County map of Florida
 The Everglades

Title: Florida quarterly bulletin of the Agricultural Department
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00077083/00089
 Material Information
Title: Florida quarterly bulletin of the Agricultural Department
Uniform Title: Avocado and mango propagation and culture
Tomato growing in Florida
Dasheen its uses and culture
Report of the Chemical Division
Alternate Title: Florida quarterly bulletin, Department of Agriculture
Florida quarterly bulletin of the Department of Agriculture
Physical Description: v. : ill. (some fold) ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Florida -- Dept. of Agriculture
Publisher: s.n.
Place of Publication: Tallahassee Fla
Publication Date: -1921
Frequency: quarterly
monthly[ former 1901- sept. 1905]
Subject: Agriculture -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Agricultural industries -- Statistics -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Dates or Sequential Designation: -v. 31, no. 3 (July 1, 1921).
General Note: Description based on: Vol. 19, no. 2 (Apr. 1, 1909); title from cover.
General Note: Many issue number 1's are the Report of the Chemical Division.
General Note: Vol. 31, no. 3 has supplements with distinctive titles : Avocado and mango propagation and culture, Tomato growing in Florida, and: The Dasheen; its uses and culture.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00077083
Volume ID: VID00089
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 28473206
 Related Items

Table of Contents
        Page 1
    County map of Florida
        Page 2
    The Everglades
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 10a
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
Full Text

Number 1




JANUARY 1, 1921



Entered January 31, 1903, at Tallahassee. Florida, as second-elass
matter under Act of Congress of June, 1900.
"Acceptance for mailing at special rate of postage provided for
in Section 1103, Act of October 3, 1917, authorized Sept. 11, 1918."
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By F. C. ELLIOT, Chief Drainage Engineer


This article is prepared for those who may be inter-
ested in the drainage of the Everglades of Florida, and
in the great reclamation project, which has for its ob-
ject the making of over 4,000,000 acres of hitherto useless
territory fit for homes and for cultivation. In the fol-
lowing pages are briefly set forth some of the most im-
portant facts, conditions, and conclusions relative to the
reclamation of Florida's great prairie.
Much of the information here offered is in answer to
questions which have been selected from letters written
by parties making inquiry relative to the Everglades.
Other information is added in order to, in some degree
and as briefly as practicable, complete and carry out
a logical arrangement and treatment of the subject.
It is hoped that these pages may, to those who read
them, set forth in true light, and afford to some extent,
at least, a correct idea of the subject under discussion.
From the language used technical terms have been elimi-
nated as far as possible.


The great tract of land composing the Southern portion
of Florida was, until recently. a valuable but neglected
asset in the Slate's development. In fact, anything to
be appreciated must first be known iand understood.
From the time ihat these millions of acres of land we,-e
granted to the State by Act of ,< ,n:i~-- of 1850, until
the last few years, the region south of Lake Okeechobee.
marked "Everglades," had no particular identity in the
minds of the public. It had not been penetrated except
occasionally by a stray scientist, an adventurous hunter,
or a traveler with more curiosity than common, and it
had never been surveyed. It was considered much in the
same lights as the African Jungles were before Living-

ston and Lord Stanley made their excursions into the
interior of those dangerous and obscure regions. There
was little or nothing known of its fauna, its flora, or its
soil. It was known that the Seminole Indians had their
home on the edge of this vast inundated prairie and sub-
sisted by hunting and fishing, but even they could not find
a resting place in the interior, owing to inundation and
continual overflow. So, from 1850 to 1900, a period of
fifty years, this great asset of the State lay practically
unexplored, with almost nothing accomplished in the way
of practical development.
The reclamation of the Everglades was a much dis-
cussed subject for many years prior to the time of ac-
tually beginning construction operations on the drainage
project. It was a subject of Congressional and Legisla-
tive action as early as 1845, and since that time various
plans have been proposed for its reclamation, without
substantial results, until the administration of 1901 to
1905. During this four year period the Governor of
Florida undertook energetically and actively the prelimi-
nary steps necessary for the beginning of reclamation.
These preliminary operations consisted in determining
and fixing the status of Everglades land through opinions
and actions of the Courts of the State with respect to
drainage, of clearing up a number of outstanding con-
flicing statutory land grants, and of enacting laws by
the Legislature for the creation of the area including the
Everglades into a drainage district with full power and
authority to actively proceed with the construction of
drainage works, and the carrying out of a plan of recla-
In the campaign of 1905 the successful candidate for
Governor was elected on a platform pledged to the drain-
age of the Everglades, and since that time, notwith-
standing many obstacles necessary to be overcome, re-
clamation by drainage has on its own merits gradually
become one of the fixed policies of the State just as has
the improvement of its public highways, and advance-
ment of its school system, or the carrying out of any
other great and far-reaching development.
The Everglades Drainage District was created by Act
of the Legislature of 1905, amended in 1907 and there-
after. Since that time the work of reclamation has taken
definite form and has proceeded actively and without in-

