Shark Valley Closed Amidst Historic High Waters

Turned away at the front entrance to Shark Valley December 2, 2020 – ©Jacob Katel. All rights reserved

People don’t usually cheer for a flood. But that’s exactly what scientists, politicians, and everyday people around the world are doing now that the Everglades are getting a much need influx of natural, fresh Florida water. In fact, Everglades National Park officials have said water levels haven’t been this high since 1962.

UPDATE: Shark Valley Is Back Open as of 2021

The sources of the inundation are the rains from a record setting year of 30 named storms from this just-ended hurricane season, the recently completed bridge constructions that allow underflow below the Tamiami Trail, and pump action by orders from the highest levels of the Federal Government.

It’s all part of the CERP (Comprehensive Everglades Restoration) program which seeks to restore water flow into the Everglades to historic natural levels.

Facing west from the entrance to Shark Valley. ©Jacob Katel. All rights reserved

It’s been prioritized by the Governor in Tallahassee, and characterized by what may be an unprecedented level of cooperation between Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties.

The South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are also working together, along with an elite cadre of leading contractors and subcontractors from the private sector.

And let’s not forget about Florida Power and Light, they are cooperating in the removal of some of their power lines in order to make this all possible.

Behind the scenes, the Everglades Foundation is involved as well, showing that true cooperation in the public interest is possible in Florida.

Canal perpendicular to the entrance to Shark Valley – ©Jacob Katel. All rights reserved

The vast interconnected network of levees, locks, pumps, channels, canals and other implements of water management that control South Florida have been algorithmically evaluated along with hand calculated by experts in logic systems, databases, hydrodynamics, mechanical engineering, plumbing, water treatment, agriculture, urban planning, architecture, biology, ecology, and environmental psychology to create a perfect storm of fresh water flow that should invariably be on its way into Florida Bay over the next few months.

So when you notice that Shark Valley is closed due to high water level conditions and wish you could ride your bike there, don’t get mad, give three cheers for a return of the righteous flow of fresh water on its way to the ocean.

By Jacob Katel

Diving into news about water.