Fly-over of South Bay and the Altered Historic Shoreline of Lake Okeechobee, SLR/IRL

 

South Bay is approximately 5.8 miles
South Bay is approximately 5.8 miles from open water, it was once “in” water. Lake O has been drained and altered for agriculture over the past 100 years with most drainage occurring after the 1926 and 1928 hurricanes. (Slide from Todd Thurlow’s presentation)
The red line shows where a former canal was located and filled in. The square is
The red line shows where a former canal was located and filled in. The square is Section 2, Township 44, Row 36E, once custard apples and a “dead river” part of the lake, now sugar fileds. (Todd Thurlow.)

Published on Oct 16, 2015
This overlay flight shows the following maps:
– 1907 Official Map of the Everglades Patent 137 conveyed to Florida on January 2, 1905
– Map of the Everglades Patent 137 re-recorded in Plat Books of Broward County, originally recorded in Plat Book B, Page 131, Dade County Florida
– 1924-1925 USCGS Maps of the Airplane Survey of Lake Okeechobee

After taking a counterclockwise lap around the shoreline of Lake Okeechobee while viewing the 1925 surveys, we return to South Bay.

Section 2 of Township 44 South, Range 36 East, north of the town of South Bay, was originally under the waters of South Bay. On 12/31/1888 that section was conveyed by TIFF to the Pensacola and Atlantic Railroad Company. The area of the Lake is now sugarcane farms.

VIDEO LINK: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJkMOIqjr_I&feature=youtu.be)

Lake Okeechobee used to be a much larger lake. It crested at about 21 feet to fall over an undefined edge of sawgrass and in some areas a pond apple forest.

Since the late 1800s the lake has slowly had its undefined edge pushed back and dammed. The lake perhaps holds about 30% less water than it originally could. Those overflow waters today are plumed to drain into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and the Caloosahatchee so that the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) can exist. Watch this amazing historic map/Google Earth video created by my brother Todd Thurlow and see for yourself!

South Bay, for instance…Todd explains: “You can see on Google Earth where the canals and levees follow the old shoreline of South Bay, now 5.8 miles from open water, but 2 miles from the rim canal. That Section 2, which was under the bay, was conveyed to the Pensacola and Atlantic Railroad Company by TIIF deed on 12/31/1888. It looks like there is a little town there called South Bay…”

I am also including a presentation by the SFWMD’s Dr Christopher McVoy, 2008, about pre-drainage Lake O. Hydrology: (http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/geer2008/Presentation_PDFs/Thursday/Royal%20Palm%20VIII/1040%20C%20McVoy.pdf)

Through understanding history, we understand ourselves.

Lake O's original level was 21 today it is around 15 feet.
Lake O’s original level was 21 today it is around 15 feet.
All images below courtesy of Dr McVay's SFWMD presentation, 2008.
All images below courtesy of Dr McVay’s SFWMD presentation, 2008.
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Todd Thurlow: (http://www.thurlowpa.com)

4 thoughts on “Fly-over of South Bay and the Altered Historic Shoreline of Lake Okeechobee, SLR/IRL

  1. Jacqui, thanks for the valuable history!

    There have been two changes in elevation datum since the 21 ft overflow elevation was surveyed: 1929 & 1988. Those two add up to almost three feet lower elevation than originally thought. I believe the Lake overflowed at around 18+ feet, not 21.

    Incidentally, Chris’s name is McVoy, not McVey. I met him several years ago. Excellent scientific mind! He was too good for the SFWMD and was one of the early RIF sufferers. I think he scared the powers that be.

    W.E. “Ted” Guy, Jr.

    643 SW Fuge Rd

    Stuart, Fl 34997

    (772) 287-4106 (home)

    (772) 485-1866 (cell/car)

    guywe2@gmail.com

    Liked by 1 person

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