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.
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:
- Canalization of the tributary rivers of streams (especially the Kissimmee River).
- Backpumping of highly enriched waters from the Agricultural Area, south of th lake , into the lake during the wet season.
- Upland drainage practices in the lake’s watershed.
- Inadequate nutrient conservation, livestock management, and other agricultural practices in the watershed.
- 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.)