Tag Archives: TCRPC

Everglades Agricultural Area Land Ownership, The Few That Do…, SLR/IRL

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

Today I will complete 1-10 listed on the  Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council’s map of Everglades Agricultural Area land ownership. As I did not go into the great detail as I did with 1-7 previously, I have included informational links to 8-10.

My husband, Ed, told me my multi-colored map showing land ownership was getting confusing with parts 1-7, so I have tried to simplify and re-color code it below. This hand-made map is by no means perfect and certainly has errors, but gives an idea.

What have we learned in the past seven posts? Well it appears the Fanjul Family owns at least 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9 on the map and U.S. Sugar Corporation owns 1 and 6. #4 is King Ranch; #5 is Wedgworth Farms. They are independent. #10, New Farm Inc., was not listed on Sunbiz, but I did find it listed in law suit regarding contamination of lands from 1985. I will try to learn what is the status of these lands, and if I am missing something.

Below you will find each corporation 1-10 linked to SUNBIZ listing officers and the 1985 law suit of New Farms Inc. As you go through the links you will start to recognize some of the names. Through recognizing the names you will see who owns what and the connections.

Names aside, it is clear that most of the 700,000 acres in the EAA is owned by only a handful of corporations and powerful families…

This entire series was started because of Senate President Elect, Joe Negron’s proposal for land purchase to store, clean and convey waters south the Everglades (the circles on bottom image). This controversial subject will come up during the 2017 legislative session. Land ownership will be important information to have on hand. Purchasing lands in the EAA is not a far-fetched idea. A third outlet south of the lake and moving water south is the only way to truly alleviate the destruction of our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. We must advocate for this goal!

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TCRPC EAA map
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color coded map of landownership JTL

1. United States Sugar Corporation (USSC): http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=UNITEDSTATESSUGAR%208038790&aggregateId=forp-803879-06bef4db-0feb-469e-ba23-3f2147d91a1f&searchTerm=united%20states%20sugar&listNameOrder=UNITEDSTATESSUGAR%208038790

2. Okeelanta: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=OKEELANTA%20P043840&aggregateId=forp-p04384-ee043bd3-b794-4ca2-ae09-211c05e3ec48&searchTerm=okeelanta&listNameOrder=OKEELANTA%200065250

3. New Hope Sugar Co.: 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

4. King Ranch Inc.: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=KINGRANCH%20F130000028730&aggregateId=forp-f13000002873-07eb1012-40df-444b-9bb1-1b35c2f43a67&searchTerm=king%20ranch&listNameOrder=KINGRANCH%208183400

5. Wedgeworth Farms Inc.: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=WEDGWORTHFARMS%201862360&aggregateId=domp-186236-65082899-6949-4338-be01-cf89b105e43b&searchTerm=wedgworth%20farms%20inc&listNameOrder=WEDGWORTHFARMS%201862360

6. SBG Farms Inc. : http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=SBGFARMS%206834482&aggregateId=domp-683448-93ceb6fc-2d8d-4267-90ca-bfd54e7816bf&searchTerm=SBG%20farms&listNameOrder=SBGFARMS%206834482

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

8.Closter Farms Inc. : http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=CLOSTERFARMS%202508760&aggregateId=domp-250876-79fb7957-038f-4096-a343-495fa054c721&searchTerm=closter%20farms&listNameOrder=CLOSTERFARMS%202508760

Sun Sentinel Article: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1986-01-08/news/8601020253_1_pahokee-farms-everglades-agricultural-area-bidder

9. Sugar Cane Growers:
http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=SUGARCANEGROWERSCOOPERATIVEFLO%207908250&aggregateId=domnp-790825-cddfd255-2b6a-40f1-9b5c-a1662cd054bb&searchTerm=sugar%20cane%20growers%20ass&listNameOrder=SUGARCANEGROWERSCOOPERATIVEFLO%207908250

