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Aessotariq

South Florida's Environment

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A thread to track South Florida environmental issues, including the Everglades Restoration Project.

Sphere of coverage and discussion:

Everglades Restoration Project

Water supply and management

Flood mitigation and control

Urban tree canopy and vegetation

etc.

Related Urbanplanet.org topic:

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Water district wants to partly drain Lake Okeechobee to restore plant life

By Neil Santaniello

Staff Writer

Posted May 12 2005

Water managers have a plan they hope will pull Lake Okeechobee out of its muddy mess: recreate a drought.

The South Florida Water Management District proposes to rescue the struggling lake by draining it down to 12 feet -- 2.6 feet below its current level and "the bottom end of its healthy range," said district lake division director Susan Gray. The drought would take place by mid-April of 2006 and last 12 weeks, she said.

Officials hope the drought-like conditions -- confined to the lake alone -- will help clear the 730-square-mile lake of long-lingering murk that has killed off much of its underwater meadows. The plan hopefully would set off a chain of events that could restore the lake's flagging ecology. Sunlight would penetrate the shallower water and regenerate plant life in the lake's perimeter marshes, providing a rebirth of habitat for the lake's prized sport fish and their insect food...

Read more: Sun-Sentinel

lakeokeechobee4vv.gif

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This is an interesting thread. It's so easy to forget how fragile the environment is in South Florida. Unles you travel out west, and see the swamp and the Lake, you don't really notice nature.

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Miami-Dade County recently announced the completion of some major improvements to the county's stormwater management system. The county received a FEMA grant in response to two storms: Hurricane Irene in 1999 and a tropical system in 2000, both of which stalled over South Florida for more than 24 hours and dumped several feet of rain all at once. This left many low-lying and poor-draining areas of Dade drenched. The county's vast drainage network of storm sewers, canals, and spillways were overwhelmed and simply unable to handle the sudden excess water. Areas most significantly impacted by the flooding included Sweetwater, Hialeah, West Miami, Kendall, and many other southwest Dade communities.

In anticipation of severe weather, water managers try to lower canal levels so that they can handle the expected rainfall that will be fed into them by the stormsewers, but not too low so as to allow saltwater intrusion into the aquifer. Canal have a system of spillways, "floodgates", that are opened to release water out to sea. The system depends heavily on gravity, and managers try to lower water levels when the tide is low. However, many times there is urgency to lower water levels when there is high tide and gravity works against you, and that's when water must be moved manually. The county also received money to install additional forward pumping stations for low-lying areas. These pumps are so powerful that they can move enough water to fill 20 swimming pools every minute.

Other improvements included the installation of new stormdrain pipes, dredging of canals, and other infrastructural improvements. These improvements are expected to be of great benefit for this year's summer rainy season and hurricane season.

http://www.miamidade.gov/derm/press_releas...mprovements.asp

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This has a significant parallel to the Urban Development Boundary. South Florida's soil is naturally sandy and absorbent, very much capable of soaking up lots of water (and by extension, filtering it and replenishing the aquifer). As the area has become more urbanized and paved over, this natural drainage system has been significantly reduced. The canal system that's in place today was built more than 50 years ago by the Army Corps of Engineers and was designed for a much smaller population.

If we move the line and allow developers to build on more land, there will be less protection and we can expect to see worse flooding conditions, in addition to the all other problems that this will bring, like traffic and sprawl. It means installing more infrastructure, which the entire county subsidizes, when existing infrastructure could be improved to support higher-density developments in existing urban corridors.

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Not as originally hoped but still better than nothing... U.S. Highway 41, also known as the Tamiami Trail, is about to get two new bridges as part of the Everglades Restoration Plan. The Tamiami trail, which connects Miami and Naples (and eventually Tampa, hence the name "Tamiami"), currently cuts the Everglades in half and blocks necessary water flow.

Originally we hoped to see a skyway, about 11 miles long, that the water would flow under. It may have looked something like this... What an amazing sight this would have been (it sort-of reminds me of I-10 bridge that skirts Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans):

skyway.jpg

Sadly it was considered too expensive, at $317 million. Instead we're going to get two short bridges: a two-mile and a one-mle one, for $125 million. It's mentioned in this article that the bridges could be connected as a skyway if the money were to become available.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/local/12451389.htm

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I know this will make everybody sad.

From the Miami NWS office:

Public Information Statement

000

NOUS42 KMFL 011448

PNSMFL

FLZ063-066>075-020000-

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL

948 AM EST TUE NOV 1 2005

...RAINY SEASON ENDED ON OCTOBER 24 FOLLOWING PASSAGE OF WILMA...

THE 2005 RAINY SEASON IN SOUTH FLORIDA BEGAN ON MAY 17 AND ENDED

ON OCTOBER 24. THE ENDING DATE WAS 7 DAYS LATER THAN THE MEDIAN

DATE OF OCTOBER 17...AND WAS ASSOCIATED WITH THE STRONG COLD FRONT

THAT CLOSELY FOLLOWED THE PASSAGE OF HURRICANE WILMA ACROSS SOUTH

FLORIDA. THE 2005 RAINY SEASON LASTED A TOTAL OF 162 DAYS...9 DAYS

MORE THAN THE AVERAGE DURATION OF 153 DAYS.

