J. Xuna Candidate US Congress FL-18 - On this page I display a compendium of 3 postings placed on Facebook (links have been provided as well), they offer my unique position on how to solve the issues created by the discharges of freshwater from Lake Okeechobee.
Notice that -in consensus with the majority- I propose  to BUY THE LAND (however with a small important change, rather than buying I recommend applying "Eminent Domain" and swap that land for another piece of land owned by the State or the Federal government) ... then I bring the critical second point  SEND THE SEDIMENTS SOUTH WITH THE WATER, which despite its importance, I am the only one holding this position.
As it is covered with more detail on this page, it is not just allowing the water to flow south. The dike has to provide for sediments to flow south as well. A permanent opening or a regulated hydraulic door has to be built near the base of the levee for the sediments to flow with the water. An opening at a higher level -or pumping the water out- will not do!
** I have been trying to bring to the forefront the fact that sediments on the lake are the culprit.
Sediments are becoming more toxic as time progresses, and the sediment-level went from zero (bottom of lake was sand) 80 years ago when the dike was built, to more than 2 feet now. The sediments will grow to 10 feet in about 300 years. Levee can only hold 14 feet, which means DISCHARGES WILL HAVE TO BECOME MORE FREQUENT AND MORE TOXIC IN YEARS TO COME. Please be foresighted!
We need "Eminent Domain" and expropriate, offering a swap for other State/Federal land somewhere. It is imperative we do this as quickly as possible. The large amount of money required to buy the land will always be a big impediment, applying "eminent domain" would bypass that hurdle, and will expedite the negotiating process by swapping for a piece of land of equal fair market value.
PART 3: – July 23
OKEECHOBEE AND THE DISCHARGES:
1. I wrote a couple of articles, which I offered to a few Journalists. There was no interest in publishing those. It seems that I am a Professor obfuscated with 'sediments', one who might be looking for the spotlight (as to benefit his campaign). My 'sediments' view turned them off. I'm telling them they that they are looking at the wrong solutions ( building a higher dike on the lake,  reinforce the levee, or  spending millions -and more millions- cleaning the water that will be discharged - which will be increasingly more toxic- and  those tragic events are bound to be occurring more frequently as time progresses, …).
2. I posted those same articles on Facebook, and even spent money ‘boosting’ them. Thousands of people were reached, yet no comments, and very little feedback.
3. I went to websites and Facebook accounts of Progressive groups, River Warriors and Water Coalitions, posted my articles there (but those will not appear on the wall, instead they go to a ‘stack’ where only a few readers might discover them) . Frustrating!
4. As a Candidate to the US Congress, I have been attending forums, debates, and meetings with editorial boards. All candidates talk about BUYING THE LAND, AND SEND THE WATER SOUTH … me too!
Well, I add two important issues:
~ The first –the most important- nobody
• A couple of Republican candidates second the “eminent domain” point, but… the sediments?
That issue -so far- has not been taken seriously, neither by the candidates, nor by the interviewers.
• Rep. PATRICK MURPHY, Sen. BILL NELSON and Sen. MARCO RUBIO came to visit our estuary, took with them some plastic bottles filled with polluted water, and when they talk is –mostly- nonsense. The same 'song and dance' they will always do: [i] finishing the STAs (storm water treatment areas), [ii] more negotiation with the Mott’s (owners), [iii] fixing the leaking levee, [iv] and so on and so forth!
* Everyone repeats like parrots: We need to buy the land! That’s it!
~ Then they speculate how we can buy that land: [i] Amendment-1 money, [ii] Federal money, [iii] …whatever!
~ But then, with better verbiage that my second-language allows me (keep in mind that my vernacular is Spanish), they go at length on [i] the plight of the tourist industry, [ii] the livelihood of fishermen, [iii] the discomfort of those who try to enjoy boating, or [iv] the misery of some family whose home is by the water (now infested with decomposing detritus from the algae-bloom).
~ These talkers all make points with the listeners; my emphasis on “sediments” does not!
* Yes, the Federal government should pay for a good part of whatever expenses to be incurred, because they did not use foresight when –in times of Herbert Hoover- artificially circled the lake with a wall as to protect inhabitants from hurricanes, and create dry land for farming and urban development.
* For more on that -and the long term problem they created- please read my other postings (which follow below).
* I worked hard preparing the graphs that I am posting. Hopefully -graphically- I will finally be more convincing, after all a graph is worth a thousand words.
What seems to be the problem?
1. The problem is the difficulty understanding the intricacies and relevance of FACTORS THAT WORK IN VERY SLOW-MOTION, these events might take hundreds of years to occur. It seems absurd, but it is the same reason why people have difficulty understanding Evolution, that is, events that take millions of years to form or develop (the cause-effect relationship is then lost, not obvious). Even Global Warming seems to be a hoax to many who lack science literacy; and for the same reason... slow motion!
