February Wet Press

SFWJ’s Wet Press provides links to water news being covered in south Florida’s coastal newspapers — “If its wet off the press, we post.”

Photo is of Paynes Prairie board walk off Route 441, just south of Gainesville. The University of Florida’s Water Institute hosted a water symposium on Wednesday and Thursday, where water stakeholders and professionals from around the state — including all the water management districts — met to discuss Florida water issues and its water future.
Here’s the wrap up for February.

Everglades restoration made news early in the month with state efforts to ramp up federal financial support for the projects, including Indian River Lagoon and Picayune Strand. The giant reservoir and storm-water treatment area off the C-44 in Martin County was put on hold while money issues could be sorted out. Pythons made news as the new exotic invader of the day, and multi-agency efforts to eradicate it.

Lake O dropped briefly dropped below 10 ft in mid February, but rebounded an inch or two as a drenching front passed through the region. Lawmakers were dissapointed with most recent federal budget for repairing the dike. Water managers are also concerned that erosion from the extended drought could pose future flood threat.

In Southwest Florida, stories included Estero Bay’s new designation, concerns over panthers and developments in interior portions of the Big Cypress, and water quality improvement projects under discussion on Marco Island. The Caloosahatchee, Naples Bay, and culverts under I-75 also made news.

Coastal stories included retrospetives on the 2007 hurricane season, the costliest hurricane stretch on record, and a La Nina forecast.

Water supply news continues to focus on the drought. Stories highlighted fact that despite the drought for the Lake and southwest Florida, water abundance persists for some coastal utilties due to plentiful rains, and in the case like Marco, due to surplus capacity designed into its supply system.

Florida-wide water news included several stories on the ACF water woes: balancing upstream water supply with downstream flows to the estuary — a situation which is much improved by December rains, and projected rainfall for March. Municipal withdrawals from the St Johns also made news this month.
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