The Florida Everglades Essay examples

1341 Words 6 Pages
THE EVERGLADES: RIVER OF GRASS

The Everglades, also known as the River of Grass, is one of South Florida's most treasured areas. It is an area still full of wonder and mystery. The Everglades is lined with a specific type of limestone bedrock formed by tiny organisms called byrozoans. These animals, though not related to coral, act like coral by extracting dissolved limestone from the sea water around them and using it to construct protective chambers in which to live. They then attach to various kinds of sea grasses on the ocean floor and coat them as well. Individual chambers combine together to form rock-like structures. Over thousands of years, when South Florida was completely submerged, a vast amount of this limestone
…show more content…
Another important piece of the Everglades puzzle is periphyton (a cyanobacteria or algae) that provides the basis for the Everglades food chain and helps purify the water. Periphyton provides both food and oxygen for the aquatic ecosystem. Just like alligator holes, periphyton is also important during the dry season because of their ability to retain water.

One hundred years ago the Everglades covered close to 4 million acres between Lake Okeechobee and the Gulf of Mexico. Billions of gallons of water flowed into the Everglades. The population of the East coast of Florida was 23,000. This was partially due to a lack of suitable land for housing because of periodic flooding and the threat of hurricanes. When Florida was first becoming settled there were many attempts by settlers to make the area more hospitable. Most of these attempts failed. It was after two devastating hurricanes (1926 and 1928) that the Federal government had the US Army Corps of Engineers create a system of canals, levies, and dikes to further development of that area. They diverted much of the normal southward flow of water eastward. This allowed 1.3 million acres to be developed. It also left 2 million acres for the Everglades National Park and water conservation areas. 1 million acres was left for agricultural use (Everglades Agricultural