Tag Archives: Plan 6

The History, the Future, of Plan 6 and “Sending Water South,” St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

 

plan 6 prototype
Map for the “Performance Configuration” co-authored in 2009, incorporating Plan 6 ideas for sending more water south.

First thank you to Dr Gary Goforth for providing much of this historical data.(http://garygoforth.net)

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the idea of “sending water south,” mostly because in order to do so privately owned lands would be taken out of sugar productivity. This post is meant to share some of the history of ideas over the years to do so, not debate it.

As we all know, before the lands south of Lake Okeechobee were drained for the budding agriculture industry in the late 1800s onward, when Lake Okeechobee overflowed, ever so gently its waters ran over the southern lip of the lake through a pond apple forest, creating a “river of grass” that became the Everglades.

In the 1920s at the direction of Congress and the State of Florida the Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) redirected these overflow waters that had functioned as such for thousands of years through canals C-44 to the St Lucie River and C-43 to the Caloosahatchee.

This achieved better flood control for agriculture and development but has caused an environmental disaster for the northern estuaries and for the Everglades.

The environmental destruction and safety issues of the Herbert Hoover Dike were noted early on.  As far as the destruction of a local industry, the fishing industry in the St Lucie River was the poster child.  This and many other reasons caused many people over the years to seeks “improvements,” to the  overall ecological system.

One of the first was the 1955 ACOE Central and Southern Florida Project Part IV. It was a proposal evaluating different options (plans) for “increasing lake outlet capacity.  One component was “Plan 6,” a one mile wide floodway extending from the Herbert Hoover Dike to one mile into Water Conservation Area 3. For this report, Plan 6  was  the recommended improvement.  Dr Gary Goforth notes discharges to the St Lucie would have been lessened about by half,  but “not eliminate lake discharges to the St Lucie River.” In the end, the entire plan was not acted upon as many tax payer paid plans are not…but Plan 6 was not forgotten…

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Photos taken of 1955 ACOE CSFP Report courtesy of Dr Gary Goforth.
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Floodway 1955

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Various references to Plan 6 and a floodway.
Various references to Plan 6 and a floodway.

Dr Goforth also notes a “more robust plan,”a plan co-authored in 2009 by Karl Wickstrum, Paul Gray, Maggy Hurchalla, Tom Van Lent, Mark Oncavgne, Cynthia Interlandi, and Jennifer Nelson. (See first photo in this blog.) This plan is referenced by Mark Perry in his well known “River of Grass” presentation.

Plan 6
Mark Perry’s drawing in his presentation for “River of Grass,”used today, 2014.

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The Art Marshal Foundation (Art was one of the great conservationist of the early 1960/70s environmental movement and has a wildlife preserve named after him) also notes in their literature that Plan 6 is traceable to the Marshall Plan-1981.

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“Marshall Plan 1981 to Repair the Everglades, Why Plan 6 Will Work.” Marshall Foundation publication 2013, Version 2.2.

Most recently in 2013, the Rivers Coalition published on its website “Plan 6 Flowway, River of Grass, Missing Link.”

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Rivers Coalition Plan 6, the Missing Link, River of Grass, 2013.
Rivers Coalition Plan 6, the Missing Link, River of Grass, 2013 (http://riverscoalition.org/the-solution/)

You can learn more about this version of the plan by clicking on the above link.

All of these plans, I believe, are one way or another based upon the 1955 ACOE Report. it may not have come to fruition but it certainly provided a lot of inspiration!

Also last year, Senator Joe Negron was able to secure $250,000 for a University of Florida study that should occur in 2014 for “Sending more water south.” Wonder what their plan will recommend?

If history repeats itself, even more Plan 6 versions will be created. In any case, let’s keep pushing for change to save the estuaries and find some way to move more water south. And thank you Army Corp of Engineers for the inspiration…

 

Nathaniel Reed, Nature’s God, and the Indian River Lagoon

Nathaniel Reed, in a moment of refection, Rivers Coalition meeting 2-27-14.
Nathaniel Reed, in a moment of refection, Rivers Coalition meeting 2-27-14.

Mr Nathaniel Reed is one of those people I have always admired and who has always been “bigger than life,” in my life. http://www.aapra.org/Pugsley/ReedNathaniel.html

His name came before me like sunshine throughout my youth, as someone from little Martin County, who was fighting against the “big guy,” big development, destruction of Florida’s paradise, on a local, state and national level. Someone helping our Indian River Lagoon and St Lucie River.

On the other hand, his family developed Jupiter Island so there was a balance or an irony to the big  picture. Such is life.

Over time, words like these, written by Mr Reed, in his early career, formed the basis of my world view:

“I suggest to you that the American dream, based as it is on the concept of unlimited space and resources, has run aground on the natural limits of the earth. It has foundered on the shoals of the steadily emerging environmental crisis, a crisis broadly defined to include not only physical and biological factors, but the social consequences that flow from them. The American dream, so long an energizing force in our society, is withering as growing social and ecological costs generated by decades of relative neglect, overtake the economic and technological gains generated by ‘rugged individualism’. The earth as a place to live has a limited amount of air, water, soil, minerals, space and other natural resources, and today we are pressing hard on our resource base. Man, rich or poor, is utterly dependent on his global life-support system.”

Yesterday, at a Rivers Coalition meeting, Mr Reed said he had failed in two things in his long successful environmental career. He said he has failed to limit phosphorus going into Lake Okeechobee, and that he had failed to convince others of the importance of getting  the water going south, the basic principal of restoring the estuaries and the Everglades.

He then relayed to a crowd over two hundred that the flow-way south to the the Everglades, Plan 6, was unfeasible because the sugar industry is the richest industry in the U.S. and they would block anything put before Congress to do such and the costs of the project is too much. He recommended working on a plan that would move the water southeast, through canals, into an enormous reservoir, and letting is seep southward…

I adore Mr Reed, and he will always  be a hero of mine. He looked down yesterday, and confided, that he is in “the final inning “of his life and wants to resolve this water issue before they take him out “fighting..”

Mr Reed is exhausted; he wants success in his lifetime. Of course he does.

But personally, I think to go “around the sugar industry” is perhaps not the answer as the sugar industry has a moral obligation to help with this whole debacle.

Although I respect Mr Reed’s recommendation, as Americans we must remember that sometimes it becomes necessary to “dissolve the political bands which have connected one to another, and to assume among the powers of the earth,  that which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle us…”