(Website: http://www.scgc.org) It appears that George Wedgeworth founded the Sugar Cane Co-op in the 50s but it is associated with the Fanjuls today.
(http://www.asr-group.com/about-us/our-owners/)
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_Cane_Growers_Cooperative_of_Florida)

10. New Farms (Not active on Sunbiz)
1985 SFWMD Law suit: http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F3/84/402/568666/

*10/25/16 addition: Thank you to reader Bob Washam who sent me the following link after reading my post whose officers show New Farm Inc to be a Fanjul property as well: (Jacqui here is a possible link to the officers of New Farm, Inc.

http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=NEWFARM%20F393840&aggregateId=domp-f39384-e8cc8894-5dd0-436a-922b-8f2b597397d2&searchTerm=new%20farm&listNameOrder=NEWFARM%20F393840)

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Senator Joe Negron’s land acquisition map 2016

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanjul_brothers#Various_business_holdings_and_ventures

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Posted 10-27-16 after blog reader and friend, Bob Washam, sent in the Sunbiz info for New Farms Inc. that shows this too is a Fanjul property. JTL

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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)

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

Okeelanta Corporation, Mapping Out the Future of Water, SLR/IRL

file-page1-2.jpgToday I will continue my series “Who Owns the Land South of Lake Okeechobee? Mapping out the Future of Water.” Hurricane Matthew caused a slight interruption, but now we shall continue. 🙂

Here we go!

Number two on the TCRPC map (above) is Okeelanta Corporation. “Okeelanta is a division of Florida Crystals, the word is a combination of two made into one. “Okee,” coming from “Okeechobee,” and “lanta,” coming from “Atlantic.” Cleverly named for a location between Lake Okeechobee and the Atlantic Ocean. Okeelanta was a historic town founded by writer and politician Laurence E. Will’s father. The town stood about one mile below South Bay. It was destroyed in the 1928 Hurricane: http://www.pbchistoryonline.org/page/okeelanta

I’m not sure if the company Okeelanta is named after the town, but I believe it was bought, and I know it is now owned by the Fanjul family of Cuba who owns Florida Crystals. As many of us know, the Fanjul family came to South Florida because of Fidel Castro’s 1959 Marxist Revolution. The family moved to Florida along with other wealthy, dispossessed families. Here with the support of the US Government the Fanjuls rebuilt their fortune as the US grew to be a leader in the world sugar trade, at the expense of the Florida Everglades.

In regards to the map, it must be noted that compared to US Sugar Corporation, the Fanjul family are relative”newcomers.” This is why their land holdings are further south of Lake Okeechobee. They acquired lands as the industry expanded after 1960.

Sometimes I say “until the Cuban Revolution there were only 100,000 acres of sugar cane in the EAA.” This is probably off, but you get the point. As Laurence E. Will in his historic book noted in a previous post: “After the Cuban Revolution, for a short time our government permitted the unrestricted panting of sugar cane…”

Again I stress that the expansion of these lands by the US Government is what allowed this area to be convered from Everglades to sugar fields, and it is only our state and national governments that can encourage and fairly compensate land owners for lands purchased in the EAA to allow water storage in an area that should never have been 100% developed in the first place. We have to encourage land owners to please be a part of the solution of allowing storage of excess water and helping more clean water move south…

According the TCRPC map Okeelanta owns 86,793 acres of land in the Everglades Agricultural Area, (EAA.) A lot!

I have colored in the #2s  with orange highlighter so you can see these lands more clearly and how the intersect with Senator Joe Negron’s circles for possible proposed land acquisition. Remember that 9 days ago I colored in United States Sugar Corporation’s (USSC) lands in purple crayon. They are #1.

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So now we can clearly “see” what lands are owned by USSC and by Okeelanta.

“Okeelanta Corporation, a sugarcane company, engages in farming, milling, packaging, and distributing sugar cane. It has a 67,000 acres facility that includes cane fields, a mill, refinery, packaging and distribution center and a power plant. The company was incorporated in 1984 and is based in West Palm Beach, Florida. Okeelanta Corporation operates as a subsidiary of Florida Crystals Corporation.”

