Tag Archives: politics

Stay on the Ride! The Many Roller Coaster Configurations of Senate Bill 10, SLR/IRL

Rollercoaster.jpg

Senate January 11 2016 – Goforth (PDF of Dr Gary Goforth’s presentation to the Senate NRAC)

screenshot
Gary Goforth, PhD

Florida Channel 1-11-17 video (go to time 1:08-1:32 to see Dr Goforth’s presentation) (http://thefloridachannel.org/videos/11117-senate-appropriations-subcommittee-environment-natural-resources/)

___________________________________________________________________________

Senate Bill 10, the bill associated with Senate President Joe Negron and his goal to stop the damaging discharges of Lake Okeechobee to the St Lucie River and Caloosahatchee… my gosh, up and then down, and then up again…Why such a roller coaster ride?

The last time I went on a roller coaster ride was many years ago when I in my twenties and teaching German at Pensacola High School. I took my IB high school students and 14 visiting German exchange students to Six Flags. I got so sick on the ride that I had to sit on a bench the remainder of the day. The students? They loved it and went multiple times! Roller coasters are not fun for everyone. But one thing’s for sure, if you’re on the ride, and you feel sick, be assured that it will end, but when it hasn’t, hold on! This bill, this ride, won’t end for another month plus, as it has to be voted on by the full Senate and achieve a matching bill in the House….

Thus far, the bill has really gone “double-full-circle-upside down-roller-coaster” in that Stuart’s Dr Gary Goforth ( http://garygoforth.net) mentioned the many configurations available to achieve “the goal” during the January 11th 2017 meeting of the Senate Natural Resources Appropriations Committee. At this time he pointed out that some of those “loopy configurations” on his visual went back to CERP’s birth year of 2000 and the first goals the state and federal government had for an EAA reservoir!

You can watch Dr Goforth’s presentation and see his handout linked at the top of this post. Gosh, I kind of feel sick, yes, there have been so many changes and so many numbers… 60,000, 14,000, 360,000, 240,000, A-1, A-2, my head is spinning! There is so much back and forth! Yes there is, but goodness, you can’t say this isn’t exciting! The St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon a roller coaster for the whole world to see! Personally, I am going to try NOT to sit out on the bench this time, how about you?  🙂

maverick-roller-coaster-cedar-point-ohio.jpg.rend.tccom.1280.960 2.jpeg

Here is a Senate staff summary of what part of the rollercoaster ride the bill is on today:

