Peace River Valley Displays Severe Environmental Impacts Due To Florida Phosphate Industry Practices

Peace River Valley holds one of the largest watersheds in central Florida and is under attack by Florida’s phosphate industry. The industry indiscriminately destroys the natural landscapes in the valley causing irreparable damage to Florida’s aquifers, rivers, springs, lakes, and the like. All of these fresh water resources are economically important. However, large machines called draglines completely strip-mine and completely remove these natural wonders. The dragline is designed for strip mining excavation and is very efficient at removing large amounts of earth in a short time. They strip the landscape and completely remove all in its path including the unique ecosystems mentioned above.

Watersheds are made up of countless unique flora and fauna based ecosystems which are delicately balanced macrocosms. Examples of the landscape include features such as pine trees, pastures, palmetto prairies, sparse grasses, wetlands, springs, and swamps. Watersheds, bogs and swamps are also considered a type of basin or natural water storage wetland. Wetlands are efficient natural fresh water filtering systems as well. The valley area in central Florida is critical for tourism, drinking water, agriculture, and livestock. In other words, to destroy these economically valuable resources is illogical and irrational.

Florida’s wetlands are essential for natural recharge of fresh water resources because rainwater is absorbed and confined by the local landscape. This method of absorption also purifies the water, removing contaminants and toxins in a process called “percolation”. Significant disturbances to these unique landscapes such as phosphate strip mining, severely disrupts (destroys) natural water flows causing decreased water reserves for consumption, while dislocating thousands of acres of high-quality wildlife habitats. Phosphate strip mining completely destroys thousands of contiguous acres a year. The industries large scale land disturbances create severe environmental impacts in an unending cycle.

Watersheds support high-quality habitats sustaining critical commercial industries including, tourism, fishing, boating, livestock, and agriculture to name a few. The Peace River headwaters start in a swamp in central Florida which includes a (1) 4500-acre lake named Lake Hancock. Peace River flows over 120 miles, winding its way southwest finally flowing into Charlotte Harbor. Charlotte Harbor is located on the Gulf of Mexico about 80 miles south of the Tampa Bay area and is the second largest estuary on the west coast of Florida.

The Peace River valley headwaters feed some 6 million gallons per day of clear fresh aquifer water. Almost 400 thousand residences depend on the Peace River for drinking water, agriculture, and pastures for cattle grazing (2). Unfortunately, The Peace River Valley is also home to one of the largest phosphate strip mines on the planet. The Peace River valley area is where one of Florida’s many phosphate facilities is destroying Florida’s landscape. This area is in danger of losing one of Florida’s largest freshwater preserves due to phosphate strip mining. Thousands of acres are mined adjacent to and in the Peace River valley watershed causing irreparable damage to the landscape. The same landscape everything and everyone in central Florida requires for sustentation.

The phosphate production facilities and mines located in the Peace River watershed are creating severe environmental impacts to this area of central Florida. Strip mining disturbs (destroys) the local landscape and aquifers systems including all unique habitats and critical environmental ecosystems. The severe irreparable environmental damage to Florida’s landscape is a daily occurrence based on phosphate strip mining. Florida residents should contact their elected officials and voice their concerns about phosphate mining industry practices.

1. Peace River Basin. OurPhosphateRisk com
2. Sierra Club Florida’s Phosphate Committee reports on mining activities

Davey Crockett – – Read more severe environmental impacts caused by Florida’s phosphate industry.

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