Tag Archives: 1975.

Finding II. ~Relevant to Management Determination for the Everglades Agricultural Area, Draft Copy, 1975

Toxic Lake Okeechobee, June 11, 2023 , Ed Lippisch

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.

~begin text:

“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.

Finding II.

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….

Lake O 2023

 

Learning About What Killed Lake Okeechobee and is still killing it

Today I am including notes from: Draft, A Summary of Progress of the Special Project to Prevent the Eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee, 1975, inspired by my last post. This draft report eventually led to de-chanalizing a substantial portion of the Kissimmee River, the halting of backpumping by the Everglades Agricultural Area, the beginning of Best Management Practices for Agriculture, and conservation for drinking water.

It must be noted that it was the Central and Southern Florida Plan of 1948, after the great flood of 1947, implemented by the Army Corps of Engineers that channelized the Kissimmee River and created the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). It took me years to understand this.  The EAA and its flood protections were created by our federal government. Then acting in lockstep our state government morphed the Everglades Drainage District into the Central and Southern Flood Control District to manage the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District-which included the Everglades Agricultural Area. In 1975, around the time of the Draft publication, the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District was been renamed the South Florida Water Management District. The intensions of the Draft were good, but conflicts of interests continue today with management of the EAA, on both the state and federal level.

Think about it.

So once it was decided the Everglades Agricultural Area could no longer back pump into Lake Okeechobee due to the lake’s eutrophication, the EAA’s government sponsored pollution led to the law suit that now requites all Everglades Agricultural Area “runoff” to go through the Storm Water Treatment Areas to be filtered before it gets to the Conservation Areas thus Everglades National Park. “Lake Okeechobee water” on the other hand sits cooking toxic algae in the still sick lake, before it is sent polluted, unfiltered  to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries and residents of those estuaries have no legal standing.

Hmmm?

The Everglades Agricultural Area south of Lake Okeechobee was created and is protected as part of the ACOE and SFWMD’s C&SFP, c. 1948-61.

Begin quotes from text, 1975:

Water back pumped from the Everglades Agricultural Area contributes significantly to the cultural eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee. (pg. 23)

The major causative factors of the present cultural eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee are:

  1. Canalization of the tributary rivers of streams (especially the Kissimmee River).
  2. Backpumping of highly enriched waters from the Agricultural Area, south of th lake , into the lake during the wet season.
  3. Upland drainage practices in the lake’s watershed.
  4. Inadequate nutrient conservation, livestock management, and other agricultural practices in the watershed.
  5. Management and regulation of the lake and its tributaries which diminish their ability to absorb nutrients. (pg. 5)

In view of the fact that the cessation of back pumping would result in a reduction of the lakes present water budget by some 12-14 percent and that water conserving is one of the over-riding management objectives for the South Florida region the committee recommend further that “runoff water from the Everglades Agricultural Area be stored in or near the EAA for subsequent re-use as irrigation water.” This will alleviate the present need to use an average of 350,000 acre feet of water for the lake for irrigation in the EAA and balance the loss of the present 330,000 acre feet contributed to the lake by back pumping. (pg. 10)

Legal and Administrative Aspects of Management have been created and charged with managing various aspect of the region. The present management structure evolved in piecemeal response to growing management problems. Agency responsibilities often overlapped and conflicted and there is no balanced, integrated, or well directed management program for the region. (pg. 11)

Since 1948, the major resource management agency in South Florida has been the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District which was created to manage the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project constructed by the U.S. Army  Corps of Engineers. (which includes the EAA.)