Monday, June 18, 2018

Stay tuned. The little Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow is about to become a big story.

To say that the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) meeting last Thursday of the Governing Board was significant for Palm Beach County would be a huge understatement. Two words used quite frequently were “operational efficiency” and coordinating with the Federal Government to quickly get the water levels down in South Florida following the massive rains last month. The video of last week’s meeting is not yet available but click on this link and check throughout the week for when it is uploaded for the public.

Some of the major topics of discussion were “deep injection wells”, how to get more water south into Everglades National Park and into tide at the Florida Bay, and how the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow fits into the equation. For some background and more information please continue reading to find out what happened last year.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog post below is from June 2017.

Click on this link for the news from Palm Beach Post reporter Kimberly Miller headlined, “Water can flow into endangered sparrow territory”. An excerpt from the article:

Water will be allowed to flow south out of swollen water conservation areas to alleviate flood concerns and save wildlife in the Everglades, but the move could damage nests of the endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow.
     The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had barred the opening of flood gates into the sparrow’s nesting area through July 15 [2017] — the end of nesting season.
     But Ken Warren, a spokesman for the service, said Tuesday that the Army Corps of Engineers was given the green light to open the gates if it’s “absolutely necessary.”
     “The corps feels like this has evolved into a human health and safety issue because they see the potential for levies to be compromised due to the high water,” [emphasis added] Warren said.

To read the previous news story from June 2017 by the reporter titled, “Emergency Lake Okeechobee back-pumping granted to save wildlife” use this link. And below learn more about the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow as well.

The South Florida Water Management District was granted emergency permission today [June 23rd, 2017] to back pump clean water into Lake Okeechobee to save animals and plants in bloated water conservation areas.
     District spokesman Randy Smith, said the district had hoped to avoid the back pumping by opening flood gates that would allow excess water to flow south into Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.
     But that option has so far been blocked to protect the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow, [emphasis added] Smith said.
     “The obvious solution, the quick solution, is to open the gates and let it go into the park,” Smith said. “That is the logical thing to do to provide immediate relief, but so far we’ve gotten no response from U.S. Fish and Wildlife.”

The Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow.
Learn more about SFWMD’s “Tremendous Progress on Kissimmee River Restoration Project” and why a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee is such a terrible idea.