“Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears…”
1st verse, of song from musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” 1964
The beautiful sunset and sunrise photos of our area’s photographers invoke a deep appreciation of our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, as well as the struggles and successes of our lives.
Sunsets and sunrises seems intrinsically linked to inspiration and reflection in all of us.
Thankfully, here in the Indian River Lagoon region, we can still see our sunrises and sunsets, although the health of our river, and thus our ability to enjoy the river, is “impaired.” This was scientifically determined by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) in 2000. (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/SLE_Impairment_Narrative_ver_3.7.pdf)
In Beijing, China, last year, the government erected a televised screen showing sunsets, as the people could not see their sunsets any longer— due to the tremendous smog in their city. What a price to pay for economic “success.”
Oddly enough, on some level, we have experienced the same thing. On a level of world comparison, we have a “thriving economy;” however, somehow, over the past 100 years, we have “lost our river.” Yet in most of the adds one sees, the river still looks beautiful and healthy.
Right now, the Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) is discharging water from Lake Okeechobee, while the South Florida Water Management District canals C-44, C-24, C-23, and C-25 are also dumping polluted water into our estuary. All of this extra water has been “engineered” to come here so agriculture and development can thrive. Us included…
So, right now there is “no other way,” and the ACOE and South Florida Water Management District are locked in a cycle of struggle to send more water south when the entire southern area south of Lake Okeechobee is blocked by the Everglades Agricultural Area— other than a few canals, to “send water south.” Plus the water is too dirty for the Everglades—but not for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon that is already “impaired.”
The “mighty” Kissimmee too has been “engineered for the success of farming and ranches and development in its former watershed. It is being partially restored by the SFWMD; this is wonderful, a testament of the ability of the system to recover if given a chance….
And after all, it’s not so bad here right? We can still see the sun…..AGGGGG!
Let’s continue to turn this ship; let’s continue to fix our own yards, towns, cities, and counties; let’s keep pushing the State for a reservoir/flow way to store, clean and convey water south. As Eric Eichenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation said yesterday at the Rivers Coalition meeting, this is the “only way” as the Kissimmee River’s continued restoration is simply not enough to hold all the water.
“Sunrise, sunset….sunrise, sunset….”we are thankful and we are inspired….
Please write: Florida Senate Email for use of Amendment 1 monies: (http://www.flsenate.gov/media/topics/wlc)