48 Years Ago: Summary of Progress…
Leading up to 2024’s “100 year anniversary of the St. Lucie Canal,” Ed and I visited the State Archives of Florida in Tallahassee. We had called ahead and the archivist had set all aside having to do with the “Final Report on the Special Project to Prevent Eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee.” This very important document, published in November of 1976, was key in directly and indirectly improving the situation of the St. Lucie River and all the Everglades. Its research faced head on the deteriorating health of Lake Okeechobee; documented the importance of Kissimmee River restoration for nutrient reduction and water quality; called for the halting of back-pumping into Lake Okeechobee from the Everglades Agricultural Area south of the lake; and even inquires implementation of Best Management Practices by the Agriculture industry and stricter rules for sewage management from developing cities.
The seven pages of the document I share today is from the summary and is part of the lead up to the Final Report. As is always the case, the final report is much more polished. The seven pages of the 1975 “A Summary of Progress of the Special Project to Prevent the Eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee,” is not. You will see handwritten corrections and notes in the margins. A very powerful way to view a working document. “Old school” for sure!
Forty-eight years have passed since this homework led to the famous 1976 publication “The Final Report on the Special Project to Prevent Eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee.” The working document’s historic value cannot cannot be underestimated. Reading it is like looking back into the mirror of time. Here is reflected how much progress has been made, and how much more still needs to be achieved.
“Lake Okeechobee water quality has been declining noticeably for about twenty years, and the is now best be described as culturally eutrophic…” ~1975