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Discussion in 'Environment' started by Blue Zone, Apr 24, 2016.
cause the last 8 years was such an improvement...
I agree, a leak from a coal mine could be disastrous to the St. John's River.
Here's a year-end, somewhat positive, note from Neverglades if you haven't seen it:
On behalf of the founders of the Now or Neverglades Declaration, I want you wish each of you Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year!
As 2016 comes to a close in our lives as Everglades and clean water warriors, we must ask ourselves - what is ahead?
This year began with toxic, algal blooms in South Florida waters (including our coastal communities and Florida Bay) - yet ends with hope for what is to come next.
We have found an Everglades champion in Joe Negron. In August, in front of a standing room of business leaders, environmentalists and local residents, Florida Senate President Joe Negron announced his plan to move forward with the much-needed EAA Reservoir.
The Weather Channel recently produced a piece that backs up the facts and truth behind the Lake Okeechobee problem at ToxicLake.com, and what's at stake.
Also this month, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress (CISRERP), a non-governmental body charged with providing Congress with independent and objective scientific information, released its sixth biennial review on the progress of Everglades restoration.
The 2016 findings underscored declarations by more than 200 scientists that critical water storage outlined in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is falling far behind what is needed to protect this one-of-a-kind ecosystem.
We are gambling with Florida's future. What the people of Florida want now is action. Senate President Negron's plan to buy land for water storage south of Lake Okeechobee is the key to getting restoration back on track.
We also continue to grow our grass roots army, with close to 40,000 signatures on the #NowOrNeverglades Declaration.
Thank you for being part of the movement. This is just the beginning, so we ask that you stay along with us for the ride, because the best is yet to come.
We will restore America's Everglades for future generations!
Good on Orvis for getting the word out with a 2 pager on the Everglades Foundation in their latest catalogue.
Well here's some good news, I think, for the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee. The Lake is down over 5 feet from last year's peak to 12.21 feet ASL. I would think this will preclude the need to drain the lake anytime soon.
Now if it would just rain like hell only South of the Lake over the summer for the Glades...
I thought it best to bump this thread as the Lake O problem is getting critical. Per Sandy's post below, I stand corrected on sugar not having an effect on the Lake itself; the back-pumping from sugar is a big problem:
A Message from Sandy Moret
Last week, Florida DEP announced that the latest algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee has microcystin levels that are 80 times more toxic than what the World Health Organization deems to be unsafe levels. Microcystins pose a grave health hazard and are capable of making humans and animals very sick. We can only hope that water levels in the lake remain low enough that water won't need to be discharged into the estuaries, causing another environmental and human health disaster like the one we faced in 2016.
Decades of pollution and mismanagement have led us here, and the problems in Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades and the surrounding communities will only be solved if we fix the water flows (sending more water south to Florida Bay and less east and west into the estuaries) and drastically reduce the levels of contaminants in that water. The swift implementation of SB-10 remains an important step in the efforts to fix the problems that are threatening ecosystems and communities in South Florida.
In The News
Sugar's Blame Game: Deflecting Responsibility for Hyper-Toxic Algae in Lake O
Everglades Restoration is about two related but distinct problems: (1) Broken Plumbing and (2) Pollution. For Everglades Restoration to be successful, both problems must be fixed.
Florida Bay Salinity Levels Down, But Concerns Remain
Recent rainfall in South Florida has reduced salinity levels in Florida Bay amid concerns earlier this year that a drought could spark a summer sea grass die-off.
Months of drought in 2015 contributed to hypersalinity in Florida Bay that caused a 40,000 acre sea grass die-off, according to the National Park Service.
"The salinities are still higher than we would expect at this time of year," said Terrie Bates, director of the district's water resources division. "So the bay continues to use additional fresh water flows."
US Rep Brian Mast to file bill encouraging new technology to fight blue-green algae
Called the Harmful Algal Blooms Solutions Act, the bill calls for the Secretary of Commerce to create a program to recognize and give money to people who come up with ways to:
remove large masses of algae
remove algae toxins
reduce nutrients that fuel algal blooms
provide real-time bloom-monitoring and early-warning systems
While technology to fight blue-green algae after it develops will certainly provide many benefits, we also need to remain focused on reducing those algae blooms in the first place.
Source: TC Palm
These Sugar Barons Built an $8 Billion Fortune with Washington's Help
The Fanjuls have shared so much of their money with politicians over the years that it could be that "sugar, dollar for dollar, is the most influential commodity in the U.S.," said Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and former deputy assistant secretary in the Treasury Department.
Here comes more algae to the bays. Lake level rising.
Today the Lake is at 13.5'. That is about 3' below the max it had last year when all the dumping took place. Luckily, all the big recent rain had missed the Lake.
Unfortunately, in anticipation of Irma they opened the drain on the Lake today. I understand the water is going in every direction to the Caloosahatchee, St. Lucie and even South.
I hope they consider evacuating South Bay and Belle Glade if the storm passes by on the East causing a big surge on the South end of the Lake.
The Lake has risen over 2 feet since Irma to 15.78' and continues to rise. Not good news.
