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Florida Attempts the Largest Hydraulic Restoration Project In the World To Save the Everglades (vice.com) 98

New submitter ar2286 shares a report from Motherboard: Florida is defined by its water -- the water flowing around it, through it, increasingly over it. But throughout the twentieth century, its major arteries of fresh water, which flowed from the Kissimmee River south of Orlando to Lake Okeechobee and down to the swampy Everglades, were permanently rerouted by the federal government and landowners to stop flooding, and make room for agriculture and housing in the southern part of the state. Now the state is working with the Army Corps of Engineers -- the government agency partly responsible for rerouting and draining water to begin with -- and the South Florida Water Management District to attempt the largest hydraulic restoration project in the world. And while some say the effort has turned Florida into a battleground, pitting sugar farmers against legislators and environmentalists, others are hoping this will finally right certain man-made wrongs and restore some balance to the state. If the government is able to fully fund the plan, and should dozens of contractors and state forces successfully carry it out, it could permanently change Florida. And set a precedent for inevitable restoration projects around the world, which are becoming increasingly crucial as climate change manifests in stronger storms and sea level rise. The state is embarking on such a massive restoration project because the aging levees and control gates surrounding Lake Okeechobee are at risk of failing during large storms and/or heavy rainfall. "The more rainwater that increases in Lake Okeechobee, the more pressure is on the lake, and that pressure can continue to build up and build up and build up and one day the levee can go," said Tammy Jackson-Moore, a Belle Glade resident who co-founded Guardians of the Glades, a nonprofit focused on community advocacy. "And we're talking about wiping out entire communities here." The rerouting has allowed for bursts of economic growth, but it does have its consequences. "The Everglades, the largest swath of subtropical wilderness in the country, is now half of its size circa 1920, and the ecosystem has deteriorated, losing wildlife and native flora," reports Motherboard. "Without a natural place to flow, stagnant water pushes toxic algae blooms into the rivers, and turns pristine ocean into sludgy waste."
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Florida Attempts the Largest Hydraulic Restoration Project In the World To Save the Everglades

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  • by I'm New Around Here ( 1154723 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @03:03AM (#55504439)

    All I can say is "Good!"

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Exactly this. If you like the environment, vote for things like this. Take down things like dikes and dames and allow Nature to return to itself. Humans can be redisplaced from rural places where they are tearing up the enivronment and moved back into cities where they belong and can be managed. Earth gets to heal Herself and people become less of a plague on Earth. In the long run concentrations of populations is a good thing for efficiency of people, management of people (no one is X miles away from an ad
      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @03:36AM (#55504477)

        Exactly this. If you like the environment, vote for things like this.

        Also, if you believe in sensible government, you should support this. There are few things stupider than corn subsidies, but sugar subsidies are one of them. These sugar farms are totally uneconomical, and would immediately go out of business without government support ... and that doesn't even count the billions we spend to destroy the Everglades on their behalf.

      • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @04:35AM (#55504577)

        Exactly this. If you like the environment, vote for things like this. Take down things like dikes and dames and allow Nature to return to itself.

        I would agree with this to some extent.

        Humans can be redisplaced from rural places where they are tearing up the enivronment and moved back into cities where they belong and can be managed.

        Uh, OK, this is where you lost me. Move them back where they belong? As if a city is some kind of natural formation of concrete and greed. And we're talking about (rural) farmers here. You also going to vote for higher taxes to subsidize the growth in welfare to sustain farmers when you remove them from the job they know? And please don't attempt to throw a steaming political pile of STEM in my face as the solution here. Natural limitations often define the kind of job people do in life, and not every brain is cut out for a STEM job.

        Earth gets to heal Herself and people become less of a plague on Earth. In the long run concentrations of populations is a good thing for efficiency of people, management of people (no one is X miles away from an administrative body), and biodiversity can regain its roots (no pun intended) throughout the rest of the lands and waters.