terruption under successive laws and amendments of
laws enacted by the Legislature especially for the benefit
and encouragement of the Drainage District. See Chap-
ter 6456, Acts of 1913, and acts amendatory thereto re-
placing the Acts of 1907.
The district is administered by five commissioners.
consisting of the Governor, Comptroller, State Treasurer,
Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture and
their successors in office. It is thus seen that the affairs
of the district are vested in a Board composed of five of
the highest State Officials, of which the Governor is
Originally all of the lands comprising the Everglades.
and also portions of other lands not in the Everglades,
but forming a part of the district, were owned by the
State of Florida. These were among those lands desig-
nated as swamp and overflow lands, and were declared
by the Legislature to constitute a fund called the Internal
Improvement Fund, and the administration of this fund
was vested in five Trustees. The principal object looking
to the improvement and enhancing of the fund was the
reclamation of the lands by means of canals and drains.
There now remain under the ownership of the State
approximately one and one-fourth million acres of land
in the Everglades, which together with all other lands
in the Drainage District are subject to drainage taxes
imposed by the Legislature for the purpose of providing
funds for prosecuting the drainage work. At the present
time Everglades Drainage taxes upon the lands in the
Everglades amount to from five to twenty-eight cents per
acre according to drainage benefits received by the lands
and their nearness to main drainage canals, and ot other
reclamation works constructed or in process of construc-


The Everglades proper are situated in the southeast-
ern portion of the Florida peninsula, below the 27th par-
allel. Generally speaking, they lie south of Lake Okee-
chobee, have a width of about forty-five miles and a length
of nearly one hundred miles, with an area or 2,862,000
acres. The Everglades Drainage District includes the

Everglades proper and contiguous lands embraced in the
same drainage area or basin. The total superficial area
of the district is as follows:

Land 4,370.096 acres, 6828.28 square miles
Water 473,088 acres, 739.2 square miles

Total 4,843,184 acres, 7567.48 square miles

The surface of the Glades, before drainage began, was
twenty-one feet above sea level, just south of Lake Okee-
chobee. By soil subsidence the land has become slightly
reduced in those areas affected by drainage. The land
slopes gently toward the south at the rate of about three
inches per mile. West of Miami the surl'ace of the Glades
is from six to eight feet above sea level. The Glades are
in no way a swamp. They present the appearance of a
broad, level, grass-covered prairie. They are covered al-
most uniformly with a growth of saw-grass. There are
few trees in the Everglades, and these are found only in
scattering clumps. Small bushes are found near the east-
ern edge and in the southern portion in addition to the
predominating saw-grass. Along the eastern border,
where the Glades merge into the higher land, consider-
able growth of cypress occurs, usually of small size,
though in some places fine timber is found. On the
western edge of the Glades occur fine strips of prairie.
now utilized as cattle ranges. A heavy growth of custard
apple fringes the southern and southeastern shores of
Lake Okeechobee. At their southern extremity, the Glades
merge almost imperceptibly into the tide water of the
The soil of the Everglades consists chiefly of muck or
peat, varying in depth from ten to twelve feet just south
of the lake, to three or four feet in the southern portion
of the Glades. The muck is reduced to a thin laver at
the edge of the Glades, finally giving way to the sand of
the surrounding country. This muck soil was formed by
the dying, falling and decaying of each successive growth
of vegetation. In their normally inundated condition the
Everglades were covered with water from a few inches to
a foot or more in depth.
The vegetation of the Upper Glades is much denser,
as a general rule, than in the Lower, or Southern Glades,
and as the soil is produced principally by fallen vegeta-

tion, it would naturally be supposed that the soil would
be deeper over the areas of densest growth. Such is, in
fact, the case, the soil being ten to twelve feet thick near
Lake Okeechobee, where the vegetable growth is heaviest,
and thinner, as a rule, in the Southern Glades, where
vegetation is and has been less dense. Of course there
are other agencies which also affected the thickness of
the muck or peat, but the one above referred to is the
most important under normal glade conditions.
A log thoroughly and continuously immersed in fresh
water will be preserved for ages. Timbers have been re-
moved from fresh water that are known to have been
submerged for hundreds of years and found to be in a
fair state of preservation. As so this accumulation of
muck has been made possible by the preserving action
of the water which covered it continually and prevented
thorough decomposition which would have occurred had
the ground been much exposed to the air.
Soil, generally speaking, is formed by the decolmposi-
tion of the rocks of the 'surrounding country or by the
building up and elevating of marine deposits. Often the
soil is transported far froin the place where it was orig-
inallv formed. As a general rule, soil is the product of
the destructive agencies of nature. Not so wilh the soil
of the Everglades, which is an exception to the general
rule. This is a cumulose soil and is a product of construc-
tive agencies. It has built itself up by its growth of vege-
tation, and has actually created itself, to a very large ex-
tent at least, by this constructive process.
The soil is underlaid by a bed of limestone, chiefly
oolitic in character, rather soft, but very jagged and un-
even along the eastern edge and in the southern portion
of the Glades. This gives place to a hard, smooth slab
limestone further toward the interior of the Glades. Some
of this original limestone formation through geological
changes, has become impregnated with silica in the form
of base chalcedony, is extremely sharp and hard, afford-
ing good material for concrete masonry and other build-
ing purposes, but expensive to move in the process of
canal dredging.
This great bed of limestone forms a broad, shallow, flat-
bottomed trough or flat basin, slightly tilted or turned
up at the outer edges, these outer edges forming what is
commonly called the rock rim of the Everglades. Down
through the interior of this broad, shallow, flat-bottomed

