Tag Archives: Rivers Coalition

Keeping America Beautiful, Keeping Martin Beautiful–River Kidz Member, Veronica Dalton, SLR/IRL

River Kidz member, Veronica Dalton, speaks, protest for SLR/IRL, St Lucie Locks, and Dam, 2013. At this event she spoke before more than 5000 people. (Photo Sevin Bullwinkle)
River Kidz member, Veronica Dalton, 10, speaks at the protest for SLR/IRL, St Lucie Locks, and Dam, 2013. At this event she spoke before more than 5000 people. She wrote her own speech with no help from any adult. (Photo Sevin Bullwinkle.)

“Keep Martin Beautiful,” will be recognizing environmental “heroes” tonight, and one of them is longtime River Kidz member, Veronica Dalton. Veronica was nominated and is therefore being recognized at the “Environmental Stewardship Awards” for her public speaking work on behalf of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

You may or may not know, that “Keep Martin Beautiful” is affiliated with “Keep America Beautiful.”

Keep America Beautiful was founded in 1969, inspiring such things as the famous “crying Indian commercial,” and Earth Day. Keep Martin Beautiful was founded in Martin County in 1994. (http://www.keepmartinbeautiful.org/history.html)

 

Veronica Dalton with Leon Abood, Chair, Rivers Coalition, 2013. (Photo Sevin Bullwinkle.)
Veronica Dalton with Leon Abood, Chair, Rivers Coalition, 2013. (Photo Sevin Bullwinkle.)
it is estimated that over 5000 people were there at the locks that day. (Sevin Bullwinkle.)
it is estimated that over 5000 people were there at the locks that day. (Sevin Bullwinkle.)

Veronica’s journey for beauty and the river started in 2011/2012 when she was 9/10, with the founding of River Kidz. She was always a leader and the organization gave her an opportunity to showcase her speaking and writing skills. She enjoys writing and speaking about something she cares about: the river.

Even before the “lost summer” of 2013,  at a River Kidz and Martin County welcoming of state paddle boarder icon, Justin Riney, under the bridge in Sewall’ Point, little Veronica politely pushed her way up to the front of the group, looked up at me and the other River Momz asking: “May I speak? I wrote something and I have it with me….”

Before Senator, Joe Negron's Senate Committee on the Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin, 2013. (Photo JTL)
Before Senator, Joe Negron’s Senate Committee on the Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin, 2013. (Photo JTL)

I knew at this moment, Veronica had a future and would utilize the River Kidz’ mission: “to speak out, get involved, and raise awareness, because we believe kids should have a voice in the future of our rivers.”

Her speech was heartfelt. And the crowd responded with cheers and a standing ovation. Justin smiled his handsome smile and never forgot the kids!

Shortly thereafter, with her parents, Tammy and John Dalton, Veronica sat in through Senator Joe Negron’s Senate Hearing on the Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin, taking her turn to speak, showing the committee pictures she took of fighting conchs that had died at the sandbar due to the polluted freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee as well as C-24, C-23, C-25  and C-44. I’ll never forget the secret service type gentleman at the podium holding up Veronica’s sign for the Senate Committee to see!

Dead conchs. (Photo Veronica Dalton, 2013.)
Dead conchs. (Photo Veronica Dalton, 2013.)
Dear Fighting Conchs, 2013.(Photo Veronica Dalton.)
Dead Fighting Conchs, 2013.(Photo Veronica Dalton.)
Clean Water Rally, 2014. (Photo
Clean Water Rally, 2014.

I believe Veronica’s words had a tremendous effect on the Senate Committee and many of the “out  of town” Senators expressed that they were amazed by our active and eloquent youth. I smiled saying, “Welcome to Martin County.”

Veronica has spoken most recently at the Clean Water Rally in 2014 at Phipps Park, and this year in 2015, has already shown me some of her speeches she wrote at Anderson Middle School, in Stuart. She is regular speaker and writer of St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon issues at her school. She is now 12 years old.