CS/SB 10:
 Establishes options for providing additional water storage south of Lake Okeechobee, including the:
o Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) reservoir project with the goal of providing a minimum of 240,000 acre-feet of water storage; and
o C-51 reservoir project with the goal of providing approximately 60,000 acre-feet of water storage.
 Authorizes the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund (TIITF) and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to negotiate the amendment or termination of leases on lands within the EAA for exchange or use for the EAA reservoir project.
 Requires lease agreements relating to land in the EAA leased to the Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises, Inc., (PRIDE Enterprises) for an agricultural work program to be terminated in accordance with the lease terms.
 Requires the SFWMD, upon the effective date of the act, to identify the lessees of the approximately 3,200 acres of land owned by the state or the district west of the A-2 parcel and east of the Miami Canal and the private property owners of the approximately 500 acres of land surrounded by such lands;
 Requires the SFWMD, by July 31, 2017, to contact the lessors and landowners of such lands to express the SFWMD’s interest in acquiring the land through the purchase or exchange of lands or by the amendment or termination of lease agreements.
 Requires the SFWMD to jointly develop a post-authorization change report with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) to revise the project component located on the A-2 parcel for implementation of the EAA reservoir project.
 Requires that if, for any reason, the post-authorization change report does not receive Congressional approval by October 1, 2018, unless the district has been granted an extension by the Legislature, the SFWMD begin the planning study for the EAA reservoir project by October 31, 2018, and proceed with the A-2 parcel project component of CEPP in accordance with the project implementation report.
 Requires the SFWMD to give preference to the hiring of former agricultural workers primarily employed during 36 of the past 60 months in the EAA, consistent with their qualifications and abilities, for the construction and operation of the EAA reservoir project.
 Establishes the Everglades Restoration Agricultural Community Employment Training Program within the Department of Economic Opportunity to provide grants for employment programs that seek to match persons who complete such training programs to nonagricultural employment opportunities in areas of high agricultural employment, and to provide other training, educational, and information services necessary to stimulate the creation of jobs in the areas of agricultural unemployment. The program is required to include opportunities to obtain the qualifications and skills necessary for jobs related to federal and state restoration projects, the Airglades Airport in Hendry County, or an inland port in Palm Beach County.
 Establishes a revolving loan fund to provide funding assistance to local governments and water supply entities for the development and construction of water storage facilities.
 Revises the uses of the Water Protection and Sustainability Program Trust Fund to include the water storage facility revolving loan program.
 Prohibits, beginning July 1, 2017, the use of inmates for correctional work programs in the agricultural industry in the EAA or in any area experiencing high unemployment rates in the agricultural sector.
 Beginning in Fiscal Year 2018-2019, appropriates the sum of $100 million from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) to the Everglades Trust Fund for the purpose of implementing the water storage reservoir projects, with the remainder of such funds in any fiscal year to be made available for Everglades projects.
The bill provides the following appropriations for the 2017-2018 fiscal year:
 The sum of $30 million in nonrecurring funds from the LATF is appropriated to the Everglades Trust Fund for the purposes of acquiring land or negotiating leases pursuant to s. 373.4598(4), F.S., or for any cost related to the planning or construction of the EAA reservoir project.
 The sum of $3 million in nonrecurring funds from the LATF to the Everglades Trust Fund for the purposes of developing the post-authorization change report pursuant to s. 373.4598, and the sum of $1 million in nonrecurring funds from the LATF to the Everglades Trust Fund for the purposes of negotiating Phase II of the C-51 reservoir project pursuant to s. 373.4598, F.S.
 The sum of $30 million in nonrecurring funds from the LATF to the Water Resource Protection and Sustainability Program Trust Fund for the purposes of implementing Phase I of the C-51 reservoir project as a water storage facility in accordance with ss. 373.4598 and 373.475, F.S.

Image 4-9-17 at 11.29 AM

Full bill with changes, Senate Bill 10 version #3, 4-6-17 https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/10/Amendment/920390/HTML

History of bill in Senate: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/00010

“Multiple combinations of location, configuration, land area and water depth can achieve the storage and flow objectives of the EAA Storage Reservoir.” Dr Gary Goforth

screenshot

Image 4-9-17 at 11.34 AM
Stay on the ride!

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

Image 1-8-17 at 3.50 PM.jpg
CEPP, 2000.
img_9231-version-2
“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.

.STA

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)
image-1-8-17-at-3-50-pm

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)

fullsizerender-2
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/

IMG_3459
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

The Swing-Bridge Between Us,#GladesCoastMatters, SLR/IRL

IMG_8127 - Version 2.JPG
Original locks at Canal Point WPB Canal, JTL
IMG_8131.jpg
WPB Canal built in 1917 at Canal Point, JTL

IMG_8133.JPG

IMG_8140.jpg
Survey marker on original lock at Canal Point, WPB Canal. JTL
IMG_8134.jpg
The beautiful iron and wood work on the original lock at Canal Point’s WPB Canal.
IMG_8141.jpg
Ironwork
IMG_8127.JPG
Pictured here: The original lock at Canal Point. I think this should be restored as a historic landmark as it was built in 1917 as part of the WBP canal and basically set us on the path we are today and is also a symbol of where we can go. The man on this lock reminded me of the story of the shared swing-bridge at Torry Island that once was part of the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart. This will be the subject of today’s post.