        Ah, so efficiency of people is the goal here? Well, fuck it, let's not stop with all those "greedy" rural land owners. You spoiled bastards in your houses with your half-acre yards need to go too. I say we cram every human into apartment buildings like sardines; you know, for efficiency's sake. That way no one has grass-filled yards to waste water on, tends of thousands of separate air conditioners can be removed from the environment in favor of massive 100-story high-rise living, where everyone gets a standard-issue 750SF of administratively controlled living space. And of course, let's not forget in 10 years when cities are 10-million strong in population, the efforts we'll go through to re-route streams and rivers, once again cutting off natural habitats in order to provide enough water to feed the concrete jungle we insisted on shoving every human into.

        I agree there needs to be a balance here, but cities are not where every human belongs. Part of the point of keeping our planet beautiful is to enjoy it, which often means populating areas that are not a fucking cancerous cesspool of concrete wasteland.

        • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @04:48AM (#55504599)

          You also going to vote for higher taxes to subsidize the growth in welfare to sustain farmers when you remove them from the job they know?

          Americans pay more than $3.5B per year to support only about 100 sugar farmers. So unless welfare recipients receive more than $35M each, no tax increases will be needed.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Americans pay more than $3.5B per year to support only about 100 sugar farmers. So unless welfare recipients receive more than $35M each, no tax increases will be needed.

            This is absolutely not true. This is baseless BS from a group that was fighting sugar industry subsidies, which are less than $100M. It doesn't hold up to any common sense test. Surprised even you would be so blind. But, hey, anything you read that suits your need....................

            • Americans pay more than $3.5B per year to support only about 100 sugar farmers. So unless welfare recipients receive more than $35M each, no tax increases will be needed.

              This is absolutely not true. This is baseless BS from a group that was fighting sugar industry subsidies, which are less than $100M. It doesn't hold up to any common sense test.

              So what you're saying is that unless welfare recipients receive more than $1M each, no tax increases will be needed? Thanks for clearing that up.

              • by jonsmirl ( 114798 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @10:08AM (#55505399) Homepage

                The number is actually much higher. Those government subsidies for the 'select few' sugar farmers are used to raise the price every American pays for sugar. This article estimates that it is costing US consumers $47B.

                http://dailysignal.com/2017/07 [dailysignal.com]... [dailysignal.com]

                If you will look Google maps you can see a gigantic sugar operation right south of Lake Okeechobee. In the middle of it is a plant that converts sugar cane into another subsidized product, ethanol, for a gasoline additive. This operation is so large it cuts off all of the natural flow between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades forcing it into canals.

                Simply get the sugar farmer's hands out of the government money and all of this would collapse since the entire operation is uneconomical without government support.

                • Even that understates the problem. Sugar tariffs have driven the change to fructose and HFCS, with accompanying damage to general health.
            • The number is actually much higher. Those government subsidies for the 'select few' sugar farmers are used to raise the price every American pays for sugar. This article estimates that it is costing US consumers $47B.

              http://dailysignal.com/2017/07... [dailysignal.com]

              If you will look Google maps you can see a gigantic sugar operation right south of Lake Okeechobee. In the middle of it is a plant that converts sugar cane into another subsidized product, ethanol, for a gasoline additive. This operation is so large it cuts off

            • The number is actually much higher. Those government subsidies for the 'select few' sugar farmers are used to raise the price every American pays for sugar. This article estimates that it is costing US consumers $47B.

              http://dailysignal.com/2017/07 [dailysignal.com]... [dailysignal.com]

              If you will look Google maps you can see a gigantic sugar operation right south of Lake Okeechobee. In the middle of it is a plant that converts sugar cane into another subsidized product, ethanol, for a gasoline additive. This operation is so

            • The number is actually much higher. Those government subsidies for the 'select few' sugar farmers are used to raise the price every American pays for sugar. This article estimates that it is costing US consumers $47B.

              http://dailysignal.com/2017/07 [dailysignal.com]... [dailysignal.com]

