October 30, 2014

Where Will Lake O's Water Go?

Mike Vogel | 9/1/2007

Top map
HISTORICAL FLOW:

Summer rainfall migrated slowly down the Kissimmee River floodplain, feeding Lake Okeechobee through the dry season. The lake was a third larger than it is today.

In the rainy season, the saucer-shaped lake overflowed and deposited nutrients to its south, building a band of rich organic soil. Water spilling south of the lake became the “River of Grass” and flowed on to Florida Bay.

[Maps courtesy of SFWMD]

Bottom Map
HUMAN CHANGES:

The Herbert Hoover Dike shrunk the lake and trapped the nutrient-rich muck inside. Meanwhile, the canal-ization of the Kissimmee River accelerated the flow of water and nutrients into the lake.

PROBLEM:
The Everglades is now half its original size, but the lake takes in as much water as it did before. Just releasing the water, however, puts too much water and nutrients into the Everglades and estuaries. Leaving high water levels in the lake isn’t an option, either. That harms the lake’s ecology, and the dike’s condition means the lake can’t hold what it used to, anyway.

Tags: North Central, Environment

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single ditgital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Colleges Are Tracking When Students Work Out at Rec Centers
Colleges Are Tracking When Students Work Out at Rec Centers

Officials on college campuses are turning to usage data and student feedback to shape fitness programs, hoping it will entice more students to develop healthy habits. 

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Do you give - or get - an annual performance review?

  • Yes - and I hate it
  • Yes - and it's OK - there's some value in the exercise
  • Yes - and I find it very valuable
  • No (thank goodness)

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe