Everglades Nutrient Removal

In 1988, the federal government filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida. The lawsuit claimed that the state was violating the Clean Water Act by allowing excessive amounts of phosphorus to enter the Everglades. The lawsuit alleged that the source of the excess phosphorus was from agricultural activities and that the excess phosphorus was causing irreparable harm to Everglades plants and animals. Excess phosphorus concentrations have the potential to harm Everglades plants and animals because the Everglades ecosystem has evolved under extremely low levels of phosphorus. The limestone bedrock underlying the Everglades has the capacity to absorb phosphorus. In addition, the Everglades is situated in a sub-tropical climate in which essential nutrients such as phosphorus do not accumulate in soils or sediments, but are recycled rapidly through high plant and animal activity. Therefore, Everglades plants and animals have evolved and adapted to thrive under extremely low concentrations of phosphorus in wetland sediments and water. Download the entire PDF below.