As we shall see in future posts, the Fanjul holdings have various names, thus they own more land than noted in the map above. Like them or not, the family is clever just like the name “Okeelanta” and infamous for their political influence. The two most well known brothers are noted for ties to different political parties:  Alfonso Fanjul, Democratic Party while Pepe, contributes to Republican Party. For the record the other brothers names are Alexander and Andres. And they have a sister. Her name is Lillian Banjul Azqueta and she is president and founder of New Hope Charities.

As controversial as the family is, they do a lot of good for the poor Glades communities and they own what we want. We must work together for a better water future for Florida that includes our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

Vanity Fair article IN THE KINGDOM OF BIG SUGAR: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2001/02/floridas-fanjuls-200102

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

Okeelanta Corp.: http://broward.jobing.com/florida-crystals-okeelanta-corporation

Florida Crystals: https://www.floridacrystals.com

Fanjul Bros. WIKI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanjul_brothers

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Senator Negron’s proposed land purchase map 2016/17

“Old Granddaddy,” United States Sugar Corporation-Who Owns the Land in the EAA…SLR/IRL

Who Owns the Land in the EAA…SLR/IRL, Part 1

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US Sugar Corp. Clewiston, Fl 2013, JTL

 

file-page1-2Today we start learning about land owners inside the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) as listed on the above map; some will own land within Joe Negron’s proposed circles for land acquisition, and some will not. In any case, we should know them all.

#1 United States Sugar Corporation, “Old Granddaddy”

When talking about United States Sugar Corporation, (USSC), we must remember that we are talking about “Granddaddy,” the oldest of the sugar producers of the EAA. Granddaddy is listed on the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council’s map as owning 140,451 acres of EAA land. I have colored the #1s in with a purple crayon to get a better idea of how these lands line up with Joe Negron’s  circles. This non-tech approach I’m sure has my brother Todd cringing, but for me, a former 8th grade teacher, it works! Mind you it is just a “guestamation.” 🙂

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Perusing the #1s I’ve colored in, we see vast land holdings. USSC has a long history in Florida, rising from the ashes of the failed Southern Sugar Company of Clewiston of the late 1920s to their Godlike political and production influence today. USSC owns some of the “muckiest of the muckland” closest to the lake, as they were there first. They own the most black gold….

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General Collection Florida Memory, Clewiston  ca.1929.

How did they rise to such power?

It was auto industry legend Charles Stewart Mott’s applied business principles and a twist of fate in the American political climate that lifted USSC to its tremendous status. Let’s review…

Mr Lawrence Will, well-known historian for people like my mother wrote in his 1968 book, “Swamp to Sugar Bowl:”

“…although Southern Sugar Company owned some 100,000 acres  of the best land around the lake, under U.S.  government regulations, the state of Florida was permitted to produce only nine tenth of the one percent of the nations needs. However, when Fidel Castro took over Cuba the Everglades reaped the benefit. For a short time our government permitted the unrestricted planting of sugar cane. Oh Brother, you should have seen how cow pastures and vegetable fields were plowed up and planted! Now we have 189,500 acres of sugar cane in the Glades.

By the 1980s USSC became a leading sugar producer in the United States as they are today. The key here is the effect on our waterways due to the politics of the Cuban Revolution.

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Jumping ahead to 2007/8, an unprecedented opportunity was presented: Granddaddy offered a full buy out. USSC was on the table. Incredible!  But not everyone liked then Governor Charlie Christ nor did the legislature appreciate him taking the situation into his “own” hands…nor did all trust US Sugar. The state had been implementing CERP since 2000. Now this giant opportunity was a gift but a wrench as well. Environmentalists were excited but wary. Politicians took sides. Other sugar companies fumed.Tempers flared. Blame. Intrigue. Posturing…Sound familiar?

