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Saving the water

Staff Writer
The Star

A group of like-minded locals have come together on a consensus that the Gulf Coast Intercoastal Waterway (GIWW) has become a pestering nuisance for the ecology and water qualities for the bays in Bay, Franklin, and Gulf county. The Baysavers have one goal in mind “to restore the historical flow of the Apalachicola River.”

Dusty May, lead Baysaver, is adamant that “due to the uncontrolled flow in the GIWW, Apalachicola bay is losing four billion gallons of fresh water every day” that is around a trillion gallons in a year which is equal to the volume of water in Lake Okeechobee.“

Without a flow structure, the GIWW is discharging a majority of the freshwater from the Apalachicola into the Bay in Gulf County, and East Bay in Panama City. Both of these ecosystems are naturally saltwater and are put under tremendous stress when they are exposed to fresh water. Some speculate this loss of fresh water may have been what led to the decline of the oystering industry in Apalachicola.

Over a hundred years ago, in 1905, the canal was dug between Lake Wimico and East Bay to facilitate the transportation of ships for industry, but since then the Army Corp has ceased maintenance of the navigable channel within the canal for big cargo ships.

A proposed water flow structure, with correspondence from the Army Corp, is being evaluated to be implemented at the fork of the GIWW in Gulf county near White City. This way the freshwater will be cut off before it merges with the bay in Port St. Joe and it’s saltwater.