Tag Archives: Everglades Restoration

Slow is For Turtles, Not for Crises ~Lobbying for the EAA Reservoir, SLR/ILR

JTL not a happy camper ~at the zoo 1968

Fifty years have passed since my parents took this picture. The family was visiting the zoo and my mother told me to stand on the back of the giant tortoise for a photograph. I was four years old, and I refused. I “didn’t want to hurt the turtle” by standing on its back. My mother held the power in the negotiations. She won and I lost. I stood on the poor tortoise, but made sure my mother and father knew that I was mad about it. I gave it my best frown as there was no way I could hide my dismay ~as I wished to befriend and pet the turtle, not to stand on it.

The 1968 photo has become a family classic.

Over the years, I have learned that it is often the case, when dealing with the environment, that people with more power than I, tell me what to do. I often end up “standing on the turtle,” but today I smile. I have learned to conform, and I have definitely accepted that being mad, or mean, will get me few friends and even fewer successes.

This week, when I was in Washington DC with the Everglades Foundation, I was assigned to a great lobbying team. Our job, along with others, was to convince key congressional members of two things: 1. Authorization of the EAA Reservoir through the Water Resources Development Act as a portion of the CERP, (Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan), the master plan to restore the Everglades, that is cost-shared 50/50 between the State of Florida and the Federal Government. 2. Increase the Federal Funding for CERP as the federal contribution needs to increase to at least $200 million to begin to meet its cost-share commitment.

The feedback we got from the lobbied members of Congress was positive; however, sometimes I felt like that little girl standing on the tortoise when members in power told me that even with the approvals, if they were approved, Everglades restoration and improving the state of the Northern Estuaries and Florida Bay will take many, many years. “After all the Army Corp of  Engineers  has a very specific process…”

I smiled, but deep down inside I was frowning.

The environment, like the giant tortoise, should be treated more respectfully. Slow is for turtles, not for crises.

My lobbying team, SMILING, Everglades Foundation Summit 2018, #Nowor NeverGlades, John Adornato, National Park System; JTL, Tori Liner, “Path of the Panther;”Mark Perry, Florida Oceanographic Society (http://www.evergladessummit.org)

America’s Everglades Summit 2018: http://www.evergladessummit.org

WRDA, Water Resources Development Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_Resources_Development_Act

EAA Reservoir: https://www.sfwmd.gov/our-work/cerp-project-planning/eaa-reservoir

Senate President Joe Negron/EAA Reservoir: http://sunshinestatenews.com/story/negron-concerned-about-initial-sfwmd-modeling-everglades-agricultural-area

CERP: http://141.232.10.32/pub/restudy_eis.aspx

Algae pouring in from Lake Okeechobee from Central Florida waters, 2016.
Algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee is estimated to be 263 square miles as shown in this NOAA satellite image on 7-2-16 shared by FOS on 7-6-16, Todd Thurlow.
Everglades Foundation handout 2018

Aerials of EAA’s A-1 & A-2, SLR/IRL

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Map giving an idea of location of A-1 and A-2
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A-1 with A-2 in distance

EAA=Everglades Agricultural Area

A-1 is a Flow Equalization Basin located above Strom Water Treatment Area 3/4 that today is part of a state program for EAA water quality improvement called “Restoration Strategies.”  The A-1 was once was part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan’s EAA Reservoir.

A-2 is to A-1’s  west and is presently in agricultural use but scheduled to become another Flow Equalization Basin as part of the Central Everglades Planning Project coordinated by the South Florida Water Management District and the Army Corp of Engineers.

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Over the weekend, I asked my husband, Ed, to fly me over the A-1 and A-2. He rolled his eyes as he does when I use “acronyms speak,” saying: “Just tell me where you want to go….and get a map.”

I got my old Florida Atlas & Gazetteer that works just fine…

As Ed drank his coffee, I gave him the plan.

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“Well we’re going to fly west over the C-44 Canal and then go south around Lake Okeechobee until we get to Belle Glade and there we are going to follow the North New River Canal south adjacent to Highway 27 until the bend, and the A-1 and A-2 should be just past there….”

Ed looked at me like I was crazy, smiling; I remind him that’s why he loves me and we were off!

Today I am sharing our photos of the area of the A-1.

