Thank goodness the holidays are over! Maybe now I can post a bit more regularly….
Just wanted to say for now that the Big O Birding Festival is coming up in a few weeks. (That’s the Big O as in Okeechobee.) If you are interested, make plans now to go.
Environmentalist circles are buzzing about the removal of an EPA scientist from the Everglades restoration effort after he reportedly spoke against U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to flush dirty water from Lake Okeechobee into Biscayne National Park, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Times writer Craig Pittman uncovered the details and also pointed out in the article that other scientists working on Everglades restoration have been removed from the project for offering alternative viewpoints or pointing out concerns.
State officials say they didn’t remove the scientist from the restoration project, according to the article.
It’s too bad when any group or organization is closed to differing viewpoints, and especially for something as important as Everglades restoration. Firing scientists and removing them from projects just for pointing out problems doesn’t solve anything — it just makes the public suspicious.
I suspect we’ll hear more about this in the future.
Storing polluted water that flows out of Lake Okeechobee is one way to improve the quality of the water that flows into coastal estuaries, and that is part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. But even more water storage than what the plan has prepared for is actually needed, according to an environmental conference, Naples Daily News reports.
In the article, the Everglades Foundation said it would like to see the sheet water flow south from the lake as it originally did, but that time and funding are running out so it might not happen.
For the past week and a half where I live, it’s been raining hard except for maybe two days. Even so, all this rain hasn’t been enough to help Lake Okeechobee, the Sun-Sentinel reports. Lake O remains at a historic low.
That’s really something considering Lake Manatee and the Manatee River overflowed, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The dammed lake got so high that water managers had to release water into the river.
Seems the rain somehow avoided Lake O?
After saying no to back pumping polluted water from farms into Lake Okeechobee a month ago, the South Florida Water Management District recently said it would go ahead and allow the water back into the lake to raise the low level of water in the lake, the Sun-Sentinel reports. Lake O is four feet below its normal level.
What I don’t understand is the water cycle here. The article says the reason water managers changed their minds is that farmers near the lake asked for lake water for irrigation. So if the water is coming from the farms, then going into the lake, and then going back to the farms for irrigation …? Do you see where this is going? Or maybe I’m missing something.
Lake Okeecobee won’t be filled with polluted water by back pumping, the South Florida Water Management District board decided. That’s according to this article, which reports, “…Pumping even less than previous years would add 300 tons of nitrogen and 15 to 20 tons of phosphorus to the lake, the heart of the Everglades and a backup drinking water source for millions. The pumped-in water is farm runoff from drainage canals south of the lake.” Whew! So glad I won’t be drinking that stuff! Aren’t you? Previous posts had me worried.
Instead of filling Lake Okeechobee with polluted water from farms as I blogged about earlier this week, now water managers are considering back-pumping filtered but still somewhat polluted water from the Miami Canal, this Sun-Sentinel article reports. This change is considered a better alternative. The reason for filling the lake with the water is to help out the farms around the lake that depend on the lake’s water for irrigation. But what about our drinking water supply? South Florida Water Management District board members, still weighing the risks, are expected to vote on filling the lake today, the article reports.