TC PALM: Flawed water-delivery system continues to imperil estuaries

TC Palm: Written by Mark Perry. June 19, 2018.

It has been raining almost continuously in South Florida since May 13. My rain gauge in Palm City has recorded a total of 26.3 inches. (May average rainfall is 5.04 inches.)

As soon as it started raining May 13, the St. Lucie Canal (C-44) began discharging billions of gallons of agricultural basin runoff into the St. Lucie estuary through the St. Lucie Lock and Dam gate structure (S-80). The C-23, C-24 and 10-Mile Creek agricultural basins also were discharging billions of gallons into the North Fork of the St. Lucie River.

This went on for three weeks.

Normally, the St. Lucie estuary is a balanced mixture of freshwater from the upstream forks and tributaries, and saltwater from the ocean connected through the St. Lucie Inlet. With these recent canal basin discharges, however, the estuary has turned completely into freshwater.

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