“Blocking the Water North,” While the People Scream “Send the Water South!” SLR/IRL

IMG_2170
ACOE Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project 2016

 

Sometimes I feel like I’m living  in a Carl Hiaasen novel….

On June 16th,  I attended a Water Resources Advisory Commission meeting of the South Florida Water Management District.

Of course, by this time, a 33 square mile algae bloom, parts toxic, had been documented in Lake Okeechobee by the Department of Environmental Protection. The St Lucie River, having been discharged into since January 29th, was looking pretty disgusting. Tempers flared.

At the WRAC meeting, water advocates, not just from Martin County, but from around South Florida were once again pleading with the SFWMD Board of Directors to “endorse buying land south of the lake in the EAA for storage, cleansing and conveyance to the Everglades in order to stop damaging discharges to the estuaries and restore freshwater to Florida Bay.”

“Send the Water South!” rang through the rafters. “Send the Water South!” As usual, the Board looked straight ahead….

And then the presentations came, and a well spoken District scientist started taking about the “The Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project,” and how it is tied into the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan form 2000. —-It’s time had come…

A slide appeared showing pink, green, brown, and blue— representing the watersheds of Fisheating Creek, Indian Prairie, and Taylor Slough northwest of Lake Okeechobee.

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ACOE Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project

According the Army Corp of Engineers who also attended the WRAC “the objectives of the Lake Okeechobee Watershed, or “LOW Project, “are to improve the quality, quantity, timing and distribution of water entering Lake Okeechobee, provide for better management of lake water levels, reduce damaging releases to the Caloosahatchee, and St Lucie estuaries downstream of the lake, and improve the system wide operation flexibility.”

You can read about the project here: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Ecosystem-Restoration/Lake-Okeechobee-Watershed-Project/

It is a probably good project… No doubt. Do you wonder more about what goes on behind the scenes? Surely….

It is ironic that when the message of the people is “Send the Water South!” the government is finally getting around to “Blocking the Water North!”

Maybe one day we will all be on the same page so our lives don’t seem so much like a characters in a Funny Farm.

Life’s ironies abound.

Here’s the meeting information. A drive from Stuart to Okeechobee is about 40 minutes.

A “Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project NEPA Scoping Meeting will be led by ACOE’ Gretchen Ehlinger, Ph.D. Senior Biologist in the Okeechobee Auditorium, 3800 NW 16th Boulevard, Suite A, Okeechobee, FL 34972, on Tuesday, July 26 with an open house beginning at 6 p.m., followed by an official presentation at 7 p.m.

As this meeting is run by the ACOE, this meeting will only be able to address the LOW Project.

Let’s all attend the meeting even if Dr Ehlinger has to focus on the northern watershed. Maybe we should invite Carl Haaisen?

 

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First page of letter ACOE dated June 28, 2016
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Page 2.

 

 

7 thoughts on ““Blocking the Water North,” While the People Scream “Send the Water South!” SLR/IRL

  1. Totally invite Carl Hiassen! This sgag has his name written all over it.
    I believe we really need to clean up the lake before sending water south. If we send contaminated water south, then the reefs will eventually be destroyed as well. I ask to look in to GLYPHOSATE (roundup/Monsanto) as well as other agricultural chemicals that facilitate algae growth https://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/news/2009/fe052/researchers-study-roundup-as-possible-cause-harmful-algal
    http://www.monsanto.com/products/documents/glyphosate-background-materials/gly_phos_bkg.pdf
    Ban Monsanto
    Clean the Water
    Send It South.

    Like

  2. Comments from Facebook:

    Pat Trowbridge Perfect description…hiassen
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 9:06am
    Rebeckah James
    Rebeckah James Thank you for all you are doing Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 9:22am
    Jerry Kyckelhahn
    Jerry Kyckelhahn Bypass the lake until they get it cleaned up. Pipelines are cheap – relatively. Catch it in the north and pump it past the Lake – and past the sugar if necessary – until they get the Lake clean.
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 23 hrs · Edited

    Blake Faulkner replied · 5 Replies
    Paul N Gray
    Paul N Gray this map shows only the lower 50% of the watershed. If you only look at half the problem how are you going to fix the whole thing?
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 23 hrs
    Phyllis Bittel
    Phyllis Bittel Rick Scott is the perfect over-the-top caricature of a corrupt elected official in any future Hiassen novels. I have personally thought he must, at some deep level, been delighted to have such a treasure trove! The tragic reality is something he would never value. I’m wondering if we can convince Carl to run for public office. . .
    Unlike · Reply · 5 · 22 hrs

    Lucy Smith Escue replied · 1 Reply
    Blake Faulkner
    Blake Faulkner Newton Earl Cook is a WRAC member you probably know well Jacqui and imho he should be the inspiration for a fictional character in any new novel Carl Hiassen writes about this tragicomedy/ environmental nightmare. He has already been the inspiration for a classic episode on “The Daily Show” back in 2011. And Frank Cerebino wrote about that ‘Windfarm in the EAA’ conflict too.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 21 hrs

    Like

  3. Released 7-21-16
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Public meeting scheduled for new Everglades planning effort
    Project will provide additional storage north of Lake Okeechobee

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will be hosting a public meeting to discuss and seek input on the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project. Interested individuals, groups and agencies are encouraged to attend the meeting to provide comments and ask questions.

    The meeting will be held in the Okeechobee Auditorium, 3800 NW 16th Boulevard, Suite A, Okeechobee, FL 34972, on Tuesday, July 26 with an open house beginning at 6 p.m., followed by an official presentation at 7 p.m.

    The Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project is a new Everglades restoration planning effort that aims to improve the quantity, quality, timing and distribution of water entering Lake Okeechobee. The objectives of this project are to improve system-wide operational flexibility, reduce undesirable releases to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries downstream of the lake, improve the quality of water entering Lake Okeechobee, and restore isolated wetlands in the watershed.

    “The Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project will look at storage options north of Lake Okeechobee, which will help to improve the timing of flows into the lake and better manage lake levels,” said Tim Gysan, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District project manager. “Public participation is a key component in our planning efforts and during this meeting we will provide background on the project, discuss the steps needed to develop a final plan and get feedback from those in attendance.”

    This public meeting is being held in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), with the sole purpose of soliciting input on the project, such as the project area, constraints, and management measures, as it enters into its preliminary planning stage. Input received during this meeting will be used in the development of the project’s Environmental Impact Statement report. This report will be included as part of the Project Implementation Report that, once completed and approved, will be submitted to Congress for authorization and appropriations. There will also be additional opportunities to provide public input throughout the development of the project.

    Comments are currently being accepted on the project through July 28, 2016, and can be sent electronically to OkeechobeeWatershedRestoration@usace.army.mil mailed to:

    Gretchen Ehlinger
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District
    P.O. Box 4970
    Jacksonville, FL 32232-0019

    The Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project is a component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and is being developed in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District.

    Additional information on the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project available online at: http://bit.ly/LakeOWatershed.

    Like

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