Tag Archives: land ownership

How Much of the EAA Would be Covered in Water if…..SLR/IRL

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I think one of the most difficult parts of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon/Lake Okeechobee problem is to understand how much Lake Okeechobee water we are talking about….

I recently asked Deb Drum of Martin County, Dr Gary Goforth and my technology-wiz brother, Todd,  the following question:

“Do you know how many acre feet of water came just from S-308, (Lake Okeechobee), into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon? ”

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SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image.

I got great information from all. Deb Drum from Martin County summarized most simply:

“From January – October 2016, SLE has received about 630,000 acre feet of water (1 foot of water over 630,000 acres)…”

In an ideal world the St Lucie River would receive NO discharges from Lake Okeechobee as there was no natural connection to the lake or its watershed.

The Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council EAA map I have been using for my series, “Who Owns the Land? Mapping Out Florida’s Water Future,” shows us the 700,000 acres that comprise the Everglades Agricultural Area south of Lake Okeechobee.

Now picture this…

If all the water that was discharged into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon in calendar year 2016 were to have gone instead into the Everglades Agricultural Area, 630,000 acres of its 700,000 acres would be covered in one foot of water….

That’s a lot of water! In fact, almost all of the EAA would be completely covered in water. And this of course is not taking into account the Caloosahatchee that receives about three times as much water.

Gulp.

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Red shows approximately 630,000 acre feet of water covering 700,000 of the EAA’s total acreage. 

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Land ownership in the EAA, updated map 10-27-16 JTL

King Ranch, King of the EAA, SLR/IRL

“Who Owns the Land in the EAA? Mapping Out Florida’s Water Future.”

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Today we learn about King Ranch, #4 on the TCRPC map of land ownership in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA).

King Ranch is full of history and mystique and part of Texas’ long US history with Mexico. They are “Americana” even on the road. Perhaps you have gotten behind a truck with their brand symbol? Maybe you own one of those trucks? King Ranch is a huge company and  has many different interests.

One of King Ranch’s major interests in Florida is Consolidated Citrus and they have an office in Indiantown in Martin County.

Not everything has been a royal flush for King Ranch. Over the decades the company has had to change out their fields because of the loss of orange groves due to canker and citrus greening. In Martin County alone basically 98% of the groves are fallow. A terrible loss.  But to remain King, one must adapt, and they have according to Stuart Magazine “growing sod, corn and sugar, as well as testing out perennial peanuts and organic rice.”

So as the orange groves die, some are replaced with sugarcane.

You may recall articles about Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature a couple of years back going to visit King Ranch in Texas with the support of U.S. Sugar Corporation money?  Yes, “these guys are buds.” They do business together and they play chess together. There are kings, queens, knights, rooks, and pawns.

So according to the map, King Ranch owns 19,755 acres in the Everglades Agricultural Area.” I have colored this in dark blue. They may not be the largest land owner, but considering their influence they certainly are King.

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Negron’s proposed land map
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TCRPC map of land ownership in the EAA 2016

*Mr. Mitch Hutchcraft of King Ranch serves on the South Florida Water Management District. He was appointed by the Governor.

King Ranch web site: http://king-ranch.com

King Ranch: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Ranch

Stuart Magazine article: https://www.stuartmagazine.com/features/farmers-martin-and-st-lucie-counties-work-grow-their-fair-share-despite-seasons

Citrus: http://king-ranch.com/operations/citrus/

Sugar: http://www.scgc.org

Consolidated Citrus: https://www.youtube.com/user/ConsolidatedCitrus

Texas Observer, King Ranch and Florida Politicians: https://www.texasobserver.org/king-ranch-heart-texas-sized-scandal/