2. The SEDIMENTS though, will only take 200 to
300 years to become a huge problem. Therefore I hope, that after looking at this
graph you will see that "as the sediments creep up, the layer of water -to
reach the maximum allowed (14 ft)- diminishes".
3. Those sediments are toxic (sulfates, nitrates, even mercury, arsenic, and other heavy metals). Therefore very expensive to remove and discard safely. The only way out of this drama is to let those sediments soaked in toxins not be trapped between the walls of that dike, and -instead- allow those to flow to the Everglades where they are needed, as to avoid depletion of soil and crumbling away of the land (as it is happening in the Mississippi delta). If released slowly (let's say during a period of 10 years), the toxicity would be absorbed by the marshes of the Everglades as the water flows to the Gulf of Mexico.
CONCLUSION: THE SOUTH WALL HAS TO GO!!
(or make it porous, with a chain of hydraulic doors releasing water and
PART 2: – July 18
"THE REAL PROBLEM WITH THE ESTUARIES AND THE INDIAN RIVER LAGOON"
** The only real solutions I have read so far is BUYING THE LAND AND SEND THE WATER SOUTH. Other measures –although environmentally recommended- do not fix the problem long term. In forums they give me 3-minutes to explain my views, and that cannot be done so quickly.
REASONS FOR THE PROBLEMS WITH THE ESTUARIES:
1. Building the wall around the lake was a huge shortsighted mistake. Back in those days they knew nothing about Ecology and its intricate interaction with the Environment. THE WALL -TO SOME EXTENT- HAS TO COME DOWN!!
2. The lake is only 6,000 years old, the bottom used to be sand. Its average height is just 8 feet, very shallow indeed. When Lake Okeechobee formed sea level was -therefore- about 8 feet lower.
3. Since its construction in the 1930’s, under Pres. Herbert Hoover, already accumulated 2+ feet of sediment. At that rate in another 400 years the sediment would reach the level where the water–surface is now, and that implies that the levee would have to hold another 8 feet more of water (requiring a difficult increase in height of that dike). And it is not economically feasible to do that!
4. Sediment layers are like sponges, they absorb all toxic chemicals as they drop to the bottom (depositing).
5. Sediment in that lake is so toxic right now, that when the level was record low in 2006 they tried to remove it, yet they had to stop. There was no safe place where to store it or discarded. It has mercury, arsenic, and all kinds of phosphates. Those concentrations will only continue to increase due to fertilizer runoff. Remember also the huge surface area of lake "O" (about 26x26 miles, or 50x50 Km).
6. The wall was intended to safeguard the inhabitants, as well as to dry the upper part of the Everglades for pasture and agriculture. Furthermore, water was very welcomed in the growing coastal cities, but the lack of that historical “river of grass” sheet-flow, is killing sea grass and marshes in the Everglades. They are getting too salty with the inflow of salt-water from the Gulf. Corals reefs are also in danger, and so is the multitude of creatures that depend in those reefs (and in sea grass) to survive.
7. Had they had good foresight, those cities around the lake would have been forced to limited growth; instead they grew fast as farming brought many immigrant families to the area. Yet, despite that hurricanes can now be tracked and anticipated, still -those unpreventable events- represent a great danger to humans.
8. Furthermore, within 400 years, sea-level rise will submerge those cities –and the cane fields- unavoidably (unless in the scientific community we were to be totally wrong with our studies and evidence of Global Warming).
A. By 'removing' the dike (or an equivalent approach) in the south side, SEDIMENTS WILL FLOW TO THE EVERGLADES, and in 400 years would add 5 to 10 feet of sediment, delaying the submerging of the Everglades (please understand that relatively soon those lands will become brackish marshes similar to the estuaries).
B. The massive outflow would help GET RID OF TOXIC CHEMICALS which little by little would disperse in the Gulf of Mexico. Right now as the speed of the inflow water drops to zero (when the lake is reached) the sediment accumulates within the dike.
C. EVAPORATION is currently an important outflow and that EXACERBATES PROBLEMS because it causes the concentrations of toxic chemicals to go higher. Just think of Salt Lake or of the Atacama salines in Chile and Peru. Allowing the water to flow would not allow those chemicals to get more concentrated.
D. THE LAND DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BOUGHT. IT CAN BE TAKEN -UNDER "EMINENT DOMAIN"- AND BE COMPENSATED OR EXCHANGED/SWAPPED FOR OTHER STATE LANDS.
