Peace Creek RV Park is used to dealing with high waters. But the effects of the three hurricanes that swept through Florida’s Polk County, in the center of the state, have transformed the park into an island.
According to an article in the Tampa Tribune, residents Robin and Jim Glasure still hadn’t moved back in to their Florida home after heading south from Ohio.
The couple is renting elsewhere and has been relying on members of an airboat association to take them over a flooded pasture to check on their place because the entry road and surrounding land are flooded.
Park owner Peggy Mann said the water has been receding slowly, but the flooding has hurt business at the 110-lot community, delaying the arrival of other winter residents.
Mann has never seen flooding like this, but she has seen standing water over the years on the 1,400 acres she owns on both sides of U.S. 27.
“It’s not a new situation. It’s a problem that’s been ongoing,” she said.
Mann and water management officials said rains from the hurricanes and other storms that set rainfall records this summer caused most of the flooding, but the release of water from a chain of lakes upstream aggravated the situation.
“They’re putting more water into the system than the system can take,” Mann said of water managers and the Peace Creek Drainage Canal, a 34-mile meandering canal dug in 1915 to drain agricultural land.
The canal was created for drainage of pasture, Mann said. It wasn’t designed for “all this water.”
“I don’t feel like it’s right for me to be taking everybody’s water. They need to reset the lake levels instead of just opening those locks,” Mann said.
Solutions “are going to take some time and effort to work through,” said Mark Hammond, director of the resource management department with the Southwest Florida Water Management District.