The wildlife of Florida includes a rich variety of unique animals and plants. At the same time, the Sunshine State faces with many problems caused by global warming and human activity. Right now the solution of these environmental issues in Florida should have top priority in case we don’t want the rare ecosystems of the state to be destroyed.
This article includes information about all major environmental issues of each part of the region (You can also read about environmental issues throughout the USA). In addition, consider that some of the listed problems may be found in several parts of the state.
Central Florida Environmental Issues
The nature in the center of the Sunshine State constantly suffers from different environmental problems. Nevertheless, only some of the ecological issues in Florida pose serious challenges to its residents and nature.
In case you’ve decided to live in Florida due to the wonderful environment and access to attractive lakes, you should realize that these resources are in big trouble. According to Herald Tribune, runoffs from fertilizers and septic tanks constantly poison the waters of the state.
A great example is Lake Okeechobee that suffers from nutrient pollution in Florida. Further, the contaminated water gets into such rivers as Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie. It results in the destruction of the local coasts and extinction of marine life.
Tourism is the biggest source of income in Florida. Although it helps to develop the state’s infrastructure, tourism leads to the generation of large amounts of garbage annually. In 2017, tourists dropped more than 48 tons of litter in Florida.
Luckily, the state’s government works actively to solve this issue. The waste is utilized with the help of a single-stream recycling method and plasma arc gasification.
Extinction of the Wildlife
Several species in the Sunshine State are threatened with extinction. Such unique animals as the Florida panther and manatee are among them. The scientists predict that they may extinct in the nearest future in case no actions will be taken.
On the other hand, the great news is the significant increase in the population of alligators. In 1977 these reptiles were included in the list of endangered species. Due to it, they were saved from complete extinction.
Environmental Issues in South Florida
The ecological situation in this part of the state also leaves much to be desired. Despite the fact that some of the Florida environmental issues were solved, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Preservation of Lands
By the end of the 20th century, the marshes and mangle forests of South Florida had been stretching for hundreds of miles. However, now the destructive agricultural activity has almost destroyed these areas and caused their degradation.
What is more, these lands were affected by floods due to the Okeechobee and Miami Hurricanes. These natural disasters also contributed to the devastation of the region.
This serious environmental issue can be discovered not only in South Florida but almost in any corner of the world. As a rule, it leads to the formation of a single-species environment. It may destroy the balance in any ecosystem and, usually, results in the extinction of the particular species.
Right now, over seven hundred thousand acres in South Florida are covered with such invasive plants as Brazilian pepper. Additionally, the Australian Pine has already conquered nearly 400,000 acres of the region.
Another problem is caused by red fire ants that were imported to Florida in the 1930s. This notwithstanding, their population is increasing rapidly even now. Their activity still damages the wildlife of the state and disrupts its ecosystem.
Environmental Issues in Southwest Florida
Southwest Florida is known for its Green swamp, sugar beaches, and crystal-clear water. However, things may change in the foreseeable future because of the negative environmental impacts of Florida.
Green Swamp Issues
Green Swamp is the heart of the region that covers nearly 560,000 acres. It provides numerous springs as well as five major rivers with the water flow. Thanks to it, the majority of Florida’s residents have access to fresh water.
But still, the swamp suffers from agricultural activity. The wetlands are drained and their groundwater resources are overused. The consequences of such harmful activity are terrible and lead to the reduction of the quality and quantity of water necessary to support the ecosystem of the swamp.
The recent years have been extremely difficult for the environment in Florida due to a toxic algae bloom that has been affecting the local rivers and lakes. Every week hundreds of fish die because of this disaster. Furthermore, this ecological problem has a negative impact not only on the environment but also on the economy of the region.
However, according to Rick Bartleson, a water quality scientist, the situation is going to change. He informs that the toxic blue-green algae will disappear in the nearest future and the water quality will be improved.
There is no question that the state’s government has managed to achieve a lot of ecological goals and solved several serious current environmental issues in Florida. But still, it’s necessary to take more actions to protect the unique ecosystems of the region.
The leaders of the state can overcome all these problems by developing and implementing successful environmental programs. Such an attitude will not only help to save nature and prevent Florida ecological disaster but will increase the economic level of the region.
Kate is an environmental consultant specializing on green technologies and nature preservation techniques. She has more than 3 years of experience and worked with several non-profit organizations to save our nature from disruptive influence of people.