"The Everglades at the southern tip of Florida—the remains of what was once a vast ecosystem—is interconnected with a large hydrologic system that really begins in Orlando with the northern Everglades," says Patrick Bohlen, a professor of biology at University of Central Florida.
The heart of the system is Lake Okeechobee, he continues, which collects water from the northern Everglades region. This water then used to flow from the lake into the Everglades of the south.
But this natural path of water has been greatly altered by people, leading to a host of environmental problems that state and federal scientists, policy makers, conservationists, and private landowners are now trying to solve. On Monday, Nov. 4, at 2:15 pm, Bohlen will present "Wetland Restoration in the Northern Everglades: Watershed Potential and Nutrient Legacies." His talk is part of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America Annual Meetings, Nov. 3-6 in Tampa, Florida.
One of the big challenges is nutrient pollution. Land in the northern Everglades is mostly privately owned, and urbanization and agriculture now send runoff laden with fertilizers and other contaminants into Lake Okeechobee. This nutrient-contaminated water would damage the delicate southern Everglades should it reach them. So, much of the water that historically flowed south from Lake Okeechobee is now diverted to estuaries on Florida's east and west coasts.
As a result, the southern Everglades are somewhat starved for water, while the coastal estuaries receive far too much from the lake. Although a connection hasn't been definitively made, heavy flows of nutrient-rich freshwater into the estuaries are suspected in die-offs of eelgrass, manatees and pelicans; huge blooms of algae; and zones of oxygen-starved water, Bohlen says.
The situation reached a crisis this summer, but people have actually been working to restore the northern Everglades ever since problems with Lake Okeechobee first emerged in the 1980s. During his talk, Bohlen will first summarize these issues and then discuss his research on the effectiveness of various restoration practices and policies.
Cattle ranching is the main land use directly north of the lake. So, one restoration practice is to pay ranchers to restore wetlands or create ponds to hold water on their lands. This way, water from the northern Everglades doesn't flow as quickly or in as large amounts into Lake Okeechobee, taking pressure off the lake, its dike, and the estuaries. It may also be cheaper to store water in this manner, rather than in huge public works projects.
Plus, by holding back some water in restored marshes or ponds "in theory, at least, you'll also be holding back some of the nutrients," Bohlen says. Restored wetlands are generally very good, in fact, at removing nitrogen from the system. Phosphorus is trickier. According to Bohlen's research, re-flooding land that was formerly drained and farmed can actually release stored phosphorus into the water, rather than removing it.
"There's a tremendous legacy of accumulated phosphorus in the soils due to past fertilizer use," Bohlen says. "So we have this legacy that we have to live with."
Members of the media receive complimentary registration to the joint ASA, CSSA, SSSA meetings. To register or to arrange a one-on-one interview with Bohlen, please contact Susan Fisk at the email address above by Oct. 25, 2013.
Susan Fisk | EurekAlert!
AI goes underground: root crop growth predicted with drone imagery
18.06.2020 | International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Cell wall research reveals possibility of simple and sustainable method to protect crops
16.06.2020 | American Phytopathological Society
Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.
Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....
Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.
Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...
A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...
Live event – July 1, 2020 - 11:00 to 11:45 (CET)
"Automation in Aerospace Industry @ Fraunhofer IFAM"
The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM l Stade is presenting its forward-looking R&D portfolio for the first time at...
With an X-ray experiment at the European Synchrotron ESRF in Grenoble (France), Empa researchers were able to demonstrate how well their real-time acoustic monitoring of laser weld seams works. With almost 90 percent reliability, they detected the formation of unwanted pores that impair the quality of weld seams. Thanks to a special evaluation method based on artificial intelligence (AI), the detection process is completed in just 70 milliseconds.
Laser welding is a process suitable for joining metals and thermoplastics. It has become particularly well established in highly automated production, for...
02.07.2020 | Event News
19.05.2020 | Event News
07.04.2020 | Event News
03.07.2020 | Life Sciences
03.07.2020 | Studies and Analyses
03.07.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering