Water-Related News

SCCF Panel: Florida’s ecosystems feel the strain after Irma

Florida's Everglades and connected ecosystems are fighting battles on all sides.

Artificial re-routing of Lake Okeechobee overflow from south to east and west, and the extremes in weather patterns are straining the delicate and complicate systems in southern Florida.

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation held a panel discussion Tuesday, Nov. 14 to update the community on water conditions in the local estuary and watershed system, as well as talk about the in-the-works steps to address issues in the Everglades.

The issues are all connected: A dike had been built in the 1920s around Lake Okeechobee and more had been added in 1947, after a hurricane caused severe flooding in southwest Florida. Then state and federal government began the Central and South Florida Flood Control Project, working to protect development from the river of grass. The Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers became the recipients of excess water in the lake. The rivers were also altered to help form the Okeechobee Waterway, a federal commercial route through the center of the state. The Caloosahatchee was expanded, deepened and renamed the C-43 canal, and locks were installed to engineer the flow of the river.