              If you will look Google maps you can see a gigantic sugar operation right south of Lake Okeechobee. In the middle of it is a plant that converts sugar cane into another subsidized product, ethanol, for a gasoline additive. This operation is so

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            He's replying to someone who is advocating the UN's Agenda 21. It calls for the human population to be warehoused in gigantic megacities and the rural areas to be depopulated. Some Agenda 21 advocates think that doesn't go far enough and the countryside should be banned even from overflight. It's a chilling vision of the future, one we hope never comes to pass.
            • " It calls for the human population to be warehoused in gigantic megacities and the rural areas to be depopulated. "

              It's a swamp, not a 'rural area'.

              • You obviously haven't spent much time in bayou country ;)
                • You obviously haven't spent much time in bayou country ;)

                  Bayou
                  In usage in the United States, a bayou is a body of water typically found in a flat, low-lying area, and can be either an extremely slow-moving stream or river, or a marshy lake or wetland.

            • Sounds like someone at the UN read Caves of Steel [wikipedia.org].
          • The number is actually much higher. Those government subsidies for the 'select few' sugar farmers are used to raise the price every American pays for sugar. This article estimates that it is costing US consumers $47B.

            http://dailysignal.com/2017/07 [dailysignal.com]... [dailysignal.com]

            If you will look Google maps you can see a gigantic sugar operation right south of Lake Okeechobee. In the middle of it is a plant that converts sugar cane into another subsidized product, ethanol, for a gasoline additive. This operation is so

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          As if a city is some kind of natural formation of concrete and greed.

          It's the wrong question. "Natural" is no longer sustainable. Human populations at the current level, living what is now considered a middle class lifestyle are unprecedented in the history of the planet.

          So what is best isn't necessarily to try to return to a primitive lifestyle of small, isolated villages with stone-age technology. There are still a few native cultures where people live in villages and wear clothes made from wild animal skins, e.g. some Greenland Inuit. But if North Face tried make its ja

          • Likewise imagine treating sewage for a city with a million people in it. It's a massive undertaking, but it doesn't cost much per person to do treatment that takes raw sewage and turns it to something that appears like clean river water. Take that million people and distribute them across a thousand neolithic villages of a thousand people and there's a lot more environment impact.

            Only if you use the wrong system. If you just go ahead and use composting toilets, or if you must have flush then use AIWPS [sswm.info] then you can turn poop back into an asset instead of having it be a problem.

      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

        Take down things like dikes [sic] and dames...

        What do you have against women?

      • Exactly this. If you like the environment, vote for things like this. Take down things like dikes and dames and allow Nature to return to itself.

        All genders bear equal responsibility for this problem.

      • Have you ever lived in a rural area? Not everyone wants to live like a sardine in a can.
      • >Earth gets to heal Herself and people become less of a plague on Earth

        The attitude of 'humans are the pinnacle of Creation and Nature should be bent to their will' was admittedly extremely ignorant... however, so is the hippy bullshit you're spouting.

        The reason we need biodiversity now is we recognize our ignorance and technological limitations prevent us from intelligently managing a sustainable biosphere that is human-friendly, not because Gaia's sad if we destroy the wetlands.

        Life on Earth is in its

      • by sycodon ( 149926 )

        So why aren't we looking at returning the island of Manhattan to it's original, beautiful, state? [gizmodo.com]

    • FL voters already voted to pay for this clean up. The republicans (absolute majority fo both the state senate and reps and the governor) are instead (surprise, surprise) using the money for anything but. http://www.miamiherald.com/new... [miamiherald.com] "Two years after Florida voters overwhelmingly endorsed a trust fund expected to raise $10 billion over two decades to save the state’s stalled conservation efforts, lawmakers are again proposing spending a big chunk of it on more mundane matters like risk managem
    • All I can say is "stop wasting money on that soon-to-be-submerged spit of sand and swamp, and spend it on a state that will still be here in a hundred years".