rock trough, from north to south, the slope or dip which
is toward the south is very slight, so slight that for all
practical purposes this great limestone bed inside of the
outer edges of the same may be considered as an immense
level floor. More especially is this the case in the upper
half of the Glades. This condition exists from the south
shore of Lake Okeechobee eastward and westward to the
edge of the Glades, and southward to a line drawn gen-
erally southwestward from Fort Lauderdale. Southwest
from Fort Lauderdale, the flat slab rock formation, com-
mon to the upper Glades, begins to change and is re-
placed toward the south by the softer limestone. The rock
floor maintains its generally level character, but is full of
small pot holes, with sharp, jagged edges, very much
like an immense honeycomb. This characteristic extends
all the way from the line southwest of Fort Lauderdale
to the southern extremity of the Glades, gradually dip-
ping toward the sea until tidewater is reached in the
proximity of the Thousand Islands and White Water Bay.
To the southward also the soil undergoes a change from
the predominating muck or peat to a soil commonly
termed marl, which predominates in certain sections of
the Southern Glades.
On this great limestone floor lies the soil of the Ever-
glades, thicker at Lake Okeechobee, thinner at the edges
of the Glades and toward the south. The soil resting
on this level rock floor, being thick at the Lake and thin
toward the south, gives to the surface of the Glades that
gradual slope, which permitted the waters which over-
flowed from Lake Okeechobee and the waters from nat-
ural rainfall on the Glades, to gradually find their way,
seeping through soil and, meandering through sawgrass
southward to the sea. But by far the greater portion of
the water on the Glades passed into the air by evapora-
tion and was in that way disposed of. At a few places
along the eastern edge of the Glades, notably at New
River and Miami River, the water broke through the rock
rim of the Glades and made its way directly to the sea.
Other portions of this water from the Glades made its
way slowly and tediously through the entire length of
the Glades to the sea at the southern extremity of the


Lake Okeechobee, the second largest body of fresh wa-
ter wholly within the Unitedl States, is nearly circular
in form, about thirty-two miles in diameter, and has an
average depth of about fifteen feet. Its normal elevation,
before drainage operations began, was twenty and one-
half feet above the level of the sea, and through the vary-
ing seasons of the year fluctuated through a vertical range
of about two and one-half feet between high water in the
rainy season and low water in the dry season. The banks
of the lake on southwest and south are low and marshy.
On the north, east and west a low sand bank confines its
waters. This lake is the catch basin receiving the runoff
from a watershed to the northward about seven times its
own size, finding inlet to the lake by numerous creeks
and rivers, the principal of which, and by far the most
important, being the Kissimmee River. During heavy
rainy seasons an enormous quantity of water is dis-
charged from this watershed into the lake, and continues
in less amount during other seasons. Formerly, in its
natural condition, when the lake became filled to over-
flowing, it discharged its water over the low shores on
tie south, adding its quota of water to that of local
precipitation on the ladess. inundating this entire terri-
tory and subjecting tile same to contiinual overflow. Flood
waters ( scal ed very slowly In aIccolunt of' their insignificant
slope, lack of channels, and the obstruction to flow of-
fered by the dense growth of vegetation.
Lake Okeeclobee is at once tlie greatest menace to the
Glades area, and also one of the most valuable assets
which the territory possesses. The successful drainage
of the Everglades depends in large measure upon pre-
venting tie waters of tile lake from overflowing and
inundating the land to the southward, while the best in-
terest of the project demands that the water le not un-
necessarily wasted, lit le properly conserved for its
numerous valuable uses. The storage value of the Lake
as a reservoir in which to store a portion of the flood wa-
ters from tile northern watershed is of great value both
in safety andl economy of drainage to the District. Fur-
thermore, Lake Okeeclhobee in time of need could supply
from a depth of two feet of its storage, six inches depth
of water for irrigation over an area of a million acres,
allowing nearly one-half' for wastage.