The legacy of environmental stewardship continues; let’s all give Veronica a big hand for keeping Martin beautiful and for keeping America beautiful…

And watch out America, here these kids come!

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Keep America Beautiful/history: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keep_America_Beautiful)

Keep Martin Beautiful:(http://www.keepmartinbeautiful.org)(http://www.keepmartinbeautiful.org/history.html)

River Kidz is a division of the Rivers Coalition. Go to (http://riverscoalition.org), and then River Kidz  tab for details.

Dear Governor Scott,”Let’s Keep Working on Clean Water,” St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Let's Keep Working was Gov. Scott's reelection campaign slogan. "Clean Water"  was part of his promise and for many it is an important piece of creating jobs and a number one priority.
“Let’s Keep Working” was Gov. Scott’s 2014 reelection campaign slogan. “Clean Water” was part of his promise and for many it is an important piece of creating jobs, building the future and economy of Florida– a number one priority.

I met Governor Rick Scott when he came to Stuart during 2014, in response to the “Lost Summer of 2013,” and then again during his campaign reelection.

One of the most interesting things for me, was that he carried around a blue Sharpie pen. They say little things tell you a lot about a person’s personality….

When I gave him my booklet to sign, the booklet, Let’s Keep Florida Beautiful, dealing with Spring’s protection, his reelection campaign booklet he brought and shared with the area Chambers of Business, I handed him a ball-point pen to autograph my booklet. When he went to sign, it did not work!

He quickly reached inside his suit pocket and pulled out a blue Sharpie pen and proceeded to sign the booklet. (Photo below.)

The inside cover of Rick Scott's campaign booklet Let's Keep Florida Beautiful, 2014. Photo JTL)
The inside cover of Rick Scott’s campaign booklet “Let’s Keep Florida Beautiful,” 2014. (Photo JTL.)

As the Treasure Coast sits awaiting the ACOE opening of S-308 and S-80 structures this morning at 7:00AM, to once again pour polluted water from Lake Okeechobee into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, I would like to thank the Governor for his press release in response the releases yesterday, (below) and ask that CLEAN WATER becomes the height of his campaign promise.

I ask him, in this second round of water trouble, that he take out his Sharpie pen and fix the problem.

My personal request too, as is the Rivers Coalition’s, is that he consider the purchase of 46,800 acres of option lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area to create an area for dynamic (moving storage). A place to store, clean, and convey lots of water. Much more water than his present plans allows for.

I appreciate all that has been done by the State, but unfortunately these things are not enough to truly “Save Our River.” (http://riverscoalition.org)

Please leave a legacy of a lifetime, sir.

Option Lands Map SFWMD River of Grass, Option 1 is 46,800 acres and shown in brown. (SFWMD map, 2010)
Option Lands Map SFWMD River of Grass, Option 1 is 46,800 acres and shown in brown. (SFWMD map, 2010.)

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The Governor’s press release statement regarding releases from Lake Okeechobee starting 1-16-15:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Scott released the following statement today on the news by the US Army Corps of Engineers of upcoming Lake Okeechobee releases to the east and the west, in anticipation of upcoming rainfall levels.

Governor Scott said, “The Corps’ announcement of releases today from Lake Okeechobee proves that we cannot relent in our mission to restore Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. We must stay the course on our current water restoration commitments and complete the projects we have already started. We also need the federal government to step up their commitment to Everglades restoration by immediately requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to repair the Lake Okeechobee dike.
“The discharges from Lake Okeechobee in 2013, and the resulting harm to our estuaries, serve as a major signal that we must accelerate work on the restoration projects needed to safeguard South Florida’s waters. Addressing the environmental challenges of South Florida requires the simultaneous investment in projects to store excess water, clean polluted water and send the clean water south – away from our estuaries and into the Everglades.”
Over the next four years, Governor Scott is committed to:
• Fully fund the state’s share of the restoration of the Kissimmee River (which Governor Scott has already funded at $5 million); and
• Fully fund the construction and completion of the C-43 (Governor Scott previously funded at $18 million) and C-44 (Governor Scott previously funded at $60 million).
Focusing on completing these initiatives, while not a silver bullet, is essential to quickly increasing water storage space around Lake Okeechobee and restoring the Everglades. Together, these projects will create more than 300,000 acre-feet of new storage to help fight future releases from Lake Okeechobee.
The Governor is committed to moving forward with sending water south. This year, the South Florida Water Management District sent more than 69 billion gallons of water south, sparing the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.
###

