Most people think of Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades National Park and the canals that run through when talking about the Everglades. Little do most people know is that the watershed is a lot larger than those things. Before the alteration of man, Lake Okeechobee would flow southward when Florida was going through a rainy season. This overflow formed a calm body of water now called the “River of Grass.” As time progressed and innovation has came into play, the Hoover Dike now prevents the overflowing and controls the direction. Now this water is released going east and west in the St. Lucie River and Caloosahatchee River.
What is Lake Okeechobee?
Lake Okeechobee is a body of water that sits at the mouth of the Kissimmee River along with smaller creeks. Lake Okeechobee is the draining source of central Florida’s highlands extending as far as Orlando. Just like most internal bodies of water, the Kissimmee River has been through both alterations and restorations. According to blogger and PhD candidate, Emily Nodine, “the South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to complete backfilling of a large section of the canal and removing water control structures in order to restore ecological integrity to 40 square miles of the river-floodplain system and 12,000 acres of wetlands.”
What is Lake Hicpochee?
As for the Everglades watersheds, the majority of it has been altered hydro logically. These alterations include but are not limited to the one-mile bridge on the Tamiami Trail to transfer water southward, the estuaries that overflow in the St. Lucie River and the Caloosahatchee River. These river also experience suffrage from too much fresh water. Caloosahatchee River used to be called Lake Hicpochee and was ideally going to be used to drain water for farmland in the late 1800s. After “subsequent canalization and installation of water control structures, the Caloosahatchee, like the Kissimmee River, was transformed.”
What is the Kissimmee Basin?
The Kissimmee Basin includes more than two dozen lakes in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. The basin can be viewed as the “headquarters” of Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. Did you know that the Kissimmee River was once 103 miles through Central Florida? The Kissimmee Basin has been the cause of many reconstructive projects, ecosystem restorations, aquatic plant management, land management, water supply planning, etc. to improve the Everglades. You can take a ride down history lane with a Boat Ride Fort Lauderdale at Ride-The-Wind!