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Florida Bay Collapse?

Big BoneBig Bone MemberPosts: 65 Deckhand
Everyone in Florida should become familiar with this recent issue arising in Everglades National Park.

http://forums.floridasportsman.com/showthread.php?201103-Florida-Bay-Collapse

Replies

  • Flatwater witchFlatwater witch Senior Member Posts: 606 Officer
    Saw a fish kill in mid July on the grass flats --unbelievable.

    Did the Everglades Management Plan say anything in attempting to get some fresh water south of the Tamiami trail?
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Senior Member Posts: 4,796 Captain
    Others will have more info - but the last I heard the various agencies and interested parties concerning Everglades water issues were still arguing (and some of them in court) about all the different parts of the problem.... Wish it weren't so (and I'll be glad to listen to anyone with more current info than I have) my info is a few years old about this at best....

    One thing I do know is that there was some expense and a good bit of effort about 20 years ago to put in an extra bridge over Taylor Slough (about one mile in from the front gate into the Park towards Flamingo) that was supposed to support an increased water flow down to Florida Bay from freshwater sources to the north..... To date all these years later its still dry as a bone - not one extra drop of water that I know of.... That's just plain sad.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • surfmansurfman Senior Member WC FLPosts: 6,017 Admiral
    Can Adam Putnam do anything about this, maybe his cage needs to be rattled a little harder.
    Tight Lines, Steve
    My posts are my opinion only.

    Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.  Will Rogers
  • Big BoneBig Bone Member Posts: 65 Deckhand
    I think I shot myself in the foot by starting a second thread.
    Did the Everglades Management Plan say anything in attempting to get some fresh water south of the Tamiami trail?

    Most likely not. The Park is not actually involved in restoring the Everglades. They are in Section 551 on the upper deck lobbing hotdogs at the FFWCC, SFWMD, USACE, and the public. I remember reading somewhere that they could not even manage to cut the grass at the campgrounds.
    lemaymiami wrote: »
    Others will have more info - but the last I heard the various agencies and interested parties concerning Everglades water issues were still arguing (and some of them in court) about all the different parts of the problem.... Wish it weren't so (and I'll be glad to listen to anyone with more current info than I have) my info is a few years old about this at best....

    One thing I do know is that there was some expense and a good bit of effort about 20 years ago to put in an extra bridge over Taylor Slough (about one mile in from the front gate into the Park towards Flamingo) that was supposed to support an increased water flow down to Florida Bay from freshwater sources to the north..... To date all these years later its still dry as a bone - not one extra drop of water that I know of.... That's just plain sad.

    In some folks minds, there is still a big water problem, but in most, there is not an issue. How to simplify a complex matter that has evolved over several decades. On the other thread I posted a link about the state of the current water issue. Three things in play:

    > Critical Habitat for the Cape Seaside Sparrow - single species ecosystem management that contributes to kill just about everything else in the Park. Drier is better.
    > Flooding Western Miami Dade County - this is very managable. Back in 1994, the Florida Bay Initiative put forth a plan to construct a water barrier between the park and the adjacent canals. It has been as a result of the private sector that the first two miles was just completed by the rock miners and they have another 3 miles planned. Still more needs to be done. The Park/Department of the Interior has refused to look at this.
    > Phosphorus Rule aka Appendix A aka Flat Line The Park Rule - as a result of the multiple lawsuits many decades ago during the Chiles administration and the first collapse of the bay, the result after years of the best available science, 10 years the Federal Government settled the lawsuit with the State where claims of elevated nutrients were being delivered to the Park. Essentially overnight the 10ppb phosphorus rule was established. No water coming under Tamiami Trail could exceed 10ppb phosphorus. After 10 years of the rule being in place, this is where it has gotten us, the death of the park. The Park and the DOI would much rather sacrifice thousands of acres of habitat including the economy of Monroe County for the sake of water being at or below 10ppb. The water is at 10ppb as clearly stipulated in the FDEP report.

    "Any Harvard graduate student would take one look at the phosphorus levels entering the park and say 'job well done' and move our funding to the Kissimmee Valley."

