Murky Water

So if you live in, or around Lee County, FL, chances are, you’ve seen or heard about the murky waters flowing out from the Caloosahatchee River into the Gulf Of Mexico. It’s affecting everything from the water, the fish in the water, to the air we breathe here. It has become quite the problem to the local community, and tourists, but why? Well it’s more than a little unpleasant. The Army Corps Of Engineers has been releasing a lot more water lately, and it’s got some folks very agitated.

Cause & Effect

There are a lot of people angry who just don’t understand why this has to happen to the water. It is partially a man made problem, but it’s been a long time in the making; Since the creation of Lake Okeechobee. You see, the lake was meant to be a fresh water store here in Sunshine State, and it has served it’s purpose. Recently however, we’ve received a lot of rain, particularly in the month of January, where some areas of water saw 15 inches of rain! That’s the cause, and the effect could have been the lake over flowering like a bowl of water filled past the brim. That’s why the effect is murky water flowing out through the Caloosahatchee. 

Disaster Averted?

Well, some would disagree that it was averted. Tourism is a big part of Florida’s revenue, and it has been dampened by the murky waters off our beaches, and the dead fish on the beaches. It’s true that it’s already February, and many are already here, but there are some that just come for a week or two, and they may change their plans this year. Will this hurt our economy? Of course it will, but the question is, would it have been worth it to destroy people’s houses, and livelihoods by not releasing the water? No, but that’s not the extent of it.

The Effects On The Gulf Waters

This is more than just a little extra water flowing out through the river, it’s a lot of fresh water flowing into saltwater. A lot of bacteria and algae are also flooding out into the area out past the river outlet. This polluted water can and will damage not only the fish population, but the ecosystem that they live in. Now is this the fault of the Federal Government? No. They’re doing what they have to in order to protect lives, and property around the lake. Lake Okeechobee may be the biggest man made lake, but it may also have been one of the biggest mistakes.

Solutions

The problem is that there is no acceptable solution. You can either keep it flowing, or move all of the communities around the Lake, and let it overflow. Some have suggested directing more of it into side canals, but that would only take care of %10 of the excess being released. Yes, down at our beaches may not be as appealing right now. Yes, some of us are having some allergy related issues due to it, but it could be worse. There’s a chance this could never really happen again, or it could happen again in 3 months.

Sources:

http://www.nbc-2.com/story/23023682/water-releases-cause-problems-in-gulf-waters#.VsoLEfkrK1s

http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/moreacre.htm