November 15, 2012


Florida Everglades is the most engineered ecosystem, the largest laboratory, in the world.  And nowadays we know that a number of things are seriously wrong with it, endangering the very existence of millions of people inhabiting the Florida peninsula.  But let’s face it, the Everglades can be ‘restored’ as much as time could be reversed. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing that there is one. We do seem to know the problem and we could only hope, being (slowly) already on our way (e.g. CERP, Water Quality Plan, CEPP), to be able to correct the mistakes of our forefathers who drained a huge portion of the unique and vital Florida Everglades eco-system.
Unfortunately, in their quest for land and livelihood (greed ?) they did not know any better. 
Lake Okeechobee and the EAA south of it
Just let’s get our re-plumbing right ! Do the homework, listen to the relevant science, manage reasonably and cost-effectively. The problem seems to be in the very word used here – ‘reasonably’. Because people can hardly ever agree on just what is, or is not, ‘reasonable’ – under the circumstances. Let's avoid extreme and unrealistic positions, science is here to guide us, use it
By now, we learned that we need to re-establish the flow into and through the Everglades and manage the wild seasonal fluctuations in dwindling Florida fresh-water supply.  The focus must remain on flood control and cleansing the polluted water by both modes combined - prevention and cleaning up. Together with serious and forceful application of Best Management Practices, all that comes through building reservoirs with water-cleansing STAs with a priority of fixing the largest reservoir of them all, Lake Okeechobee and its Hoover Dike.
All these problems always boil down to just who will foot the bill for such undertakings. Amidst the squabbles, it is somehow escaping us that for a dollar invested in this, there are four dollars in future benefits. It is only hoped that all the stakeholders will come to their senses, the administration turf wars and wasteful law-suits will cease and through precious dollar-by-dollar real and meaningful steps we come closer to the correct solution.
Including enforcement of the Florida 'polluters pay’ constitutional amendment. Of course, the ultimate alternative always remains – just the way we flooded in – to evacuate South Florida as the ocean is pouring in.

Will south Floridians have to follow this classical bunch ? It would not be so funny.
("Hillbillies" from the TV comedy series)

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