Vanishing point — disappearing north Florida waters

So far, most of my drought postings have focused on the unprecedented Southern California five-year drought.  Relieved somewhat by the Santa Anna winds bringing some rain, the State of California remains under siege.  Calif. Governor Jerry Brown’s  mandatory resrictions  on water usage remain in place.

My review of the U.S. Drought Monitor on the East Coast has revealed only a few areas of drought over the Florida peninsula for limited periods of time.  These areas of drought have been for the most part. in the southeast Florida area. But little has been written about north Florida.

At the mouth of the Apalachicola River, south of the state capital (Tallahassee). and the source of the Apalachicola Bay or, if you wish, Apalachicola Basin,  a water war between Florida and Georgia has been waged for decades. So contentious the war become,  Florida has filed in the U. S. Supreme Court a lawsuit against Georgia for an equitable apportionment of the waters of the Apalachicola River between Georgia and Florida.

I wrote in a post some months ago a few generalities about the procedure for making the judicial apportionment of the waters.   Most of the river runs through the State of Georgia.  Florida argues that unless there is a reasonable apportionment of the water, the Apalachicola River Basin will lack the necessary river nutrients for the growth of shrimp and other seafood.  An entire industry will die off while Georgia continues to retain and impound water upstream for Georgia’s future needs that Florida regards as bogus and unsupportable by the facts.

Notwithstanding the ‘water wars’ in Florida’s panhandle, north Floridians have been noticing the drying up of north Florida lakes for at least two decades.  What is the source of the drying up?  Is it the slow but noticeable drop in the lakes through sinkholes, leaving residents to do battle in the summer with mosquitos thriving in the marshes where the larger lake once thrived? Is it the drying up of the underground Florida aquifer from fertilizing agriculture leading to out-of-control vegetation deadly to the ecosystem similar to one of the problems plaguing the Everglades?  Whatever the source touch this link for one author’s ‘call to action’.

Vanishing point — disappearing north Florida waters

Freak storm overturns boats in Ft. Lauderdale

A freak storm overturned boats on Lake Sylvia (or Sylvan), a small protected lake surrounded by high-end residences in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Lauderdale anchorage

Region: Atlantic ICW – FL & St. Johns R.   One quarter mile from Intracoastal

Date Reported: Feb 17, 2016

Reported By: Mike Ahart, Waterway Guide News Editor

Submerged boat in Lake Sylvia, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. result of freak storm
Submerged boat in Lake Sylvia, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Source: Sun-Sentinel,NBC Miami,Boater Reports

A freak storm spawning tornados swept through areas of South Florida, overturning two occupied boats in Lake Sylvia, a popular anchorage just off the ICW at Mile 1064.5 in Ft. Lauderdale, and wreaking havoc across the region Tuesday morning, Feb. 16, 2016.

According to a NBC Miami report, one person was taken to the hospital and several people were rescued from the water in Lake Sylvia, but only minor injuries were reported. Wind speed reports from media and boaters range from 50 to 90 knots.
The powerboat was raised yesterday and towed to a local marina, and the catamaran was righted and dewatered today, according to reports

The Sun-Sentinel interviewed the owner of the flipped catamaran

Doug Reaney, 67, said from a Fort Lauderdale fire station that he was “a little wet” after being rescued from Dream Catcher, the flipped catamaran that the retired Navy veteran calls home. “I’ll probably be black and blue one of these days but I’m not hurt in any substantial way

Miami Marine Stadium upon completion in 1963 on Virginia Key, Miami, Fla.

Miami Marine Stadium in 1963 upon completion on Virginia Key, Miami, Fla.
Miami Marine Stadium in 1963 upon completion on Virginia Key, Miami, Fla., overlooking Biscayne Bay, dedicated as the Ralph Munroe Marine Stadium on December 23rd.[Model]

An architectural jewel designed by 28-year-old Hilario Candela, the Stadium was used for decades for concerts,boat races, even boxing matches, for crowds at a maximum number of 6,566 until it fell into disuse and functional deterioration. As of this writing, a preservation group has formed to restore and renovate the Stadium for its original uses as well as to assemble a collection of primary and secondary artifacts and materials to tell the story of the museum  from its original conception, to its use design and construction, to its deterioration from misuse and disuse, to the formation of efforts to renovate and restore the structure for its its original uses and additional uses as a museum and library of materials related to its past and intended uses.

The Stadium was built at a cost of $1 million. The Biscayne Bay was dredged for boat racing by marine and heavy construction contractor J.B. Fraser & Sons of Ft. Lauderdale for approximately $900,000.

Unfortunately, upon opening day of a boat race, a speedboat racer died in a boating accident. Still, the Stadium stayed in operation for decades until 1992 when the structure was declared unsafe by local building officials as a result of Hurricane Andrew. Trespassers had easy access to cover the entire structure in graffiti. The wooden seats became unsafe as a result of destruction and weather deterioration. In 1963, Candela’s 326-foot long single cantilevered fold-plate roof was the longest such single poured roof in the world.

The Friends of Miami Marine Stadium was organized in February 20, 2008, to raise the funds to restore the Miami Marine Stadium.