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Prior blog post on Gov. Rick Scott’s visit and the Sharpie pen: (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2014/04/13/a-surprise-visit-by-governor-rick-scott-to-the-st-lucie-riverindian-river-lagoon/)

Northern Everglades’ Water-“Send it South,” Everglades Coalition’s Annual Conference, SLR/IRL

The Everglades Coalition is holding their 28 Annual Conference this week in Key Largo. The theme tho shear is "Send it South."
The Everglades Coalition is holding its 30th Annual Conference this week in Key Largo. The theme this year is”Send it South.”

There are many players in the world of Everglades Restoration politics and policy; today I will briefly talk about the Everglades Coalition (http://evergladescoalition.org), not to be confused with the Everglades Foundation, (http://www.evergladesfoundation.org).

You probably already know that it is the Everglades Coalition that is holding its 30th Annual Conference this week in Key Largo, Florida.

The easiest way to think about  a “coalition” is in terms of our very own Rivers Coalition. The Rivers Coalition, (http://riverscoalition.org), like the Everglades Coalition, is a membership of organizations as opposed to individuals. 501c3 (tax exempt organizations) vary depending on how they are set up, nonetheless, a “coalition” is generally an alliance of like-minded organizations, whereas a “foundation” usually has individuals serving on a board focusing on raising money. 

Organizations represent sometimes hundreds of people under one umbrella, so coalitions are very strong.

The Everglades Coalition, has been around since 1985, as is a major player in setting the direction of Everglades restoration; according to their website:

The Everglades Coalition is  an alliance of more than 50 local, state and national conservation and environmental organizations dedicated to full restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes into Lake Okeechobee, through the “River of Grass,” out to Florida Bay and the Keys.

So how does the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon play into this?

Well, we are the “Northern Everglades,” (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xweb%20protecting%20and%20restoring/other%20everglades).

Northern Everglades
Northern Everglades, SFWMD map.

And of course, as well all know, historically, our water flowed south creating the “Everglades” until in early 1900s, when agricultural and development interests, through the help of the state and federal governments, drained the lands south and around  Lake Okeechobee by building the St Lucie Canal and finishing the already started Caloosahatchee Canal as well as many others. It was a different world then. People did not think in terms or realize they were linked to their environment. It was a brutal world–one of “man over nature.” We cannot blame them, they were just trying to survive and build our county, nonetheless, those days are over, we must change our world, as today we have a different world view.

When that water was cut off,  and it must be noted it really has been cut off more every year since the early 1900s, the Everglades and all its plenty, its gifts started dying…this includes water supply for South Florida and the weight of fresh water to combat sea level rise in today’s world.

On a positive note, isn’t it wonderful that the Everglades Coalition entitled their conference SEND IT SOUTH!

Thank you for this.

And yes, it is time! 100 years of destruction has had its day. With the strength of the coalition in 2015, this message, SEND IT SOUTH, once again will be heard loud and clear in Tallahassee and around the state and world. Just in time for the legislative committee meetings going on in Tallahassee this week!

—-River Warriors and all river advocates, thank you, as I believe it was you, with your thousands that has inspired the theme of this conference.

I’ve read that TC Palm will be reporting, and independently I will be blogging starting Thursday from Key Largo. Maybe I’ll get to see you there?

