Eager to see Everglades land returned to something closer to its natural state, the Miccosukee Tribe agreed to give up the chance to develop 7,900 acres of land so it could be flooded and wet again, the Sun-Sentinel reports. The South Florida Water Management District will spend $600,000 to plug a canal that drains the land. The tribe and the water district have often fought over water-flow issues in the Everglades.
There are so many things a person could say about this. One thing I could say is that it’s clear the Miccosukees are still in love with their land.
With less than two months left of our rainy season (hint: it’s the same as hurricane season), many water managers are shaking their heads about Florida’s drought. The dry conditions are visible at the Green Swamp, which is the headwaters for four major rivers, and as the St. Petersburg Times reports, “If the water levels in the Green Swamp are low this late in the rainy season, it foretells a parched spring. It means more water restrictions, more dry lawns, more wildfires.” The article predicts another fight over water.
When rain and water in general are scarce, it’s a bad news/good news situation. In today’s News-Press, an article discusses both the good and the bad about drought in relation to the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in southwestern Florida. Without rain to replenish the swamp, species that depend on water for laying eggs and for food (like endangered wood storks and other wading birds, frogs and insects) have a hard time. Wood storks might not even nest this year, the article reports. Drier conditions, though, mean it’s easier for visitors to see land animals like Florida black bears and deer — and it also helps bald cypress trees to germinate. As with so many areas in life, you take the bad with the good….
Does building a new airport benefit the public interest more than preserving wetlands? Some people say yes, according to this St. Petersburg Times article. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to allow the construction of an airport northwest of Panama City Beach to destroy 2,000 acres of wetlands in order to build the 4,000-acre site, the article reports. The Corps and the state reportedly think the loss of the wetlands is a fair exchange for the St. Joe Company’s pledge to preserve 9,000 acres southeast of the new airport. (How much of that 9,000 acres is wetlands, I wonder?) There are many other factors involved, including the location of the current Panama City Beach airport and economic factors, all detailed in the article.
The legal battle over whether to allow golf-course community Mirasol to destroy wetlands and move in took another turn. A judge recommended the South Florida Water Management District give Mirasol the permit to build, according to this article in the Naples Daily News. The fight has been going on since 2000, the article says. Environmentalists are concerned about wetland destruction and the effects of development on nearby Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and the Cocohatchee River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. If you click over and read the article, read the comments too. One person asks why another golf course is being allowed when we already have water restrictions . . . besides, won’t the fertilizer used to keep that course green run off and pollute Corkscrew, the river and eventually the Gulf?