    As far as Taylor Slough Bridges....I guess the thought build it and they will come, but they once again do not use it. Another data point that we were headed toward this collapse that NO ONE paid attention to, is that the Minimum Flows and Levels for Taylor Slough have been missed the last two years. Once again, habitat functions and values sacrificed in Taylor Slough and down stream.

    http://my.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xweb%20protecting%20and%20restoring/minimum%20flows%20and%20levels%20(everglades)
    surfman wrote: »
    Can Adam Putnam do anything about this, maybe his cage needs to be rattled a little harder.

    Sure, but it is much bigger than that, much bigger. Last time sugar was blamed. After years of research following the 1987 event it was revealed that is was as a result of mismanagement of the system. Now there is no sugar, phosphate miners, rock miners or other entity to put on the stake and burn other than the government. They have torched the system. So everyone in state and federal government should bare the burden of the financial and environmental losses that have already occurred and have the strong potential to occur in the near future. The list is actually pretty short.
  • FloridaODFloridaOD Senior Member Posts: 4,433 Captain
    Obviously the Everglades "System" is not running on all cylinders.

    The list is certainly quite long. The fly-cast line wrapped around a pesky deck cleat.

    The vast majority of Floridians could care less about Glades fishing experience.
    Hunters are present yet relatively uncommon in Florida :wink
  • Big BoneBig Bone Member Posts: 65 Deckhand
    FloridaOD wrote: »
    The vast majority of Floridians could care less about Glades fishing experience.

    While I completely understand what you are saying, I would venture a strong guess that everyone that enjoys the Florida Keys or the idea of the Florida Keys should be very concerned. They should also be concerned because this could happen in their home waters with the lack of implementation of water management in their region. If this can happen in the Glades, I would surely venture that it very well could happen in other areas of the State.
  • toomertoomer Senior Member Louisville, KYPosts: 348 Deckhand
    Two books that ought to be must-reads for all are Marjorie Stoneman Douglass' River of Grass and Michael Grunwald's The Swamp. I am sure that many of you are familiar with them.

    This ecological tragedy has played out for over a century and there are many villains and heros. In the early days the thinking of almost everyone was that it was a wasteland that could be "improved" by draining it, farm it and developing it. As we learned more about the way the system worked and how fragile it was the push to develop became driven by greed. Greed trumped nature. Bubble and bust, bubble and bust.

    Now we are past the over-population tipping point. Greed has created need and has won out. We can't de-populate. We will never have the money to fully mitigate the damage that has been done. Laws and regs have been passed but most remain unfunded mandates. All we can hope for (and must continue to push for) is an opening of the flow of fresh water into the bay thru what is left of the system. We probably can afford that but do we have the political will to get it done?

    But if you haven't read the two books I started this post with I urge you to do so. I understand that to most of us on this Forum it is largely about impact on fishing and the health of the fishery. But the complex mix of factors playing out now and over time are things we need to understand in order to be better stewards of a resource that is unique in the world.
  • Big BoneBig Bone Member Posts: 65 Deckhand
    Thanks for your post and thoughts, well founded.
    toomer wrote: »
    But the complex mix of factors playing out now and over time are things we need to understand in order to be better stewards of a resource that is unique in the world.

    I would offer, that since 1987, the system has been completed researched, modeled up and down, with 100's of millions of dollars spent to the point where we have the tools and the tools were never used. Someone was not watching the store.
  • Big BoneBig Bone Member Posts: 65 Deckhand
    The collapse of the bay continues. The only difference is the trajectory is much steeper than forecasted back when this thread started. The seagrass in Johnson Key Basin, Garfield and Rankin has been wiped out as well as significant portions of Snake Bight. I find it very interesting with the lack of media attention. Those reading through this, if you get or have had enough, please consider reaching out to:

    SFWMD Governing Board:
    [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

    FFWCC Commissioners:
    http://myfwc.com/contact/fwc-staff/senior-staff/commissioners/

