Much of the water within the famous “river of grass” originates in Central Florida and flows south via the Kissimmee River—one of the more important and lesser-known waterways nationwide.
The Army Corps of Engineers complied and, beginning in the 1960s, turned the meandering Kissimmee into a 30-foot-deep, channelized canal.
The channel acted like a pipe, moving water quickly off the landscape to Lake Okeechobee, and then to the ocean.
“That response was immediate and pretty impressive,” says Lawrence Glenn, director of water resources with the South Florida Water Management District.
Passing through a lock to get the restored part of the river, the difference is stark and obvious as the river begins its natural flow.
“The Kissimmee River accomplished an amazing feat last summer when Hurricane Ian slammed Florida,” Ward says.
About half of the Kissimmee consists of a canal, and there’s a big backlog of hydrological and research projects. »