The Fallout of CEPP/the 4th Seminole War of Florida and the Indian River Lagoon

The delay of CEPP, the Central Everglades Planning Project may end up symbolically being the beginning of Florida's  4th Seminole War.
The delay of CEPP, the Central Everglades Planning Project, may end up symbolically being the beginning of Florida’s 4th Seminole War as people fight for water to move south. (Photos public.)

I really did not want to write about the failure of the Central Everglades Planning Project, CEPP,  as I have been trying to forget about it. The whole thing is so depressing to me.  However, last night, before I went to bed, my husband said,  “Dan thinks you should write about what’s going to happen now that CEPP did not make it into the WRDA bill…” So, I had a long series of nightmares, now it’s morning, and for Dr Daniel Velinsky, I will do the right thing, and try to write this piece.

First some history.

It is well documented that Florida’s three Seminole Wars were the longest, bloodiest, and most costly of all the Indian wars fought by the United States, fought on and off between 1814 and 1858.  In the end, no treaty was signed and the few hundred remaining native peoples hid in their well known Everglades swamp to resurrect themselves as today’s Seminole,  Miccosukee, and unaffiliated Independent Seminole Tribes.


They never surrendered and today their successful 1980s/1990s law suit against the Federal Government and the State of Florida requiring the polluting of Everglades Agricultural Area run off water onto their lands, to be reduced from sometimes over 300 to 10 parts per billion/phosphorus, in my opinion, is a key reason, along with its tartiness and other issues, why CEPP was not included in the Water Resources Development Act, WRDA, bill by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

I can hear the D.C. ACOE  now: “Even if we had the designated land, the mass of water could not be sent south—it’s too dirty. We need so much more land to clean it.  So we’ll build all this structure but we won’t be able to send but a dribble of water south…Florida has to lessen the water quality requirements or …”

Well first of all, I say “kudos” to the Seminole  and Miccosucci for holding the state responsible for cleaning up its water, even if it is an”impossible” number to achieve under present circumstances. I’d say in the karma department, “we had it coming.”

So now what do we do? Well in my opinion a type of war is going to start, and I liken the people of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon to the “Fourth Indian War Warriors.” We will not surrender.

The failure of CEPP to pass will historically be the beginning of this war. And like the Indians of the 1880s, we were indirectly lied to, and part of it was our fault for believing what we were told, knowing the facts of history.

We all watched and participated along with the South Florida Water Management District and the Jacksonville Army Corp of Engineers for three years, putting full concentration of resources and creativity– forcing dedicated staff from both agencies to produce a document, CEPP,  that the US Army Corp of Engineers more than likely knew, would never make it. So now,  “they” want us to continue rallying for another two years for next WRDA bill. “Oh sorry maybe it will be seven years….”

I don’t think so.

Guess what? The people are tired of waiting. They put their money on the state and federal governments’ horse, and our horse wasn’t  even allowed to run.

Do you feel the chain pulling and digging into your neck? I do.

This tactic is not new, and honestly I think it is simply part of a dysfunctional federal and state government. Let’s look back.

In the 1990s governor Lawton Childs had the state halt the famous water quality law suit and actually “laid down his sword” in a courtroom-how courageous, but look where we are now; in the mid 2000s Charlie Christ’s “Sugar Land Deal” was downsized due to the Economic Crisis of 2008 and other politics; before that, Jeb Bush started the “Acceler8 Program to quickly complete eight of over 60 Central Everglades Restoration Plan’s (CERP) projects. The SFWMD, functioning under the governor, worked diligently like they did recently for CEPP–the eight projects  were not completed; and since 2011/12, under the Rick Scott administration, the entire focus was on CEPP, which also would have bundled  some of the CERP projects to begin “moving faster” and to “move the water south.” After years of laser like dedication, for now, the project is “dead.”

Florida has water quality and quantity issues brewing like a hurricane, and our Indian River Lagoon area will be the eye in November of 2014, as former governor Charlie Christ runs against Governor Rick Scott. The race would have been messy anyway, but now it is going to be war as the different sides  configure how to “send the water south” with out CEPP.  Start thinking about how you want to send the water south or stored, and “never, never, never give up.”


