Today, at a Rivers Coalition meeting, Army Corp of Engineers, Lieutenant Colonel Jennifer A. Reynolds, announced unexpected news: the ACOE will stop discharging to the St Lucie River for 9 days and then resume. They have been releasing from S-308 for four days since a past weekend pause…
This halting, considering it appears to be at least partially a response to an almost completely cyanobacteria filled Lake Okeechobee, and though temporary, is a significant federal decision in the documentation of toxic/algae/St Lucie issues.
The meeting began with Martin Health CEO, Rob Lord discussing health concerns of contact with blue-green algae, and ended with LTC Jennifer Reynolds showing herself to be among other things, a gifted communicator. Please watch the videos for details of this day.
The Jacksonville District of the ACOE will be announcing its next three-year positions for Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel in the coming weeks or months. This cycle of short-lived leadership makes developing lasting relationships and, thus change, indeed almost impossible. But days like today, give one hope.
There is incredible footage of the 2016 toxic algae event caused primarily by forced discharges by the ACOE and SFWMD from Lake Okeechobee into the estuaries, St Lucie and Caloosahatchee. South Florida locals such as Mary Radabaugh, Dr Edie Widder, Dr Brian LaPointe, Mark Perry, Phil Norman, Dr Larry Brand, Dr Steve Davis, and Col. Jennifer Reynolds are prominently featured. Edie Widder’s political commentary at the end is priceless.
CHANGING SEAS Toxic Algae: Complex Sources and Solutions. Aired: 06/21/2017
Water releases from Lake Okeechobee periodically create putrid mats of blue-green algae. Scientists think water pollution is to blame, and if something isn’t done about it there could be irreparable damage to the environment, the local economy and people’s health.
You can Like Changing Seas on Facebook and attend their DIVE IN Summer series on this topic June 28th, 2017. See link:
“Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer,” Machiavelli, “The Prince”
Since the Army Corp of Engineers is military, I don’t think they will be insulted with my quoting Machiavelli. After all, the “combat” strategy of protecting the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, requires us to know what our enemies are doing, so we don’t get ambushed.
The Jacksonville ACOE is responsible for overseeing the safety of the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee which means that although many, including the South Florida Water Management District, have input, the ACOE is the entity that releases sometimes toxic polluted lake water into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and Calooshahatchee.
This is a disgusting and frustrating reality.
So how do we change this? I believe a good start is by building relationships while educating and sharing with the people of the Army Corp the awful plight of our rivers, our children, and our community.
And now, with all of your help and outcry, they “get it,” believe me.
Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t gain much traction as the ACOE changes out their leaders EVERY 3 YEARS! But over time, it will.
You have probably heard that the present Jacksonville Colonel, Alan Dodd, and Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Greco are leaving by June of 2015?
This is my second changing of the guard. Three years ago, I said goodbye to Col. Pantano and Lt .Col. Kinard. Both very good men. Again, frustrating!
I recently asked ACOE Public Outreach Specialist, Mr John Campbell why this is the policy and expressed my frustration. His response is important to share:
“As you know, the Corps is an organization within the larger U.S. Army. Similar to large corporations, the Army has embraced a philosophy of developing leaders by rotating them through different assignments.
The only decent reference I could find is DA PAM 600-3, which is 400 pages outlining the Army’s strategy on developing officers. In a nutshell, officer development focuses on the balance of breadth and depth of experience. Two to three years in a particular assignment is typical for the Army because it allows for that breadth of experience. Depth is gained through higher education, formal training, and experience gained in positions.
As officers move from job to job, the Army’s intent is to provide an overall career path that not only prepares them for higher level responsibilities, but one that prepares officers–in any assignment and given their level of responsibility–to expertly perform their job.
From my personal experience, I know that leading people and organizations shares similar characteristics regardless of the situation. A leader must initially assess a situation, oftentimes with imperfect information, before researching, developing, and testing potential courses of action. Based on this analysis, the leader decides which course of action to pursue and how to monitor and evaluate results.
By rotating through different assignments, military officers get an opportunity to put the skills above in practice whether it’s leading an infantry brigade or formulatingpolicy on ecosystem restoration.” —John Campbell, ACOE
In the past, Col. Pantano went to Afghanistan. I am not sure where Col Dodd and Lt Col. Greco are going, but I wish them well, safety, thank them for their service, and charge them to also help educate the world of our plight.
So, in spite of the web of difficulties to navigate as we say “farewell,” let us prepare! Who will the new Col. and Lt. Col. be? Mr Campbell has shared the following:
The new colonel will be Col. Jason Kirk, commandeer at the Charleston, South Carolina District. The Lt. Col., who we will be closer to as this position resides in West Palm Beach, is scheduled to be Lt Col. Jennifer Reynolds of the Washington DC office. (No photo or bio yet.) Wow. A woman. Things can change! 🙂