2016 has been an incredible year, and 2017 will be as well. In 2016, both Lake Okeechobee and the St Lucie River blew up with toxic algae, and #GladesLivesMatter was established as a voice for a way of life that could be lost…

As far as 2017, as I write this post, deals are being cut, and advocates on both sides are working to get legislative support for their positions. But during this season of light, may we also remember our interests, as they hold things we share in common rather than apart: a Healthy Lake Okeechobee and St Lucie River, as well as Local Economic Prosperity for All  are certainly goals both the Glades and the Coast desires…right now, in most areas of our combined worlds, this does not exist…

Yesterday, I toured the Glades once again with former Pahokee mayor, J.P. Sasser, someone I don’t always agree with, but definitely get along with. Someone who is teaching me a ton about the Glades, a history linked to my history, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon….

Along the journey, a noteworthy thing happened right of the bat at Canal Point, our first stop. Here, I met an older gentleman fishing along the original locks of the historic West Palm Beach Canal. As I was taking photos, I thought I should introduce myself.

“Hello,” I said, extending my hand.

“Hello.”

“Catching much?” I asked.

“Not today, but usually, yes.”

“Do you live around here?” I inquired.

“No, Tequesta.”

“Wow Tequesta? That’s pretty far away…”

“Not really,” he said. “Maybe thirty minutes. I used to come here with my father in the 1950s.”

“That’s cool.”

“And where are You from?” He inquired.

“Stuart.”

The fishing line bobbed in the water. I saw noticed a dead gar fish float by. The water doesn’t look so good, I thought.

“Have things changed a lot?” I asked.

“Yes they have,” he said, “but not a lot out here at Canal Point. That’s why I come.”

An alligator silently swam the shoreline…

“You know  your bridge is here.” the fisherman softly said,” pulling on the line.

“Wow, funny you should know that…my mom…she’s a historian. Torry Island right? They used part of the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart to build out in here in Belle Glade in 1938. It’s still here today…a swing-bridge….right?”

He looked at me holding his gaze. “Right young lady, the bridge is here….”

J.P. called from the car. The fisherman and I locked eyes.

“The bridge is here.” I repeated.”The bridge is here.”

As we drove away, I wrote something on my notepad: “2017 #GladesCoastMatters … ”

_________________________________________

Torry Island Bridge is located in Belle Glade about a 15 minute drive around Lake O from Canal Point.

“The story of the bridge’s origins flow smoothly from Corbin… The 1928 hurricane that ravaged the Glades set in motion the chain of events that would bring the bridge to Belle Glade. The storm destroyed the original dike that surrounded the lake. To build the replacement dike, the federal government spooned out a canal, separating Torry Island from Belle Glade, and used the dirt for the dike. The new canal, called the Okeechobee Waterway, needed a bridge. In 1938, state contractors built the Point Chosen Bridge, replacing a pontoon bridge with a swing bridge that was built in 1916 and relocated from the St. Lucie River near Stuart. The bridge consisted of the movable portion and wooden trestles on each end.” Associated Press article, 2009.

Link to story: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/torry-island/

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my readers! See you in 2017!

Jacqui

IMG_7539.JPG
This is the swing bridge that used to be in Stuart on the Roosevelt Bridge but is now part of the Torry Island Bridge in the city limits of Belle Glade.
IMG_7538.jpg
Sorry Island, Belle Glade.
IMG_7532.JPG
The swing-bridge looking across the rim canal around Torry Island.
IMG_7531.JPG
The Bridge Between Us…
IMG_8266.JPG
JP and JTL.
IMG_8212.JPG
J.P.’s bumper sticker

IMG_8274.jpg

 

IMG_8271.jpg
My bumper sticker/s
img_7427-2
Historic map of the Glades showing cities. Canal Point upper left and Belle Glade further west and south. WPB canal is in Canal Point and the Torry Island Bridge is in Belle Glade.

file-page1

The Mystery of the “A-1 Reservoir,” SLR/IRL

IMG_7509.JPG

Road Trip Series:

What is the A-1 Reservoir?

