In less than half a century, South Florida has gone from a land of too much water to one where the valuable resource is being stretched thinner and thinner.
On Monday, May 12, 2014 Dr. Steve Noll, a senior lecturer in the history department at the University of Florida, will talk about the history of Florida's water landscape during "Florida's Environmental History" a free lecture from 6 to 7 p.m. at the New River Inn located at 231 SW 2nd Avenue.
Noll will talk about the effect of hurricanes on Florida, Florida's impact on human existence and the impact human existence has had on Florida – from the earliest Native Americans to the Europeans to the American settlers.
"We spent the first 400 years trying to get rid of water because we thought there was too much, and now we're stuck with the fact that there's not enough. We're trying to get more," says Noll. "The water flow used to go south into the Everglades and it took a long time for us to realize that was a river, rather than just a big swamp."
Now, instead of feeding the Everglades like nature designed, water from Lake Okeechobee has been redirected by dams and other redevelopment to flow east and west. Sometimes, much of it flushed out to sea. "We've reshaped that whole area, so much so that the lake has been taken out of its own environment and doesn't contribute to the surrounding area," stated Noll.
Fort Lauderdale, he says, is a perfect place to give his lecture because much of Broward was uninhabitable by modern standards before it was redeveloped and reshaped.
But, he adds, there's still hope to set things right.
"In spite of how much we've fouled everything up I think nature has a really amazing way of restoring itself. Everyone seems to have a doomsday vision but we still have time if we make the right corrections."
Care must be taken though so that the solutions don't create their own problems.
"The solutions are sometimes more problematic than the problems," says Noll.
For more information or to RSVP for the Dr. Noll's free lecture visit www.FortLauderdaleHistoricalSociety.org.