Tag Archives: 1913

Understanding Lake O’s Historic Flow; What were Transverse Glades?

 

South Florida’s southern Everglades, 1850 vs. 2003 similar to 2019. Image courtesy of SFWMD, based on the book Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, McVoy, Said, Obeysekera, VanArman, Dreschel, 2011.

Today I share a familiar set of images. Although we have seen many times, they remain mind-blowing. Don’t they?

~Yellow lines outlining Florida’s original Everglades’ River of Grass contrasted to today’s highly human impacted, managed system.

What one may not notice, are the “Transverse Glades” labeled on the lower right area of the Pre-Drainage image? There are two types: “Peat Transverse Glades” and “Marl Transverse Glades.”

So what are they? Or better said, what were they? And what do they mean?

“A Transverse Glade is a surface-shallow groundwater drainage pathway moving water out of the main Everglades Basin and controls the Everglades water table.” (Ogurcak, https://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/GEER2008/Presentation_PDFs/Additions/THURSDAY/Meeder-Thursday-Transverse%20Glades%20Karst.pdf)

These transverse glades would have been moist in the dry season and could be totally inundated during the wet season as they allowed the waters of the Everglades Basin to slowly seep/flow out.

Following Nature’s hand, the first canals built to Lake Okeechobee from the coast were started or ended in these areas. The early settlers used the canals not just for drainage, but also for transportation to and from the Lake and surrounding areas.

The first canals constructed were the North New River Canal  (1906-1912) connecting to today’s  Ft Lauderdale in the area where the peat transverse glades were located; and the Maimi Canal (1910-1913), in the area where the marl transverse glades were located. Both the New River and Maimi River were neighbors of the transverse glades. Makes sense doesn’t it?

Early Post-drainage 1910, Harshberger image, 1913.

Today?

One would never even guess the transverse glades ever existed thinking all the water flowed out of Shark River Slough and Taylor Slough. Not the case when we look back far enough; we can see Mother Nature’s design. Interesting isn’t it?

Facility & Infrastructure Map, SFWMD 2019
Plate 5, Landscapes of the pre-drainage Everglades and bordering areas, ca. 1850. Courtesy: Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, McVoy, Said, Obeysekera, VanArman, Dreschel, 2011.
Figure 11.12 Landscapes of the pre-drainage Everglades and bordering areas, ca. 1850. Courtesy: Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, McVoy, Said, Obeysekera, VanArman, Dreschel, 2011.

Google Earth 2019

See for explanation of peat and marl soils: https://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/nature/evergeology.htm

See Chapter 10, peat and marl transverse glades: https://www.academia.edu/13200912/Landscapes_and_Hydrology_of_the_Predrainage_Everglades-Overview

Drainage, Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Historic 1913 postcard of canal in  Miami, Florida. Courtesy of the Thurlow Collection.
Rare historic 1913 postcard is titled: “Drainage canal and Everglades, Miami.” Courtesy of the Thurlow Collection.

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.

Canal ca. 1920 pubic photo,  "west of Ft Lauderdale."
Canal ca. 1920 pubic photo, “west of Ft Lauderdale.” Gunter Herman, 1885-1972. Florida Memory Project.

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?

War map of the Everglades created during the Seminole Wars, 1856.
War map of the Everglades created during the Seminole Wars, 1856.

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….

 

Take a look and see: ACOE’s building of dike: (https://youtu.be/BpgN8c2M1lg); History of dike and Lake O. according to ACOE (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KpkhJgV_mLo)

EAA below Lake Okeechobee, public image.
EAA below Lake Okeechobee, public image.

 

 

Canal and basin map SLR/IRL. (Public)
Canal and basin map of our area -SLR/IRL. (Public)

 

Surface drainage water map of south Florida,
Surface drainage water map of south Florida,
HHD Common Consequence Zones and Projects Area, CCZ from Belle Glade to Lake Harbor, ACOE 2015.
HHD “Common Consequence Zones” and Projects Area, CCZ from Belle Glade to Lake Harbor, ACOE 2015.
"HHD original destination of reaches" ACOE 2015
“HHD original destination of reaches” ACOE 2015.

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The National Environmental Policy Act (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Environmental_Policy_Actrequires 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/)