Sit back and enjoy the flight…

Jacqui

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A-1 with A-2 lands in distance

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CEPP:http://141.232.10.32/pm/projects/proj_51_cepp.aspx
Restoration Strategies:https://www.sfwmd.gov/our-work/restoration-strategies
EAA Reservoir what was completed before change to FEB:http://www.barnard-inc.com/projects/environmental/eaa-a-1-reservoir-environmental
Senate President Joe Negron’s Reservoir goal:http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-lake-okeechobee-reservoir-negron-20160809-story.html

Talking About It! Even If They Didn’t Let Us Talk! FL Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources, SLR/IRL

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Dr Wendy Graham, UF

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Committee Members: Senator Bradley, Chair; Senator Book, Vice Chair; Senators Braynon, Hukill, Hutson. Mayfield, and Stewart

Yesterday, January 11th, Florida’s Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources met in Tallahassee. The Legislative Session has not formally started, but as most things in life, the most important stuff happens ahead of time….”in committee.”

The topic was “Discussion and testimony relating to the options for reducing harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges and Everglades Restoration.”

This meeting is being held because of Senate President Joe Negrons’ proposal to buy 60,000 acres of land in the EAA south of Lake Okeechobee for a  Reservoir. file-page1.jpg

Yesterdays’ meeting was just informational, but first impressions are very important. And anything can be killed in committee.

I think the meeting went very well. “Everyone was represented:” East Coast; West Coast; Florida Bay; The Glades and agencies or organizations of those who presented. I thought it was great. Great to see people in power and those with knowledge talking about this important issue. Remember that just a few years ago, many in Tallahassee thought the Indian River Lagoon was a movie from the 50s.

Many people drove over 12 hours to speak but Chair Bradley did not allow public comment. Bullsugar, River Kidz, Glades Residents, Islamorada, Florida Bay, CaptainsForCleanWater, Stuart residents, Ft Meyers residents, Realtors, Hotel Owners, Business Owners and more…This is very disappointing, but certainly “The Powers That Be” knew everyone was there, and surely “They” are taking about it behind closed doors.  It makes an impression when the chamber is full because those politicians know that for every person there, there are hundreds, if not thousands behind him or her who did not come…The “Powers that Be” know this. And Senator Negron knows who came too. Surely he does. He appreciates this! He is motivated by this!

Having a full-house in a sub-committee room is not an everyday occurrence for these folks. Unlike our county government the State is not as practiced at this. They generally get to operate in a vacuum–Tallahassee being so far away! Not good!

Time was short and messages many, so Chair Bradley decided to cut the meeting presenters basically in half. Thus not all the presenters who came were allowed to speak either.

Those who presented were: Senate lawyer for the committee, Ashley Istler; UF’s Wendy Graham; ACOE’s Lt Col. Jennifer Reynolds; Independent, Dr Gary Goforth; and Exec. Dir of the SFWMD, Pete Antonacci .

Those moved to January 25th were: Dr Tom Van Lent, Everglades Foundation; Drew Bartlett, DEP; and Ernie Barnett, EAA Landowners.

Overall takeaway?

There was a common theme: “we need more water storage everywhere. North, South, East and West and concerns about where the reservoir should first be or if it should be….

This is clearly a very exasperating experience for many. But isn’t it great that we are actually talking and learning about it. Together.

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Slide UF’s  Wendy Graham, needed water storage.

All presentations are linked here and are excellent resources:http://www.flsenate.gov/PublishedContent/Committees/2016-2018/AEN/MeetingRecords/MeetingPacket_3552.pdf

Committee meeting recorded by the Florida Channel Network:http://thefloridachannel.org/videos/11117-senate-appropriations-subcommittee-environment-natural-resources/

#SupportJoeNegron

Why #SupportJoeNegron ‘s EAA Reservoir? Because it Should Have Already Been Built! SLR/IR

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CEPP, 2000.
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“A1” Reservoir was never built but rather the A1 Flow Equalization Basin instead

In my opinion, one should support Senator Negron’s controversial land purchase to build an EAA Reservoir, because the Reservoir should have already been built. It is a project that has been expected for almost two decades.

A summary–

Due to water quality lawsuits against sugarcane growers, during the 1980s and 90s, the State of Florida had to build six Storm Water Treatment Areas to clean runoff water using Everglades Agricultural Area land, taking valuable sugarcane out of production. (Orange shows STAs) Unfortunately, the industry brought this upon itself as for many years its water runoff had been polluting Everglades National Park and Tribal Lands.

