Big Sugar’s Impact on the Everglades

everglade boat tours

The Everglades – A Tourist’s Treasure Chest

The Everglades are a prime attraction for its natural scenic beauty. This is the area of South and Central Florida where Lake Okeechobee overflows onto two million acres. This lake releases its waters into a very slow-moving, shallow river mainly comprised of a sawgrass marsh often referred to as the “River of Grass.”

The Everglades is an International Biosphere Reserve and also a World Heritage Site that should be protected from adverse impacts like Big Sugar runoff.

Big Sugar Companies

Three Florida companies produce nearly half of all sugar that supplies American consumers. Processing, production, and manufacturing by “Big Sugar” companies begins with sugar cane. More than 78 million tons of sugar is derived from sugar cane, a tropical grass native to areas of Florida.

The Effects of Sugar Runoff Released into the Everglades

Sugar mills and sugar refineries separate sugar from sugar stalks that have been washed, cut, shredded, and pressed with huge industrial rollers to extract juice.

During processing, calcium carbonate forms. This chalky mixture is used as a clarifier before final processing to separate residual materials from the sugar solution. When calcium carbonate runoff  is released out into the slow-moving Everglades, it affects microorganisms in the water (which in turn affects every other living thing in the glades) and turns water into limestone, also called “liming.”

Eco Balance and the Everglades

The upset of iming affects the Everglades’ ecological balance. If Big Sugar’s impact continues, those iconic, swaying Everglades grasses becoming calcified will foul the water and grasses, endangering Everglades birds, fish, reptiles, and mammals. The effects may also make Cypress Outdoor Adventures’ airboat ride in Fort Lauderdale nearly impossible.

Tour the Beauty of the Everglades on an Airboat Ride in Fort Lauderdale

Visit this national treasure today on an airboat tour. To tour the Everglades, contact Captain Bill, owner of Cypress at 954-260-1096 today.

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