This 27-minute documentary from 1997 was produced for the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) -- http://www.sfwmd.gov
Kissimmee restoration...I could not have done it alone, Johnny Jones (1932-2010)
The hour-long documentary "Kissimmee Basin: Northern Everglades" by filmmaker Elam Stoltzfus was released 2012: http://www.northerneverglades.com/ ; also see: http://www.youtube.com/user/filmnature
The Kissimmee River Basin extends from Orlando southward to Lake Okeechobee. The largest source of surface water to Lake Okeechobee, this basin is about 105 miles long and has a maximum width of 35 miles. The Kissimmee River was originally a 103-mile-long shallow, meandering river that was reconfigured in the 1960s into a 56-mile-long canal (renamed C-38) for flood control. As a result, about 40,000 to 50,000 acres of floodplain marsh disappeared, resulting in a significant loss of habitat for wading birds and other aquatic animals, and in a loss of the natural nutrient-filtering effects of these wetlands.
The 15-year restoration project, initiated in 1999, is repairing the river and its floodplain by increasing water storage in the upper Kissimmee Basin, backfilling 22 miles of the C-38 Canal, recarving nine miles of river channel, removing two water control structures, and removing floodplain levees. The backfilling of the C-38 Canal and restoration of Kissimmee River are one of Florida's great watershed restoration success stories.
River of Interests: Water Management in South Florida and the Everglades, 1948-2010
(Excerpted from the Epilogue, Page 308)
As hope in CERP's ability to restore the South Florida ecosystem ebbed and flowed, one Corps project stood as "a sign" that restoration could really produce what it promised: the Kissimmee River restoration.126 In 2001, the Corps had finished Phase I of the restoration, with Phase II completion following in 2009, resulting in "continuous water flow" to 19 miles of the river. Phase III, which consisted of backfilling C-38 and restoring water flow to another 8 miles of the river, was in progress, with an estimated completion date of 2015. When Phase III was done, the Corps declared, "more than 40 square miles of river-floodplain ecosystem will be restored, including almost 20,000 acres of wetlands and 44 miles of historic river channel."127
Even with only the first two phases complete, the ecological improvements in the Kissimmee River Basin were remarkable. A 2010 Jacksonville District publication detailed some of these advances: thriving wetland plants, decreases in organic deposits on the river bottom, increases in dissolved oxygen, the return of largemouth bass and sunfishes, and the increase and restoration of several bird species, including white ibis, great egret, snowy egret, little blue heron, ducks, and black-necked stilts.128 These improvements were noted in a 25 January 2009 article in the St. Petersburg Times by Jeff Klinkenberg, who described a trip along the Kissimmee River with guide Paul Gray, a biologist with the National Audubon Society. As they traversed portions of the restored river, the two saw ducks, a great blue heron, sandhill cranes, and glossy ibis, all indications that restoration was working. Gray told Klinkenberg about the flooding of four miles of the old floodplain in August 2008 after Tropical Storm Fay hit Florida. "It was the most exciting thing I've seen," Gray remarked, because, as Klinkenberg noted, it indicated that "the canal remembers how to be a river." As the pair took in the scene, it seemed almost idyllic:
Kissimmee River rediscovers its origins
By Jeff Klinkenberg, Times Staff Writer
Sunday, January 25, 2009
This video was digitized from a VHS tape by Single Rose Video of Palm Beach Gardens, FL - 561.622.0072, email@example.com