Category Archives: Everglades

SFWMD “Weekly Environmental Report” of the Entire Everglades

One thing is for sure, the South Florida Water Management District puts out a lot of information. One publication I am slowly acquiring the patience to read in the weekly “Environmental Conditions Report.” The District has been great about sharing this important information on Twitter and Facebook, but it is still difficult to find on the website.

Today I am going to share how I read this report hoping that you will start to read it too.  You’ll notice that right off the bat there is a disclaimer: “Information contained in the report addresses environmental conditions only and is not the official South Florida Water Management District operations recommendation or decision.” 

Disclaimer or not, this document  is very important because it is given from the perspective of the entire environment of the Everglades System and of the wildlife if they could talk. The report  is 30 pages long and scientific; how can we make it easier for the layperson to read?

For me, as I begin, I ask myself, “What is this week’s problem?” “What should I know first?” To get myself engaged, I have started reading at the bottom of the document first. I go directly the last page where it says “…Recommendations.” Then I read it all.

The first sentence under the February 13, 2020 Water Management Recommendations reads:  “Current stages in WCA-3A are low for this time of year and salinities are high in Florida Bay.” Hmmm. I know high salinities are not good for Florida Bay because it can cause a massive sea grass die off, and what is this about WCA-3A? What is a WCA?

WCA means “Water Conservation Area.”

Below  is the SFWMD recommendation and a map from the National Academies showing the three Water Conservation Areas. WCAs are protected just like the Everglades and they are part of the Central and South Florida Project of 1948. They have many important functions for people and for wildlife: https://www.sfwmd.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fyi_wca_management.pdf

So now with these “problems” in mind and of course thinking about the importance of my own St Lucie River. (I am so thankful we have not had toxic algae discharges from Lake Okeechobee this year!) I read it all because I want to know about the environment for the entire Everglades as I’m sure you do as well!

Please click here to read. 2-13-10 SFWMD Weekly Environmental Report: wkly_env_conditions_ops_report_2020_02_13

A mullet jumps at sunset, St Lucie River. (Photo Todd Thurlow)

On SFWMD website:The February 13, 2020 Ecological Conditions Report is posted to the portal:https://www.sfwmd.gov/science-data/operational-planning under Operational Reports, lower left-hand side.

Everglades Coalition, The Big Water, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch SFWMD

#EVCO2020

Greetings to my blog readers! Hope your new year is off to a good start.

For me, 2020 started with the Everglades Coalition (EVCO) Conference January 9-11 at South Seas Island Resort in Captiva Island, Florida. The theme for the conference was “All Hands on Deck,” and I would certainly say that the inspirational event achieved such! (https://www.evergladescoalition.org)

As a member of the South Florida Water Management District, (https://www.sfwmd.gov), I was asked by EVCO Co-Chair Mark Perry, to sit on the panel “Lake Okeechobee Management, The Big Water.” Other panelist were: Dr Dale Gawlik, Director and Professor, Environmental Science Program, Florida Atlantic University; Dr Paul Gray, Everglades Science Coordinator Audubon Florida; David E. Hazellief, Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners; and Col. Andrew Kelly, Jacksonville District Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Thank you to long time River Warrior, Gayle Ryan, for taping and you can find the entire panel video taped on her Facebook page dated January 10, 2:07pm. To say the least, I felt very privilege to sit with such a group. Today, I would like to share my slides and the 13 minute recorded talk below. Thank the Everglades Coalition for the opportunity to share and the SFWMD for helping me prepare.

I am ready. Both of my hands are on deck!

Historic Phytogeography of South Florida with Present Day SFWMD Features Map, 2019

 

Marjory Stoneman Douglas, SLR/IRL

Just last weekend, I presented at the “Future of Florida Summit” at the University of Florida’s Graham Center. Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, gave a passionate speech to hundreds of young people during the lunchtime session. My husband, Ed, usually quiet, turned to me saying: ” He is a really good speaker.”

The crowd listened…

Mr Eikenberg noted that he was a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Broward County, Florida and that even though the school was literally built in what was once the Everglades, there had not been studies on that subject while he attended the school. He talked about the importance of our state waters and the need to involve youth in the education of our natural world, especially here in South Florida.

Ironically, four days later, the horrific shooting at Mr Eikenberg’s alma mater, has called attention, once again, to the shortcomings, and cultural sickness in our society.

In 1991, the “Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Protection Act” was enacted by the Florida Legislature becoming the precursor to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). Douglas ended up asking for her name to be removed from the legislation. At the time, she was 103 years old. After fighting for the Everglades for a lifetime, she said she felt the legislation was too favorable to the Sugar Farmers. “Growers should clean up the water on their own land…” meaning the state and federal government shouldn’t be building Storm Water Treatment Areas with taxpayer dollars to do it for them….

In time, Ms Douglas’ name was removed.

I wonder if she were alive today, if she would want her name removed from the school? I doubt it. She may have been tough on those destroying the Everglades, but she had a soft heart for youth. Lore states that when she was starting her famed organization Friends for the Everglades she refused to have the membership fee too high for students to be able to join, as she knew they were the most internal of keys.

My greatest sorrow and prayers for the families of the dead.

May the blood of the slain remind us to stop looking at our phones, and to turn to nature and Nature’s God for insight and inspiration in this crazy and destructive human-made world.

St Lucie River sunset, Todd Thurlow

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Links:

Palm Beach Post, Who was MSD: http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/broward-school-shooting-who-was-marjory-stoneman-douglas/OOPs63TWxpyyxDOjW9SM6J/

CNN Who was MSD: https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/15/us/marjory-stoneman-douglas-who-was-trnd/index.html

Tampa Bay Times year she died: http://www.tampabay.com/news/nation/Who-was-Marjory-Stoneman-Douglas-_165518820

Washington Post MSD obituary: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1998/05/15/environmentalist-marjory-stoneman-douglas-dies-at-108/99d2a81d-2141-4dd1-b8fc-69d4cb0da27b/

Everglades Protection Act, Sun Sentinel, MSD, http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1991-04-26/news/9101210185_1_joe-podgor-everglades-marshes

Everglades Protection Act, Sun Sentinel 2, MSD removing her name: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1991-05-08/news/9102250472_1_everglades-pollution-lawsuit-pollution-filtering-marshes-joe-podgor

Timeline of Everglades Restoration: http://evergladeslaw.org/everglades-timeline/

Everglades Protection Act, originally, the MSD EPA:http://evergladeslaw.org/timeline/florida-legislature-passes-everglades-protection-act/

National Park Service, MSD Bio: https://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/historyculture/msdouglas.htm

Alligators and Litigators: https://www.floridabar.org/news/tfb-journal/?durl=/DIVCOM%2FJN%2FJNJournal01%2Ensf%2FAuthor%2FD0FE7CE69AFA102885256ADB005D635E

SFWMD history including 1991 EPA: https://www.sfwmd.gov/sites/default/files/documents/bmp_nonpoint_source.pdf

Everglades Foundation:https://www.evergladesfoundation.org