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The problem was so bad, that on top of the Stormwater Treatments Areas, Congress appropriated the beginnings of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Yes, “CERP” has a plan for  “EAA Storage.” A Reservoir, to be the heart of clean water flowing south. (See 4 down left of image below)  CERP (https://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/nature/cerp.htm)
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Ev. Restoration.gov:http://141.232.10.32/pm/projects/proj_08_eaa_phase_1.aspx

At the beginning of CERP it was determined that the Reservoir/s were to be built near Stormwater Treatment Areas between the Miami and New River Canals. Although they tried, the SFWMD and ACOE never got very far building the Reservoir/s and, you’ll notice “EAA Storage” is still listed on the ACOE calendar of projects, scheduled to begin in 2021. (http://evergladesrestoration.gov/content/cepp/meetings/012512/Recap_EAA_Reservoirs.pdf)

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This shows an area of the EAA Reservoir/s proposed between the Miami and New River Canals.

“Why?” You might ask, “didn’t the EAA Reservoir/s get built ?”

ACOE’s IDS or Schedule of Projects: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Ecosystem-Restoration/Integrated-Delivery-Schedule/

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Close up of latest ACOE IDS schedule. EAA Storage in white.

The Reservoir/s did not get built because Gov. Charlie Crist’s proposed an idea of US Sugar’s to purchase all of United States Sugar Corporation’s land. This did not work out, induced a halt to the building of the Reservoir, and caused great discord with the Water Management Districts and the state Legislature.  The Great Recession also made the full purchase very difficult.(http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/08/us/08everglades.html)(http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2009-09-11/news/0909100559_1_everglades-restoration-reservoir-construction-reservoir-project)

Then on top of the US Sugar and the Recession situation, a Federal law suit that had been dragging on for years was settled and really changed things for the Reservoir/s. In 2010, Governor Rick Scott, “negotiated” a long-standing EPA law suit agreeing that the state of Florida would build more water quality projects to clean sugarcane runoff in the EAA that continued to destroy fauna and pollute Everglades National Park. This “fix” became known as “Restoration Strategies.”(https://www.sfwmd.gov/our-work/restoration-strategies)

Restoration Strategies supplanted CERP’s unfinished EAA Reservoir, building a Flow Equalization Basin instead. Mind you, a shallow treatment area is not a true Reservoir.(https://www.northstar.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/SFWMD-EAA-A-1-Flow-Equalization-Basin.pdf)

Now for one last thing…

Just recently, in December of 2016, Congress authorized CEPP. CEPP consist of  six components of CERP mentioned earlier. One of CEPP’s components is the “EAA Reservoir.” This sounds great, but….

CEPP, if appropriated, will not build a Reservoir but yet another Flow Equalization Basin to be located right next to Restoration Strategy’s “A1 Flow Equalization Basin.” This new Flow Equalization Basin will be called the “The A2.” (http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Ecosystem-Restoration/Central-Everglades-Planning-Project/)

So in conclusion, neither Restoration Strategies nor CEPP will provide the Reservoir that was underway before everything changed in 2008, nor will their water come close to adding up to “a Reservoir.”

Supporting Joe Negron’s land purchase of 60,000 acres is the ground work for building a Reservoir that should have already been built!

#SupportJoeNegron

Support the completion of the EAA Reservoir!

(http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article94667592.html)

  • file-page1.jpgThe ACOE has EAA Storage on their construction schedule for 2021. By 2021 the estuaries will surly be dead.file-page1-2

Stofin Co. Inc, part of the Fanjul Empire, Mapping Out Florida’s Water Future, SLR/IRL

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The Fanjul Brothers, Plantation Services Land Report 2012

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“Who Owns the Land? Mapping Out Florida’s Water Future.”

Stofin Co. Inc. is #7 on the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council’s (TCRPC) map of land ownership in the Everglades Agricultural Area, (EAA). These lands lie on the eastern side of the EAA and comprise 7,189 acres. Stofin Co. is affiliated with Fanjul Corporation more widely known to river activist as “Florida Crystals.” As we know, Fanjul Corporation is a large sugar and real estate conglomerate with interest in Florida, the Dominican Republic and soon to be in the brothers’ homeland, Cuba, once again. The family is very influential in all politics and donates extensively to both the Democratic and Republican parties.

We can see by doing just a bit of research that some of the same officers of Fanjul Corporation are also listed in Stofin Co. Inc. such as Erik J. Blomqvist and Luis J. Hernandez.

