Though renowned for its beauty and diversity, the Myakka is not the pristine stream G.O. Shields described in the 1800s. When the land was first acquired for a state park in the 1930s, the priorities were to prevent lightning fires from burning, to minimize flooding of the river, and to prevent the lakes from drying up. Squads of men from the Civilian Conservation Corps promptly dug ditches to reduce flooding and decrease “mosquito breeding grounds.” . . . Today we are still plugging and filling ditches to help restore more natural water cycles.

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