Update 22 September
Edit: At 15.96' the lake is still rising. Per below, they now are back-pumping from the South canal going back into the Lake and dumping Lake water into The St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee. This is insanity unless the water in the canal going South is threatening any population and not just the sugar cane fields.
A Message from Sandy Moret
Mother nature intended Florida Bay and the Everglades to receive about 1/3 of its annual fresh water from tropical rains during the wet season. Well, we all know mother nature has fulfilled her mission this year through Irma at great cost and suffering to hundreds of thousands of Floridians. Our first concern is of course easing the pain for our friends impacted by this devastating event. I have been receiving hundreds of inquiries from supporters on how they can help with recovery.
Some of the strongest advocates of Now or Neverglades have been those connected with the fishing, boating and tourism industry. They have also been some of the most severely impacted by Irma, especially in areas where their livelihoods depend on visiting tourists.
The Herman Lucerne Memorial - a founding member of the Now or Neverglades Declaration - has started a Hurricane Irma relief fund, directing funds to help the many affected businesses and guides in the Florida Keys that have been supportive of their tournament fundraising efforts in the past. As one of the hardest hit areas and one that is heavily reliant on the tourism and fishing industry, the Florida Keys are in serious need of support now.
For almost 40 years, the Guides Trust Foundation has provided assistance to South Florida and Keys fishing guides and their families in time of need. Florida Keys guides have been some of the most outspoken proponents of Everglades restoration. Some have lost their boats and homes and all have had their businesses affected by the storm. Both organizations have little or no administrative costs and know the players intimately to insure the funds will have the greatest impact do many individuals.
Despite the ravages from Irma, this is no time to drop the ball on our mission of implementing SB10 which will create a dynamic water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee with filtration marshes to allow additional water to the Everglades and Florida Bay. This will also greatly relieve the devastating discharges currently destroying the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie estuaries. Three estuaries needing one common sense and scientifically agreed solution.
Irma has reaffirmed my feeling that it's okay to cry and once again, I offer my heartfelt thanks for your support and continued commitment.
In The News
Hurricane Irma Florida update
The death toll in Florida has risen to 42 and will continue to rise. Carbon monoxide fumes from generators have killed 11 residents.(Miami Herald)
Hurricane Irma is already being blamed for nearly $2 Billion in losses, an amount that will keep rising. 243,000 homeowners have filed insurance claims so far. Many Floridians are still without power, and many businesses have been damaged or destroyed, leaving many out of work. (Orlando Sentinel)
Irma flood control: water district stops pumping water into Lake O
The Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee Estuary Tuesday to lower the rapidly rising lake level caused by Hurricane Irma.
Last week the corps began releasing lake water into the St. Lucie Estuary on the east side of the lake but was unable to make releases into the Caloosahatchee on the west side of the lake because of flooding in the region.
Since the storm, the district has been pumping more water back into the lake than the corps has released into the St. Lucie estuary, corps and district officials confirmed on Monday. The district stopped pumping water back into the lake earlier this week.
Source: Palm Beach Post
After Irma, Slow-Moving Crisis Headed for Lake Okeechobee
The winds and outer bands of Hurricane Irma are long gone, but as rainwater drains south through Florida's rivers and watersheds, the storm still presents a slow-moving crisis headed right for Lake Okeechobee.
The hurricane dumped a lot of rain upstream of the lake and the increasing water level could cause problems with the aging Herbert Hoover Dike - a 143-mile earthen dam that surrounds the lake, parts of which were built in the late 1940s.
The latest from Sandy.
Edit: Just to iterate Sandy's newsletter, on April 11 the Lake was at 12.21'. Today the level is at 17.19'. Why they would allow back-pumping into the Lake from big sugar is unconscionable.
A Message from Sandy Moret
Florida is still picking up the pieces after Hurricane Irma, and one grave threat is all the extra water the hurricane dropped on Lake Okeechobee, which has brought the lake to its highest levels since 2005 and continues ongoing concerns about the dike around the lake failing.
In response, the Army Corps of Engineers is once again dumping billions of gallons of polluted, nutrient-rich water from the lake into the surrounding estuaries - just like they did last year, which resulted in toxic algae blooms that took a heavy toll on communities and ecosystems. The releases have been temporarily stopped due to concerns about flooding downstream, but they will resume again soon, sending more clouds of tainted brown water into the estuaries.
Meanwhile, the SFWMD is still dragging its feet on producing modeling showing how much land is needed for a dynamic reservoir to help address these issues. Experts agree that the current plan doesn't provide for enough land. As we recover from this storm, we need to also think about the future. Solving the challenges around Lake O and the Everglades is an important and urgent key to managing similar weather events moving forward, as well as addressing an ongoing crisis for our South Florida communities, waterways and ecosystems. Thank you for your ongoing support.
In The News
Lake O hits highest level since 2005, raising concerns its dike could fail
Rainfall from Hurricane Irma has pushed the water level in Lake Okeechobee to its highest point since 2005. Now, with yet another hurricane possibly headed toward Florida, nearby residents fear a collapse of the 80-year-old dike around the lake.
