Tag Archives: EAA option lands

Riding the UF Water Study -Buy the Land! Send it South! Fix it All! SLR/IRL

Me sitting atop a gator statue while visiting Miccosoukee Tribe of Indians, Florida. (Photo Ed Lippisch, 2014.)
Me “for a ride” atop a gator statue while visiting the Miccosoukee Tribe of Indians, Florida. (Photo Ed Lippisch, 2014.)
Cover of UF LakeO Study, 2015.
Cover of UF LakeO Study, 2015.

Kudos to the University of Florida! “Go Gators!”

UF/Senate Water Study 2015
UF/Senate Water Study 2015

Under tremendous political pressure, and intense time limitations, the Water Institute of the University of Florida (http://waterinstitute.ufl.edu) has created a professional, “arm’s-length” document, reporting on “Options to Reduce High Volume Freshwater Flows to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Estuaries and Move More Water from Lake Okeechobee to the Southern Everglades.”

(http://www.flsenate.gov/UserContent/Topics/WLC/UF-WaterInstituteFinalReportMarch2015.pdf)

Kudos to Senator Joe Negron and the Senate Committee who put forth the $250,000 for this study after the “Lost Summer” of 2013!  Write him, thank him and ask him to support the EAA option land purchase! (http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s32)

Kudos to the people who demanded something be done to save the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon that suffers from terrible “local runoff” and then is periodically murdered by the tremendous releases from Lake Okeechobee that are a tipping point, causing the river to go into a toxic state as we saw in 1998, 2004-5, and most recently in 2013!

The UF Water Institute’s report came out yesterday. The study clearly states, as pointed out to me by Dr Gary Goforth, (http://garygoforth.net) who is reviewing the document:

” Achieving substantial reduction in lake-triggered discharges to the
estuaries and substantial improvement toward the dry season Everglades
demand target will require additional land between the lake and the EAA,
e.g., the current U.S. Sugar land purchase option, lands from other willing
sellers, and/or use of existing state-owned land (e.g., Holey Land and
Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)).”

Friend, environmental icon, and 20 year county commissioner, Maggy Hurchalla, pointed out this section as we tried to review the 143 page document in quick time:

p102: “Currently, the state of Florida has an option to purchase approximately 46,000 acres in the EAA(Figure V-8). The option is set to expire in October 2015. Thus, the state has a limited window of opportunity to purchase this land at market prices. Given the limited opportunity and the uncertainty of any future similar opportunities to purchase large acreages of lands in the EAA,the state should consider this time-limited option. The particular 46,000 acres at issue may be useful for additional storage and treatment or may serve as lands that the state could trade with other agricultural interests in the area if land in different locations are needed.”

Alligator resting but always alert....(Public photo.)
Alligator sunning himself and resting, but always alert….(Public photo.)
Waters from Lake Okeechobee are the tipping point of destruction  for our SLR/IRL. (St Lucie Lock and Dam, Photo JTL 2013)
Waters from Lake Okeechobee are the tipping point of destruction for our SLR/IRL. (St Lucie Lock and Dam, Photo JTL 2013)

Eco Voice, an electronic newsletter that allows everyone’s views to be heard chose this section to share this morning: (http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=694ba105-f777-4392-a051-d84242c1dfb3&c=443d07a0-510a-11e3-aa9c-d4ae52724810&ch=45081fd0-510a-11e3-aaf1-d4ae52724810)

…. the Technical Review Team concludes that relief to the estuaries and the ability to move more water south of Lake Okeechobee can be accomplished using existing technology. The solution is enormous increases in storage and treatment of water both north and south of the lake. Existing and currently authorized storage and treatment projects are insufficient to achieve these goals. The path forward requires significant long-term investment in the infrastructure of the South Florida hydrologic system. Options to Reduce High Volume Freshwater Flows to the Estuaries and Move More Water South from Lake Okeechobee to the Southern Everglades To reduce damage to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries freshwater inflow and nutrient loads from both Lake Okeechobee and the local basins must be reduced. On average, 70-80% of the freshwater discharge and 65-80% of the nutrient load to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries originates in the local basins, with the remaining balance contributed from Lake Okeechobee. Previous CERP, NEEPP and ROG planning exercises have all identified that providing large volumes of regional storage is essential to reduce freshwater discharges to the estuaries. The most recent estimates of required storage include:  400,000 acre-feet of water storage within the Caloosahatchee River watershed,  200,000 acre-feet of water storage within the St. Lucie River watershed, and  approximately 1,000,000 acre-ft of water storage distributed north and south of Lake Okeechobee. …..

Drainage changes to the SLR.
Drainage changes to the SLR. Green is historic natural basin and yellow and pink shows what has been added since the building of area canals and connection to Lake Okeechobee. (Citizen’s Report to Congress 1995.)

Many opinions will evolve out of this UF document. Fingers will be pointed….

Nonetheless, if  we are adaptable, determined, and consistent, like a gator in the swamp, we will be able to “ride” this UF study to achieve the purchase of option lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA).

