OVERVIEW: The water system for South Florida starts in the chain of lakes, just south of Orlando. This water runs south, along the canalized Kissimmee River, making it to Lake Okeechobee in just a few days, a trip that took months before the snake like river was turned into a canal by the Army Corp and the State of Florida in the 1960s. The now unfiltered water is full of pollutants, nitrogen and phosphorus it picks up along the way.
The giant lake, once open to the south to nourish the Everglades, has been closed off by a dike since the late 1920s. Thus when the lake water rises too high for the “safety” of agriculture, mostly sugar, south of lake, the water is diverted east and west through the estuaries: the Caloosahatchee and the St Lucie.
From this diverted water, billions of gallons goes to tide through the Gulf of Mexico on the west, and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. Along the way, the estuaries are destroyed of all life and the economies of the surrounding cites are decimated.
At South Florida Water Management meetings, stakeholders fight over water rights…
For the St Lucie, dumping billions of gallons to tide, there are toxic algae warnings from the health department and state; salinity is so low oysters and seagrasses have died off by 99%; wildlife suffers and dies; business and recreation are at a standstill; children go back to school speaking of the “lost summer…”
Yes, the estuaries have been the dumping ground for Lake Okeechobee since the 1920’s when the estuaries were canalized by the State of Florida and the Army Corp of Engineers…
And yes, Martin County residents have fought against this destruction before, but this time it is different…
This summer a “Riverlution” began….
Right now, this “Riverlution” is building and organizing….
This new blog is dedicated to the “Riverlution” of Martin County, Florida, 2013. May it educate and inspire you….as you inspire me!
For the Estuaries,
Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, Commissioner, Town of Sewall’s Point