My recent Glades tour with former Pahokee mayor, JP Sasser, lasted seven hours, and one of the most unexpected things I got to see was Storm Water Treatment Area 3-4. I have read about the STAs, flown over the STAs, and have had many discussions with engineer, Dr Gary Goforth, who is an “Architect of the STAs,” but nothing prepared me for what I felt when I unexpectedly saw an STA from the ground, or the other mystery I’d learn about that day.

So just about when my tour of the Glades was over, JP looked at me and ask: “Do you want to see the where the big reservoir was supposed to be?”

“Yes!” I exclaimed.” The reservoir? Hmmm. I’d heard stories of “the reservoir” but I really didn’t get it. Why didn’t it get finished? And what is it today? And then of course river advocates like me are supporting  Senate President Joe Negron’s reservoir. What’s the deal with all these reservoirs? So confusing…

JP stopped the car, his blue eyes dancing: “We’ll have to drive south….”

“Please!” I begged, knowing I may never have this opportunity again.

So JP turned the steering wheel 180 degrees in the middle of all the sugar fields and headed south of Belle Glade on Highway #27– driving right along the historic North New River Canal that I did know something about.

We drove, and we drove, and we drove…through sugar field after sugar field. And then, there it was, to my right, what appeared to be blowing reeds surrounded by shallow sparkling waters, silver and white, reflecting clouds in a blue sky. Birds flew by. It was beautiful. Miles long. My eyes welled up, and I thought about how amazing it was to see water in this place…”It’s like…..the Everglades….”

We drove until we got to the SFWMD’s STA 3-4 entrance gate and I asked JP to pull over so I could get a picture. I was unsure…So to JP, a Glades local, this area has to with “the reservoir,” but here we are at an STA? As I was pondering, we drove further into Broward County and JP pointed out many new-looking pump stations to send water south. I couldn’t stop wondering about “the reservoir.”

When I got home I did some research.

I believe, in short, this is the story. Please chime in if you know more.

After lawsuit/s due to long-standing polluted EAA water impacting southern lands, and after “acts of the Legislature,” in the 1990s a “Settlement Agreement,” was obtained. Thus the state of Florida had to construct 32,000 acres of storm water treatment areas (STAs) in the EAA (Everglades Agricultural Area) to clean water leaving the EAA and going into Water Conservation Areas and Everglades National Park.

By 2000 the first of six had been constructed, and by 2004 the first water ran through. Thus the building of the STAs is associated with the law suits. At the same time, Congress was working legislatively on CERP, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. It was approved by Congress in 2000. But it was moving too slowly, so in 2006, Florida’s state legislature approved LOER (Lake Okeechobee and Estuary Recovery Plan) and under Jeb Bush chose 8 projects of CERP to “accelerate.”

One of the “Acceler 8” projects was the A-1 Reservoir. This reservoir was to be located basically right above STA 3-4 and it had three water components, one for agricultural use; one for the environment; and one for people.

Well time moves on and we are now post Jeb Bush, and into Charlie Crist’ governorship who in 2008 announced that the SFWMD would be negotiating with United States Sugar Corporation (USSC) to acquire as much as 187,000 acres of their land for Everglades Restoration! Lots of internal fighting. Environmentalist are excited about historic land acquisition, but many others are irritated that Everglades Restoration (CERP/Acceler 8) will be halted in order to purchase lands. Other sugar companies in the EAA are impacted as they share mills with USSC. US Sugar surprised everyone with this announcement. Not very nice! Some people in the ag industry are furious. Politics. Lawsuits. But such an opportunity!!! The Great Recession hits. The A-1 Reservoir and its 3 components are halted in order to possibly purchase the USSC lands.

Even more lawsuits ensue including one from the  Miccosukkee who want the reservoir completed as their lands are being depleted. Time is of the Essence.

The recession gets worse…the USSC land deal falls apart. Fewer lands are purchased. In 2010 Tea Party and “Jobs” Governor Rick Scott comes to power and negotiates with the Federal Government over of a law suit that included creating Numeric Nutrient Criteria for Phosphorus coming out of the EAA. “10 parts per billion” becomes the number. Some feel he sold out, others think it’s good.

