As if Big Sugar didn’t serve up enough misery on our waterways and Everglades, their most stunning betrayal can be found in the very people who live in the “Company Towns” of the Glades. Generations of families have endured sugarcane preharvest burns, pesticides sprayed liberally on them from crop dusters, chronic poverty and unemployment.
Two international, billion-dollar corporations parked out there – and this is what the people endure.
Most of the 1.5 million people who surround the Lake Worth Lagoon – known as the “intercoastal” by locals – have no idea of its history, its inhabitants and what keeps it struggling. But they should.
With water as clear as Yoo-hoo, this once sparkling freshwater lake deserves our attention. We are grateful to the Lake Worth Waterkeeper for their inspired work and invite all to learn more here.
Continue reading: WATERKEEPER.ORG: The Everglades’ Forgotten Northern Estuary
It will take decades to fix what ails the Mississippi River. Florida could turn things around in a few short years with enough political will.
“Fishermen are finding dead dolphins floating in water covered in painful skin lesions that scientists have linked to freshwater exposure. One fisherman reported finding a mother dolphin pushing her dead baby along in the water.”
The cast of sugar and ag characters lined up, urging ASR wells north of Lake O as a “solution” to the discharges. Ten wells wouldn’t put a dent in the problem.
But 10 wells costing the taxpayers $50 million would make a nice backup water supply for sugar and ag. Coincidently, sugar is now grown north of the lake. Nice try, boys.
Way to go, Charlie!
SFWMD board member Charlie Martinez, a former developer, asked district staff to pay close attention to this road extension. Martinez worries it could interfere with ongoing work to fix the Everglades. Or worse. "Developers will come, and then we're going to have other issues to deal with.”
After years of witnessing water quality changes firsthand, these teens are now heading off to college with plans to pursue environmental studies with the hope they can be part of the change they are currently advocating for.
“Our generation should experience the same clean water you all experienced as kids,” said Olivia Siegel.
Continue reading: WPTV: River Kidz continue their fight for clean water
AP News: “Harmful algae blooms have become a top water polluter, fueled by agricultural fertilizers washing into lakes and oceans. Federal and state programs (taxpayers) have spent billions of dollars on voluntary cost-sharing payments to farmers to help prevent nutrient runoff, yet the problem is worsening in many places, like Ohio and Florida.”
Continue reading: AP NEWS: Farm runoff and the worsening algae plague
A new breed of men and women who have been appointed to the board of the SFWMD, along with agency leadership from Drew Bartlett, have the mandate to make generational changes to systems – environmental and political – that have been decimated over the past 30 years. They’ve been empowered by the Governor and the public to do it.
The sugar industry has contributed to the demise of the Everglades for decades, using the ecosystem as a giant septic tank and blocking the natural flow of water from Lake O. To save them, and all the critters who call them home, we must reestablish the southern flow and get clean freshwater sent to the right place at the right time.
Watch now: NATGEO: Meet the residents of the Everglades