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Then kill all the damn pythons and imported crapfish, then refill in a controlled manner.

  • by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @06:27AM (#55504767)

    As sea level continues to rise the Everglades (and most of Florida) will disappear under the ocean sometime between 100 and 300 years from now.

    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @06:35AM (#55504785) Homepage Journal

      Yes. It is totally and completely insane to spend any money trying to do anything with Florida except buy people out of their homes, which is cheaper than any other option. And those who deliberately moved to that glorified sand bar deserve nothing.

      • by Kiuas ( 1084567 )

        Yes. It is totally and completely insane to spend any money trying to do anything with Florida except buy people out of their homes, which is cheaper than any other option

        Are you sure about that being the cheapest option? The Dutch have been living on land that's below the sea-level rather successfully for centuries.

        Now granted, there are coastal areas that cannot be defended with dams, because water can seep in through limestone etc. But the reason I'm asking is that relocating an entire state is bound to

        • by gtall ( 79522 )

          The Dutch are not surrounded by water on 3 sides, nor are they subjected to hurricanes, at least not of the sort is Florida. They are also not afflicted by brainless politicians who cannot think further that their kickbacks.

          • We're surrounded by water on 2 sides plus two of the major rivers of Europe. Agree on the 'no hurricanes', but we have the Dutch + English coasts acting as a funnel into the English Channel, so we get storm surges much higher than one would expect of a 12 Beaufort wind.

        • It's important to point out, most of Florida's NATURAL terrain might have once been low-lying, but 99.9% of the buildings in Florida aren't sitting on natural terrain, nor are their ground floors anywhere close to sea level (let alone below it). Most actual buildings sit on several feet of engineered fill dirt, dredged from manmade lakes & canals.

          As far as I know, it hasn't been legal to build habitable buildings that are LITERALLY "below sea level" (or even "below floodplain level") in Florida since th

      • On a 100-year timeline, you're going to see problems within a human lifetime, but not so quickly people can't react to them.

        I say... don't bother doing much at all. People will move out on their own as the ground becomes soggy with seawater. Or we get New Nice replacing Little Havana.

        Mostly I think the government ought to be looking at removing anything that will cause large-scale pollution problems if it ends up abandoned and at least partially submerged.

        • I say... don't bother doing much at all. People will move out on their own as the ground becomes soggy with seawater.

          That's a nice theory, but it doesn't hold up. We have a fund for repairing people's homes, and it doesn't include any means testing, sunset date, or even maximum amount spent. The same property can get flooded and rebuilt again and again. It's very difficult to sell a home which has been flooded and which will almost certainly flood again, unless it's on a beachfront. Then it's just expensive to do the work, and we all pay for it.

          • Ahh. Do one thing, then; add a sunset clause to that fund, stage it in based on anticipated rate of natural disasters by area and decade.

            Maybe you get 90% assistance now, but 80% in the event of flooding after ten years, etc. And maybe add another clause that the rate can be adjusted as models are improved and annual measurements accumulate. Possibly add a third bit that says you can take a (small but non-zero) payout from the fund to assist with relocation, and set the amount to be less than the anticip

          • FEMA might repeatedly pay to rebuild, but it still requires mitigation against future flood events. So flood #1 might destroy your house, but flood #2 will probably just destroy your car and everything in the garage (because FEMA would have required that your repaired/rebuilt house be raised on new pilings or a higher foundation). This is EXACTLY what happened in the coastal parts of New Jersey that were destroyed by Sandy.

            Likewise, if your basement (but NOT the first floor) gets flooded in a state like Mis

  • Screw it (Score:4, Funny)

    by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @07:55AM (#55504959)
    Taxpayers paid to drain the swamp so land developers could get rich, and now taxpayers have to pay to clean it up.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's "hydrologic", not hydraulic.

  • Use the money to fix another state that's not a lost cause. Tell them you'll throw in Puerto Rico as well. They're pretty stupid.

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