In any case….the SFWMD now implements what the District had been planning as things were falling apart and money got tight, not a 3 part deep reservoir but rather a shallow Flow Equalization Basin, or FEB, in the A-1 reservoir lands above STA 3-4.

Thus the “Restoration Strategies,” law suit brought to the table by Rick Scott and State Legislature funded the A-1 Reservoir FEB and has more to come. What is important to note is that the A-1 FEB and the STAs were created to clean EAA sugar/agricultural runoff, due to lawsuits, not to hold, clean, and convey overflow Lake Okeechobee water that is destroying the estuaries…This is different.

And that’s why we environmentalist are talking about “a reservoir” today…a reservoir that would help the estuaries…because we don’t have one.

On the way home,  JP and I talked.

He is concerned that Negron’s 60,000 land purchase for a deep water reservoir could take so much land out of sugar production that one of the EAA’s four mills would not have enough cane to process, close, and put people out work. Pahokee cannot afford this…

“This stinks,” I thought  to myself. “Do we have to choose?” Why can’t people in the Glades and the Environment flourish? Everything is so confusing around here. This too should not be a mystery…

screenshot 3.jpg
2012 SFWMD presentation slide, Matt Morrison

Video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QKW91i-yu8

Video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-mEk_mc2wo

IMG_7510.jpg

IMG_7517.JPGIMG_7515.jpg

IMG_7519.JPGIMG_7513.JPG

file-page1.jpg

FullSizeRender 2.jpg
I noticed after writing this post that I did not report uses of reservoirs correctly thus I am adding this slide on 12-16-16, one day later. This slide shows what the reservoir compartments were proposed for in this 2012 SFWMD presentation slide by Matt Morrison. I had included “people/water supply” and this was incorrect. The entire presentation is linked below title EAA Storage Reservoirs, 2012. JTL

Timeline of Everglades Restoration DEP: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/evergladesforever/about/timeline.htm

EAA Storage Reservoirs SFWMD Matt Morrison 2012: http://evergladesrestoration.gov/content/cepp/meetings/012512/Recap_EAA_Reservoirs.pdf

A1 Reservoir history: https://www.sfwmd.gov/sites/default/files/documents/jtf_a1_feb.pdf

A1:http://xportal.sfwmd.gov/paa_dad/docs/F31147/PL9%20EAA%20A1%20Flow%20Equalization%20and%20Planning%20-%20T%20Morgan.pdf

Acceler8 :http://141.232.10.32/news/news_item_accerer8.aspx

Restoration Strategies:http://www.evergladesfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Everglades-Water-Quality-Fact-sheet.pdf

CERP:https://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/nature/cerp.htm

My Tour of the Glades with JP Sasser, Part#1, SLR/IRL

Roadtrip Series:

Part 1, Pahokee

I would like to thank former mayor of Pahokee, JP Sasser for on November 29th guiding me through a seven hour tour of the Glades! At first you may think JP and I are unlikely “friends.” Actually we have something very much in common in that we have both been mayors of small Florida cities.

Yes, there are also a few serious things we don’t have in common such as our opinion regarding land purchase in the Everglades Agricultural Area, (EAA), for a reservoir to alleviate the destruction of the St Lucie River. Also, Sasser has written extensively about concerns regarding the direction of the Rivers Coalition. I have been on the Rivers Coalition Defense Fund for six years. Mayor Sasser and I have not always been on the same page. For me this is O.K. JP and I having differences of opinion shouldn’t preclude working together. At this point in my river journey, I am going to do all I can to build relationships. To find common ground. “Common muck” should I say?

Anyway, enough politics. My tour was awesome! For this post, I will just concentrate on Pahokee.