THIS YEAR'S RAINY SEASON WAS WETTER THAN NORMAL...MAINLY DUE TO AN

EXTREMELY WET JUNE IN SOUTH FLORIDA. OCTOBER WAS ALSO A VERY WET

MONTH IN FORT LAUDERDALE AND NAPLES...WITH OVER 13 INCHES OF RAIN

RECORDED AT BOTH LOCATIONS. THE AVERAGE TOTAL RAINFALL FOR THE

SEASON WAS 47.73 INCHES FROM THE THREE MAIN SOUTHEAST FLORIDA

SITES OF MIAMI...FORT LAUDERDALE...AND WEST PALM BEACH. AT

MIAMI...THE TOTAL OF 50.74 INCHES IS 8.58 INCHES ABOVE THE 50-YEAR

AVERAGE OF 42.16 INCHES...MAKING IT THE ELEVENTH WETTEST RAINY

SEASON ON RECORD. IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA...NAPLES RECORDED 51.95

INCHES OF RAIN FOR THE SEASON...WHICH IS .05 INCHES ABOVE THEIR

NORMAL YEARLY RAINFALL.

THIS YEAR'S RECORD-SETTING HURRICANE SEASON CONTRIBUTED TO THE

ABOVE NORMAL RAINFALL...WITH SOUTH FLORIDA BEING EITHER DIRECTLY

OR INDIRECTLY IMPACTED BY A TOTAL OF FIVE TROPICAL CYCLONES THUS

FAR: TROPICAL STORM ARLENE IN JUNE...HURRICANE DENNIS IN

JULY...HURRICANE KATRINA IN AUGUST...HURRICANE RITA IN

SEPTEMBER...AND HURRICANE WILMA LAST WEEK. ABOUT 15 TO 30 PERCENT

OF THE RAIN RECORDED DURING THE 2005 RAINY SEASON CAME FROM THOSE

FIVE SYSTEMS.

THE END OF THE RAINY SEASON IS DETERMINED PRIMARILY BY THE FIRST

TIME THE DEW POINT DROPS BELOW 70 DEGREES FOR ABOUT THREE

CONSECUTIVE DAYS. THIS TYPICALLY COINCIDES WITH THE FIRST MINIMUM

TEMPERATURE READING BELOW 70 DEGREES SINCE SPRING...AND A

CORRESPONDING SHARP DECREASE IN THE FREQUENCY OF THE DAILY

RAINFALL PATTERNS WHICH CHARACTERIZE THE RAINY SEASON. THIS YEAR'S

END TO THE RAINY SEASON WAS QUITE ABRUPT...WITH MINIMUM TEMPERATURES

IN THE 50S OVER MOST OF SOUTH FLORIDA ON THE MORNINGS OF OCTOBER

25 AND 26.

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO HAVE PERIODS OF RAIN LASTING A DAY OR SO

DURING THE DRY SEASON...AS MAY OCCUR TODAY AND WEDNESDAY DUE TO A

WARM FRONTAL SYSTEM MOVING NORTH ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA.

HOWEVER...THESE WET EPISODES ARE TYPICALLY TRANSIENT AND ONLY

SERVE TO PROVIDE OCCASIONAL RELIEF TO THE DRY WEATHER PATTERN

NORMALLY OBSERVED BETWEEN THE MONTHS OF NOVEMBER AND APRIL.

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I know this will make everybody sad.

From the Miami NWS office:

Public Information Statement

000

NOUS42 KMFL 011448

PNSMFL

FLZ063-066>075-020000-

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL

948 AM EST TUE NOV 1 2005

...RAINY SEASON ENDED ON OCTOBER 24 FOLLOWING PASSAGE OF WILMA...

THE 2005 RAINY SEASON IN SOUTH FLORIDA BEGAN ON MAY 17 AND ENDED

ON OCTOBER 24. THE ENDING DATE WAS 7 DAYS LATER THAN THE MEDIAN

DATE OF OCTOBER 17...AND WAS ASSOCIATED WITH THE STRONG COLD FRONT

THAT CLOSELY FOLLOWED THE PASSAGE OF HURRICANE WILMA ACROSS SOUTH

FLORIDA. THE 2005 RAINY SEASON LASTED A TOTAL OF 162 DAYS...9 DAYS

MORE THAN THE AVERAGE DURATION OF 153 DAYS.

