Tag Archives: blood

“Don’t Dump On Me,” St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

 

Toxic Flag, SLR/IRL 2015.
“Toxic Flag,” SLR/IRL 2015. Yellow represents hope; red represents blood; and blue represents truth.

 

Toxic algae at S-308, 5-3-15. Photo by Toby Oberdorf.
Toxic algae at S-308 Lake Okeechobee west side of structure. 5-3-15. Photo by Toby Overdorf.
Toxic algae at CS-308, photo by Toby Oberdorf.
Toxic algae at CS-308 on 5-3-15, east side of structure. Photo by Toby Overdorf.
Toxic algae and dead fish. Photo Toby Oberdorf, 5-3-15.
Toxic algae and dead fish also east side of structure. Photo Toby Overdorf, 5-3-15.

 

I have decided that we need a flag. The first flags were used to assist military co-ordination on battlefields, and flags have since evolved into a general tool for rudimentary signalling and identification, especially in environments where communication is challenging.
Thus, I have created the “Toxic Flag”of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

I would like to thank friend Toby Overdorf and his father for going to Port Mayaca yesterday around 4:30 PM and taking photos of the toxic algae bloom still there at the gates both east and west S-308, Port Mayaca, Lake Okeechobee. I have used one of Toby’s photos to create the flag. A dead fish floats in the toxic bloom that was sent into river this morning at 7AM.

I would also like to thank Even Miller and all those who attended the BUY THE LAND and toxic algae protest yesterday at St Lucie Locks and Dam. Also thank you to Katy Lewey for her rally this morning. It is necessary to make a statement against these toxic discharges.

The “flag” I have created in the first image of this blog post is based on the Gadsden flag, one of the original American flags that in sprite of its many associations stands for every American in that we as Americans are not afraid to fight tyranny. That toxic waters are dumped into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon is a form of tyranny. It is a practice that is now understood and must be changed.

Below are the webcams as kindly sent by the Army Corp of “Engineers and the Environmental Conditions Report” from the South Florida Water Management District that I could not find the other day. The links to the web cams allow one to see a photo every five minutes from S-80 and S-308. S-308 is at Lake Okeechobee and S-80 is located in the C-44 canal at St Lucie Locks and Dam. I do appreciate these links being sent and I must state that I understand that it is not the individual people of the ACOE and SFWMD that purposefully dump on our waters. It is the bureaucracy of  these institutions that have morphed such over the years that they no longer respond to the people or to the voters. Time for a change.

Fly this flag with pride and remember: “Don’t Dump on Me.”

Gadsden Flag.
Gadsden Flag.

From the ACOE:  As promised, following is the URL’s for Environmental Conditions Report of SFWMD (see right bottom under Operational Reports)

(http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xweb%20-%20release%202/operational%20planning)

Also the following URL shows Okeechobee spillway cameras

(http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/cameras.htm)

____________________________________

History of the Gadsten Flag: (http://gadsden.info/history.html)

History of Flags: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag)

Agriculture, the Governor, the Florida State Legislature, “Blood is Thicker than Water,” St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Historic photo, Ca. 1800s, courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow, Thurlow Archives.)
Historic photo, ca. 1850s, Martin County,  courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow, Thurlow Archives.)

I come from a historic agricultural background, on both sides of my family, so I feel like I can criticize it.

My Thurlow great-great grandparents grew thistles in New York, and my Henderson great-grandparents, from a long farming line, settled in Madison, Florida. My grandfather, Russell Henderson, was a well-respected soli-scientist and taught in the Agriculture Department at the University of Florida, even getting a mural painted including him by citrus legend, Ben Hill Griffen…

I ate boiled peanuts while learning about different crops and cows during my summer vacations as a kid while visiting Gainesville.  I understand the connection and importance of agriculture to the success of both my family and to our country.

Gov Broward for which Broward County is named, led in draining the Everglades. (Public photo.)
Florida’s Gov Broward for which Broward County is named, led in leadership to “drain the Everglades,” for agriculture and development. (Public photo.)

Nonetheless, as a product of the Florida Indian River Lagoon region since 1965, I have chosen to focus my energies on “natural preservation.” This is often at odds with agriculture and development’s values.

Again, I respect agriculture; it feeds us….

I just think some aspects of the industry have gone “too far,” and are too coddled by our state, especially regarding the pollution and water resources destruction caused by their now “agribusiness giant-ness.”

Although Agriculture is a “giant,” today the number one income for the state of Florida is tourism. (http://www.stateofflorida.com/Portal/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=95)

Nonetheless, agriculture has a stronghold on our state government beyond comprehension, beyond tourism, or “quality of life or quality for tourists.” Agriculture/sugar brags that agriculture “feeds the world,” not just the state. I guess this is good, but why should my state and local area be “raped and polluted” to feed the world?

