The Suwannee River Water Management District held their monthly meeting in Starke on December 11, 2018, in order to provide a public tour of the Alligator Creek Abatement Project as the workshop/field trip.
The meeting was held in the Gov. Charlie Johns Conference Center, but the highlight was the abatement tour.
Patrick Webster, Chief Professional Engineer at SRWMD, gave a history of the project and led the tour, which stopped at three points southeast and south of the City of Starke.
It turns out that much of Starke was built upon drained wetlands and low areas from when the city first began its infrastructure. Swamps and wetlands were drained by canals which have replaced almost all of the original streambed of Alligator Creek.
Thus today we have excessive flooding in part because homes were built in areas unsuitable for construction, and we are dealing with the failed results of trying to trick Mother Nature.
In past years, it has been commonplace to dredge the creek, whose flow comes mostly as discharge from the Chemours Mine to the north.
Unfortunately, the tour did not include the work on Sampson River, which is still ongoing.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-