Taylor Slough,”The Great Water Disconnect,” SLR/IRL


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Road Trip Series, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon-Taylor Slough

Happy New Year to all of my readers!

We begin 2017 at the southern most part of our state, the Florida Everglades. Over the holidays my husband, Ed, and I continued the Road Trip Series further south to gather insights, one that I will share with you today: the great water disconnect of Taylor Slough. We have too much water and it doesn’t have enough. Could we help?

Before we begin, what is a “slough?” What a strange word!

For years I drove along a road in Port St Lucie, north of Stuart, named “Cane Slough.” I wondered to myself what that meant considering the area was paved over. When my mother told me Cane Slough was once a marshy shallow river, I thought how odd that was considering there was not trace of it today. The same thing, but on a much larger scale, has happened in the Florida Everglades and in both instances it is a great loss.

“Slough,” pronounced “slew,” is not just a river, but a river that is made for Florida’s dry and rainy seasons.  It is a slow-moving river whose grassy shores expand and contract. During the dry season when rains are scarce, the remaining water in the deepest part of these depressions is where plants and animals hold on to life-giving water until the rains begin anew…

Before South Florida was developed there were two main sloughs running through the Everglades to Florida Bay. Named, the Shark River, the largest, and Taylor Slew, smaller and further to the east. We must note that Florida Bay the past years has suffered from algae blooms and seagrass die off due to high salinity because Taylor Slew cannot flow southeast. This lack of water affects both land and marine communities.

It is easy to see the great “disconnect” for Taylor Slough on this National Park map. A park ranger informed me that “all water” received into Taylor Slew now comes via canal structures controlled by the South Florida Water Management District.

Yes, some great things finally are happening such as the recent construction of elevated bridges along Tamiami Trail designed to deliver more sheet flow into the park and a  future where  the “Chekika” public access area off 997 could be closed year-round so water could be flowing south. Others too I’ve no room to mention…

One can visually note that restoring this flow is tricky as Homestead’s agricultural and rural development zones abut the old water shed and Broward County north of this area has communities literally in the Everglades (C-11 Basin) that were once part of Taylor Slough as well. Crazy!

But, if we sent men to the moon 50 years ago, shouldn’t we be able to accomplish reconnecting the flow of water “today?” Now, when the Everglades and Florida Bay need it?

How can we along the St Lucie River help speed things up?

…Learn about Senator Negron’s proposal for 60,000 acres of storage, cleaning and conveyance in 2017. Learn about pressuring our government to “face the facts.”

…One thing is certain, we can’t allow the Everglades to die on our watch, and we have exactly what she needs…


Taylor Slough https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_Slough
ENP C-111: https://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/nature/c111.htm
C-11(1) Basin: http://c-11.org
C-111: http://palmm.digital.flvc.org/islandora/object/fiu%3A3643#page/FI05030101_cover1/mode/2up


Senate President Joe Negron’s proposed land purchase map, 2017

2 thoughts on “Taylor Slough,”The Great Water Disconnect,” SLR/IRL

  1. Jacqui, great and interesting information. I’m sure your trips are exciting. I like your comment about how we sent a man to the moon. I agree, the fix is doable. 2017 is the year we get the Political Will! Happy New Year to you and yours.

  2. Interesting Facebook Comments

    Chris Phoenix Great information thanks Jackie and Ed
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 11 hrs
    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch
    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch Thank you always Chris!’
    Like · Reply · 7 hrs
    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch
    Write a reply…

    Newton Earl Cook
    Newton Earl Cook You may want to investigate the difficulties of moving just 1700cfs of new water down Taylor Slough last year despite the SFWMD staff doing creative manipulation to get the water from west to east (around the “bird” blockage) and in a canal headed south to Taylor Slough. Clean water at 7 ppb P. And how the Park threatened to stop that water going into the Slough. The District is trying to move water south. The Federal government finds one roadblock after another !
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 11 hrs
    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch
    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch your favorite bird Newton? 🙂
    Like · Reply · 7 hrs
    Newton Earl Cook
    Newton Earl Cook Actually stupid bureaucrats. The water sent into a canal into the Park to be “spread” in the Taylor Slough area came out of the WCAs at about 7 ppb P. When it ran down the canal it was measured to be 9ppb P. Still under the mandated 10 ppb P. BUT, in the eyes of the bureaucrats the “increase” was considered a violation and the water had to be stopped going south down the canal. Last I heard the District and US Dept of Interior we’re trying to solve the stalemate. Point, just how do you think a large flow of water would ever be allowed to go down that canal from “the reservoir”? That is the problem. Restrictions to flow south. Not more storage.
    Like · Reply · 2 hrs
    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch
    Write a reply…

    Blake Faulkner
    Blake Faulkner Newton…can you show us any link to what you’re talking about? I remember SFWMD board member Melanie Peterson saying that they had provided 6.5 billion more gallons of freshwater to Taylor Slough over the entire year of 2015 but that obviously wasn’t enough to help central Florida Bay avoid the massive seagrass bed die-offs…was it? That was about 18 million extra gallons of freshwater per day. That is not a lot for such a large area of critical seagrass bed habitat that is the base for such a valuable fishery.

    Florida Bay is 1000 square miles of shallow water that has lots of evaporation year round. When no rain comes in the rainy season, like it didn’t in 2015, the salinity in the shallow hot seawater climbs to over twice the salinity of open ocean water…70+ ppt vs 34 ppt. There has been a chronic shortage of freshwater volume getting to Florida Bay via Shark River Slough and Taylor Slough in Everglades National Park and CERP was never really, practically intended to deal with that in the many projects it put into its 30 year plan.