The Chief of Engineers recommends Port Everglades, Fla. expansion on Friday, June 26, 2015

On Friday, June 26, 2015, the the Chief of Engineers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommended to Congress the expansion of Port Everglades, Fla., as requested by the Broward County Commission.

Broward County has now been given the ‘green light’ to allow the Port to compete with many of the ports on the Atlantic coast for cargo business transiting through the expanded Panama Canal, expected to permit the transit of large mega-cargo ships plying the Seven Seas when construction is complete. A few status videos may be found in the posts throughout this website.  Few ports on the Atlantic coast are expected to have the capacity to berth the large mega-cargo ships of the new millennium. Jacksonville has declined to expand its port to compete for this new business (Jaxport to WGC, April 3, 2015).

Approved tentative plan for the widening and deepening of port channels and turning basin.
Approved tentative plan for the widening and deepening of port channels and turning basin.i

There are significant barriers the County must overcome before breaking ground on the project. One controversial obstacle is the required destruction of a number of acres of mangrove plantations to accommodate the expansion. Under federal law, the Port will be required to mitigate the destruction by planting a substantial number of acres of mangroves in other areas of the County.

Plans call for a partnership between Broward County, Fla., and the Army Corps of Engineers that may last for several decades.  Although county property taxes might ordinarily increase, the project will not increase local property taxes.  The improvements will be paid for by users of the port and anticipated federal grants.

The Palm Beach Farms Company, Percy Hagerman, and Colorado silver mining

The Lake Worth Drainage District celebrated its (1915-2015) centennial yesterday.  Between 1915 and 1935, more than 125 drainage districts formed in Florida to prevent flooding.  Nineteen districts formed in Palm Beach County alone.  These local districts (secondary drainage) are under the supervisory control of the South Florida Management District (primary drainage).  Both monitor the weather closely and remain in close contact with each other.  The SFWMD has the final say over whether the flood gates should be open or closed, based upon the total amount of rainwater expected each day.

One of the largest secondary systems, the LWDD manages the water in an area once called the Palm Beach Farms, an immense agricultural operation that resulted from the public lands granted the Florida canal company that built the Intracoastal Waterway and Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway and their subsidiaries from St. Augustine and Miami. In total, the Palm Beach Farms Company bought approximately 234 square miles of land from the Okeechobee Road to the south Palm Beach County line in 1912.  That land now lies within the Lake Worth Drainage District.  The principals behind the Palm Beach Farms Company in 1912 were silver mine owners and brokers from Colorado.  Headed by Percy Hagerman (1869-1950), the Florida farming company had been incorporated in Colorado.

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Hagerman graduated from Cornell University, and studied law for one year at Yale University.  Adding to his family’s immense wealth, Hagerman invested in railroads and mines in Colorado Springs where he resided, in addition to his investments in Florida real estate.  Old Percy Field at Cornell is named in honor of Hagerman; Hagerman Park at Colorado Springs is also named for Hagerman.  Hagerman was a master rower while attending Cornell. At Colorado Springs, Hagerman became famous as an artist throughout the West for his mountainscape paintings.

Wanderlust Wednesday: The Venice of the North; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: the Venice of America.

The City of Fort Lauderdale has promoted itself as the ‘Venice of America’ for almost  a century because of its  more than one hundred miles of manmade and natural canals throughout the 36-square-mile city.  But before it proclaimed itself the ‘Venice of America’ beginning in the 1920s, its weekly newspaper advertised the town on its masthead as the ‘Gateway to the Everglades’.  Under Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward (1905-1909), the State of Florida began a massive project to drain the Everglades to open up millions of acres of arable land for agriculture on a scale the world had never known.  The plan was to dredge five canals from Lake Okeechobee to both Florida coasts. The first to reach the Lake was the New River Drainage Canal in 1912, starting at Fort Lauderdale; hence the moniker, ‘Gateway to the Everglades’.

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin,” from “The Fault in Our Stars.”   Amsterdam, nicknamed the “Venice of the North,” is a city I would like to visit as part of my Wanderlust Wednesday. My friend, […]

Author rowing on the Intracoastal, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

The author rows a 21′ long ultra-lite Alden Star rowing shell the average person can lift and launch into the water. The oars are top-of-the-line oars hand carved from light wood in Vermont. A pair of oars will set you back about $400 but, in the opinion of the author, the cost is well worth it.

Author rows on the New River Sound (Intracoastal)
Author rows on the New River Sound (Intracoastal)

While more expensive than oars made from PVC, the slightly heavier weight lends more stability. And with experience, the combination of the ultra-lite shell propelled by the wooden oars create an experience that is just this side of heaven. The shell flat flies over water when the wind is down and the water flat.

Rowing on the New River Sound, or almost any tidally-influenced inland waterway, is a rough way to row.  While I have rowed as fast as 10 knots in ideal conditions, those instances are few and far between.  The best conditions are those found in flat water low or no wind such as lakes or closed non-tidally influenced water.

The New River Sound is a portion of the Intracoastal Waterway that runs from Lighthouse Point south through Fort Lauderdale to Hollywood, Fla.

The author took up rowing when age no longer accommodated running.  I enjoyed running. But after discovering rowing, I’d say that rowing is a better conditioning experience with less stress on the feet, ankles, and knees. One caveat: talk to your physician before undertaking any exercise regime and find the right one for you.