Archive for hurricanes

Comment today to refurbish Flamingo

Flamingo, Everglades National Park

Thanks to a Sierra Club list, I found out today is the last day for public comments on what happens to Flamingo in Everglades National Park, which was ruined by hurricanes Katrina and then Wilma in 2005.

The picture above is a photo I took on New Year’s Day 2006, after Everglades National Park had just started letting people back into the area. I don’t know why they allowed people to visit Flamingo, because nothing was there — you couldn’t launch a boat, nothing was open, and what you see in the picture — that’s what things were like. A ranger sat at a picnic table to tell the few of us who showed up more pictures of the destruction.

This is what Flamingo could look like:

Now there’s a chance to rebuild Flamingo, and you can comment on it here.

Picture from Miami New Times

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Hurricanes can bring cool relief to a hot reef

When it came to the impact of hurricanes on coral reefs, people thought in general that hurricanes were bad news. The latest from NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, however, points to research that shows in 2005, Katrina and Wilma had a cooling effect on Florida Keys corals, which was good news. Warmer water can bleach corals, but the hurricane-cooled water was able to “alleviate thermal stress” on the marine environment. Good to know when the next hurricane hits.

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Rains bring water flow into Lake Okeechobee

All this rain we’ve been having is paying off for Lake Okeechobee, according to the news, like this article in the Orlando Sentinel. Thanks to the rain, water is flowing from the Kissimmee River south into the lake — for the first time in eight months! Lake O is still three to four feet below normal, the article says.

Water flow into and out of Lake O is a sensitive subject. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s just a tiny bit of history. Water used to flow naturally into the lake from Central Florida rivers, then south into the Everglades and on into Florida Bay. But after hurricanes caused the lake to flood the farming communities that had sprung up around the lake — especially the 1928 hurricane that killed around 2,500 people — the lake was dammed. Now the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the flow of water. Too little or too much water, and the ecosystem can suffer. Many people who live to the east and west of the lake, where the Caloosahatchee River flows into the Gulf of Mexico and the St. Lucie River flows out to the Atlantic Ocean, are concerned about water releases into these rivers. Too little water into the Everglades can cause saltwater intrusion and may be one of the reasons Florida Bay is suffering. Maintaining a water-flow balance seems hard. The Army Corps is said to be looking into new ways to maintain a better balance. Let’s hope so, for the sake of our rivers, estuaries and Everglades.

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Beach dunes target of replanting project

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