We must also “ride” the UF report for funding projects to clean up and divert area runoff from area canals C-23, C-24, C-25, and C-44 that are also an ongoing man-made pollution disaster to the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Together, Lake O and our area canals are killing our rivers and  Lake O is always the “tipping point…”

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.)

Keep your eye on the prize, don’t take “no” for an answer…

Buy the Land! Send it South! Fix it All! 

Alligator eye, public photo.
Alligator eye, public photo.

 

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The UF Water Institute report on options for moving water south is now available:
(http://www.flsenate.gov/UserContent/Topics/WLC/UF-WaterInstituteFinalReportMarch2015.pdf)

Options to Reduce High Volume Freshwater Flows to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Estuaries and Move More Water from Lake Okeechobee to the Southern Everglades

An Independent Technical Review by the University of Florida Water Institute

Go Gators! Thank you to Dr Wendy Graham and the scientists of the UF Water Study, 2015.
Go Gators! Thank you to Dr Wendy Graham and the scientists of the UF Water Study, 2015.

____________________

*This Everglades Trust website allows you to find and contact your elected officials and write them about purchasing option lands in the EAA and saving the everglades; see here for information: (http://www.evergladestrust.org)

Dear Governor Scott,”Let’s Keep Working on Clean Water,” St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Let's Keep Working was Gov. Scott's reelection campaign slogan. "Clean Water"  was part of his promise and for many it is an important piece of creating jobs and a number one priority.
“Let’s Keep Working” was Gov. Scott’s 2014 reelection campaign slogan. “Clean Water” was part of his promise and for many it is an important piece of creating jobs, building the future and economy of Florida– a number one priority.

I met Governor Rick Scott when he came to Stuart during 2014, in response to the “Lost Summer of 2013,” and then again during his campaign reelection.

One of the most interesting things for me, was that he carried around a blue Sharpie pen. They say little things tell you a lot about a person’s personality….

When I gave him my booklet to sign, the booklet, Let’s Keep Florida Beautiful, dealing with Spring’s protection, his reelection campaign booklet he brought and shared with the area Chambers of Business, I handed him a ball-point pen to autograph my booklet. When he went to sign, it did not work!

He quickly reached inside his suit pocket and pulled out a blue Sharpie pen and proceeded to sign the booklet. (Photo below.)

The inside cover of Rick Scott's campaign booklet Let's Keep Florida Beautiful, 2014. Photo JTL)
The inside cover of Rick Scott’s campaign booklet “Let’s Keep Florida Beautiful,” 2014. (Photo JTL.)

As the Treasure Coast sits awaiting the ACOE opening of S-308 and S-80 structures this morning at 7:00AM, to once again pour polluted water from Lake Okeechobee into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, I would like to thank the Governor for his press release in response the releases yesterday, (below) and ask that CLEAN WATER becomes the height of his campaign promise.

I ask him, in this second round of water trouble, that he take out his Sharpie pen and fix the problem.

My personal request too, as is the Rivers Coalition’s, is that he consider the purchase of 46,800 acres of option lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area to create an area for dynamic (moving storage). A place to store, clean, and convey lots of water. Much more water than his present plans allows for.

I appreciate all that has been done by the State, but unfortunately these things are not enough to truly “Save Our River.” (http://riverscoalition.org)

Please leave a legacy of a lifetime, sir.

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.)

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The Governor’s press release statement regarding releases from Lake Okeechobee starting 1-16-15:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Scott released the following statement today on the news by the US Army Corps of Engineers of upcoming Lake Okeechobee releases to the east and the west, in anticipation of upcoming rainfall levels.

Governor Scott said, “The Corps’ announcement of releases today from Lake Okeechobee proves that we cannot relent in our mission to restore Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. We must stay the course on our current water restoration commitments and complete the projects we have already started. We also need the federal government to step up their commitment to Everglades restoration by immediately requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to repair the Lake Okeechobee dike.
“The discharges from Lake Okeechobee in 2013, and the resulting harm to our estuaries, serve as a major signal that we must accelerate work on the restoration projects needed to safeguard South Florida’s waters. Addressing the environmental challenges of South Florida requires the simultaneous investment in projects to store excess water, clean polluted water and send the clean water south – away from our estuaries and into the Everglades.”
Over the next four years, Governor Scott is committed to:
• Fully fund the state’s share of the restoration of the Kissimmee River (which Governor Scott has already funded at $5 million); and
• Fully fund the construction and completion of the C-43 (Governor Scott previously funded at $18 million) and C-44 (Governor Scott previously funded at $60 million).
Focusing on completing these initiatives, while not a silver bullet, is essential to quickly increasing water storage space around Lake Okeechobee and restoring the Everglades. Together, these projects will create more than 300,000 acre-feet of new storage to help fight future releases from Lake Okeechobee.
The Governor is committed to moving forward with sending water south. This year, the South Florida Water Management District sent more than 69 billion gallons of water south, sparing the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.
###

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Prior blog post on Gov. Rick Scott’s visit and the Sharpie pen: (http://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2014/04/13/a-surprise-visit-by-governor-rick-scott-to-the-st-lucie-riverindian-river-lagoon/)