Will G-85 Last
                                                                   By Bill Dwinell

In February, 2000, Chris Monroe and I took a tour of Istokpoga Canal to take pictures for our web site. While we really enjoyed this tour, and we took lots of pictures, we were very alarmed at the condition of the G-85 structure on the canal.  This structure is critical to the lake in that it is in place to help hold in the lake water and release water when it exceeds 39.33 ft.
Shortly after that visit I contacted South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and requested they examine the structure to ensure it was strong enough to last until a new structure could be completed.  After several request to SFWMD for inspection records and any test results, I am still in the dark.  I have, however found out that according to SFWMD estimates, in 1997, the G-85 structure was leaking at a rate of 100 cubic feet per second (cfs).  This is a potentially significant loss, according to Clell Ford, Highlands County Lakes Manager.
SFWMD claims there were problems accessing the site because of land owner restrictions. I discussed this with a Lykes Brothers representative and was told that the restrictions were standard precautions required for leaving a citrus grove, i.e., washing the trucks. I guess this was just to inconvenient for the SFWMD employees.  I was informed by  SFWMD that an agreement was signed by the land owner that should resolve the access problems.
There are plans to replace this structure with a new structure similar to S-68, the one on C-41A canal. Construction is estimated to begin in May 2001 with completion in March 2002, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  This new structure will be built about 400 feet from the G-85 and will be the S-67 structure.  The construction is part of the Kissimmee Restoration Project and will provide flood protection for the area. It is being built to handle an estimated 100 year flood condition .
Also , as part of the S-67 construction project, the Istokpoga Canal will be dredged,  The completed canal will have a bottom width of 50 feet and a depth of 28 feet NGVD. 
I will continue to work with USACE and SFWMD until we get the structure analysis and any repairs completed that are determined to be necessary.

NOTE:  As a result of our efforts SFWMD has repaired the structure.