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Everglades show improvement in water quality
Date:10/21/2010

Madison, WI, October 21, 2010 Researchers at the University of Florida Research and Education Centers and scientists at the South Florida Water Management District have published a report regarding the trends in water quality feeding into Everglades National Park. The report can be found in the September-October 2010 Journal of Environmental Quality, published by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

The goal of the study was to provide insight regarding the variations in the quality of water from the Water Conservation Areas and the system of Storm Water Treatment Areas. These regions are used to supply water to Everglades National Park, control flooding, and repair the water quality.

The report suggests that the overall levels of both nitrogen and phosphorus have declined since the 1970s. This indicates that the water quality is improving as a result of the restoration methods completed in the areas surrounding the park.

Using data from 1977 through 2005, the researchers assessed the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus from seven inflows to the national park.

According to the report's author, Ed Hanlon, historical changes in the landscape have degraded the condition, distribution and flow of the surface water coming into the park. Expansions in agriculture and urbanization around the Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee increased the run-off of waste. Canal and levee construction disrupted natural flow patterns.

While environmental concerns were raised as early as the 1960s, the effects on the ecosystem of the park were over shadowed by the benefits to the economy of the state of Florida. The canals and levees provided drainage of areas too wet for agriculture and urban development. Additionally, the damage to property and the loss of human life from flooding caused by hurricanes and heavy rains was greatly reduced.

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Contact: Sara Uttech
suttech@sciencesocieties.org
608-268-4948
American Society of Agronomy
Source:Eurekalert

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