    The Tamiami Trail MOD waters project is a NON-CERP project that President Obama got started after decades of delays & lawsuits & lack of funding. Part of that NON-CERP project is now complete with One Mile Bridge in eastern Shark River Slough. No Cape Sable Seaside Sparrows are at risk during nesting season there. More bridging of Tamiami Trail is funded and under construction further west and will be completed a few years from now. The USACE and USFWS have reached an agreement that Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow nesting season will not impair sending water south through Everglades National Park to Florida Bay anymore…winter or summer. They can work around that. They will be ready for water to be sent south from the EAA when a reservoir/filter marsh has been constructe in the EAA and is operational.

    P.S. The C 111 spreader canal project that is helping get more freshwater moved from east to west into Taylor Slough now…is ALSO a NON-CERP project. Taylor Slough depends on local rainfall in the Miami-Homestead area to become hydrated and to send water to northeast Florida Bay. But northeast Florida Bay is not where the seagrass beds that died off in 2015 are. I can show you that on a map.
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 10 hrs · Edited
    Newton Earl Cook
    Newton Earl Cook Well, some is correct…some not…..There was excess clean water in WCA 3 north of the Tamiami Trail from Feb. to August last year and it WAS NOT ALLOWED to go through the S-12s to lower the WCAs (which would have lowered the Lake) until August 14 because of the nesting of the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow…THERE IS NO AGREEMENT with the USDOI…Meanwhile WCA 3 was closed to public access (water too high and animals trying to survive on the levees) and no water could flow out of the Lake for months..and the Estuaries were being bombed…..”They” will not be any more “ready” when a reservoir is constructed to let the water go under the Trail than they (DOI) were last year….I do not know where you got that information…it is not correct…..Incidentally, when the two bridges are completed, NOT A DROP of new water will flow south except through the structures and canals, like the S-12s, that exist today…there is no FREE FLOW despite the “propaganda” about the importance of the bridges….They would be important if the structures were removed and water out of the WCAs simply allowed to FLOW….not going to happen……What is always missed in these comments is that we have to look only at what happens during large rain events regarding the bombs to the C- 43 and C-44…not normal and dry times….When you have 18,000 to 30,000 cfs coming into the Lake that amount of water needs to flow out of the Lake and to sea….Neither CERP nor MOD WATERS have any provisions to allow that volume and velocity of water to go to Florida Bay…under the Tamiami Trail….CERP and MOD WATERS are designed to protect the Park…and improve the hydrology….but, no free flow of water, even during emergencies are in the plans……..That makes any 60,000 acre reservoir a useless white elephant that can only take 4 inches off a Lake that is fast rising by the “foot”…..that rate of rise means bombs to the east and west….Reservoir or no reservoir…..A waste of $2.3 billion that could be used to actually build projects to take water south to Florida Bay.
    Like · Reply · 10 hrs
    Newton Earl Cook
    Newton Earl Cook Regarding Florida Bay salinity…it is nearly all local rain driven….some runoff from the south of the Park….very little, even historically, all the way from the Lake. The need to rehydrate the two sloughs is important, even using Lake water if it can get that far, to replicate the larger amounts of fresh water in the local basin,,,That is what the 1700 cfs of new water being sent “east and then south” under the Trail to Taylor Slough is designed to do………None of this has anything to do with stopping the bombs out the C- 43 and C- 44.

    (Jacqui shares a duck photo of her carved wooden duck–beautiful!)

    Blake Faulkner Speaking of ducks, Jacqui…I would like for you to see where Newton speculated on how good a duck hunting marsh a 60,000 acre flow-way south through the EAA would be. But you’ll have to scroll way to the bottom of this forum and read the last few comments and then click on a link in one of my comments there to see what Newton said back in 2009. He has been in this game a very long time and he really inspires me to educate myself and to fact-check him. I am persuaded by some of his arguments…if not all of them. We’re not all the same and that’s not a bad thing.

    P.S. If you haven’t been following the forums in some of these recent Glades Lives Matter posts, you should do some remedial reading there. Read all the threads…even the long and testy ones. It’s all educational in one way or other. Usefully educational sometimes………..https://www.facebook.com/GladesLivesMatterToo/posts/1772990296358561
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 6 hrs
    Newton Earl Cook
    Newton Earl Cook 60,000 acres of new duck marsh is attractive. But I am not in this issue for my “agenda”.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 4 hrs
    JP Sasser shared a link:https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sfwmd.gov%2Four-work%2Fflorida-bay&h=YAQGZtG4v

    Blake Faulkner That’s just about Taylor Slough. Not much help. Shark River Slough is the big enchilada.
    Like · Reply · 5 hrs
    Newton Earl Cook

    Newton Earl Cook Yep. CSS Sparrow territory. Shark River Slough area.

    Blake Faulkner Ironic…with more freshwater flowing to Cape Sable like before 1935, the CSSS would be a lot more widely distributed geographically than now………….https://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/nature/csss.htm
    Newton Earl Cook Now that is a novel idea! The bird can fly. In fact the original habitats were far to the west of where they are today.
    Like · Reply · 4 hrs
    Blake Faulkner
    Blake Faulkner It’s a vicious cycle…over a long period of time. They have to have a little fire at just the right time too. Oy veh!
    Like · Reply · 4 hrs

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