Fanjul Corp. Sunbiz (http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=FANJUL%20M516461&aggregateId=domp-m51646-9316409f-936a-40c1-9bc9-3acc902edee5&searchTerm=fanjul%20corp&listNameOrder=FANJUL%20M516461)

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Fanjul Corp. Sunbiz 2016

Stofin Co. Inc., Sunbiz (http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=STOFIN%201856420&aggregateId=domp-185642-9100e283-b064-4a5f-8083-da9865fd09e3&searchTerm=stofin%20co%20&listNameOrder=STOFIN%201856420)

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Stofin Co. 2016 (Note many of same officers) 

Looking at our TCRPC map I have colored #7 parcels in orange just as #2 Okeelanta Corp. and #3 New Hope Sugar Co. were. As we learned earlier those too are Fanjul Corp. lands. I have just added a purple dot to differentiate. So far all in ORANGE below is Fanjul holdings.

It is interesting to compare the TCRPC map with the historic maps also below and note the “shape” of the original “river of grass” before it was dammed and destroyed by agricultural development in the EAA. Note how the river veered off to the right, or in an eastly direction. Surveyor, Chappy Young’s map shows the westerly development over the years into the “Everglades’ agreeed boarder” from the east. We have swallowed her up in every direction. She needs to be restored. It only makes sense that some of the overflow water from Lake Okeechobee destroying the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon is allowed to go south again. Thank you for reading my blog and for caring about the health of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and the Florida Evergldes.

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Everglades Unknown early map from negative
Historic map from 1948 book “Lake Okeechobee” written in 1948 by Alfred Jackson and Kathryn Hanna as part of the Rivers of America Series.
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War map of the Everglades created during the Seminole Wars, 1856.
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West of the red lines shows the edge of what was once the Everglades in South Florida. Development has crept and continues to creep over this edge. (Photo/map courtesy of Chappy Young,/GCY Surveyors, 2014.)
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Senator Joe Negron’s proposed aquisition map in the EAA, 2016.

Stofin Co. Inc. (http://www.companies-florida.com/stofin-co-inc-1fym6/)

Stofin donations to politicians: (http://archive.tcpalm.com/news/indian-river-lagoon/health/ken-pruitts-lobbying-firm-harvested-150000-from-florida-crystals-since-2012-investigation-finds-ep-3-332700741.html)

Stofin donations to political parties: (https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?cycle=2016&ind=A1200)

King Ranch, King of the EAA, SLR/IRL

“Who Owns the Land in the EAA? Mapping Out Florida’s Water Future.”

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Today we learn about King Ranch, #4 on the TCRPC map of land ownership in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA).

King Ranch is full of history and mystique and part of Texas’ long US history with Mexico. They are “Americana” even on the road. Perhaps you have gotten behind a truck with their brand symbol? Maybe you own one of those trucks? King Ranch is a huge company and  has many different interests.

One of King Ranch’s major interests in Florida is Consolidated Citrus and they have an office in Indiantown in Martin County.

Not everything has been a royal flush for King Ranch. Over the decades the company has had to change out their fields because of the loss of orange groves due to canker and citrus greening. In Martin County alone basically 98% of the groves are fallow. A terrible loss.  But to remain King, one must adapt, and they have according to Stuart Magazine “growing sod, corn and sugar, as well as testing out perennial peanuts and organic rice.”

So as the orange groves die, some are replaced with sugarcane.

You may recall articles about Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature a couple of years back going to visit King Ranch in Texas with the support of U.S. Sugar Corporation money?  Yes, “these guys are buds.” They do business together and they play chess together. There are kings, queens, knights, rooks, and pawns.

So according to the map, King Ranch owns 19,755 acres in the Everglades Agricultural Area.” I have colored this in dark blue. They may not be the largest land owner, but considering their influence they certainly are King.

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Negron’s proposed land map
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TCRPC map of land ownership in the EAA 2016

*Mr. Mitch Hutchcraft of King Ranch serves on the South Florida Water Management District. He was appointed by the Governor.

