The Everglades Foundation is dedicated to protecting and restoring America’s Everglades through the advancement of scientifically sound and achievable solutions. They hope to restore the Everglades and the surrounding estuaries to a natural state that allows clean water to flow, while providing a reliable water supply for the people of Florida. It is not surprising then that they recently announced a global initiative offering a $10 million prize to anyone who can successfully develop and execute a process to remove excessive phosphorus from our waterways, and develop a method to recycle that phosphorus into much needed phosphate for use in growing the world’s food supply.
An anonymous donor is offering the prize money for The Grand Challenge to anyone who can solve one of the world’s most daunting environmental problems. Applicants for the prize will be carefully screened, required to meet certain benchmarks, and have their results monitored by an independent panel of scientists. The launching of the challenge will take place in February 2015 and the prize is expected to be awarded by 2022.
The state of Florida has spent more than a billion dollars trying to remove high levels of phosphorus from the storm water that flows into the Everglades. Phosphorus can be found in fertilizer, animal waste and the natural decay of soil.
Dr. Maurice Ferre, chairman of the Everglades Foundation, The Grand Challenge Committee, said “Phosphorus pollution is destroying waterways around the globe, diminishing sea life and wildlife, threatening human health, and, as recently happened in Toledo, Ohio, caused the shutting down of the city’s water supply. We believe that The Grand Challenge will lead us to a solution that will restore the health of our waterways, improve the ecosystem, and protect our water supply.”