    Conveying your experience with your observations while being on the Bay and asking that something be done. Can you imagine if we have a drought next year and no one is watching the kitchen again to get water moving into the Park to reduce the potential for salinity spikes to over 70 like we recently experienced?
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Senior Member Posts: 4,796 Captain
    I'm plugged in to the Park's net (when they decide to tell us of a new requirement -we're definitely not talking two way communications at all....) as a full time guide. To date - not the slightest word of a problem or any request for info from folks on the water daily by the Park... I'm not making this up at all, unfortunately.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Senior Member Posts: 4,796 Captain
    Finally... a pretty good article in today's Miami Herald about Florida Bay and its severe problems... it's a start.
    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article37583577.html
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • toomertoomer Senior Member Louisville, KYPosts: 348 Deckhand
    Thanks for the post. Just a complicated mess and, as usual, the Corps backs the wrong side. I feel for those of you who depend on the area for recreation and/or livelihood. Paradise lost.
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Senior Member Land of Wind and GhostsPosts: 24,905 AG
    Federal restrictions placed upon water managers through years of consent orders and decrees in hydrology, water quality and single species management, enforced through the Department of Justice restrict flows to the Park and consequently Florida Bay. These legal constraints to system optimization are more difficult to overcome than the engineering available to achieve it.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Senior Member Posts: 4,796 Captain
    Well said Gary... As I noted elsewhere - this is a political problem and it's all too easy for the various players to sit on their positions while things just go to hell... Wish it weren't so. Years ago an outfit like the Herald, or Florida Sportsman (and others) would be at the ramparts raising the battle flags and keeping this terrible problem in front of the public until it was resolved. Don't know who will take the lead these days - but so far I haven't heard a word from the Park (except for a brief quote given to the Herald) and not the slightest hint that the Park wants to hear from guides and other concerned parties about what they're actually seeing day to day....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Big BoneBig Bone Member Posts: 65 Deckhand
    Federal restrictions placed upon water managers through years of consent orders and decrees in hydrology, water quality and single species management, enforced through the Department of Justice restrict flows to the Park and consequently Florida Bay. These legal constraints to system optimization are more difficult to overcome than the engineering available to achieve it.

    Let's make those legal constraints not so difficult to overcome. Those legal constraints are what has caused this. Send emails.
  • FloridaODFloridaOD Senior Member Posts: 4,433 Captain
    Interesting to see the references to the Miami Herald,'reporting'.

    Marjorie Stoneman Douglas enjoyed direct family connection to the Miami Herald.I knew her personally.Experienced a face to face admonishment. Priceless. And informative. That was back not long after she tossed a chunk of coral on Bob Graham's desk in an effective attention getting fit.
    And Art Marshall,the genius behind comprehensive Everglades "System" restoration.Sheet Flow.
    I witnessed Florida Wildlife Federation meetings where folk like Franklin Adams would make notes that ended up published in the Miami Herald.

    For some reason,we still pitch fits........fit to be tied.

    Now at year 15 for CERP,there is no question that there is more to the narrative than simply complaining about the Feds and a single type of bird.
    Hunters are present yet relatively uncommon in Florida :wink
  • sonofagunnsonofagunn Member Posts: 66 Greenhorn
    For the first time since the Tamiami Trail was built, we're moving water from Lake O in that direction. This should help.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/02/16/water-flowing-eastern-everglades/80486564/
  • toomertoomer Senior Member Louisville, KYPosts: 348 Deckhand
    Sounds like good news. Is it? Also, why so long a wait to do it?
  • kbkeyskbkeys Senior Member hollywood and key largo,fl.Posts: 691 Officer
  • Pucker FactorPucker Factor Senior Member PTZPosts: 875 Officer
    sonofagunn wrote: »
    For the first time since the Tamiami Trail was built, we're moving water from Lake O in that direction. This should help.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/02/16/water-flowing-eastern-everglades/80486564/

    Water is NOT moving from Lake O into ENP. It is moving from the Water Conservation Area into L29 and then into the Park. This was a planned event as part of the Increment 1 Test as part of Mod Waters (CERP Project) and once again, the media gets it all wrong.

    Hopefully there will be ecological benefits while providing flood protection for the residents of Miami Dade County and managing water levels for the farmers . . . and then we might be able to see more of this type of activity.

    Clear near term benefit. . . at least the agencies are talking.
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