Lake Okeechobee is a navigable body of water held by
the United States Government to be under its control
and jurisdiction. The interest of the United States re-
lates to navigation, and so important does it consider the
matter of conserving its water and preserving its nav-
igability that the War Department is ever watchful of
this great inland waterway. Prior to the construction of
drainage canals connecting Lake Okeechobee with the
sea, the lake had no navigable outlet, nor connection by
any sort of natural channel with the sea. As has already
been stated, water flowed from the lake only in time of
flood, and this occurred by spreading out broadly in a
shallow sheet a few inches deep over the territory bor-
dering on the south and southwest. The Lake, therefore,
was an inland body of water confined entirely within the
borders of the State, having no navigable connection with
waters outside of the State or with waters leading to the
sea. Through the construction of drainage canals there
has resulted purely as an incident to drainage, such navi-
gation as the drainage canals, by reason of heir size, af-
Provision has been made to lower the level of the Lake
about four feet. It is possible that this provision may re-
quire modification as the results of drainage become fur-
ther manifested. There should remain a depth sufficient
for navigation as far as this feature can be advantageous-
ly harmonized with drainage, but it is essential for flood
protection that there be provided a safe margin within
which the waters of the lake may fluctuate without over-
flow. The method of controlling Lake Okeechobee within
safe levels will be briefly alluded to later on in describe.
ing the drainage plan.


The waters which affect the Everglades are from two
1. Water from the overflow of Lake Okeechobee.
2. Water from excess local rainfall on the Glades.
The lowering of Lake Okeechobee below the overflow
level is one part of the drainage plan, and the removal
of excess rainfall from the Glades is the other part of the
The accomplishment of these two things constitute the
principal part of the work of draining the Everglades.

Issued by +he Chier Drainage Engineer
Tol lahassee, Fla., February 16,1920
R. 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42
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Conos cons+rc.t-eol or under construction
,-.* 'Proposed conolts to be r"wx-, constructedCL

The foregoing is being carried out, first, by constructing
a large canal by the shortest feasible route from Lake
Okeechobee to the Atlantic for the purpose of lowering
the lake and bringing it under control, and, second, by
building drainage canals proper through the Everglades
connecting it with the sea for the purpose of carrying off
the excess local rainfall. The Saint Lucie Canal, which
is the principal unit of the Lake Control plan, extends
from the Eastern side of Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie
River, a distance of 25 miles. The canal will vary from
150 to 200 feet wide, will have a normal depth of Hlow of
10 to 12 feet, with greater depths during flood periods
and less during dry periods. The greatest depth of cut is
28 feet. In addition to the control canal composing the
principal canal unit for regulating the lake, certain of
the drainage canals proper will be available part of the
time for assisting in control. Regulation of water dis-
charged through the control plan will be accomplish
by controlling works located at the intake end and near
lite outfall end of the canal. As a further protection a
substantial levee is proposed to be constructed around
the low portions of lake shore, which will provide addi-
lional safety against the lake, and permit control of its
waters within satisfactory limits.
The Everglades Drainage canals proper, composing the
second part of the plan, vary in dimensions from 40 to 50
feet wide at their upper ends by a depth of 10 to 12 feet,
generally increasing in width to 80 or 100 feet, and in
depth to 12 or 15 feet at their lower end. Sizes of canals
vary according to requirements of the area which the
canal must serve. The accompanying map shows the gen-
eral arrangement of the principal part of the major sys-
tem for controlling Lake Okeechobee and for providing
the main drainage outlets for tlie Everglades.
From an engineering standpoint the practicability of
draining the Everglades has been determined by careful
and thorough investigation of the conditions which con-
trol and govern the situation. The results which have be-
come manifested through the partially completed plan, in-
dicate to a certainty that the lands of the Everglades are
susceptible of successful drainage, and there is no ques-
tion of drainage when the complete reclamation plan
shall have been put into execution.

The conditions existing, almost universally, in the Ever-
glades permit drainage by means of canals operating un-
der gravity. There is a comparatively narrow margin
in the southern extremity of the Glades, which may ulti-
mately require other drainage works than simple gravity
canals, but the present scheme of drainage is not to at-
tempt the complete reclamation of this class of land until
a later date when need from the colonization standpoint,
and demand for additional lands, justify tie extending
of the completed works into this territory. The elevation
of surface above sea level and the distance from the sea
are generally such that the canals which will be con-
structed will have a sufficient grade to give a good cur-
rent for carrying off the water without making excessive
cuts. Beginning at the edge of Lake Okeechobee the
slope of the land toward the southward is nearly uniform
at the rate of about threeinches per mile. The bottom of
the canals, which run southward from the Lake, will fol-
low very closely this slope so that the depth of cut for
the canals extending through the Glades generally from
North to South, is nowhere excessive for obtaining a favor-
able depth of flow. This is of great value in the econom-
ical construction of the main canals, which traverse near-
ly the entire Glades from North to South. Also the water
stage in the canals can be controlled by a few simple and
economical Locks and Dams, which would not be the case
if the Glades had uneven slopes, making necessary great
numbers of controlling works.
In connection with main drainage canals, a system of
controlling works is planned. By means of these con-
trolling works it is intended to regulate water levels to
the best possible advantage. Controlling works are re-
quired near the lake shore on each of the canals running
outward from the Lake. These controlling works are ad-
vantageous for protective purposes against high water
levels of the lake, and their location and arrangement for
this service is given due consideration. One of these struc-
tures, consisting of a Lock and Movable Dam, has been
constructed at the upper end of each canal leading out
ward from the lake, with the exception of one on Miami
Canal, work on which is now in progress. Other con-
trolling works are provided at intervals through the
canals for carrying out a further regulation of water

