Thursday, January 13, 2011

Manatees Gather at Blue Springs, Green Roofs Can Help Keep Florida's Springs Clean

Spring Run - Blue Springs to St Johns River
Today's fun topic is about the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus).

What do Manatees have to do with Green Roofs?  Read on and you will find out.

While it has been an unusually cold winter with lower than normal air temperatures, Florida's springs usually stay approximately 67F (20C).

With the colder temperatures, the rivers cool too.

Because the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) is a mammal, they are warm blooded and need warmer waters to survive.

So in the winter when the river temperatures plunge, the manatees seek out the constant temperatures of the springs.

Now 67F (20C) is not warm - on a hot 100F (38C) summer day there is nothing better than a jump into the 67F cool waters of a Florida Spring.

West Indian Manatee (Sea Cow or Mermaid)
Florida has a wealth of springs.  Because most of the underlying rock is limestone and much as been eroded into underground caves and tunnels where cold, clear water flows.

Some of these underground tunnels filled with cold, clear water discharge at the surface, creating a 'spring'.  The water flows from the cave, out of the spring and down to a river or lake.

The water is clear, but note the yellowish tint
Florida has over 700 large freshwater springs.  For more information on springs from the FDEP website click here.

Limestone is eroded by water acidified through CO2 in the air.

Green roofs help to preserve Florida's springs and winter habitat for the West Indian Manatee by providing two benefits, including;

Momma and Calf

1. Green Roofs remove CO2 from the air, sequester carbon and produce oxygen, keeping the limestone intact and preventing erosion of the springheads.

2.  Green Roofs remove nitrogen and other contaminants from rainfall.  Without green roofs, nitrogen, phosphorous and other contaminants found in smog and air pollution enter Florida's waterways.  Green roof plants adsorb the nutrients from the rainwater, filtering the runoff and keeping the ground water from building high levels of nitrogen and other contaminants.

Look closely, hundreds of manatees line the far shoreline
Florida's springs have always had clear water.  That is until ten years or so ago.  Now we are seeing more and more springs exhibit the greenish and yellowish tint symptomatic of algae blooms feeding on increased dissolved nitrogen levels.

Green roofs can help stop the nutrient problem and clean groundwater, lakes, springs and rivers.

Green roofs can provide a safe and clean refugee for the West Indian Manatees.

As always, email your questions or comments.

Happy Green Roofing!


No comments: