Taking Back Paradise, The People’s Fight, Florida’s Water and Land Legacy, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Ex. Director, Mark Perry, Florida Oceanographic; Dr. Tabitha Cale, Audubon Florida; Ex. Director, Eric Eichenberg, Everglades Foundation; Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, Comr. Sewall's Point; and Dr Paul Grey, Florida Audubon stand before the St Lucie River, Downtown Stuart, October, 2014.
Executive Director, Mark Perry, Florida Oceanographic; Dr. Tabitha Cale, Florida Audubon ; Executive Director, Eric Eichenberg, Everglades Foundation; Comr. Sewall’s Point, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch; and Dr Paul Grey, Florida Audubon, stand before the St Lucie River, Downtown Stuart, October, 2014.

Last week, at a Rivers Coalition meeting, Eric Eichenberg of the Everglades Foundation and Dr Tabitha Cale of Audubon, gave an impassioned speech in support of Amendment 1. Such calls to action inspired Florida state voters to approve the constitutional amendment yesterday by almost 75%.

It was interesting to me that I did not know of one member of the state legislature who openly lauded support of Amendment 1, Florida’s Water and Land Conservation Initiative,  for 2014.

Why not? Because it designates monies. Those in power like to have freedom with the state’s monies, rather than having them marked in stone…

Oh well….

When I first saw the furor and motivation of those working for the amendment, it was almost poignant.

The intense drive was markedly different. It was something that only manifest itself through those who have lost something; of those who have had something they cherish taken away, something they love….

Florida, our paradise, our estuaries, our springs, our rivers, our lakes, our remaining wetlands, our upland forests, our fisheries, our wildlife, our Everglades, our “Fountain of Youth” are all slowly dying.  All of us who love it see this clearly, and in an organized backlash to take back what is most dear decided to do anything to save Florida from complete and total destruction,  as the state is quickly becoming, some say it already is, the third most populated state in the nation.

Many have tried, but our government has not protected Florida well enough and thus we, the people, have taken this responsibility into our own hands, we have peacefully risen up, to protect Florida through the power and structure of a state constitutional amendment.


Will it work? Only time will tell. As we all know, money often brings out the worst in people, even those with the very best intentions.

Personally, for me there was no other choice. The state has not done its job and we were/are headed for disaster unless something changes. There can be business and paradise, but with out paradise there will be no business…

Our water and most precious land resources, what brought us all to this state in the first place, needs something more.

How the amendment reads is powerful. When you have time, take a look and read the link as well. Please keep your eye on this and the fight over the money as it is truly Florida’s last and final chance. It will only work, and the St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon will only benefit if you stay involved.

SECTION 28. Land Acquisition Trust Fund. —

a) Effective on July 1 of the year following passage of this amendment by the voters, and for a period of 20 years after that effective date, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall receive no less than 33 percent of net revenues derived from the existing excise tax on documents, as defined in the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, as amended from time to time, or any successor or replacement tax, after the Department of Revenue first deducts a service charge to pay the costs of the collection and enforcement of the excise tax on documents.
b) Funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall be expended only for the following purposes:
1) As provided by law, to finance or refinance: the acquisition and improvement of land, water areas, and related property interests, including conservation easements, and resources for conservation lands including wetlands, forests, and fish and wildlife habitat; wildlife management areas; lands that protect water resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams, springsheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and aquifer systems; lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Everglades Protection Area, as defined in Article II, Section 7(b); beaches and shores; outdoor recreation lands, including recreational trails, parks, and urban open space; rural landscapes; working farms and ranches; historic or geologic sites; together with management, restoration of natural systems, and the enhancement of public access or recreational enjoyment of conservation lands.
2) To pay the debt service on bonds issued pursuant to Article VII, Section 11(e).
c) The moneys deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, as defined by the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, shall not be or become commingled with the General Revenue Fund of the state.[4]


AMD 1: (http://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Water_and_Land_Conservation_Initiative,_Amendment_1_%282014%29)

25 thoughts on “Taking Back Paradise, The People’s Fight, Florida’s Water and Land Legacy, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

  1. Jacqui, as satisfying as this “big win” is to me, and should be to all of us, my first phone call the morning after election night was to Will Abberger, of the amendment 1 campaign, to congratulate and thank him, but more so to ask him who exactly is on the so-called citizen advisory boards that will call the shots when it comes to trust $$$ allocation, and which other governmental agencies will have a say in it. We have a become a watchdog group to ensure that our coastal estuaries and the Everglades are high in the pecking order, otherwise, the estimated 10 billion will not benefit as it should.

    1. Agreed. Everyone involved needs to stay involved and watchful and vigilant that money goes where it is supposed to go and that no rich real estate or walmart or crafty lawyers re-work any wording to take advantage of all of the hard work that so many have put into this.

  2. Jacqui, as usual, you hit the nail on the head. We now have a dedicated money source to watch like hawks!!!

  3. The fact that this has a dedicated funding source is exactly the point: legislators would never be able to justify using resources for land conservation or historic preservation against human needs like healthcare, welfare, education or even animal care. Those needs will always take precedence, as it is human nature. There will always be more hunger, more poverty to address, more children who need educating…And yet, if we don’t have dedicated funding sources, these issues (of land conservation and historic preservation) will never take priority. That is why I supported Amendment 1, while even admitting that constitutional amendments are NOT the way to legislate and govern. But, when the legislature created “trust funds” as dedicated funding sources for other priorities, as soon as budgets got tight, they raided them. Right or wrong, this provides protection for natural resources….so how can that be wrong?? Making sure how the money is spent will be the next hurdle, but at least we now have the money!!!

  4. I’m sure there are many politicians and groups already looking to spend this $ on special interests.

  5. Great blog tonight Jacqui. I agree with Mike and you that these advisory boards are a top concern of mine too. I hoped for this to pass and the legacy it can mean for all of today’s RiverKidz and the possibility that 20 years of dedicated funding can mean for their future.

  6. I passed my concerns about this to Eve a Samples, and she agrees this begs for a column in the paper. I have made investigating this “gray area” a personal priority of mine. Just as the voting public has the right to know exactly the framework and makeup of so-called citizen advisory boards, stakeholders should continue to have input. I honestly doubted it would pass, but early on asked myself, if it does, what then? Where does the money go?

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