Peter Upton’s recent guest column continues an alarming trend where others are blamed for problems that originate right here at home.
The discussion about water isn’t about being pro-sugar or anti-sugar. It’s about sticking to the facts — and the facts show water quality problems are compounded locally, and buying land south of Lake Okeechobee wouldn’t have prevented the toxic algae blooms in 2016.
First came the grumbling from the Everglades Foundation over the results of the modeling done on the construction of a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee in accordance with Senate Bill 10. The Everglades Foundation recently made it known that it didn’t like the math produced by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), which relies heavily on the Dynamic Model for Stormwater Treatment Areas (DMSTA), along with other models. Apparently the results were displeasing to the Everglades Foundation because the arithmetic didn’t recommend enough agricultural land be converted to reservoir use, a condition demanded by activists bent on eradicating agricultural lands (read: sugar farms) south of the lake.
OKEECHOBEE — The safety of the Herbert Hoover Dike is vital to the people of the Glades. Those who live around the Big O’s southern shores in South Bay, Belle Glade, Moore Haven and Clewiston know the danger they could be in if the dike failed. The dike also protects the farms of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), the Everglades and more.
At the December public hearing on the South Florida Water Management District’s proposal for the EAA reservoir, Clewiston Mayor Mali Gardner was among those who reminded officials that some Floridians don’t understand the importance of the dike.
Contrary to the widespread misconception that periodic discharges from Lake Okeechobee alone produced these harmful algal blooms, FAU Harbor Branch’s study provides multiple lines of evidence that nutrient sources in the local basins, including on-site sewage and septic systems, contaminated the St. Lucie Estuary, in particular its urbanized sections as well as its watershed. Results of the study are published in the journal Harmful Algae.
Belle Glade — Hit by temperatures as low as 25 degrees Friday morning, Western Palm Beach County’s sensitive vegetable crops suffered a second round of damage that is still being assessed as farmers recover from a long night in their fields.
A new year brings yet another attack by environmentalists against the South Florida Water Management District’s plan for a reservoir to help clean Lake Okeechobee discharges.
This time, the Everglades Foundation is offering its own plan — even though the group is criticizing a proposal it helped create.
OKEECHOBEE — A research paper published by Elsevier gives more evidence to the link between faulty septic tanks and the harmful algal blooms that plagued the St. Lucie Estuary in 2016. The study recommends conversion from septic tanks to sewer systems near the waterways to reduce nutrient loading, as well as more storage north of Lake Okeechobee to reduce the need for excessive freshwater releases from the lake.
Last Session, environmental activists, working with Senate President Joe Negron, hammered out a bill that (at one point) called for buying up to 60,000 acres of working farmland south of Lake O.
But an equally vocal group of Everglades farmers, joined by local leaders and community advocates, strongly opposed the plan, pointing out the negative economic impact that Negron’s land buy would have on the Glades farming community.
They are coming for our land.
Former Arkansas Sen. Dale Bumpers once famously said, “When they tell you it’s not about the money … it’s about the money.”
Well, when the coastal elites and radical environmentalists tried to tell us that building a reservoir to store water south of Lake Okeechobee was “not about taking our land” … we knew … it was about taking our land.