JP and I met at Canal Point, at the USDA Sugarcane Field Station that dates back to 1920 about ten miles south of the Martin County/Palm Beach County line at the WPB Canal.IMG_7552.jpg

Pahokee has about 6000 residents. It has beautiful new schools. Many of the lands are owned by family farmers and the Fanjul family. The population is about 80% black and 20% white. Everyone I met was friendly and happy to see me.

IMG_7442.JPG
Locals fishing at marina

JP asked me where I wanted to go. I asked him to take me to the Pahokee Marina and Tiki Bar that he so famously worked for during his mayorship. This marina is within view of Port Mayaca in Martin County. JP’s dream was that this marina would become the basis for economic development and diversity of Pahokee. The city desires economic development. (http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/business/guy-harveys-resort-chain-eyes-site-in-okeechobee-c/nmwGw/)

I learned that Pahokee unlike much of the Glades is thirteen feet above the lake. It is high ground. The town is just a few miles long and 500 feet wide right along the dike. One sees dike, houses, road and then fields…Thus when the ACOE recently wanted to make improvements and “go out 500 feet out from the dike” they would have basically had to had to knock down the city.

I learned that much of the lands close to the Lake were covered with Apple Custard Trees that had been removed in the early 1900s and thus the lands have excellent deep muck soil that grows not only sugarcane, but sod, corn, vegetables, and supports tree farming. Pahokee is known as “Muck City.”

JP then took me off the beaten track to see his horses and donkeys. So here is something else we have in common. A love of animals!

We drove on…JP showed me the remains of the Pelican River which led to Pelican Bay that I had read about in my book. This was the area where the Palm Beach Times reported over 400 dead after the 1928 Hurricane. I tried not to imagine…

We then drove to Pahokee’s original graveyard that had to be moved along with its resting bodies to Port Mayaca in Martin County after the 1928 Hurricane. There was a plaque that listed those who had been buried there. A sad thought, but here is another way Martin County and the Glades are connected.

We visited the airport. Very nice. Right along the lake. In fact this area was once lake bottom. Bizarre. Hmmm…My husband Ed would like this airport I thought. More possibilities for economic development?

Again back to the dike. It always goes back to the dike…

We checked up on ACOE repairs where they had draped the pipes carrying water to the fields over the dike like spaghetti and then JP took to me to lunch….

Part #2  will be entitled: “The Best Fried Chicken of My Life.” Please see photos below.

 

IMG_7439 2.JPG
JP at Pahokee Marina
IMG_7445.JPG
Driving on road atop the dike by marina
IMG_7447.JPG
View from dike looking south. Homes stand right next to the dike.
IMG_7450.JPG
Old Pelican River
IMG_7451.JPG
Tree Farm looking from dike
IMG_7452.jpg
JP’s horese and donkeys

IMG_7454.JPG

IMG_7471.JPG
Original Pahokee graveyard at base of dike

IMG_7472.jpg

IMG_7475.JPG
Old Graveyard
IMG_7476.JPG
Pahokee’s nice new roads with lovey houses on right and fields on other side of road
IMG_7477.JPG
Canal and control structure to fields
IMG_7486.PNG
Location of airport, once lake bottom

IMG_7481.JPG

IMG_7487.JPG
JP
IMG_7489.JPG
Repair of dike ACOE with water for irrigation from lake over dike so they can get to culverts

IMG_7493.JPGfile-page1file-page1-2

The Road of No Return, Connors’ Highway, Lake Okeechobee, SLR/IRL

Fingy Conners, History’s Forgotten Villain

Video about Fingy Connors:https://www.buffalorising.com/2013/09/fingy-conners-historys-forgotten-villain/

Canal Point, the lake town just south of today’s Martin County line, was once an epicenter of life changing activity, a road trip there is no turning back from…

As we learned previously, in 1917, the construction of the West Palm Beach Canal created Canal Point, the town of lumber-man and developer, Mr. Gilbert A Watkins. During this era, planting sugarcane in the rich muck soils surrounding Lake Okeechobee was becoming even more of a rage and the federal and state government helped it take shape.