History Florida WQ Law Suit:(

Seminole Tribe: (

Miccosukee Tribe: (



7 thoughts on “The Fallout of CEPP/the 4th Seminole War of Florida and the Indian River Lagoon

  1. Never – love it…..and “send the water SOuth” baby – dont be afraid of it – be proud!!! ~the peeps who get mad at our0 little River Kidz workbook! LOL

  2. Jacqui,

    The irony is that SFWMD is often now achieving 10 ppb! Maybe most of the time.

    W.E. “Ted” Guy, Jr.

    643 SW Fuge Rd

    Stuart, Fl 34997

    (772) 287-4106 (home)

    (772) 485-1866 (cell/car)

  3. Oh Jacqui, You are speaking for so many of us, if not all, who so courageously dreamed, worked, gave of their time, energy, money and hopes to do the right thing for our beloved Indian River Lagoon and all the waters in South Florida. Please stay and continue the fight – we need your courage and your spirit!

  4. If enough of us got together to begin thinking this through, there’s got to be something we can learn from this history lesson that will begin to turn the tide. It’s as if we’re trying so hard to enter the front door, when the real entrance is somewhere else.

  5. thank you. we’re not giving up. why in the world did no one bring up that sending the water south was impossible due to the 10 pp? prob wrong of me to assume the experts had a plan. why didn’t this come up before the final vote? Didn/t sfwmd know this? Its beyound absurd. It means that so many people have no clue whats going on. We’ll still be getting discharges, Our river and estuary are still in peril.

  6. Jacqui, thanks again for sharing your passionate thoughts on issues. You are one of only a few public figures that I admire, I know there are more. I still believe that our votes do mean something. Thanks for inspiring us to keep the war paint on, I will keep up the fight with great leaders like you and others.

  7. Thank Joseph Capra, Heather Payson, Tracy Marinello and 10 others like this.

    Colleen Kane-Vukovich Love and look forward to your blogs Jaqui Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch!
    May 15 at 12:38pm · Unlike · 1

    Larry Hasek Another good one Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch,thanks for much for keeping us educated
    May 15 at 1:18pm · Unlike · 2

    Julie Williams I am so ready for this war Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch! Such a wonderful and heartfelt blog!!! Thanks for all you do!!
    May 15 at 1:38pm · Unlike · 2

    Don Voss JTL: There ARE times when this awful feeling I have reminds me of the one I was used to having when writing to a fallen soldier’s family. However, I have seem some promising data and information that makes “this impossible number (PPB)” (maybe) not be so impossible. Our future shows great promise:
    1. The ACOE has admitted finding “some flexibility” in applying LORS;
    2. All members of WRAC less one (USFWS) voted in favor of SEPP (they were at least on there same page);
    3. Joe Negron over-achieved his predicted IRL funding to $231.9 million;
    4. There is dialog among stakeholders;
    5. The electorate is more involved than ever;
    6. An Army of grounded level-headed young adults are leaning over the ropes demanding to be tagged in;
    7. There is a sin tax option that could greatly reduce the estimated time to repair the system closer to 25 years to fix with no additional strain on current programs;
    8. 67 communities passed stronger fertilizer laws.; and
    9. There is unity. We have a 5 County Commissioner Collaborative out there championing our needs and forming a SANE coordinated effort to our common problem.

    There is reason for excitement. Remember, last year our devil was the water pressing 16 feet. The estimated water that 1.4M AF would fill Lake O is 3 feet. 13 feet is a doable number. A little emergency storage land around the lake, 10 mile creek on-line.
    There is much reason for hope. Every day w/o discharges is a day the IRL can recover.
    Love your pieces. Very meaningful.
    Yesterday at 4:22am · Edited · Unlike · 1

    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch Thank you Don. The CEPP setback has got me in a funk and I am angry. I will get our of it- I just need to process. I refuse to lie to myself that all is well. It is not. But there is GREAT progress. I appreciate your insights and inspirations. I can’t image what it was like to be a solider of war and trying to communicate those families. Blessing to you.
    2 minutes ago · Like to my Facebook communicators!

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