Reefs at Risk

Mon Jun 29 20:40:52 EDT 1998

While it may not be great science to say that the leaking septic systems of
the Keys and the nutrient addition to Florida Bay, etc., from agriculture in
the Everglades are two of the probable major causes of reef degradation in the
Keys it seems highly unlikely that they are not.  Human populations and
agricultural production have expanded tremendously in all of the areas
mentioned in the last posting about this topic....Belize, Colombia, the lesser
and greater Antilles, Honduras, Florida, etc.  Reefs in all of these locations
have suffered due to increases in agricultural runoff and domestic sewage, raw
sewage in most cases, inputs.  I don't believe the science is
lacking...fertilizer and sediments from any source harm reefs.  It is
happening everywhere we look because human populations have expanded,
everywhere, beyond the capacity of the land to absorb our wastes...thus the
excess flows to the sea.  The concept is very simple and, in most areas,
waiting for additional research to be completed is in itself a major threat to
reefs.  We need to move from pretending that we don't know what is killing
reefs to taking restorative measures or protective measures to prevent further

Mike Marshall

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