During this multi-year, multimillion dollar project, Congress authorized the Corps of Engineers (“the Corps”) to design and build a number of different kinds of structures to shore-up the Herbert Hoover Dike (“HHD”) surrounding Lake Okeechobee (“O”) to insure against catastrophic failure.
In 1928, A hurricane with winds estimated at 145 mph struck the Lake O area. The crude practically handmade levees were thought sufficient to withstand hurricane winds. Instead, a breach occurred in the southern part of the levee system, flooding several hundred square miles of land, some twenty to thirty feet high and sending 2,500 farm workers to their deaths. Crops from farming were a total loss.
As a result of another, mostly wet, hurricane in 1947, Congress created the Central and Southern Flood Control District (“C&SFCD”) authorizing the Corps to construct a network of canals, ditches, levees, and water control devices. For the next several decades the Corps would create a patchwork of canals, levees, and water control devices intended to reduce flooding during wet seasons and store sufficient water during the dry seasons. Eventually, Congress would establish the South Florida Water Management District to assume the authorities of the (“C&SFCD”)
The current Congressional appropriation led to the Corps’ award-winning design and construction of Water Control Device No. 11, costing millions of dollars depicted above.