The 14-mile long levee shown below was built in the mid 1960s.
For the past fifty years the L-28 has cut off vital headwater flows “into” the chronically under-hydrated Big Cypress Swamp (right). A rise in wild fires and degradation of aquatic swamp ecosystems and habitat has been the result.
|S-344 looking south down the L-28 Levee as seen yesterday. The structure opened as of a few days ago.|
Not to fear:
A new idea is in the works.
As a result of high-water flooding on in Water Conservation Area 3A (left in photo above),
Water managers made the emergency decision to open up the S-344 gate (middle of photo above) which — in the same spirit that they are shifting water “to the east” under the new one-mile bridge — will help spread WCA3A’s “excess water” west in into Big Cypress National Preserve.
(Not the 14th as stated on video)
It’s the best idea I’ve heard in years,
Even if by itself, it falls short for the swamp.
The problem you see is the pesky downstream canal. Instead of water finding its way into the Lilipution flow ways of the swamp (which feed the giant cypress trees in Roberts Lake and Gator Hook Strands), the newly-released water tends to stay in the deepest and straightest channel which sadly side-skirts along the boundary of (and not “into”) the swamp.
|Two miles south of the S-344 (looking south), levee on left and water flowing down the canal (over the northernmost of six canal plugs).|
But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
An obvious next step is to force the wily water’s hand by strategically filling in the canal.
Opening the S-344 is a vital stepping stone for resurrecting the forgotten flow paths so important to the hydrologic health of the swamp.