The controlling works for the St. Lucie Canal are for
the purpose of regulating the discharge of water from
Lake Okeechobee through this outlet. When the tendency
of the Lake is to rise to undesirable levels, the gates al
the dams will be opened to permit water to flow outward
from the Lake, and as the Lake becomes lower, the damE
will be regulated accordingly. In connection with the
works constructed for regulating drainage levels, Locks
are being provided for harmonizing the navigation fea-
ture, which is incidental to drainage. The Locks in the
drainage canals proper, with the exception of three small-
er ones first built, are 25 feet wide, 130 feet usable length,
having normal depth over sills of three and one-half feet.
The Locks on St. Lucie Canal will be thirty feet wide, 150
feet long, with a normal depth over sills of 6 feet. Three
Locks constructed in the Caloosahatchee Canal have
lengths of 140 feet, widths of 30 feet, and depths over sills
at normal levels of 5 feet. By means of these Locks the
navigation feature of the drainage canals will be de-
veloped as far as drainage considerations make the same
feasible, it being understood that navigation is an in-
cidental feature resulting from the size of canals con-
structed for drainage purposes, and that the principal
function of the canal is drainage. The navigation feature
is of great value in providing means of access to this re-
gion. At the present time the drainage canals furnish the
only means of ingress and egress for the greater portion
of this territory. Mention has been made of controlling
wQrksg on the drainage canals at the edge of Lake Okee-
chobee. When these canals will be called upon to carry
their full capacity of waler from local rainfall on the
Glades adjacent to them, they will be shut off from Lake
Okeechobee by means of the controlling works at the up
per end so that they will not be burdened by water from
the Lake, and may thus be permitted to operate fo their
full capacity for removing local rainfall.
Such, briefly, is the main drainage plan for providing
the major outlets and controlling works for the Ever-
glades Drainage District. There is another class of drain-
age works commonly called lateral canals or farm ditches,
which are essential for supplementing lhe main canals and
for completing satisfactory drainage. This subject will
be referred to in another place.


The Everglades were a great unsurveyed territory. The
grant from the United States to the State of Florida.con-
veyed these lands as unsurveyed. In the early days the
Government surveyors detailed for work in the territory
adjacent to the Everglades did not attempt to penetrate
this area. They confined their operations largely to the
dry land and did not contemplate in their survey the great
inundated area reported in their field-notes as impractic-
able and impenetrable marsh. In connection with the
drainage work, a plan of surveys has been
inaugurated, to include the Everglades lands. The prin-
cipal base lines and guide meridians have been
projected, over a million acres have been sur-
veyed into townships, ranges and sections, and the
task of subdividing this vast and hitherto unsurveyed area
is being carried out as rapidly as is warranted, until in
time it will be as easy to locate an acre of land in the
Everglades as anywhere else in the State.


Everglades lands are essentially agricultural. Upon the
assumption that the lands of the Everglades would be-
come valuable for agricultural purposes when drained,
rests the entire justification for drainage, entailing a
*great expenditure of time, labor, and money. Experiences
thus far have supported the original belief in the agi-
cultural value of these lands. Their natural fertility,
adaptability to a large variety of crops, responsiveness
to cultivation, economy of preparation, fertilization, cul-
tivation, etc., and the high degree of immunity from freez-
ing temperatures, make these lands especially valuable.
Some of the crops successfully grown on drained lands
in the Everglades are tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, beans,
egg plants, onions, cabbage, cucumbers, strawberries.
beets, lettuce, celery and other vegetables; sugar cane,
corn, rice, alfalfa, kaffir corn, sorghum, millet, milo maise.
many grasses and other staple crops; and fruits such as
bananas, guavas, avacadoes, papayas, oranges, grape
fruits, and limes. In few instances have lands been drain-
ed for a sufficient length of time to bring fruit trees into
general bearing, but indications are that certain fruits
adapted to this type of soil will become valuable assets to

