February 12, 2016


Every time muddy waters of Lake Okeechobee roar through the release gates, there is a loud outcry. Particularly from the direction of the affluent FL East Coast communities up and down the coast from Palm Beach. And that outcry is heard, it matters because the dollarites there have clout. Good, they wake up media, shake up politicians and water managers when they see their expensive real estate devalued as the dirty water pours into Indian River Lagoon and laps onto their manicured waterfront properties. To be just, it has to be noted that FL West Coast got also badly hit by the recent emergency water releases from the Lake.  Coastal waters in the vicinity of Fort Myers and in the mouth of the Caloosahatchee look like somebody emptied a giant mug of coffee there. Blooming red, green and brown algae tides are following everywhere supported by nutrient pollution.  The tourists, expecting pristine blue waters that Florida advertizes world wide, are disgusted, locals are mad and the fish are already gone or dead.
The situation prompted Governor Scott to even chime in “let something be done” ! As if he would not know any better – and he probably does not.
Scott’s letter, sent on Thursday, comes one day after the mayors of Lee County’s six municipalities held an emergency meeting to discuss steps to address the water releases.
Well, what could we expect ?  The releases are upon us as we were caught up with our pants down - again. Mother Nature unexpectedly filled up Lake O, we added the crap - and the Army Engineers had to turn the taps so that we wouldn’t get flooded by it all if the dike gave way. All of our own making. As we keep dithering in fixing the Everglades, we notice only when a disaster starts happening, our notorious management by crisis. Of course that we know how to repair the damages already done around the Everglades. We can hardly really “restore” the Everglades as we keep repeating – but we could honestly try to at least establish some cleaner “steady state” of fresh water on the peninsula so that 8 million people down south of it would not be facing continuous danger and possibility of outright annihilation. No, that is not an exageration, the freshwater is running out, flooding poses a real and imminent threat, pollution is out of hand and overcrowding does creep in - all precursors of an economic decline, of a local culture demise.
Rather than a mass exodus, just imagine a gradual depopulation as 8 million people consider this-and-that and slowly decide to abandon threatened areas for safer higher grounds and cleaner water – the essential foundations of life. Just watch for the real estate values decline as our leaders continue to dither and yep, paralyzed and subservient to financial super-interests.
It is disgusting to look at the money grab for the new dollar resource provided through Amendment 1 that people wholeheartedly supported – and politicians are cleverly diverting in all kinds of unintended directions. Amazing machinations !
Reconstituting the Everglades sheet-flow southward through the Everglades Agricultural Area ? Forget it – and billion-dollar reservoirs are a drop in the bucket, and a pretty dirty drop at that.
Nothing seems moving– let alone water South. A few drops maybe, but we would rather keep wasting it to tides in the direction West and East. Until the angry rising seas pour in from all directions and wipe us all out.
Doomsday scenarios ? Oh yeah, just watch the salinity already quietly creeping in underground. And just keep debating -