Today I share Finding II. of “Conclusions of the Special Project to Prevent the Eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee Relevant to Management Determination for the Everglades Agricultural Area,” Draft Copy, 1975.
This information was gathered by my husband and I at the State Library and Archives of Florida in Tallahassee.
I recently I posted Finding I.
Again, I state how important it is that this historic documentation is not stored in our state archives like something out of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” but rather ready and available to the public. Otherwise, history is rewritten by those with most the power and influence.
For instance, today, one will ofter hear in regards to pollution in Lake Okeechobee, –from those working for and in the EAA,– “The Everglades Agriculture Area (EAA) doesn’t backpump anymore. Our water is cleaner when it leaves than when it came in.” (basically, we are not responsible for the condition of Lake Okeechobee, others are….)
What is missing in this response is that in spite of its numbers the Everglades Agricultural Area remains responsible for damages that plague Lake Okeechobee TODAY.
If you smoked unfiltered cigarettes from the 1940s through the 1980s and then, because of a law suit, the University of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District helped you create “Best Management Practices” that did a great job cleansing your smoke through giant air filters, (like Storm Water Treatment Areas filter the EAA’s dirty water of nitrogen and phosphorus,) would it be correct to say the damage in your lungs has disappeared?
No. The damage in Lake Okeechobee from backpumping is still there and continues to be built upon. The filthy backpumped water of the past is a major reason for the pathetic condition of Lake Okeechobee today. It is time for the EAA and its masters to take responsibility for this and to stop hiding behind their modern day state sponsored improvements.
“With regard to eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee drainage water from 30 percent of the EAA land area is back pumped into Lake Okeechobee during the wet season. An average of 330,000 acre-feet of water entered the lake annually at Structures S-2 and S-3 from the Miami, Hillsboro and New River Canals . In addition drainage districts and the private interest pump approximately 150,000 acre feet of water into the lake from various locations. The EAA irrigation demands draw an average of 438,000 acre-feet from the lake annually…”
Conclusions of the Special Project to Prevent the Eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee Relevant to Management Determination for the Everglades Agricultural Area, Draft Copy, 1975.
Water Backpumped from the Everglades Agricultural Area contributes significantly to the cultural eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee.
The following research evidence is proffered in support of Finding II.
(page 23.) Joyner (1974) found that water pumped from agricultural areas to the southeast is generally the poorest in quality of all water entering Lake Okeechobee….
(page 24.) Brezonik further states: It is clear from the data that Lake Okeechobee presently receives an abundant supply of nutrients. Both nitrogen and phosphorus loading rates or near or above all the (dangerous) levels reported in the scientific literature. (Table 2.) If all backpumping were ceased, the nutrient loading rates would decrease by about 20 percent. This would still leave area loading for nitrogen above the dangerous values, but the volumetric rate would be slightly under the dangerous volumetric rate of Brezonik and Shannon (1971). The photophores loading without backpuming would be lower than all but Vollenweider’s (1968) dangerous rate….