Anyway, by the time the Great Recession bit down on the nation full force in 2010, a smaller land purchase had been negotiated by the SFWMD, and the drama of Florida politics and sugar was playing out. The land sale was but a shadow of its former self for Everglades Restoration and USSC left an option on the table through 2020 just in case there’s ever money in system again.

Exhausting.

where option?
After the SFWMD killed the EAA US Sugar Lands option, where do we go from here? (Map Everglades Foundation, River of Grass 2008.)

So …Granddaddy is still in control. But before we leave him, let’s remember this:

One of the unintended consequences of the proposed 2008 USSC “failure” we forget to talk about (sometimes in the excitement of hoping one day USSC  will willing want to see their lands again,) was the halting of “more than a dozen projects already under way in 2008.

…among them (was) a massive reservoir in western Palm Beach County that was seen as a major step toward restoration of the Everglades.” (New York Times.) This reservoir would have alleviated discharges to the estuaries. This would have been a reservoir similar to the one we wish to create now.

Yes, the A-1 Reservoir, as it was known, was hit on two sides: halted for the USSC land purchase, and it also collided with yet another water issue, a law suit with the federal government over water quality standards, RESTORATION STRATEGIES. This one was guided to a close by then new Governor Rick Scott.

Thus the A-1 Reservoir became a shallow rather than a deep water reservoir. She never came into her full glory…

In in any case, the deep water reservoir needs to be back at the top of the list. Maybe if he’s in a good mood this year, Granddaddy can help her out. 🙂 Let’s be sweet and see what happens…becasue nothing will happen with out Granddaddy….

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A-1 Reservoir SFWMD 2006: https://my.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/pg_grp_sfwmd_wrac/portlet_wrac_archive_reportsdocs/tab772049/wrac_090606_eaa_waldeck.pdf

Restoration Strategies, State of Florida http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xweb%20protecting%20and%20restoring/restoration%20strategies

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“What is on the horizon out there ?”

Palm Beach History On-Line:(http://www.pbchistoryonline.org/page/charles-stewart-mott)

Money in Politics over the years, US Sugar Corp. (USSC PAC):
(https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?cycle=2016&strID=C00234120)

USSC website: http://www.ussugar.com

USSC website History: http://www.ussugar.com/history/

Charles Steward Mott, Paternalism: https://books.google.com/books?id=L61EXdbA0tMC&pg=PA122&lpg=PA122&dq=paternalism+mott&source=bl&ots=QicMQ4XVTZ&sig=lLjrrQibXcZ5AOc_L_X9i1IfYFk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwir79Cc27TPAhXM5yYKHe0lDdIQ6AEIJDAC#v=onepage&q=paternalism%20mott&f=false

CERP 2000, today:http://141.232.10.32/pm/projects/project_list.aspx

Tampa Bay Times US Sugar Leaving 2008 :http://www.tampabay.com/features/clewiston-the-town-that-sugar-built/644408
http://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/IR/00/00/37/82/00001/FE75400.pdf

New York Times, USSC sell off: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/us/13everglades.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FUnited%20States%20Sugar%20Corporation&action=click&contentCollection=business&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection&_r=0

New York Times Everglades and USSC Selloff: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/08/us/08everglades.html?action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&module=RelatedCoverage&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article

IRL Economic Valuation Update 2016, TCRPC, SLR/IRL

 

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Today I will share the “Indian River Lagoon Economic Valuation Update 2016” as presented  by the Treasure Coast Region Planning Council on July 15, 2016.

Links are provided for full review; as an overview, the conclusion states:

“This economic valuation update is not a status report of the IRL’s environmental health or how to address human related impacts affecting its long-term sustainability. The report simply serves to measure the economic value the IRL region stands to lose if it does not eliminate regional and local environmental inputs that are degrading the health and productivity of this estuary of national significance…the health and sustainability of the IRL will be a key determinant in the future of the region’s economy, public health and other natural, cultural, and societal values that are collectively worth far more than what has been quantified in this report.”