Money…

Power…

Greed…

History…

No where is this more evident than the in Everglades Agricultural Area where the sugar industry “reigns king.” As of late, the sugar industry is not supporting the purchase of option lands that are FOR SALE. They have been able to convince the governor, and so far the state legislature, that is it unwise to purchase these option lands to start creating an EAA reservoir to store, clean and convey more water south to the Everglades to begin the journey of saving the Everglades as well as the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and also the Caloosahatchee River. These estuaries and the people and businesses that live along them sufferer from the 1920 redirection of Lake Okeechobee’s waters east and west for the creation of the Everglades Agricultural Area or EAA.

Option Lands Map SFWMD River of Grass, Option 1 is 46,800 acres and shown in brown. (SFWMD map, 2010)
Option Lands Map SFWMD River of Grass, Option 1 is 46,800 acres and shown in brown. (SFWMD map, 2010.)

Honestly, I am not sure why sugar is so against this land purchase. Their land is for sale! Is because they are making money now and not going broke as they were in 2008 when the option lands deal was legally arranged? Or they do just want to hold out for more money on those lands in the future? In any case, they are doing everything they can NOT to allow the option land purchase to occur as part of the 2015 legislatures’ ability to use Amendment 1 monies while the “environmentalist” community begs….and lake O is getting higher every day.

We all know that the sugar industry gives millions of dollars a years to government officials to secure their interests. This is important, but it is not most important.

What is important for all of us to realize is that the influence of the sugar industry and agriculture in general is much deeper than money. It is blood. And this why our fight for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon requires new blood. A revolution of sorts. Don’t get scared by these words. Nothing is more “American.”

Let’s study the history of sugar and the state of Florida’s pact:

In a 1911 Washington DC publication, of the 62nd Congress, document no. 89, entitled:

“Everglades of Florida.” —-Acts,  Reports, and other Papers, State and National, Relating to the Everglades of the State of Florida and Their Reclamation,”

—we see that even in is  the first documents of the publication produced in  1845, the year of Florida’s statehood, there was a  resolution “recommending the adoption of measures for reclaiming the Everglade land in that state.”  (By 1847 in a letter from Washington DC’s Honorable James D Westcott, Jr. to the Secretary of the Treasury and shared with the Florida legislature….)

It reads in response to the idea of draining the lands south of Lake Okeechobee…

“What would be the value of the now subaqueous lands, reclaimed by such work, I will not pretend to say….all of those (military men) who have resided in this vicinity, and who have repeatedly informed my that many of these lands would be the best sugar and richest lands in the United States.”

This publication reprinted as SOUTH FLORIDA IN PERIL, can be purchased at Florida Classic Library in Hobe Sound. (http://www.floridaclassicslibrary.com) It documents the early days of the 130 year tie between the federal, and state government as they all organized together with the agriculture industry to create the state of Florida, a sugar haven, that reached its true peak in the 1960 and 1970, with the exclusion of Cuba’s goods…

Here we are today, almost fifty years later and Cuba is perhaps reopening…and our state water issues in south Florida are out of control.

Agriculture's UF UFAS sites to help with research for agriculture improvement. ( Source, UF/IFAS.)
Today’s agriculture UF IFAS sites to help with research for agriculture improvement. Note sugarcane research center in EAA.(Source, UF/IFAS.)

Anyway, the book goes on for 203 pages documenting the state and federal governments’ support for agriculture in the Everglades and “how rich they would all become…”

That they were successful, I am happy; however; they OVER DID it, over-drained it, and refuse to see their own destruction, and their unfair advantage.

Blood is thicker than water….but “blood can’t be blood” without water…time for a change.

Stats of Sugar in Florida, 1991, Source Hazen and Sawyer, 1993)
Stats of Sugar in Florida, 1991, Source Hazen and Sawyer, 1993.)

__________________________________________

Governor Broward ca. 1911: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon_B._Broward)

Florida Dept of Agriculture: (http://www.freshfromflorida.com)

Fresh From Florida/Agriculture is the cornerstone of Florida’s 500 Year History: (http://www.freshfromflorida.com/News-Events/Hot-Topics/Agriculture-is-the-Cornerstone-of-Florida-s-500-Year-History)

IFAS Everglades Sugar Research Center, Bell Glade: (http://erec.ifas.ufl.edu/about/mission_statement.shtml)

IFAS/UF: (http://ifas.ufl.edu/about-IFAS.shtml)

Department of the Interiors (DOIs) report on EAA and historical destruction of Everglades: (http://www.doi.gov/pmb/oepc/wetlands2/v2ch7.cfm)

Florida’s  Agricultural  Museum: (http://www.myagmuseum.com/floridaagriculture.html)

“Florida’s major field crop is sugarcane (mostly grown near Lake Okeechobee), which enjoyed a sizable production increase in the 1960s and 1970s, following the cutoff of imports from Cuba.” (http://www.city-data.com/states/Florida-Agriculture.html)