general agricultural crops of the district. Considerable
activity is being shown in hog raising, and in the grow-
ing of stock for both dairy and beef. This branch of
agriculture is offering promise in the developments of
these essential items of food supply.
The soil of the Everglades being composed chiefly of
decayed vegetable matter, is highly nitrogenous. It is a
rich, but not well balanced soil, and the application of
mineral fertilizers, especially phosphoric acid and potash,
have been found highly beneficial in increasing the yield,
and improving the quality of the product.
An average of 34 representative soil samples taken
from the Glades area, shows by chemical analysis the fol-
lowing content of plant food: Ammonia 3.1%, phosphoric
acid 0.18%, potash 0.08%. It is not intended to convey
the idea that there are no serious problems in connection
with the Everglades. The special character of the soil,
the general lack of experience on the part of new farmers
in handling this type of land, lack of familiarity with
drainage questions and other conditions, introduce prob-
lems which require careful study and well-advised effort
to successfully overcome.
In the solution of farming problems above referred I to.
one of the most beneficial and important steps which
could be taken would be the establishment of an experi-
mental station under the direction of State and United
States authorities, and by co-operating wvitlh the farmers-
themselves, work toward, the solution of these problems.
In fact, it being true that successful farming in the Ever-
glades is the final and fundamental purpose of the drain-
age work, it is apparent that the success of the drain-
age enterprise depends on placing farming and cultiva-
tion of the land qn a sound, profitable basis. As just
stated, provision for an agricultural experimental station
has not yet been made, but the importance which agri-
cultural developments have attained, and the favorable
attitude now being shown toward the establishment of a
station, makes it probable that steps will be taken during
the next Legislature toward providing an agricultural
experimental station in the Everglades.


Five main drainage canals connect Lake Okeechobee
with tidewater and traverse the Glades. One of these
has two branches. Three auxiliary canals have been
constructed leading from the eastern edge of the Glades
to the Atlantic. A main drainage canal is under con-
struction leading northwest from the Lake for providing
outlet to lands adjacent to it. The Caloosahatchee Canal
is open connecting Lake Okeechobee with the (Glf by the
Caloosahatchee River. The West Palm Beach (anal is
in operation from 1he Lake to the Atlantic. The North
New River Canal is open from Ft. Lauderdale, on New
River, to Lake Okeechobee. The Miami Canal and its
branch, the South New River Canal, are open from the
Lake to the Atlantic. All of the above canals are not fully
completed, and are not therefore discharging their full ul-
timate capacity. Waterways affording navigation of about
three feet draft are open from Ft. Lauderdale and Wesl
Palm Beach to Lake Okeechohee, and connedl via Lake
Okeechobee with Moore Haven on the West side of the
Lake at the head of (aloosahatchee Canal, extending
thence West via the Canal and Caloosaha lchee Hiver to
Ft. Myers, on the Gulf. The distance from Ft. Lauder-
dale and West Palm Beach to Lake Okeechllbee is 61 and
42 miles, respectively. The distance across Lake Okee
chobee to Moore Haven is approximately 35 miles, and
from Moore Haven to Ft. .Myers 70 miles. The St. Lucie
Canal is open for 16 miles.
The Florida East Coast Railroad extends to Okeecho-
bee, a town on Taylor (reek, about three miles from the
north end of the Lake. Moore Ilaven on the west side
of the Lake is the present terminal of a branch of the At-
lantic Coast Line Railroad extending into the Glades
area. These two railroad points afford the most direct
railroad connection between the Everglades and northern
points. The main line of Florida East (oast Railroad
is crossed by the water ways leading outward from the
Lake on the East and South, and lhus affords additional
railroad connection with the Everglades territory.
The total length of main canals now open in the Ever-
glades is 361 miles. The total excavation in providing
these canals amounts in round figures to 45,250,000 cubic
yards of earth and rock. Twelve Locks with their accom-

paying dams and controlling works have been con-
structed, and much other work, of less extensive though
essential nature, has been accomplished. The total
amount of money expended in main drainage works of
every description up to the present time amounts, in round
figures, to 61/2 million dollars. The above represents a
portion of the plan only. Construction of drainage works
will be continued and advanced as conditions require
and make practicable.
Drainage will not become thoroughly effective, and
lands in the Glades will not be entirely safe against
damage from overflow until the canal for controlling
Lake Okeechobee shall have been completed, and until the
main drainage canals traversing the Everglades are well
on toward completion. The foregoing refers to the main
drainage works. In addition to the main drainage works,
there is necessary a complete secondary system consisting
of laterals, farm ditches, etc., for supplementing the main
system. The secondary system is not a part of the Drain-
age Board's plan. It will be referred to again for the
purpose of calling attention to the necessity of these
works, and the manner in which they can be provided.
In the beginning prior to the undertaking of the drain-
age project there were no human inhabitants in the Ever-
glades, save a few bands of Indians who roamed the
margin of the marsh, or an occasional hunter or trapper
making his temporary abode there. Since the drainage
project has been inaugurated, the population of the Ever-
glades Drainage District has risen from an insignificant
number to the estimated number, 20,000, and formerly
where no habitation and no improved property existed,
there may now be found in many localities, flourishing
farms, thriving communities with school houses,
churches, stores, hotels, telephones, telegraph, electric
lights, water works, and other essentials and conven-
iences of advanced civilization.


