Lake Okeechobee has become the cesspool of Florida, its environmental state out of control. There cannot be any significant improvement in the Lake water quality unless its watershed feeding it is cleaned up.
Since much is at stake, many agree that this has to be done.
While the LO watershed remediation is being discussed, there is hardly a good idea on HOW to restore the Lake itself !
and easy short videos (click pictures below)
How the Everglades originated and functioned until man altered the landscape and dried up half of them. Only to see that this interference has been eventually damaging to the Everglades, estuaries and threaten to diminish the vital fresh water supply to the whole of South Florida..
Kissimmee River is t he backbone of Lake Okeechobee watershed. Altering its course and working its floodplane polluted and endangered the Lake. The Kissimmee situation has now been reversed as the battle for the watershed clean-up continues on all levels.
All the waters flowing into and out of LakeOkeechobee are really one and interconnected system. The pollution entering the Lakeonly accumulates there and waits to eventually damage the estuaries with its pollution when Lake water needs to be released.
Water Treatment cells (STAs) have been built that cleanse the water collected from the Everglades Agri-Area that is polluted by fertilizers and could not feed the Everglades downstream. More of these STA marshes need to be constructed both South & North of the Lake.
The Report here below is most
up-to-date and relevant - a 'must' reading:
Prior to 1910, early pioneers reported seeing human skeletons in the shallows around the southern end of the huge lake. Several old fishermen told of “catchin’ human skulls” in their nets. One early settler claimed that there were so many skulls in the shallows that “During low water it looked like a pumpkin patch.” A surveyor clearing land on Grassy Island in the early 1900s, exposed more than fifty human skeletons that were covered only with a couple of inches of sand. This was not a case of dry land burials, as Grassy Island is not a natural island, it was originally lake bottom that was exposed when water levels were lowered by drainage canals. Willis Crosby used to “catfish” in Okeechobee and shared his story with me about finding a half dozen human skulls in 1953 just lying in the mud on Observation Island. “There were a bunch of other bones scattered all over the bottom, I guess they were human,” he recounted. “Everybody said they were Indian bones, it was pretty much common sight when the water was down.” All accounts of finding human bones come from the area extending from Kreamer Island to Observation Island and the several square miles in-between the mainland. In 1918, the water level dropped to an all-time low revealing hundreds of human remains wedged in the silt along the north sides of Ritta and Kreamer Islands. There seemed to be no order to these skeletons.
Bones of both adults and children were scattered all over the lake bottom.
The first theory that comes to mind is that these were victims of one of Okeechobee’s terrible hurricanes. If so, then it would have been an ancient hurricane, because the 2000 dead from the 1926 and ’28 hurricanes were recovered and buried in mass graves on the mainland. Prior to 1900, only a few people lived around Lake Okeechobee, which would rule out any mass casualties from floods or storms and certainly not enough to account for the estimated thousands of mysterious bodies on Okeechobee’s bottom.
Some researchers have looked to the Seminole war for answers to this mystery. However, the only local skirmish was the 1837 Battle of Okeechobee on the north end of the lake, which resulted in only thirty dead. Historians have found no early Spanish connections to the mystery and believe that the bones may pre-date the first Spanish period by thousands of years. Some speculate the skeletons may have been residents of an ancient Indian village devastated by tribal warfare or disease.
This would certainly account for the presence of both adult and children’s remains. But if this is the case, then what explains the total absence of artifacts and pottery?
In my conversations with anthropologists and historians, it seems that no one can really explain what the bones are doing in Lake Okeechobee although some think it is a huge underwater burial site. Perhaps the big lake was seen as a spiritual place by some ancient culture and a good place to bury the dead. In 1997, I asked archeologist Dr. Warren Browning about this possibility and learned that some aboriginal burials were done underwater with the bodies anchored to the bottom of lakes. Still, this does not explain why so much skeletal material is scattered over such a wide area in no apparent order or why there are no artifacts associated with these bones.
According to one legend, in February 1841, two-hundred Seminoles, rather than to be captured by the army, committed mass suicide. Allegedly, these people “slit their own throats and flung themselves into the water where their bodies disappeared into the glades water.” I don’t know if this has any connection to the bones in the lake, plus I’ve found no historical records to support this story. However, the story goes on to say that a medicine man put a hex on the area, which has since been known as the “Curse of the Everglades.” A story appeared in a supermarket tabloid a few years ago that claimed the curse was responsible for two major aircraft crashes in the area, the 1972 Tristar Flight 401 tragedy and the 1996 Flight 592 crash. The Seminole Tribe of Florida responded that the tabloid had tried to create a myth and the story was “Ho-lash-ko-an.” If my Seminole translation is correct, I believe that means something like “a bunch of hogwash.”
There have been many wild speculations about Lake Okeechobee’s skeletons. Maybe they are the remains of a mythical lost tribe like mentioned in various religious chronicles. With the Florida peninsula extending so far south into the ocean, it is reasonable to think that ancient seafarers must have bumped into it at some time. Perhaps the skeletons belonged to refugees escaping from Atlantis or aliens from outer space. Until someone arrives with a good explanation for this ancient mystery of death, the secret will remain guarded by the big waters of Lake Okeechobee.