So what’s the difference between hurricane damages and the ruinous pollution of our estuaries?
A hurricane does its dirty work quickly and naturally.
The pollution of our waters, however, is a man-made drainage catastrophe that shunts tainted water slowly and steadily on us. Poisonous discharges, mainly caused by excessive fertilization and overdrainage, come and go, yet always return along with high-pro t growth of industrial agriculture.
A new assessment of our predicament from engineer/hydrologist Dr. Gary Goforth highlights the continuing problems and provides important suggestions. Most crucial, he emphasizes the need for a large reservoir in the Everglades Agricultural Area, where government-supported Big Sugar resides.
Goforth includes these words in his assessment report:
“The St. Lucie River and Estuary (SLRE), located along Florida’s southeast coast, is one of the most biologically-diverse estuaries in the nation, and is home to more than three dozen threatened and endangered species (SFWMD et al. 2009). Unfortunately, the SLRE is also one of the most ecologically-stressed river and estuarine systems in Florida. For more than 90 years, the regions’ environmental and economic health has been sacri ced by state and federal agencies through diversion of polluted water from Lake Okeechobee…”
The full report is available online at GaryGoforth.net. It deserves a careful reading by everyone interested in the future health of the estuaries. Sadly, too many of our leaders remain beholden to Big Ag, for a variety of questionable reasons.
Still, there is a glimmer of hope, certainly, that the Florida Legislature’s 2017 water resources act will lead to a fundamental plumbing change to curtail discharges into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.
Let the historic River of Grass flow southward again.
First Published Florida Sportsman Magazine November 2017