Palm Beach County

South Florida River Dying for Freshwater, Needs Emergency Help

The Loxahatchee River, which traditionally receives a stipend from Grassy Waters Preserve to fight saltwater intrusion during the dry season, has been cut off from that tap for weeks

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Water officials in South Florida say the region's only nationally-recognized wild and scenic river is being poisoned by a lack of fresh water as dry conditions allow the ocean to sour the unique ecosystem.

The Palm Beach Post reported that Albrey Arrington, executive director of the Loxahatchee River District, asked the South Florida Water Management District board for an emergency infusion of fresh water to stave off further damage before wet season rains arrive.

The Loxahatchee River, which traditionally receives a stipend from Grassy Waters Preserve to fight saltwater intrusion during the dry season, has been cut off from that tap for weeks with preserve waters themselves running low.

It’s a similar step to emergency measures taken last month by the district that installed pumps to gush water into a dry Everglades National Park.

“The river needs supplemental water and you were able to raise a segment of the Everglades eight-tenths of a foot,” Arrington said Thursday. “The Loxahatchee is on fire. It’s an invisible fire that you cannot see but you can measure it in salinity levels.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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