens jobless.

Increase in salty water on the everglades. Environmentalist and ecologist claim that increase in farming activities has changed the weather pattern of Florida.  The everglades, home of over three hundred species of birds, crocodiles, and Florida panthers is receiving threats. The place has been turned into oasis of profitable farms and human residence. Higher tides and seas level rise are reported to increase daily which increases the level of salty water in South Florida.  Shimelis Dessu, says that it imposes a great threat as the ocean is no longer an external factor, ‘it’s already in the house.’  The inversion of salt water in everglades has covered a vast area of almost a kilometre. Scientist claim that this inward inversion of salty water is due to human activities. Close scrutiny of Saw grass, a resistance species to both poor-nutrient soil and wildfire recorded a salt blow from the oceanic salt inversion. On an air-survey carried out on 2000 by a number of scientists, they spotted pockmark dotting on this species of grass.  The southern part of the everglades was the hardest hit. The grass species was grown with two different sample of water, both fresh and salty water. It was noted that saw grass grown in a salty environment produced few and shallow roots as compared to the one grown with fresh water which produced deep roots. Moreover, an increase in salt content in soil supressed the microbial activity in the soil.

Soil erosion and leaching of vital element. Fred scalar says everglades fresh wetland has thick peat soil layers. Less fresh water on everglades means fragile fragments of peat soil. The state is made even worse with increasing levels of the salty water, which allow soil breakdown. The roots of saw grass and other aquatic plant species are therefore, exposed retrogression of soil elevation. The inversion of tides, sweeps away the vital element from the soil. The Everglades Agricultural Area has a reversed rhythm, during the wet season the EAA drains the region. In the dry seasons, it waters the region. This reversed system alters the erythematic flow of water in the region, which could result in erosion and nutrient leach. Moreover, in intense sunlight the drained soil is oxidised to phosphates, which imposes threat to the surrounding water bodies. The condition is henceforth aggravated with land tillage for production of sugarcane. More phosphates are therefore carried away which promulgates the growth of water hyacinth, wiping out other life forms. Human inversion on the everglades possess great threat also. Redirection of water from wetland by human activities sweeps away the nutrients and other soil from its original place. The regular increase in sea level due to hurricane is among the major cause of regular flooding of Miami and its immediate environs.

Sustaining lives of people. According to American sugar alliance, the farming of sugarcane sustains about 260 million population of America with food. He says that most of the processed food requires sugar as a component, and eliminating the project will mean suicide to nation. However, there is a surge over the number of beneficiaries of the sugar cane farming business. Few individuals such as Fanjul enjoy the benefits of the programme. Bigger percentage of Florida population have no immediate ownership to the sugarcane firm.

Government race and involvement in sugar cane-based firms. McCormack, says that the government hikes the price of thousands of mayonnaise products to Froot loops. Also, it guarantees high price to farmers for their products and promises that the price would be higher than the total price it costed them to grow the sugar. However, McCormack is forced to buy the sugar at a relatively higher price. Regardless of existence of imported sugar which should cheap that the locally produced sugar, McCormack says that the government has imposed high taxes on the imported sugar forcing them to be sold at the same price as the local produced sugar. McCormack says that this has made him spend more than $ 2milion by year because of the programme. He explains that he owns a sister firm, smaller than the one he has in Jamaica. He exclaims that if he purchases a tone pound of sugar milled and grown if Florida, he pays 28.5 cent while the same coast him 17 cents if he ships it from Jamaica. There is a huge difference in prices for locally grown and imported sugar. This makes him very sad and he thinks that government are making huge profits. His candy compony could be operating at huge financial gain if it was to operate at Jamaica with the market demand remaining the same.

How can everglades be restored?

Control over the rising influx of salty water. Plug in fresh water which will help maintain the pressure to push the sea water. However, consideration should be considered of when and what amount of fresh water should be injected to everglades. Dessu says that the injected should be based on the rainfall that poured over the last 10 weeks. Measured difference between sea water and fresh water were to be used to determine the best time to administer the plug. Dessu and colleagues thought of changing the everglades ecology. Transition from salty water- intolerant Saw grass to mangrove species, which were salty friendly species. The growth of mangrove species, a salt tolerant tree serves as the vest hope for everglades. This tree rapidly develops fine roots, which will otherwise help to hold the peat soil in place. Close management of water inlet and outlet in everglades, river Kissimmee which poured its water to Lake Okeechobee.

Construction of reservoir to collect polluted water. This was aimed at collecting Lake Okeechobee water having huge amount of fertilizer. This will reduce the number of algae that bloom due to huge quantity of phosphates and nitrates of the running water.  Within the installed reservoir, water will be treated and the harmful elements such as phosphorus rubbed off. It will then be allowed to run down to wetlands. Davis also said there was urging to make the place more drought resilience, through issuing of controlled external water supply. He also said that influx of more fresh water could pause more danger as Everglades will end up being flooded.  Increasing the storage capacity, conveyance and water storage of Lake Okeechobee.  This is particularly important in prevention of harmful discharge to estuaries. Also, more reservoir to be built as one cannot be able to handle the huge amount of inflowing water.  Top priority should be given to EAA project, over the planning of new project of the salty Everglades restoration.

To revive the everglades, congress approved $10 billion project that would last for 35 years to inject fresh water into the river of grass. This is the biggest project (CERP) ever undertaken to restore the everglades. CERP has shown some success in the recent years. In 2016 scholars and researchers recorded an increase in freshwater flow in the everglades.  Underwater plants and animals have also recorded revival in their numbers since the project kicked off in early 2000.

Florida’s biggest firm to give up its assets and go out of business. This will mean less pollution from the phosphates compound, which is an everglade threat. Charlie Chris says that this will mean flourishment of birds, grass and the everglades ecosystem. The natural flow of water in and out of everglades would be restored. The 292 square miles made into water reservoir for everglades. This aims at putting wildfire under control and also monitors phosphates content on everglades. Florida everglades, was supposed $ 1.75 billion to sugar firm who will continue with their farming practice for about six years. Later united states sugar was supposed to hand in the 187,000 acres of land to everglades

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