E. PLEASE REMEMBER: The Federal Government built the Wall (with very good intentions, after thousands died in the hurricanes of 1926 and 1928 [San Felipe hurricane]). Federal authorities are PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE for the problem, and should be the ones negotiating the swap of land.
Prof. John Xuna
Candidate US Congress FL-18
PART 1: – July 8
HOW TO FIX THE PROBLEMS WITH LAKE OKEECHOBEE AND ITS NEFAST DISCHARGES OF FRESHWATER TO ESTUARIES !!
Since this morning I was writing an article that I sent to journalists in Treasure Coast Palm and Palm Beach Post. Not sure if they would honor publishing, or if they realize the importance of its message.
Therefore, I decided to also post it here in Facebook, and I will also "promote" it from my FB page, so it reaches thousands.
I warn you, it is long, 3 pages long ....HERE IT GOES !!
NOT BEING FARSIGHTED ENOUGH WITH A CATASTROPHIC ECOLOGICAL SITUATION
~ My concern with the environment started in my adolescence. I had an obsession with the location of oil fields and their yields. That drove me to write a report on “Oil Depletion” in 1979, which was sent to Congress and to then US President, Jimmy Carter. That was many years before the term “peak oil” came to exist. For more, you can read the article in its entirety on my “legacy” web: www.OilDepletion.com .
~ More than a decade later, frustrated that not much had changed, I wrote a book (“US Energy Policy: S.O.S [Scared Ostrich Syndrome]”, 1992). The book can be read in its entirety on another “legacy” web: www.PetrolSOS.com .
~ I lived in Okeechobee, and also –for two years- commuted daily to Pahokee, and became very interested in Lake Okeechobee. I used to be called “Johnny Walker” and I don’t drink, so it must be because of my love for 2-hour long walks. The LOST (Lake Okeechobee Scenery Trail) was my preferred promenading venue when I lived near that 109 mile levee.
~ The 40 ft high and 100 ft wide dike has served a good purpose since constructed in the 1930’s, but as it is often the case, in those days President Herbert Hoover and his engineers did not realize the environmental impact that soon would be confronted. That grandiose project altered the long-term delicate equilibrium in the complex ecology of the Everglades.
~ There were two fatal hurricanes one after the other, the first in 1926 and the next in 1928, both caused deaths by drowning, the later (which also had affected Puerto Rico a few days earlier, and my father in law –D. Mario- remembered very well, was called S. Felipe in our Commonwealth)
~ San Felipe hurricane caused thousands of deaths in the Caribbean, and even more deaths when it passed just above lake Okeechobee, and -the storm surge it provoked- caused the flooding of Belle Glade, Okeechobee, Pahokee and other surrounding cities and towns border lining the lake.
** Government sources say 2000 people died!
~ Of lesser consideration was the UNAESTHETIC result of building a huge wall along miles of front lake property, significantly reducing the value of those prime lands, which now are protected against hurricanes but not much view of that scenic lake (after lake Michigan, Lake “O” is the largest fresh-water lake in the 48 contiguous States).
~ The long dike is like another “Chinese Great Wall” circling lake “O”. Earthquakes are difficult to predict or anticipate, but hurricanes these days can be tracked for days, and you can seek protection, as I did when residing in Okeechobee (2005-6) and left for Orlando with my family when Wilma (2005) approached.
** I will make later the point that we should live without that dike today, despite of the protection it gives against threatening floods.
WHAT’S THEN THE PROBLEM OF A LAKE ENCIRCLED BY A WALL?
Allow me to start by talking about the origins of the lake, a recently born lake, indeed!
~ Lake Okeechobee was not there 7,000 years ago, and the soil back then was sandy, with limestone underneath. But sea-level rise has been going on for thousands and thousands of years (more about that in my other “legacy” webs, which I call “Science Beacons”, www.DoomedGlobe.comand www.ZUET.com [Zeroing in Underground Energy Technologies].
** Most of my webs can be reached with ease from links in my hub, at www.Xuna.US
~ As the sea-level rose, the underground water level also rose, and the lake started to form. It is not deep at all, its average depth is about 9 feet, and its level above sea is only 10 ft.
~ If it goes to 13 ft above sea level, then the Army Corps of Engineers fears for the integrity of the wall, and starts to discharge water to the outlets (channels going to the Miami River, to the New River, and to the estuaries East and West of the lake (in Tampa, and in the Treasure Coast).
** The lake creates –basically- two major problems: “accumulation of sediment”, and “outflow stranglehold”.
~ Well, you might be tempted to say, what about toxic algal bloom and the hypoxia that asphyxiates fish?
~ Well, wait until I expand the descriptions, and you will see what the two problems mentioned encompass all.
