CAPTAINS FOR CLEAN WATER – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The brown, murky water experienced in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers during high volume discharges is all but normal. Nutrient and sediment-laden freshwater flows cause lasting damage to the estuary. In just a few short months of discharges, our estuary can see damages that take years or even decades to recover from. Freshwater kills seagrass, oysters, and benthic life such as crustaceans that cannot escape from it. This is happening as a result of altered watersheds in south Florida. The solution to the problem is the restoration of the Everglades.
No. During the late 1800s, The channelization of the Caloosahatchee began. Manmade canals were dug to attach Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers. In doing so, the entire hydrology of Florida was changed. The Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers have been plagued with excess freshwater, while the Everglades is starved of freshwater.
The Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers experience unnatural flows as a result of the artificial connection to Lake Okeechobee, and drainage of wetlands in the watersheds.
Lake Okeechobee water is far too polluted to send directly into the Everglades. The main pollutant that damages the Everglades is phosphorus. Phosphorus is currently removed from water in the Everglades Agricultural Area via Stormwater Treatment Areas (STAs). STAs remove phosphorus from agricultural runoff, and are very efficient in doing so.
Storage north of Lake Okeechobee will not do anything for the Everglades and Florida Bay, and will have minimal benefit to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers. Roughly one billion dollars have been spent on Kissimmee River Restoration. There are many basins that contribute runoff to Lake Okeechobee. On average, rainfall directly into Lake Okeechobee contributes over 40% of the total volume of the Lake. Restoring flow to the Everglades will have a much greater benefit to the entire system.
Pay attention to all races, especially the Governor, Florida Senate, and Florida House of Representatives. Check to see if candidates have signed the Now or Everglades Declaration.