The Whole Truth About Bone Valley Aquifers

The Peace River basin in Florida spans 105 miles from the Green Swamp in central Florida to Charlotte Harbor to the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast of Florida. The majority of the river runs through “Bone Valley”, the area in central Florida where the majority of the phosphate industry impacts have originated. The Peace River watershed is defined by its waters. Bone Valley aquifers cannot simply be replaced during the reclamation phase. This fact is not subjective, because the aquifer systems are completely removed. These systems took nature thousands of years to form. The aquifers are gone forever, along with one of Florida's amazing natural resource the aquifers provide, clear clean fresh water. The more than (180,000) acres reclaimed does not include (180,000) acres of Florida aquifers, because these natural wonders cannot be recreated by Florida politics or by the phosphate industry. This type of strip mining is occurring all over central Florida 24/7.

Florida state law requires that the surface (60 feet deep), is to be reclaimed. Wetlands are reclaimed on an acre for acre, type for type basis. More than (180,000) acres (728 km2) have already been mined in the Peace River watershed. The Florida phosphate industry vigorously promotes their reclamation projects as bringing back the wetlands and watersheds. Unfortunately, we are being given only half truths. Bone Valley is in the central Florida region and holds unique pristine watersheds, marshlands, bogs, and other freshwater naturally occurring water filtering systems. Watersheds are areas of land with waterways that flow to a common destination. Most of the region's drinking water is pumped from aquifers that are “recharged” from the watersheds described above. When aquifer re-charge is missing, dangerous Sink Holes soon appear.

Bone Valley Strip Mining
During Strip Mining - New Whales, FL
Before/After Strip Mining - New Whales, Florida Landscape

WIKIPEDIA states, “Large walking draglines, operating twenty-four hours a day in surface mines, excavate raw pebble phosphate rock mixed with clay and sand known as matrix. Ironically, phosphate rock is a declining export.”

The Peace River watershed lies in west central Florida about forty miles east of the Tampa Bay area. Florida’s Peace River was declared an “endangered river” by “American Rivers.org,” a non-profit organization committed to protecting and restoring North American rivers.

The central Florida region holds unique pristine watersheds, marshlands, bogs, and other freshwater naturally occurring filtering systems. Watersheds are areas of land with waterways that flow to a common destination. Most of the region’s drinking water is pumped from aquifers that are “recharged” from the watersheds described above.

The Peace River Watershed covers (2300) square miles in the west central Florida and contains the majority of the Florida phosphate mining industry including Bone Valley. Phosphate strip mining companies use draglines to remove surface soils, (known as Overburden), down (100 feet); over thousands of contiguous acres.

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