King Ranch web site: http://king-ranch.com

King Ranch: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Ranch

Stuart Magazine article: https://www.stuartmagazine.com/features/farmers-martin-and-st-lucie-counties-work-grow-their-fair-share-despite-seasons

Citrus: http://king-ranch.com/operations/citrus/

Sugar: http://www.scgc.org

Consolidated Citrus: https://www.youtube.com/user/ConsolidatedCitrus

Texas Observer, King Ranch and Florida Politicians: https://www.texasobserver.org/king-ranch-heart-texas-sized-scandal/

New Hope Sugar Corporation; Can We Create More Than Hope? SLR/IRL

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TCRPC EAA map 2016
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Senator Negron’s possible land acquisition map 2016/17

 

 

 

 

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“Who Owns the Land South of the Lake? Mapping Out Florida’s Water Future.”

Today we discuss #3, New Hope Sugar Corporation. It is difficult to find much information on the company, however, it is part of the Fanjul family’s holdings. It is also the same name, as we learned yesterday, as the Fanjul charity: New Hope Charities whose mission is to help families in the Glades.

Let’s look at the charity again…

Their website reads: “New Hope Charities was incorporated as a 501(3)(c) charity in 1988 offering support to remote, distressed and underserved segments of society. The first program implemented by New Hope distributed food to needy families living in the “Glades” area of western Palm Beach County. Currently, we operate a multi-service center in Pahokee, Florida, the second poorest city in the United States. The Family Center consists of a Day Care Center, a Youth Center, an Education Center, a Health Center, basketball courts, and an open field for soccer, baseball and football.”

Now back to the land…

I have colored in New Hope Sugar Corp. in the same orange highlighter as Okeelanta Corporation, but added a red dot to differentiate. New Hope Charities above mentions Pahokee as the nation’s second poorest town. Pahokee is south of the Martin County Line along the rim of Lake Okeechobee; it is not far away.  The point of my blog series is to show landholdings, but I think the “New Hope” theme lends itself to a discussion on something more.

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New Hope Sugar Corp orange with red dot, #3. Fanjul holdings.
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Map south of Lake O, Pahokee is marked

I have been blogging for four years now,  it is becoming clear to us all that there is a bridge to be crossed, a hand to be held if we are going to go any further. Since the beginning of our river journey there have been cries from the interior of the state/south of the Lake. Cries of fear that we want to “send the water south” and destroy their cities and livelihoods…Even thought we know this isn’t so, this is understandable— and let there be no mistake about it: #GladesLivesMatter

I think it is time we talk about this openly. We must address the fears and the realities  and we must begin to help…because there is so much help we can do for these communities and for a better water future for our state.

What got me thinking on all this was researching New Hope Sugar Corporation, #3 on the TCRPC map. I realized I have never thought that much about these areas south the Lake, except maybe when my father told me some of the best football players come from Pahokee and Belle Glade. I have driven through before and I have flown over. But have I ever walked inside? No I have not. After I finish this “land south of the Lake series” I think it is time to go inside this world and see how we can help.

We have got start a conversation including the Glades communities, a plan to help the poverty in Pahokee and Belle Glade and other Glades communities. We have to talk about Everglades Restoration as a plan for everyone.  I am sure the Fanjul’s New Hope Charities with same name as their Sugar Corporation is doing great work, but why couldn’t Everglades restoration offer something more? Because in order to create more than hope, we must move beyond charity…

 

Links:

Glades Lives Matter: http://www.ussugar.com/news/icymi-glades-lives-matter/

New Hope Sugar Corp: Links: http://listings.findthecompany.com/l/29385192/New-Hope-Sugar-Company-in-West-Palm-Beach-FL

SunBiz: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=NEWHOPESUGAR%202486740&aggregateId=domp-248674-74190f46-1014-4027-89fb-78bffb22106a&searchTerm=new%20hope%20sugar%20corp&listNameOrder=NEWHOPESUGAR%202486740

Board of Dir. New Hope Charities: http://www.newhopecharities.com/about/our-board-of-directors/

Pahokee: http://www.cityofpahokee.com/Pages/index

Pahokee: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pahokee,_Florida

Pakokee: http://www.city-data.com/picfilesc/picc86312.php

Poorest Communities in Florida: http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/florida/poorest-cities-fl/

Excerpt NY Times Article, 2013… In the Glades, the “official” jobless rate has always been a joke because so few people are even on the books. Many of the agricultural jobs disappeared as vegetable production turned into sugar growing, now largely mechanized.

NY Times Article of Football Pahokee and Bell Glade and Hope of a Better Life: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/football-as-a-way-out-of-poverty.html?_r=0

New Hope Charities: http://www.newhopecharities.com

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Pahokee from the air, 2014 JTL
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Black gold around Pahokee known as THE MUCK