The Truth About the EAA Reservoir

Future home of the EAA  Reservoir/STA, JTL 2015

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.
Toxic algae flowing through locks from Lake O into SLR May 2016. Photo Ed Lippisch

Rio, St Lucie River, Jeff Tucker, toxic algae 2016
LAKE O 2018 

LAKE O 2016



23 thoughts on “The Truth About the EAA Reservoir

  1. I read the underlined documents. I was of course bamboozled by all the jargon and acronyms, but it seems that we had the funding for the EAA but now we don’t. Not surprised at all.
    You should consider writing one of those yellow “___ For Dummies” books on the water cleanup projects. Of course it would have to be revised every week or so.
    Thanks for keeping your foot on the gas pedal.
    – Jim Fogel
    Hobe Sound

    1. Dear Jim, thank you for your comment. I should write like an easy explanation post series. My dream has always been to write a book but I don’t seem to be achieving this as I chase each day. I will think on it. Your comment means a lot to me.

  2. As Jacqui so righteously points out, the questions we should have answered, in addition to “Qui Tam” (who benefits?), is, “What is best for the entire, the whole, ‘Glades, as arguably, the world’s most over-managed water control system? Doing what is best for the St Lucie, doesn’t necessarily mean doing what’s best for the Caloosahatchee, for instance. A Holistic Approach to health, including ecological and economic health, is generally a can’t-fail solution. Let’s give the US Army Corps of Engineers their due… they have entirely changed the face of the Everglades, refining what they inherited from the TNT blasters of the 19th and 20th Centuries, and now here we are with what we/they have created, in the 21st. Let’s think big, because that is definitely what the Florida Everglades is… Big, and Unique in all the world. And it’s our’s to steward and take care of, into the future. Holistic analysis, and holistic plans are demanded in the best interests of all stakeholders.

  3. This is troubling. I saw that SFWMD was on the agenda and was looking forward to your concise take on the meeting and presentation. It seems appropriate now, as you suggest, to be hyper-vigilant going forward.

    1. Peter thank you so much. A strange experience for me, an eye opener. I will be there next time. The problem is, there will be no next time for the first discussion on the new start status of the eaa reservoir and what the options are if there are any. I feel that the public was not informed to be allowed to speak on the issue. I suppose the decision could be changed with pressure from our congressional and state leadership, but something this important, you don’t let go this far. My concern mostly is that next year budget will be so lean there will no be getting back in track. We shall see. Thanks again for your comment.

  4. Unconscionable yet so believable that you were not extended an invitation to attend or even given a heads up that it was going to be discussed. It’s beyond rude. It’s nefarious and unethical, just for starters. If it weren’t for you we wouldn’t have such clear water right now in the St. Lucie River and beyond. Thank you for all of your continuing efforts. Please let us know what we can do to help you.

    1. Julia I love you so much. You are and have been the greatest of friend and cheerleader for me. We all know what we accomplished together and we will not let status quo outdated thinking take that away from us.

  5. Yes Jackie, you should be livid that the USACE & Drew left you out of a hometown meeting. Shame on them for this slight and for the decision to delay the EAA Reservoir/STA funding. Who & why did they this decision? But equally important, who “lobbied” to switch the funding in the first place? It looks & smells like what has happened for decades in South Florida. We had hoped the new Governing Board had once & for all changed the back room decision making with certain lobbyists. I’m disappointed to say the least.

    1. Dear Mike, thank you so much for writing. I am just recovering from the week. I will figure out a way to have a public discussion and I will be smarter next time. My husband tells me to remember that I only have myself. Thank you again for always being there.

  6. Egregious.
    What is Gov. DeSantis doing about this?
    What is Congressman Mast doing about this?
    What will the Governing Board do about this?
    Hopefully they will coordinate, investigate, expose, challenge and force the Corps to reverse their decision. (and the Easter Bunny will join Santa on his sleigh this year …)

  7. Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, thank you for the transparency and your sharing this news. The slight sure seems like it was intentional by all parties. And the shell game with the money has to be revealed. Thanks for doing that. How to get back to being vocal? Let us know where n when. Thanks always. Solidarity ya’ll!

    1. Dear Mike , you are a steady friend and River warrior. There are so many issues right now. Of course first and foremost Covid-19 our health and the economy. As far as water, Savings Clause/LOSOM, EAA reservoir as a New Start/finding timeline loss and change
      Of 130 mil to C23/C24 sta R, Rule making updates for pollution 40E-61. To explain all this would take in depth time and I am going to visit my mother for Mother’s Day! Next budget cycle… will there be money? It goes on and on. I think being vocal in the age of covid means being on line and commenting. Yes, Facebook, SFWMD meetings; Dept of the Interior Restoration Task Force meetings; ACOE LOSOM meetings. It is exhausting and takes research and time. I will communicate the best I can and we all do the best possible. Thank you for everything.

  8. i cannot believe they forgot to alert you to this meeting. Inconceivable. It seems they are taking advantage of COVID19 restrictions on public gatherings, as well. Was this a public meeting in the “Sunshine”? Was it noticed appropriately 3 weeks in advance? Where? Can you demand it be reconvened with appropriate public notice? (They won’t “forget” to invite you in the future.)

    1. Dear Janeen, so great to hear from you. I have one of your solidarity fish on display in my home and think of you often -and my awesome starfish coffee cup! Aggg! The meeting. We are working on ways so this will not happen again. This one was particularly important as if subject. I can talk at our meeting coming up SFWMD on this coming Thursday. Onward I march. ❤️🐠

  9. Thank you. I am glad so many people are commenting. And that the Stuart news reported it. That the ACE Kelly was there is Very worrisome. Is he under pressure from important stakeholders/contributors, or is it engineers insisting they know best? If the later, their history on the Mississippi River is a cautionary tale. The whole bottom “sole” of Louisiana has disappeared. Is that what’s happening to FL Bay now? Will the reservoirs ACE builds on the C-23 & 24, direct the excess water SOUTH? If it goes instead into the St. Lucie and then to the ocean, less silt goes to build FL’s bottom sole, and to replenish the aquifer.

    1. Dear Helen, these are interesting thoughts and you must have first hand knowledge of the Mississippi River situation. The ACOE is the military. Col Kelly is taking orders. I hear an attorney of the name, Phil Stephen, or close to that name may be the source of the New Start move. Then of course there is R.D. James, Asst. Sec. of the Army Civil Works, and Lt Gen. Semonite who gave the news to a Congressional Committee in March. Such high level I cannot claim to be part of. I am on the ground, a soldier of the people. As I learn more I will share and I thank you so much for for your interesting comment and I will research what you have mentioned. All the best.

  10. Thanks, Jacqui! I’m very disappointed to hear this news. Please let us know how best to help… they’re requesting comments for upcoming SFWMD meeting… what shall we request along these lines? Thank you.

  11. Thank you. Not really surprised but terribly disappointed. Please keep fighting for all of us.

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