My theme this week has been “that which is south of the lake.” The big lake that is, Okeechobee–big waters. The Everglades.
We must always keep in mind that we are all connected, and to fix our water problems with the St Lucie River /Indian River Lagoon we have to understand the rest of south Florida’s drainage system as well.
Last night my mother sent me the fabulous colorized historic 1913 post card above. It is titled “drainage canal and the Everglades, Miami. “So idyllic. So beautiful. Except for the giant gash in the land to the right of the card that foreshadows the future we are all now living: over-drainage.
Drainage in Florida began as early as the mid 1800s and was the goal of Florida’s first government admitted to the United States on March 3, 1845. It remains the goal of our government today, as 1.7 billion gallons of fresh water a day goes to tide through south Florida canals. I must say the state may be starting to catch on. Water farmers, the “latest rage,” will tell you that we spent the last 100 years taking the water off the land, and we will spend the next 100 years putting it back on….
As we know, the ACOE is directed through Congress as to what it is to do. “The State,” meaning Florida, plays a huge role in this “ask.” Today, I have a Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council meeting. This council plays a role as far as “intergovernmental coordination and review,” of coordinating between local governments and the federal government. (http://tcrpc.org)
The last two images of this blog show the photos included from the TCRPC packet. I found it rather ironic and “civilized” sounding that the areas around the lake are named “Herbert Hoover Dike Common Consequence Zones.” I assume the consequence is that if the dike breaks, there is death and destruction of property and people. Maybe it would help if there were an outlet south of that lake to relieve some of the pressure on the dike? A flow way perhaps?
Anyway, I can’t help but wonder, looking at the 1856 Military Map of Florida, if it wouldn’t have been better to work with nature, with the lake, instead of so against it?
The first video below is of the reenforcing the Herbert Hoover Dike in 2009. In 2005, after Hurricanes Francis and Jeanne, it was decided to reinforce basically the entire southern area of the dike as it is listed as one of the most dangerous and unstable in the United States. Reenforcement? I get it; nonetheless, what a crazy place to build an empire….
The National Environmental Policy Act (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Environmental_Policy_Act) requires the ACOE to do an Environmental Assessment for the Herbert Hoover Dike’s Rehabilitation Reports. This is the latest: (http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Media/NewsReleases/tabid/6071/Article/580496/environmental-report-on-proposed-dike-repairs-available-for-review.aspx)
Herbert Hoover Dike, Lake O. ACOE: (http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/LakeOkeechobee/HerbertHooverDike.aspx)
Good visuals of HHD rehab here: (http://www.news-press.com/story/news/local/2014/10/04/herbet-hoover-dike-region-risk/16737395/)