This summer’s rainfall has caused the Peace River to swell beyond its normal summer flow and parks along the river are feeling the effects.
Boating is pretty much out of the question for all but the foolhardy.
The photo above taken at the approach of the boat ramp at Fort Meade Outdoor Recreation illustrates the problem.
There is visible flow across the access road. The launching area is beyond the half-submerged picnic tables in the background.
According to preliminary USGS data, the flow exceeds the river flow following hurricanes in 2004.
Downstream the problems continue.
Payne Creek Historic State Park near Bowling Green is closed until further notice because of high water.
Construction on improvements at Crews Park in Wauchula will remain on hold until the flood waters recede.
The Canoe Outpost in Arcadia is closed and its website reports all boat ramps along the Peace River in Hardee and DeSoto counties are closed.
The high water may figure into the continuing discussions of tapping more of the river to meet future drinking water demands in Polk County following a settlement over a permit dispute with the Peace River Manasota Water Supply Authority, which has tapped the river for decades to supply coastal counties in a part of Florida where tapping the aquifer would increase saltwater intrusion.
Utility officials have argued to increase their withdrawal rate, especially during exceptional flows such as what is happening now on the river.