Whether you are there are not, you will be there in spirit.

We are making progress!

So for fun, go outside and shout loud and clear:

SEND IT SOUTH!

And when you scream it, know, that you are finally being heard.

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EC’s link to conference program: (http://evergladescoalition.org/EVCO%202015%20Program-2.pdf)

 

The “River Lady’s Neighborhood” along the the Indian River Lagoon

 

I taught middle and high school for many years, and I still have numerous friends in the profession. Last week, I received a phone call from teacher, Maureen Breslauer, whose son now attends Bessey Creek Elementary School in Palm City. She asked if I’d like to be filmed by the school’s media specialist, Kelly Middleton, creating  a River Kidz public service announcement, as the school, headed by outstanding, Principal Defenthaler, has been learning about river issues and were having a T-shirt day. I was grateful to Maureen for the opportunity to share the concept of “River Kidz” through the morning news. The product reminded me of who I am “most,” at heart, a teacher, and very funny in that in “a moment,” I became the “River Lady.” We did it in one take! For any you who watched Mr Roger’s Neighborhood growing up, I think you’ll get a kick out of the video.

*River Kidz, a division of the Rivers Coalition: (http://riverscoalition.org) See River Kidz tab.

 

Nathaniel Reed, Nature’s God, and the Indian River Lagoon

Nathaniel Reed, in a moment of refection, Rivers Coalition meeting 2-27-14.
Nathaniel Reed, in a moment of refection, Rivers Coalition meeting 2-27-14.

Mr Nathaniel Reed is one of those people I have always admired and who has always been “bigger than life,” in my life. http://www.aapra.org/Pugsley/ReedNathaniel.html

His name came before me like sunshine throughout my youth, as someone from little Martin County, who was fighting against the “big guy,” big development, destruction of Florida’s paradise, on a local, state and national level. Someone helping our Indian River Lagoon and St Lucie River.

On the other hand, his family developed Jupiter Island so there was a balance or an irony to the big  picture. Such is life.

Over time, words like these, written by Mr Reed, in his early career, formed the basis of my world view:

“I suggest to you that the American dream, based as it is on the concept of unlimited space and resources, has run aground on the natural limits of the earth. It has foundered on the shoals of the steadily emerging environmental crisis, a crisis broadly defined to include not only physical and biological factors, but the social consequences that flow from them. The American dream, so long an energizing force in our society, is withering as growing social and ecological costs generated by decades of relative neglect, overtake the economic and technological gains generated by ‘rugged individualism’. The earth as a place to live has a limited amount of air, water, soil, minerals, space and other natural resources, and today we are pressing hard on our resource base. Man, rich or poor, is utterly dependent on his global life-support system.”

Yesterday, at a Rivers Coalition meeting, Mr Reed said he had failed in two things in his long successful environmental career. He said he has failed to limit phosphorus going into Lake Okeechobee, and that he had failed to convince others of the importance of getting  the water going south, the basic principal of restoring the estuaries and the Everglades.

He then relayed to a crowd over two hundred that the flow-way south to the the Everglades, Plan 6, was unfeasible because the sugar industry is the richest industry in the U.S. and they would block anything put before Congress to do such and the costs of the project is too much. He recommended working on a plan that would move the water southeast, through canals, into an enormous reservoir, and letting is seep southward…

I adore Mr Reed, and he will always  be a hero of mine. He looked down yesterday, and confided, that he is in “the final inning “of his life and wants to resolve this water issue before they take him out “fighting..”

Mr Reed is exhausted; he wants success in his lifetime. Of course he does.

But personally, I think to go “around the sugar industry” is perhaps not the answer as the sugar industry has a moral obligation to help with this whole debacle.

Although I respect Mr Reed’s recommendation, as Americans we must remember that sometimes it becomes necessary to “dissolve the political bands which have connected one to another, and to assume among the powers of the earth,  that which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle us…”