Tag Archive | conservation

Rain, Rain go … where you’re needed.

Rain - It messes up my days on the boat

Rain – It messes up my days on the boat

The Florida summer is in full force. Thunder storms are a daily threat. A lot of my friends, human and canine, hate this time of year. My buddy, Trooper, gets so upset he goes into panic mode. Even his “thunder vest” only reduces his terror. The humans that belong to Trooper do their best to comfort him. They even leave the TV on when they leave him at home so in case it storms the sound will comfort him.

I understand the need for all the rain. Without rain, it wouldn’t be long before I’d run out of grass to do business on. Since I live indoors 90% of the time, the rain doesn’t impact my days as much as many of my buddies who normally spend at least half of their time outside. They get “Dog-house fever” and become grumpy, lethargic, and depressed. The thing that bothers me most is that the Geezer doesn’t take the boat out in this weather. I love riding in the boat’s bow even more than riding in the car. The salt air and wind whipping around my body feels SO good. Makes me feel like Kate Winslet, though the Geezer’s craft is a wee bit smaller than the Titanic. Then there’s all the smells, birds to watch, porpoise to bark at, and fish fillets that the Geezer cooks for me after we return. I get the jacks, bluefish and other species the Geezer’s missus doesn’t care for.

I know. When it doesn’t rain, it creates a lot of problems for humans. They moan and complain, but don’t do much about it. The humans in California are desperate for water. They pass laws. I wonder how much rain those laws produce? I haven’t heard of any yet. That’s not completely fair, conserving is a good thing. If they’d use a little old-fashioned dog-sense they could solve several problems at one time. Why don’t humans collect all the excess water that accumulates in one area and move it to another? There are huge floods that people don’t want. Why not build huge reservoirs, let flood waters accumulate there and pipe it to areas that need it? I mentioned this to the Geezer and he said he wasn’t sure it would be “cost effective.”

Hmmmm, besides being able to charge for the water, I asked him about the cost savings from mitigating the flood damage, the fact that electricity could be generated, the fact the lakes created would act as tourist attractions. Pipes and pumps. Why not? They do it with oil and it requires a lot more cost and effort to get out of the ground. After all, aren’t those same people spending money to accommodate additional people when they don’t have enough water for those folks living there already? He grinned. The poor Geezer. He suffers from that universal human failing – lack of vision.

 

# # # # #

 

Man’s good intentions often end in nature’s disaster.

The

The “lone cypress” was used as the navigational aid to help boat captains find the mouth of the Caloosahatchee canal on Lake Okeechobee.

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of how things used to be. The Geezer took Mrs G and me to a place that figured prominently in Florida history. It isn’t a site of a battle, or the first fort-school-etc. The sign in the picture above doesn’t commemorate a disaster, though one took place here.  However, what was done here changed the states future and continues to impact it today.

Say South Florida to most folks and they envision white sand beaches, tourist attractions, and a retirement Mecca. Before what occurred at the spot pictured, South Florida had a very different reputation. An army major serving during the third Seminole War described the land as, “Much like Hell with insects replacing the flames.” Half the year the flat land was inundated with “sheet water.” Sheet water is the result of the lack of change of elevation; rains flood the ground and they sit moving at a snails pace in any direction that’s a few inches lower. The land becomes one gigantic “river without banks.” It’s what creates the Everglades. This also was what served as a super incubator for mosquitoes, deer flies, and countless other pests. It was malaria and yellow fever’s home town. The fertile land beneath it was unusable in what was still an agricultural country.

Someone thought, “Why don’t we drain it?” The whole story of how Hamilton Disston was drawn into this enterprise as a result of a Florida fishing trip is a fascinating but long tale. The Disstons led by father Henry had become fabulously wealthy as a result of their development of saw technology. Drastically shortening the story Disston and the state of Florida played lets make a deal in the early 1880’s. Disston was to get half of the lands he drained. (An area the size of Connecticut)

The picture  above is the site of one of the primary results of his efforts. He dug a canal from Lake Okeechobee to connect to the Caloosahatchee River. The “lone cypress” marks the spot where the canal empties lake water into the river. It served as GPS, channel marker, and signage for the early water-born trade that helped develop this section of Florida. He dug additional canals on the south lake shore. His efforts resulted in the partial drainage of the land, the opening of rich agricultural areas, and eventually the Florida land boom … and bust … that added more to the unsavory reputation many Disston contemporaries bestowed on the “Sunshine State.”

The cypress and sign are located in the town of Moore Haven. It remains an agricultural area and a heaven for bass fishermen (and ladies). Ironically, the town’s growth promoted by the canal, proved deadly. In 1926, a hurricane killed 400 and was a precursor to an even worse storm. The 2nd greatest storm related loss of life in US history occurred when the 1928 hurricane killed more than 2500 a few miles east along the lake shore in the Belle Glade area.

The 1928 hurricane figures prominently in DL Havlin’s book, Blue Water, Red Blood. If you’d like more information on the storm and, how through some fantastic coincidences, the disaster helped win World War II, it provides a good read.

The canal historical marker is pictured below.

The historical marker in Moore Haven.

The historical marker in Moore Haven.

Today the canal remains controversial. Much of the pollution of the surrounding rivers, Everglades, and the costal estuaries are a result of Disston’s efforts to improve life in the area. Human’s are slow learners. We canines understand that screwing “Mother Nature” can result in creating a baby that turns out to be a monster.

#  #  #  #  #