As a result, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is dumping large volumes of lake water out into coastal estuaries - exactly as it did last year, when those releases caused a massive toxic algae bloom that closed Atlantic coast beaches over the Fourth of July weekend.
Source: Tampa Bay Times
Aerial pictures show impact of Lake Okeechobee discharges
"It just looks like chocolate milk almost in the estuary. Those are areas that would normally be crystal clear blue water," said Deb Drum, Ecosystems Restoration Management Manager for Martin County.
In combination with warm water and high nutrients, freshwater releases could also make way for algae blooms.
Without SFWMD model, reservoir plan is on track to fail
Even as Lake O water levels rose, SFWMD Bullsugar.org
A Catastrophe in the Everglades, and how to fix it
Hal Herring takes a deep dive into the history of the Everglades, the problems plaguing it today, and the groups and people working to fix it.
Source: Field and Stream
Everyone knows that more water containment(land from private owners, sugar, etc) is needed but no one has the political will to use eminent domain and take it. To the detriment of the owners and long term health of the state of Florida. This is a perfect example where the federal government could and should step in and take charge but this administration and congress can not get anything important done at this time. Relocating 50,000 people downstream of the lake is not that difficult and in the long term less expensive and much more effective. than the current plan
I keep up with all Sandy’s “Now or Neverglades” emails and try to read up on what’s been happening with SB10 on various other sites. Today I attended the SFWMD public scope hearing to hear what they had to say with a particular interest about the computer modeling of the reservoir. I was fully prepared to call them out on dragging their feet based on things I’ve read online.
I came away much more optimistic about the entire process and the level of candor and openness the SFWMD had. They are trying to get public input on the many different ways to achieve the dynamic southern storage reservoir and other projects associated. The department of Interior was present along with the Army Corps of Engineers, and several conservation organizations that I can’t remember their full names lol.
Despite the reports that seem to imply the opposite, these people are determined and committed to SB 10, CERP, and the literal dozens of other projects running concurrently. I got a real good education today on a subject I thought I knew better.
The SFWMD is having another interactive public meeting next Tuesday at 9am at the west palm office, I encourage anyone who can make it (I’ll have to take time off work again) to please do so. They will have real life models depicting different storage methods where we can give our input on how we feels they should proceed, giving us an opportunity to have a voice in a true nuts and bolts conversation with the people who are devising the actual plans and time tables.
By law, they need to have these meetings prior to running the model. The reports I read cast the SFWMD almost as the villain in this story, the reality, I believe, is that they are a committed group of people who are working toward the goals we all want.
Thanks for the report and thanks for keeping up with the project as well.
Is there any information on how they are going to get the the water from the reservoir to the Glades with all the East/West dykes on 75 and 41?
I am out of state and would appreciate an update on Tuesday's meeting.
I am sure they are all committed, but what is the size of the reservoir models in consideration and what is the cost?
The more I read about these releases, the more pissed I get.
The SFWMD has been far more collaborative over the past few weeks. More than likely to Rick Scott shifting gears to campaign mode for 2018 when he is going to run against Bill Nelson for the US Senate seat. He removed Pete Antonucci (who was a complete nightmare) from the Governing Board and replaced him with an actual scientist - Ernie Marks - who has been much better so far. Also he appointed Noah Valenstein to head of the DEP which was helpful as historically the SFWMD reported to the DEP, a dynamic that has not existed for most of the Rick Scott regime. Anyways NOT the time to put our guard down even a little. They can act like they are complying with SB10 while still working with sugar behind the scenes to build a reservoir that is designed around Ag’s primary needs instead of out waters. We were here before - here’s a good history lesson since history tends to repeat itself.... http://www.bullsugar.org/why_2007_eaa_reservoir_failed
Sandy Moret sent this out today. This questions the motivation of SFWMD. Ever wonder why WMD is in their acronym?
EXTREMELY URGENT CALL TO ACTION!
So much has changed over the past year, and we desperately need you to take action TODAY.
Powerful forces continue to fight against the "optimal configuration" of the reservoir that SB10 calls for.
And if the South Florida Water Management District continues on its current path, we will be handed - at best - a $1.6 billion reservoir that does not send enough clean water south.
The current design is too small, and it doesn't have enough filter marsh (STA) to clean the water and efficiently send it south - like many other Everglades restoration projects, it's an expensive, inefficient work-around.
contact Governor Scott's office today, and urge him to cancel leases on 18k acres of taxpayer land - our land - currently being used by the same sugar companies that have refused to sell any land for this project.
We need our land back, we need a reservoir plan that will stop the toxic discharges to our coastal estuaries and communities, and rehydrate the Everglades and Florida Bay.
Please forward this email to your friends and family - your children, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. If our voices are to be heard, we need to be LOUD and we need to be MANY. Otherwise, this too may fall by the wayside.
It truly is Now...or Neverglades. Please visit our call to action page right now. It only takes a minute of your time to help save this amazing resource.
Please watch this important short video update on the issues.
Governor Scott needs to know this is not okay. Please contact him right now.