THIS YEAR'S RAINY SEASON WAS WETTER THAN NORMAL...MAINLY DUE TO AN

EXTREMELY WET JUNE IN SOUTH FLORIDA. OCTOBER WAS ALSO A VERY WET

MONTH IN FORT LAUDERDALE AND NAPLES...WITH OVER 13 INCHES OF RAIN

RECORDED AT BOTH LOCATIONS. THE AVERAGE TOTAL RAINFALL FOR THE

SEASON WAS 47.73 INCHES FROM THE THREE MAIN SOUTHEAST FLORIDA

SITES OF MIAMI...FORT LAUDERDALE...AND WEST PALM BEACH. AT

MIAMI...THE TOTAL OF 50.74 INCHES IS 8.58 INCHES ABOVE THE 50-YEAR

AVERAGE OF 42.16 INCHES...MAKING IT THE ELEVENTH WETTEST RAINY

SEASON ON RECORD. IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA...NAPLES RECORDED 51.95

INCHES OF RAIN FOR THE SEASON...WHICH IS .05 INCHES ABOVE THEIR

NORMAL YEARLY RAINFALL.

THIS YEAR'S RECORD-SETTING HURRICANE SEASON CONTRIBUTED TO THE

ABOVE NORMAL RAINFALL...WITH SOUTH FLORIDA BEING EITHER DIRECTLY

OR INDIRECTLY IMPACTED BY A TOTAL OF FIVE TROPICAL CYCLONES THUS

FAR: TROPICAL STORM ARLENE IN JUNE...HURRICANE DENNIS IN

JULY...HURRICANE KATRINA IN AUGUST...HURRICANE RITA IN

SEPTEMBER...AND HURRICANE WILMA LAST WEEK. ABOUT 15 TO 30 PERCENT

OF THE RAIN RECORDED DURING THE 2005 RAINY SEASON CAME FROM THOSE

FIVE SYSTEMS.

THE END OF THE RAINY SEASON IS DETERMINED PRIMARILY BY THE FIRST

TIME THE DEW POINT DROPS BELOW 70 DEGREES FOR ABOUT THREE

CONSECUTIVE DAYS. THIS TYPICALLY COINCIDES WITH THE FIRST MINIMUM

TEMPERATURE READING BELOW 70 DEGREES SINCE SPRING...AND A

CORRESPONDING SHARP DECREASE IN THE FREQUENCY OF THE DAILY

RAINFALL PATTERNS WHICH CHARACTERIZE THE RAINY SEASON. THIS YEAR'S

END TO THE RAINY SEASON WAS QUITE ABRUPT...WITH MINIMUM TEMPERATURES

IN THE 50S OVER MOST OF SOUTH FLORIDA ON THE MORNINGS OF OCTOBER

25 AND 26.

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO HAVE PERIODS OF RAIN LASTING A DAY OR SO

DURING THE DRY SEASON...AS MAY OCCUR TODAY AND WEDNESDAY DUE TO A

WARM FRONTAL SYSTEM MOVING NORTH ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA.

HOWEVER...THESE WET EPISODES ARE TYPICALLY TRANSIENT AND ONLY

SERVE TO PROVIDE OCCASIONAL RELIEF TO THE DRY WEATHER PATTERN

NORMALLY OBSERVED BETWEEN THE MONTHS OF NOVEMBER AND APRIL.

And of course I promptly got rained on Today walking from my car to work.

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^I think my elderly Humanities teacher calls forth the rain with her boring lectures. Every day, when class is over, I wake up from my slumber and find that it's raining. This happens like all the time, right after her class! lol

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I am looking for information about a 6 million dollar grant given to Sweetwater in 2002 to assist residents in fixing their homes to prevent flood damage. There was a meeting at Jorge Mas Youth Center on June 26, 2002. Do you or does anyone have information about this or know anyone who might. I would really appreciate your help. you can e mail me. [email protected] Thanks

Miami-Dade County recently announced the completion of some major improvements to the county's stormwater management system. The county received a FEMA grant in response to two storms: Hurricane Irene in 1999 and a tropical system in 2000, both of which stalled over South Florida for more than 24 hours and dumped several feet of rain all at once. This left many low-lying and poor-draining areas of Dade drenched. The county's vast drainage network of storm sewers, canals, and spillways were overwhelmed and simply unable to handle the sudden excess water. Areas most significantly impacted by the flooding included Sweetwater, Hialeah, West Miami, Kendall, and many other southwest Dade communities.

In anticipation of severe weather, water managers try to lower canal levels so that they can handle the expected rainfall that will be fed into them by the stormsewers, but not too low so as to allow saltwater intrusion into the aquifer. Canal have a system of spillways, "floodgates", that are opened to release water out to sea. The system depends heavily on gravity, and managers try to lower water levels when the tide is low. However, many times there is urgency to lower water levels when there is high tide and gravity works against you, and that's when water must be moved manually. The county also received money to install additional forward pumping stations for low-lying areas. These pumps are so powerful that they can move enough water to fill 20 swimming pools every minute.

Other improvements included the installation of new stormdrain pipes, dredging of canals, and other infrastructural improvements. These improvements are expected to be of great benefit for this year's summer rainy season and hurricane season.

http://www.miamidade.gov/derm/press_releas...mprovements.asp

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