Group Title: Two Women: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Videotaped at the Douglas House in Coconut Grove, June 15, 1983.
Title: Major drainage periods and conservation efforts that have failed
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 Material Information
Title: Major drainage periods and conservation efforts that have failed
Series Title: Two Women: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Videotaped at the Douglas House in Coconut Grove, June 15, 1983.
Physical Description: Archival
Creator: Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Publication Date: June 15, 1983
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- South Florida
Funding: Florida International Univerity Libraries
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Bibliographic ID: FI07010802
Volume ID: VID00008
Source Institution: Florida International University
Holding Location: Florida International Unniversity
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: SPC950A7


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(A J ale of iwo Women
Marjon Stonemnan Douglas and larijoric 1 larris Carr

Segment: MSD talks about the major drainage periods and conservation efforts that have failed

Source: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas: a tale of two women / produced by Florida
International University Learning Resources for FIU/FAU Joint Center. Videotaped at the Douglas House
in Coconut Grove, June 15, 1983.

Length of Segment: 00:05:43

Transcript and audio recording are copyright 1983-2009 Florida International University.


I: Let's talk about the drainage period.

MSD: The drainage that began in 1906 has kept on in a very erratic way because they put in canals, they
began to put the canals in in the dry season and they seemed to dry up the Everglades and everybody
went up to farm and they cut off the sawgrass and built little one story shacks and along came a rainy
season and drowned them out. So they all came back to what cities there were. So then they put in
more canals, thinking that more water they needed more canals and everybody was building canals.
There's a law still on the books that will allow people to set up drainage districts on their own property
and they can assess taxes and put in more canals. So they put in a perfect rat race of canals, some
dumping water into other people's land and all kinds of things. So that in '47 the State of Florida brought
in the Corps of Engineers under contract with the hope that they would solve the flooding problem
'cause they were still having floods occasionally but not all the time every six years or something like
that around Lake Okeechobee, but also to clear up this mess of drainage districts that were going
bankrupt and everybody doing all kinds of things without knowing anything about it. And we hoped in
'47 that the engineers would really do a job but all they did was build more pumps and more dikes and
more canals and they could let water out or they could hold it. And they built three stupid conservancy
basins where the sheetflow had been. Number one isn't so important, but number two back in Broward
County and number three back in Dade County are simply stupid. They fill them up with water from
Lake Okeechobee and the water just sits there and the water is now polluted that comes in from Lake
Okeechobee and then the canals the Conservancy Areas -- water leaves into the canals that go into our
water supply, our well fields. So we get polluted water from the Lake into our well fields. That's why the
city water of Miami has to have so many chemicals in it. People have done it without any regard to the

true nature of the land or what should be done. Probably they have done so much that now people talk
about they patchwork it with little things here and little things there that change this levy and change
that canal and its all patchwork. They are not approaching it as an overall thing the way they should.

I think they're going to have to begin to. I just came back from a conference in Tallahassee that
Governor Graham called who is very much upset and concerned about the condition now of the
Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades Basin, and he had the heads of the all the departments,
government departments that have anything to do with the water, the DNR, the DER, then he had the
Water Management District representative, I don't think he had the Corps of Engineer's people these
were all strictly state people and the Fish and Wildlife and various other departments of the state
government for a conference and they all were asked to talk about what they thought about the
Everglades and what should be done. Well as far as I can tell, and what I say by that they talked with so
much detail half the time I would be pretty lost 'cause I didn't know what they were talking about and as
far as I could tell each one of them had a small view of it. Very few of them had -- I think Mrs. Tenkel of
the DER and the DNR man had a better idea of the whole basin. They know about that. All these other
people were reporting about various phases. Those reports will be written and given to the Governor
and he had three what you might call civilians up there a man named Dr. Nelson Blake, and I think Earl
Storms. Why I say "I think" I don't think he is attached to the government, except I think he's up there in
Gainesville--he used to be in Miami and myself were more or less the listeners. We were the ones who
were supposed to evaluate, we were the evaluators and of course they were still holding on, it went on
from 2 o'clock on and at 5:30 I had to catch a plane to come back. I excused myself to the Governor and
he said, well now can you tell us some impression, what do you think about all this? And I said "I can't
tell you now, I want to see all these people's reports; I don't have an offhand overall judgment that I
would consider considerable at the moment. I will have to see" but I said again it's got to be considered,
the whole basin has got to be considered beginning with the restoration of the Kissimmee River. We
can't do it piecemeal and we can't do it by patchwork. It's got to be considered as a whole.

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