- Posted June 9, 2010 by
Walton County, Florida
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Track the oil disaster
DOOM expected for the DUNE LAKES #1
- zdan, CNN iReport producer
The Florida dune lakes are some of the only existing lakes of their kind in the world. Walton County is on the move to protect these very fragile ecosystems from the epic oil disaster heading their way.
Darryl Carpenter (yes, the man who came up with the idea for using hay to clean the Gulf) is the Vice President of C.W. Roberts Contracting. He is charged with the responsibility of creating and executing the system of protection for Walton County's dune lakes.
Mr. Carpenter was kind enough to give me a personal tour of the operation, already in progress. A passionate and good-natured man, Mr. Carpenter keeps a smile on his face. But, his eyes tell you he is not afraid of a conflict. In a county whose municipality seems to be waiting for no one, this community appears to be bracing for nothing short of war against the coming toxic invaders.
Picture note: if you look closely, the bird has a minnow in his mouth. Perching at the exact spot where the seawater slips over the sand and begins to fall into the lake proves to be a great hunting ground for this bird.
Photographer note: I waited so long for that damn bird to catch that minnow that I type this iReport to you with an incredible sunburn.
Below is lake information thanks to:
These coastal lakes, which in the U.S. occur only along the Gulf Coast, are characterized by the intermittent nature of their connection to the Gulf. When the water level, through rain or other inflow, reaches a certain critical height, the lake will "blow out" and release its water into the Gulf. At that point, seawater may enter to create an estuary. After the lake water level subsides, the connection to the Gulf will disappear until the lake is ready to discharge once more.
Given the cyclical nature of their hydrology, these lakes are known to have a high biodiversity, with species characteristic of fresh, estuarine and the marine environment. They are also an important source of fresh water to migrating birds and other beach organisms. The worst thing that could happen to these ecological wonders would be to open up and armor their outfalls. But this is precisely what the applicant is seeking to do, in order to accommodate the wishes of adjacent property owners. Of further concern is apparent plans to do the same thing to all of the dune lakes in Walton County.