Yesterday, 9:30 AM, May 5, 2020, at a Martin County Commission Meeting there was a nondescript preset entitled: Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) – Indian River Lagoon (IRLS) South Presentation.
I learned about this presentation after the fact and was not invited to attend by the South Florida Water Management District. At no time was I ever briefed that the District or the Corp would be making a presentation in my hometown. I found out that not only was CERP discussed, but Drew Bartlett, Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District and Col. Andrew Kelly of the Jacksonville District, Army Corp of Engineers were the presenters.
The most simple courtesy normally extended to all Governing Board Members, was not extended to me. I wonder why I was not included? Of that I will never be sure, but I will be sure today to say what I would have shared, or have insisted be shared if I were at that meeting especially because Part D of Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 19-12 reads: “Instruct the SFWMD to immediately start the next phase of the EAA Storage Reservoir Project design and ensure the US ACOE approves the project according to schedule.”
Yesterday Col. Kelly announced to the Martin County Commission that 130 million dollars has been put towards the C-23/C-24 Reservoir/STA. The C-23/C-24 getting money is a good thing, however I do not believe it was made clear where that money is coming from. That money is on the books to be re-channeled because of the “New Start” status of the EAA Reservoir. Yes, the money that the EAA Reservoir would have had for *2020, is now going to C-23/24 Reservoir/STA project.
So what is a “New Start,” other than a complicated bureaucratic word with nuances to confuse? A New Start basically means a project cannot get the funding it was to receive. Oh yes, of course it is possible to get it in the future, but we all know what that means when it comes to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers as clear in this video at 1:56.
After I was so rudely not informed to attend the Martin County Commission meeting, I did receive a phone call apologizing from the District. In that phone call and following email I insisted that the New Start language be explained clearly to the public and put on a timeline so that those who have given their lives advocating for EAA Reservoir could be informed. I was given the following one pager that is helpful. Thus today I share it with you. Please click to read the following: EAA Reservoir and STA New Start
My take on this? If you know me, you know what I’m thinking. It’s time to start fighting again. As necessary as the C-23 C-24 STA and Reservoir is, it is not the most important fix. The most important fix for the St Lucie River is to stop the putrid discharges that destroy the St Lucie River from Lake Okeechobee.