Some Environmental Effects of Drainage in Florida

by William V. Storch,
Robert L. Taylor,

Serial Information: Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Division, 1969, Vol. 95, Issue 1, Pg. 139-152

Document Type: Journal Paper

Abstract: In 1959, intensive agricultural development started in a 780 sq mile region lying east of Lake Okeechobee in south Florida. In this wetland region of flats, sloughs and ponds effective drainage to coastal waters has been the key to agricultural expansion. By 1967 approximately 20% of the region was planted in citrus. Changes in the natural environment within the region took place almost immediately after drainage was initiated and indications are that the natural environment in adjacent areas can be affected as well. The effect of drainage on the immediate economic environment of the region has been favorable to date. However, natural environmental changes have produced tensions, with economic overtones, in the social environment resulting in conflict between agricultural and conservationist interests. Based on the experience gained in this region it is suggested that the proper function of public government is to evaluate the possible environmental effects of drainage programs and to use its financial, persuasive and regulatory powers to guide total environmental change in accordance with its estimate of the best public interest.

Subject Headings: Drainage | Environmental issues | Agriculture | Economic factors | Wetlands (coastal) | Sea water | Lakes | Drainage basins | North America | Florida | United States

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