1. ACCUMULATION OF SEDIMENT:
~ As indicated, originally there was not much sediment, detritus from plants and animals would flow to the Everglades, and eventually to the Gulf of Mexico.
~ However when you stop fluids from flowing, deposits would precipitate, and in 2006 when the lake level was at record low, and bottom sea grass was being exposed (becoming dry and causing several massive fires on lake “O”).
~ There was then an effort to eliminate the more than 2-feet of sediment, which had accumulated in less than 100 years since the dike had been built.
a. Well, due to the growth of Orlando and other cities to the North (and to the large number of farms and feedlots) the sediment contained large quantities of pollutants, not just nitrates, phosphates and sulfates, but also mercury and even the very toxic arsenic.
b. The lake is huge, so despite that the removal of sediment was going to be only a layer of 1 or 2 feet, the process was very expensive, because that toxic sediment had four times the acceptable level of arsenic, and could not be disposed safely almost anywhere.
c. I would estimate that the sediment will continue accruing at a rate of about 2 ft per 100 years. It would take only 200 or 300 years for this to become a catastrophe, of –yet- bigger proportion than the one we have today in our hands.
d. Sea-level rise is currently 3 mm per year, and going soon to 4 mm. If 3 mm, it means exactly 1 foot per 100 years (or 300 mm). Most Scientists believe -and the evidence indicate- that the rate of increase will be soon be faster! For reasons that I don’t have space here to cover, but has to do with more CO2 in the air, due to:
[i] Emissions of green-house gas (CO2) from the thawing of permafrost (Siberia, Canada,…) and
[ii] Warming up of the oceans, which reverts the process of absorption of CO2 to one of emission of it (like it happens to a warm can of Coke).
In other words CO2 is entering in an irreversible “avalanche” state, like it happened in Venus, which might be seriously threatening humanity. We might not have enough time left to remedy that.
e. So, this is the final picture: Sediments accumulate at the bottom of the lake. Sea-level rise in the ocean causes the water table to raise.
2. STRANGLEHOLD OF OUTFLOW:
a. Originally, and since the formation of the lake thousands of years ago, the flow of water was unimpeded all the way to the Gulf. Now the coral reefs in the Everglades (which as the estuaries -in both coasts of Florida- support thousands of species of creatures and plants) are dying off for lack of fresh water. Only a couple of canals take water to the South, but it is not a sea of grass (that is, a wide sheet flow of water like in the old days).
b. As bad as that is, there is more bad news. EVAPORATION is basically the preferred way of outflow from Lake Okeechobee. That, or the terrifying discharges that from time to time are carried out, sending contaminated fresh water to the St. Lucie River (towards the Indian River Lagoon) and to the Caloosahatchee River (towards the Tampa estuaries).
c. If you look at the result of evaporation over a long period of time (like in Salt Lake, Utah, or the salinas [salt deposits] along the Atacama Desert in Chile, and Peru) the concentration of anions of all types (salts) progressively increases. Toxic elements that normally are in barely traceable amounts, start to become dangerous.
For lack of space, allow me to go quick to the conclusion and recommendations.
1. At least, the South wall of the LEVEE HAS TO GO, and allow a sheet of water to flow to the Everglades. The sediment instead of accumulating would be dragged to the Gulf of Mexico, after being filtered by the marshes.
2. It is then imperative (for the good of the people living on the State, and for the legacy to the billions who will live here after us) that WE SEIZE THE LAND SOUTH OF THE LAKE. Yet, we DO NOT HAVE TO BUY THE LAND necessarily. Buying it would take a precious unaffordable time of a difficult negotiating process.
3. EMINENT DOMAIN is legal in these circumstances has been done in America, in many other countries, and along centuries. We do not have to expropriate or appropriate those farms, but the legal owners of the land MUST ACCEPT A TRADE/SWAP FOR OTHER STATE LAND (which now might be part of a FL State Park). Unless, they were so decent and foresighted enough that would give the land away for the benefit of the people. After all, they bought the land cheap (in the 1930’s from the bankrupt Southern Sugar Corp.) and have already sold -at good price- a part of it. Furthermore, they have indulged in its use for decades.
4. We need to realize that in 2000 years, Florida will probably be under 10 yards (30 feet of water). At a rate of 1 foot per 100 years, and growing ever faster at 5 to 8 yards per 1000 years … the lands we are talking about will be flooded by the ocean within 500 years (they are only 10ft above sea level). Let’s fight CO2, let’s be farsighted, let's be reasonable!
5. With higher level of sediments, and with increasing toxicity in the water and the sediments, the discharges will have to become more frequent, and more dangerous as the time goes by.
Please be aware of these facts.
Pr. John (Juan) Xuna
(This looming catastrophe is the main reason this Scientist is running for Congress).
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