Courtesy City of Sanibel
With the support and leadership of Senators Lizbeth Benacquisto and Joe Negron, Representative Heather Fitzenhagen and Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane, the time is now for us to ask Governor Rick Scott, DEP Secretary Jon Steverson, the SFWMD Governing Board and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to accelerate the EAA water storage project to reduce damage from high flows to the estuaries!
Our estuary and the Everglades need your support. Please take time to craft a message on the form provided here. Your letter will automatically be directed to these decision makers when you hit the send button so use the information below to craft your own message and send it today. Our estuaries cannot survive continued excuses, delays, and business as usual.
So far in 2016, flows to the Caloosahatchee from Lake O have already received 77% of the flow we relieved in all of 2013. This years high flows have already delivered 10% greater total phosphorus than that received in 2013 and 84% of the total nitrogen load in 2013. The Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries are once again suffering significant harm from high water discharges. Right now the Caloosahatchee has blue-green blooms over 27 miles of the river and estuary.
NASA photo from July 2nd showing the extent of the algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee – 33 square miles.
Excessively high volumes of freshwater this dry season have devastated the estuary that serves as the nursery for our commercial and recreational fish, their bait fish, and the local blue crab industry.
High flows have washed the estuary salt/freshwater mixing zone into the Gulf of Mexico and dumped massive loads of nutrient laden silty muck sediments downstream.
Additional water storage is needed in all sectors of the greater Everglades, but south of the lake a significant volume of storage can be achieved to protect the dike and communities below the lake and relieve unwanted estuary discharges.
The time is ripe to reprioritize an existing CERP storage project in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA).
The EAA storage project is listed on the master list of projects, called the Integrated Delivery Schedule (IDS), but is not scheduled to begin planning until four years from now in 2020.
Estuary conditions and our economy cannot and should not continue to suffer damage when a project can be accelerated to speed up the central solution, the storage project in the EAA.
This is NOT a new project to add to the list. We simply ask that the existing project be moved up the list and accelerated because it is necessary and fundamental to addressing concerns about the security of the Lake O dike, flood protection for communities living around the dike, water supply for the Everglades and agriculture and would relieve estuary high flow discharges.
Accelerating this project to begin this summer complements the SFWMD decision to start water storage planning north of the lake. It is more economical and efficient to address storage needs both south and north of the lake concurrently.
While storage north of the lake can help with timing and water quality treatment for the lake, it does not address storage needed for rain that falls in the lake, its watershed, or south in the EAA. Only southern storage can address that capacity.
Storage south can address a wider scope of issues and stakeholders concerns and provides more opportunities than any other single location.
Tell the SFWMD, Gov. Scott, DEP, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers there are better options!