Record South Florida Rain Threatens Glades Wildlife, Sets Stage For Summer Water Woes

  • Article: Jenny Staletovich
  • Photo: Carl Juste
  • WLRN

So much rain so early in the wet season has led to a slow-moving crisis across South Florida: what to do with all the water before things get really bad.

To avoid drowning wildlife in the central Everglades, and avoid fouling the Treasure Coast with dirty water from Lake Okeechobee later in the season, the South Florida Water Management District began back-pumping water into the lake over the weekend. Then this week, the U.S. Corps of Engineers opened flood gates into the western Everglades, flooding nesting grounds for the endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow for the second year in a row.

The dilemma pits flood control against conservation efforts and while it’s an old battle in Florida, water managers have now faced back-to-back years of emergency operations.