The foregoing description of canals, levees, drains and
other works refers to the main drainage system being
constructed by the Everglades Drainage District. The
major system provides main outlets and principal works,
which affect the great project as a whole. In addition to

the main drainage works, there are certain other works
secondary to the main system, but yet necessary and es-
sential for complete and satisfactory drainage. This
secondary system is made up of lateral canals, farm
ditches, small levees where necessary, and other works
of a like nature. The provision of the secondary .system
is not a part of the plan of the Drainage Board. These
smaller works are left to be provided by the various in-
dividual localities to suit their needs and conveniences.
The fact that the secondary system is not proposed to be
provided by the Everglades Drainage District, but will
be left for the farmers and land owners to carry out,
warrants the laying of emphasis upon this feature of the
Drainage work.
Without the secondary system the main canals can not
serve their territory, floods can not be prevented, lands
can not be properly drained, and the soil can not be suc-
cessfully cultivated. No one would expect to get service
from a sewer laid in the street until his premises had
been piped and connected with the main. Neither can
land be properly served by the main canal until the same
is ditched and connected with such main.
The most important thing for the farmer to do in pr'm
paring for his first crop in the Everglades, is to look to
ditching the land. No farmer Ishould subject himself to
the risk, even for one year, of losing his crop, his labor,
and his money by failing to provide that which is abso-
lutely essential to his protection and success. Prospec-
tive purchasers and farmers should acquaint themselves
of conditions with respect to drainage, and not gamble
with nature's agencies against needless odds. Nothing
could be more unwise than the planting of crops on Ever-
glades land until it has been thoroughly ditched, pro
tected and connected with the main canal.
Conditions in the Everglades are such that a completely
coordinated system of main canals and secondary ditches
with their accompanying works are essential for satis-
factory drainage.
Furthermore, in making preparation and in planning
for the first year of planting, if the land is raw and never
before tilled, careful thought should be given to crops
offering the best return from the new soil. Too high ex-
pectation should not be placed for a money crop the first
year. Ordinarily, three or four years are required in the

Everglades, precisely as elsewhere under similar condi-
tions, for getting the land in shape physically, chemically,
and biologically for maximum crop production. These
desirable conditions can be hastened and facilitated by
deep plowing, aeration, and the planting .of initial crops
suitable for improving and taming the new land.
With reference to the provisions of the secondary sys-
tem, the construction of the lateral canals in those por-
tions of the Glades ready to receive them, can best be
carried out by organizing the territory, which is to have
the lateral system installed, into a sub-drainage district
under the Laws of Florida. The general drainage law,
Chapter 6458, Acts of the Legislature of 1913, is appli-
cable to the formation and operation of sub-drainage dis-
tricts within the Everglades. Another method of form-
ing sub-drainage districts is lby special laws enacted by
the Legislature applicable to the particular district in
hand. Sub Districts organized and operating under both
general and special laws are in existence. In both cases
the operation of the subsidiary district is in harmony with
the greater Everglades Drainage District, and the smaller
districts are entitled to all the benefits, privileges, and
advantages which may be conferred upon them by the
main drainage works of the larger district.


There are things which should be borne in mind by
those expecting or planning to become interested in the
Everglades, and also by those already operating or farm-
ing in this territory.
The drainage of the Everglades is no small undertak
ing. The reclamation of this entire district represents
the recovery of an area, in round figures, 140 miles long
by 65 miles wide, or larger than the States of Connecticut
and Rhode Island combined.
In the drainage of this great prairie there is being de
veloped the most valuable natural resource, hitherto dor-
mant, which the State of Florida possesses. The Ever-
glades Drainage project has for its object the ultimate
changing of a hitherto worthless, watery waste into a
land of happy homes, productive farms, and tbliving

The complete accomplishment of the drainage ww.
must cover a considerable period of time. Even though
it be physically possible from an engineering standpoint
to complete the work in two or three years, yet there are
considerations which must be borne in mind. Nature's
processes are slow. Fundamental changes involving com-
plete metamorphosis from water area to land area will
be attended by consequences which must be carefully
dealt with. Questions of colonization and settlement have
important bearing upon the economic development of the
project. The cost of constructing the canal system,
though reasonable per acre, is large in the aggregate.
This means a burden upon the land for drainage taxes.
There would be no wisdom in immediately constructing
canals at random all over the district. The resultant
burden in money and taxes could not, in the early'stages
of the project, be borne, to say nothing of the great ex-
pense of maintaining the works constructed and lying
idle awaiting settlement and cultivation of the land. It
is proposed to advance the drainage work as lands are
needed, as colonization warrants, as economic conditions
make advisable, and as general considerations justify.
The Everglades must be seen and studied to be under-
stood. The soil is quite different from farm land com-
monly met with in the United States. Opinions of per-
sons who have never seen the Everglades should not be
accepted until verified. Investigation of conditions in
the Everglades should be made just as one would investi-
atge the conditions of a business which he proposes to
purchase, or an undertaking on which he plans to em-
There are successes in the Everglades and there are
failures. Every line of endeavor and every walk of life
has both of the above. The new settler coming to this
territory should make provision for two years, and pre-
ferably three, without having to depend too largely upon
full remuneration from the soil during this breaking-in
period. Very much better assurance of success will re-
sult if provision is made by which to get past this
usually unprofitable term. After this, it is the judgment
of those in authority that the farmer can expect as satis-
factory returns from his efforts in the Everglades as any-
where else on earth.


