What's a "perfect storm" Florida-style? That's easy, a property market collapse, a Tea Bagger governor and the onset of the ravages of climate change. That's a real Trifecta.
Florida, like other states in that corner of America, is reeling from a sustained drought that shows no sign of ending any time soon.
At the north end of the sprawling Everglades system, endangered snail kites are abandoning nests from the Kissimmee River basin down to Lake Okeechobee. Marshes in the heart of the Everglades are burning or shriveling into cracked mud.
On the east coast, oysters are dying as sea water pushes deeper into the brackish St. Lucie River estuary. On the west, explosions of toxic algae are killing fish and triggering public health warnings in the Caloosahatchee River. At the south end of the Glades, stretches of coastal Florida Bay mangroves have dipped into unhealthy hyper-salinity.
The ecological damage from one of South Florida’s worst droughts is deepening, water managers said Thursday, and rain is going to have to arrive soon —and in big buckets — to heal it.
“This has essentially overwhelmed and taken a toll on the entire natural system from top to bottom,’’ said Linda Lindstrom, director of restoration sciences for the South Florida Water Management District.
The drought is just one challenge confronting the district, which also began the process Thursday of meeting demands from the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott to reduce property tax rates and slash $128 million from the budget of an agency that oversees the water supply and flood control for 16 counties.
Yeah, that's right. You've got a severe water crisis so the solution is to slash the budget of the water management district. Poor old Florida, the place my parents' generation went to while away their last years and escape Canadian winters. A lot of the state, particularly the places where people like to live, is very low-lying and vulnerable to sea level rise that will be continuing throughout this century. Add that to the state's susceptibility to hurricanes, which are only expected to increase in frequency and severity, and it's no wonder that real estate, Florida's economic engine, is getting harder to flog down there.