Power Point Presentation: http://www.tcrpc.org/council_meetings/2016/July2016/Final_Reports/CEDS%20Committee%20Update2.pdf

Final Report: http://www.tcrpc.org/special_projects/IRL_Econ_Valu/IRL%20Economic%20Valuation%20Update%20Final%20Report%2006-24-2016.pdf

Packet information, summary first page: http://www.tcrpc.org/council_meetings/2016/July2016/Final_Reports/11_IRLValuation.pdf

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TCRPC, Micheal Busha, Ex. Director. 2016 Michael Davis, chair: JTL ,vice -chair, http://www.tcrpc.org

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Are Lake Okeechobee’s Drained Lands Really Ours to Navigate? SLR/IRL

Lake O has been drained and lowered so that it is 250 square miles smaller than it was in the mid 1800s.
Lake O has been drained and lowered so that it is approximately 250 square miles smaller than it was in the mid 1800s. (SFWMD) Florida became a state in 1845.

“Navigable waters of the state” are protected under Florida law. They cannot be sold–they cannot be owned. They belong to the public…

Although the Swamp Lands Act of the 1850s allowed for drainage of Florida’s swamp lands, in some instances the drainage and claims may have been overdone. In accordance with state law “you can’t convey what you do not own.” This is part of what is known as “The Public Trust Doctrine.”

Hmmm? In all the excitement to develop, did the state break its own rules in conveying lands south and around the lake? Certainly powerful entities own those lands today.

—–That would be a bite wouldn’t it?

Let’s look a bit closer….

It is common knowledge that Lake Okeechobee has lost a tremendous amount of its former self, and that large portions of the lake have been drained and diked for agriculture and development.

Just recently while attending a  University of Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute presentation in Clewiston, Jeff Summers of the South Florida Water Management District gave a Power-Point presentation using the slide below. It shows the natural vs. altered conditions of the lake going from approximately 1000 sq miles in the 1850s  to 750 square miles today. –Thus the approximate water stage has gone from 20 feet to 14 feet. Definitely a loss of navigable waters–don’t you think? Today those lands around the lake are used for growing mostly sugarcane. Today most of those lands are “owned.” How could this be as they were once under water enough to be “navigable waters of the state?”

Slide from Jeff Summer's power point presentation SFWMD, 2016.
Slide from Jeff Summer’s power point presentation SFWMD, 2016.

The excerpt below is straight out of the “Florida Bar Journal” as shared by my brother Todd. After reading the paragraph, click on the link below to read the entire article. It is certainly worth thinking about…The maps below show land ownership.

Florida Bar Journal’s article conclusion:

The Public Trust Doctrine imposes a legal duty on the state to preserve and control title and use of all lands beneath navigable water bodies, including the shore or space between ordinary high and ordinary low water, for public use and enjoyment. The people of this state have raised the protection afforded by the doctrine to constitutional stature. In the most recent challenge to this doctrine, the Florida Supreme Court relied upon this constitutional provision in reconfirming longstanding Florida law that swamp deeds do not create a private property interest in sovereignty lands. Attempts to use swamp deeds as a justification to legislatively redefine the ordinary high water boundary and thus transfer all or part of the shore to the adjacent private owner are similarly inappropriate and unconstitutional.

Full article Florida Bar Journal, April 2001: http://www.floridabar.org/DIVCOM/JN/JNJournal01.nsf/Articles/8D98D298C0060C0785256B110050FFB7

Map of land ownership TCRPC 2016
Map of land ownership south and around Lake O TCRPC 2016. Key below.
Key
Key to above map, 2016 TCRPC.
The bigger picture. Lake O used to flow to the Everglades. Google Earth map 2016.
The bigger picture: Lake O used to flow to the Everglades but is now directed to the northern estuaries St Lucie/IRL and Caloosahatchee causing great destruction.  Google Earth, 2016.

 

Navigable Waters of the State: http://www.floridageomatics.com/publications/legal/submerged1.htm