Skip to main content

Death of an Estuary

Death of an Estuary
Death of an Estuary

They are immense cradles of life. Historically, the two provided astounding numbers and variety of fish, plus a whole panoply of activity, human and otherwise.


And in the crass world of money, they are worth a great deal of it.

Man, in the form of government, is systematically killing them, but not, as you may well suspect, by simply allowing too much development, concrete or growth.

Death comes by discharges.

Both estuaries are turned into non-estuaries by intentional floods of dirty fresh water shot into the east and west estuaries in staggering quantities that water managers prefer not to discuss in terms that ordinary folks understand. Instead, they talk in “acre feet” and “cfs.”

Translated, those cubic feet per second totaled 855 billion gallons of water discharged last year from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and the St. Lucie rivers.

The sheer volume of fresh water, never mind for the moment that it is heavily polluted, eliminates the very factor that makes an estuary an estuary, which is the presence of small percentages of salt water.

Normally, the salinity served by the tides makes the estuary a very special place. It takes unfathomable amounts of discharges to overwhelm and ruin Mother Nature's seasoning. But water managers are up to the dark task.

True estuary life is much different from inland river life. In these fragile bodies of mixed water, fish such as the popular spotted seatrout swim and spawn, oysters flourish and lush turtlegrass beds grow. Without the minimum salinity, they can't make it. The very nature of the place is changed.

That's why folks in places like Fort Myers and Stuart are so outraged that they're gathering funds to sue the Water Management District and Corps of Engineers. People are losing a way of life, not to mention a percentage of their property values.

“Enough is Enough!” exclaims a brochure circulated in Stuart (see Riverscoalition.org) where the problem of blue-green algae and dark water was rated the most important regional story of the year.

The officials operating Florida's disastrous Drainage Machine want us to believe our troubles are caused by hurricanes and record rainfall. They are expending millions (with our money) to perpetuate this claim.

The truth is that storms merely worsened an already scandalous situation that goes back to the fundamental error of shunting water aside to drain and protect the Everglades Agricultural Area, mainly Big Sugar.

Big Ag's political influence shows at every juncture in an official determination to protect the sugar fields at any cost, even thwarting the idea of giving a fifth or so of the drained area back to nature.

And the latest stone-wall stall calls for creation of a new council to conduct hearings for another year, as if we're not already filled to the gills with volumes of data and findings, much of it excellent but ignored.

Meanwhile, the dirty and mostly lifeless estuaries suffer silently, hoping perhaps that concerned citizens will speak up for them.

The special places need us.

FS

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited takes on restoring a 31' Contender that has seen Better Dayz.
Videos

Kayak Fishing Fun 2023 Product Showcase

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited takes on restoring a 31' Contender that has seen Better Dayz.
Store

Refurbished 1987 Alumacraft Jon Boat | One Man's Dreamboat

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited takes on restoring a 31' Contender that has seen Better Dayz.
Learn

New Berkley Finisher: The All-Around Live Sonar Lure

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited takes on restoring a 31' Contender that has seen Better Dayz.
Gear

New Berkley Power Switch: Powerhouse Lure Designed for Foward-Facing Sonar

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited takes on restoring a 31' Contender that has seen Better Dayz.
Gear

New Berkley Krej: A Reversed Lip Jerkbait?

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited takes on restoring a 31' Contender that has seen Better Dayz.
Store

How to Install New Fuel Tanks in an Old Boat

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited takes on restoring a 31' Contender that has seen Better Dayz.
Videos

Testing Out the Latest from Old Town in the Marquesas

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited takes on restoring a 31' Contender that has seen Better Dayz.
Store

How to Powder Coat: Benefits of Powder Coating Metal Fuel Tanks

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited takes on restoring a 31' Contender that has seen Better Dayz.
Gear

Father & Son Customize a 20' Center Console | One Man's Dreamboat

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited takes on restoring a 31' Contender that has seen Better Dayz.
Gear

Best Features of the Shallow Sport X3

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited takes on restoring a 31' Contender that has seen Better Dayz.
Learn

How to Fix an Outboard Motor that was Submerged in Saltwater

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited takes on restoring a 31' Contender that has seen Better Dayz.
Store

Analyzing a Hurricane Damaged Boat for Restoration

Florida Sportsman Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now