The foregoing deals largely with the drainage aspect
of the Everglades, with which this, the Engineering De-
partment, has to do. The Agricultural Department of
the State is conversant with the various conditions of
farming in the Exerglades, and information on this sub.
ject may be obtained from the above department. (The
Commissioner of Agriculture has been left the treatment
of the subject from the agricultural standpoint.)
Chief Drainage Engineer.



1. Only United States Lands are subject to homestead
entry. For information about homestead lands, write the
United States Land Office at Gainesville, Fla. The State
of Florida has nothing whatever to do with homestead
2. Photolithographic Township maps can be purchased
of the Chief Drainage Engineer, Tallahassee, Fla.


3. State Lands will not be reserved from sale for the
benefit of any applicant. An application not accom-
panied with the full amount of purchase money does not
give priority or secure the land.
4. We have no special information in this department
showing the character of the State lands, or the amount
and kind of timber on them. Personal inspection is ad-
vised before purchasing.
5. The better way to make a satisfactory purchase of
any lands in this State would be to visit the State and
go to the locality in which you may be interested, and
you can, as a rule, secure information as to the character
of the land from the Clerk of the Circuit Court or the
Tax Collector or Tax Assessor of the County in which
the land is located.
6. The following reserving clauses are embraced in the
deeds issued for the State lands:
7. The right at any time to enter upon said lands and
make or cause to be made and constructed thereon such
canals, cuts, sluice ways, dikes and other works as may
be deemed necessary and needful for the reclamation of
said lands.
8. The right to the exclusive possession, occupation, use
and enjoyment of a strip of land running across any of
the State lands, of one hundred and thirty feet on each
side of the center line of any canal, cut, sluice way or
dike that may be made and constructed on any of said

9. An undivided three-fourths interest in and title to
all the phosphate, minerals and metals that are or may be
in, on or under any of the State lands, with the privilege
and right to mine and develop the same.
10. An undivided one-half interest in and title in and to
an undivided one-half interest in all the petroleum that
is, or may be in, on or under any of the State lands, with
the privilege to mine and develop the same.
11. The Swamp and Overflowed Lands granted to the
State under Act of Congress approved September 28,
1850, and the Internal Improvement Lands granted to
the State under Act of Congress approved March 3, 1845,
are irrevocably vested in five Trustees, to-wit:
12. The Governor, who is chairman of the board. the
State Treasurer, the Attorney-General, the Comptroller
and the Commissioner of Agriculture, and their suc-
cessors in office, under Section 617 General Statutes of
the State of Florida.
13. The School Lands granted to the Slate under Act
of Congress of March 3, 1845, are vested in the State
Board of Education, consisting of the Governor, who is
chairman of the board, the Secretary of State, the At-
torney-General, the Stale Treasurer and the SWate Super-
intendent of Public Instruction, under Sections 335 and
336, General Statutes of the State of Florida.
14. Under Acts of the Legislature of 1909-1911-1913,
no sales of more than 320 acres of Land can be made,
without first advertising the lands for thirty days in
some newspaper published in the County or Counties:
where the said lands to be sold are situated, also such
other papers as may be deemed advisable.
15. Therefore, should anyone wish to purchase more
than 320 acres, the lands desired would have to be adver-
tised. The land will not be advertised unless the party
desiring it will deposit a Certified Check payable to the
State Treasurer, in the sum of 10% of the price he is will-
ing to pay for the said lands, as a guarantee that he will
pay, not exceeding $15.00 for expenses of advertising and
will submit a bid for the amount he is wi'ling to pay, on
the date bids for said land are to be considered by the
Board. Should another party submit a higher bid and
the land be awarded said party, the certified check of the
unsuccessful bidder will be immediately returned, the

successful bidder in that case paying the cost of adver-
tising. The Board, in all cases, reserves the right io
reject any and all bids.
16. As stated, however, the above requirements apply
only to purchases of more than 320 acres.
17. A list of State lands in any special Townships will
be sent to anyone who will write, stating the number of
acres desired, the locality in which he desires the lands
and the very best price he will give per acre.
18. There are no fixed prices now on State lands, and
all offers for State lands are presented to the Board
controlling the prices of the lands desired, and the ap-
plicant is advised of their action thereon. The State
lands in the Everglades have been selling at from $30 to
$175 per acre; other State lands from $4 to $25 per acre.
19. The original field notes of the United States Sur.
veys of this State are in this office. The usual price of
copies of same is 50 cents per section and $8.00 to $12.00
per township, which only pays for actual time taken up
in making copies.
20. All inquiries, offers and remittances for State land
should be made direct to W. A. McRae, Commissioner of

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