Baysavers wanted to respond to a recent letter written to The Star by Mr. Burgher concerning the proposed lock in the vicinity of White City. First, we would like to clarify what this proposed lock will accomplish, which is simply to "Turn Back the Clock" 120 years and reestablish the water flow that has been present in our local bays and Lake Wimico for the last thousands of years. Over 120 years ago the Army Corps of Engineers drained Lake Wimico and connected the salt water environments of St. Joe Bay and East Bay with the fresh water ecosystems of the Apalachicola River floodplain and Lake Wimico with the dredging of the Intracoastal Canal and the Gulf County Industrial Canal. This lock would reestablish the original separation of salt and fresh water that had existed for thousands of years and allowed these separate salt water and fresh water ecosystems to flourish.
Baysavers has always publicly stated that the primary cause of loss of freshwater flow into the Apalachicola Bay ecosystem is irresponsible upstream water use, primarily caused by poor planning in and around Atlanta as well as Georgia agricultural practices, specifically pivot irrigation usage. What we know is that efforts to correct this unfair situation have largely been unsuccessful. Baysavers is concentrating on what we CAN do, which is to stop the massive "leak" in our watershed, which is allowing up to 20% of total river flow, and the valuable sediment so crucial to oysters, from leaving the Apalachicola River and Bay ecosystem, and becomes destructive, silt laden stormwater runoff that is so detrimental to sea grass beds in St. Joe Bay.
Mr. Burgher stated that flow rates on the Apalachicola were 5,000 gallons per second. On Jan. 1, 2019 the flow in the Apalachicola River was over 600 million gallons per second, of which over 100 million gallons per second were lost through the Intracoastal Canal, and dumped into St. Joe Bay and East Bay. While this was a flood event with a river reading of over 20 feet at Blountstown, it is essential to know the actual facts about what is happening with our water. Mr. Burger states he has been here for 20 years. I have been an active user of these environments for 50 years. The first squirrel I killed was while camping on Battle Bend when I was eight years old, and I have been on our bays, lakes and rivers ever since. I feel that Mr. Burger and Baysavers have the same ideas about saving our precious bays, rivers and lakes, I just wish he would take the time to visit our website at Baysaversfl.org and learn a little more about the history and hydrology of our area.