In 1913, Florida’s Internal Improvement Fund appointed an engineering commission to study the feasibility of draining the Everglades. At this same time, roads were assessed. In 1919 those belonging to Southern Land and Timber Company, Hamilton Disston’s heirs’ lands around Lake Okeechobee–some that became Watkins’—were determined to be “inadequate.” The only east/west road was Jupiter -Indiantown, and that was not enough.

Nationally, it was all the rage to be part of South Florida’s new-found” investment. “Buffalo’s New Yorker, Fingy Connors, was perfect for the job. He’d lost his thumb when he was young, but this didn’t keep him from grasping or getting what he wanted. After a visit to the area celebrating the building of the West Palm Beach Canal, he bought lands in the area of Canal Point and built his road.

Connors’ Highway Toll-Road became an “engineering and development marvel” and all knew it was Fingy’s skill as a big time political boss that got it done. Like the video and biography in this post implies, some saw him as a villain, and others as a hero…

What is for sure, is that although a large section of the road was built from Canal Point north to Okeechobee, it later was extended under the lake and across the state becoming Highway-80, paving the way for the future of the sugar industry  and what would  evolve into the riches of the Everglades Agricultural Area.

Fingy-Conners-Buffalo-NY 2.jpg

____________________________

William Fingy Conners

Tycoon, Saloon Boss, Businessman, Politician, Philanthropist:

William J. Conners, aka Fingy (1857-1929) was born in the slums of the Old First Ward. Fingy obtained his nick-name because he lost his thumb when he was young. When he was 19, his parents passed and he acquired a small saloon/rooming house on Louisiana St. He then bought a 2nd saloon on Ohio St. With Conners’s flashy, tough personality, he managed to form contracts to supply labor all across the Great Lakes utilizing 1,000s. His men would eat, sleep, drink, and spend their earnings at his saloons. He had sovereignty over the work force for over a decade. Next in life, he became a leading real-estate developer, operated his own paving company and brewing company, poultry farm, and started the early stages of the Courier Express. Conners definitely tested the waters by reducing wages of grain scoopers which caused a strike. This strike caught nation-wide attention, as 8,000,000 bushels of wheat were backed up. After dipping into politics, he came to control 85% of the packaged freight business on the Great Lakes (Great Lakes Transit Corporation). Conners donated a small fortune to Buffalo’s poor. Later in life, Fingy resided in Florida for half of the year. Floridians considered Fingy to be of hero stature.

HISTORIC PHOTOS CIA FLORIDA MEMORY, CONNORS’ HIGHWAY 1920s.

pr07727.jpg
Connors’ Hwy. toll area with non-diked Lake Okeechobee in background ca. 1925. (Florida Memory Project)
KOR0872.jpg
A car drives along Connors’ Hwy. with Everglades fauna to right. (FMP) 
n045289.jpg
Connors’ Hwy and Everglades fauna. 

n031638.jpgn031637.jpg

rc13433.jpg
Cistern with Lake O in background.
pr04251.jpg
Connors’ Hwy along area of canal or rim canal-here I am uncertain but this photo too is included in the Florida Memory Projects documentation of the Connors’ Hwy. 

HISTOROR MARKER TEXT AND PHOTO

2016_11_05_14_09_00-1.jpg

IMG_6481.JPG

*Thank you to my mother for the photos retrieved from Florida Memory and the write up of the historical marker and the video history.

Palm Beach Historical Society:http://www.pbchistoryonline.org/page/land-boom-and-bust-conners-highway

https://dedicatedtobuffalo.wordpress.com/history/defining-men/fingy-conners/

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

FloridasFanjuls_lg.jpg
The Fanjul Brothers, Plantation Services Land Report 2012

file-page1-2.jpg

“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)

IMG_6196.jpg
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)

IMG_6198.jpg
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.

IMG_6202.jpg

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.
war map
War map of the Everglades created during the Seminole Wars, 1856.
line for everglades
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.)
file-page1.jpg
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)