Tag Archives: Washington DC

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

JTL not a happy camper ~at the zoo 1968

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

The 1968 photo has become a family classic.

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

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

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

I smiled, but deep down inside I was frowning.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Negron, ACOE, Inflicted Harm is not Safety, SLR/IRL

Senator Negron 2014, JTL

President Negron’s recent press release about his visit to Washington DC to discuss Lake Okeechobee discharges is below as addressed to the Florida Senate. It pleases me to see that his words are in keeping with his first op-ed on the issue published in TCPalm on October 17, 2012. Some people don’t realize how long Senator Negron has been working on this.

In 2012 Senator Negron wrote:

“While the Corps claims that public safely is its top priority, it ignores calamitous results actually inflicted on the St Lucie Estuary. Its erroneous logic goes something like this: in order to avoid possible harm, we will inflict certain harm. The Army Corps is killing our oyster beds and sea grasses, while turning the St Lucie River into a grotesque brown cesspool unfit for swimming or fishing…”

Senator Negron 2014, JTL

President Office — Press Release

March 2, 2017
CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 487-5229

TO: All Senators

FROM: Joe Negron, President

Florida Senate: http://www.flsenate.gov/Media/PressReleases/Show/2658

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I had the opportunity to meet in Washington with Senator Rubio, Senator Nelson, Members of Congress, senior budget staff, and high-level representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the best way to reduce and ultimately eliminate the devastating discharges from Lake Okeechobee. After completing these meetings and reviewing related documents, here are five things I know:

1. If Florida advances funds to complete the rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee, the federal government will not repay the money to Florida. We will have simply spent hundreds of millions of dollars of General Revenue funds on what is unquestionably a federal responsibility.

2. As I have consistently advocated from day one, Florida’s best scientists should determine the Lake Okeechobee Release Schedule (LORS) and not the Army Corps of Engineers. Achieving this goal would take an act of Congress, a highly unlikely outcome.

3. Once the Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation is complete in 2024, the Army Corps of Engineers is not committed to storing one more gallon of water in Lake Okeechobee. The LORS must go through a multi-year review process, with the Corps predicting only negligible modifications to the release schedule. The Corps wants to avoid expected negative impacts it believes would result if the Lake is managed at higher levels than the present.

4. Under both the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), redirecting damaging Lake Okeechobee discharges southward to improve the flow, timing, and distribution of water through the Everglades has already been authorized. The issue is not if we will have additional southern storage, it is when and where.

5. If the Florida Legislature approves and funds additional water storage south of Lake Okeechobee, the Army Corps of Engineers will reevaluate the order of priority in the 2016 Integrated Delivery Schedule (IDS). Florida is a partner in Everglades restoration and its decisions influence and impact federal participation in the 50-50 matching program. An example of this reality is the Corps’ recent initiation of the Lake Okeechobee Watershed one year earlier than planned after adverse discharge events.

I look forward to discussing this important issue further when we reconvene in Tallahassee next week.

The River Doesn’t Belong to a Political Party; It Belongs to All of Us, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

A newly elected Congressman Partick Murphy holding recycled FDOT signs painted by the River Kidz. The flag sign was taken to Washington DC and displayed in the front office, 2012.
Newly elected Congressman Partick Murphy holding recycled FDOT signs painted by the River Kidz. The flag sign was taken to Washington DC and displayed in the front office, 2012.

I support politicians that work in the interests of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. The river doesn’t belong to a political party; it belongs to all of us.

The St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon doesn't belong to a political party; it belongs to all of us.
Image 2014, bullsugar.org.

Just over a month ago, I wrote a blog entitled, “Why I Support Senator Joe Negron,” a Republican, (http://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2014/08/26/why-i-am-such-a-big-supporter-of-senator-joe-negron-indian-river-lagoon/),  and today I am writing in support of Congressman Patrick Murphy, a Democrat.

I am a registered republican.

To me, people are more important than their political affiliations.

From the beginning Patrick Murphy displayed that he wanted to work with everyone. After winning Florida US House District 18, he came to Martin County and met with leaders of all municipalities and the county, together.  He introduced  himself and ask us what issues were most important to us. The health of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon was the top agreed choice and Patrick got to work.

Looking back, little things say a lot.

I recall I was impressed that he wasn’t afraid to get his “hands dirty.” He immediately participated in an oyster restoration event in Ft Pierce with St Lucie County Commissioner, Chris Dzadovsky. Dzadovsky ended up suffering from a skin infection due to an oyster cut during the oyster deployment….Congressman Murphy quickly caught on to the seriousness and the extent of the Martin, St Lucie river problem and how much the river’s improvement meant to the local people.

Another plus for me was that he quickly befriended the River Kidz and took their call for “getting involved, speaking out, and raising awareness”seriously. Some members even went to Washington DC to participate in his IRL meeting with congressional leaders. Now that’s a first!

Patrick’s list of accomplishments is broad including pushing hard for monies for the C-44 Storm Water Treatment and Reservoir for C-44 basin runoff; and CEPP, the Central Everglades Planning Project that if ever approved will divert about 12% of Lake Okeechobee’s water south, and monies for the National Estuary Program’s revamping. The list goes on, please see image below.

Flyer on front desk inPatrick Murph's Stuart office.
Flyer of Murphy’s IRL “Action and Advocacy.”(Click to enlarge.)
Side 2 of flyer
Side two of flyer.
Congressman Murphy in Washington DC with River Warriors, River Kidz and others, for session on IRL., 2013. (Photo Nicole Mader.)
Congressman Murphy in Washington DC with River Warriors, River Kidz and commissioners, and others, for session on IRL.  In spite of a government shutdown,  many congressional leaders met with the group. (Photo Nicole Mader, 2013.)

I know over time there is a lot more to do. But the young congressman is off to a great start and most important, we have developed a relationship with him. We must keep this relationships going.  For in the end, no political party will save the river; it is only people and their relationships that can do that. 

Patrick at fundraiser held in the Town of Sewall's Point, 2013.
Patrick at fundraiser held in the Town of Sewall’s Point by Karen Cahan. Sewall’s Point is known as a “republican enclave,”  2013.
Speaking on behalf of Congressman Murphy at his campaign headquarter in Stuart, 2014.
Speaking on behalf of Congressman Murphy at his campaign headquarter in Stuart, 2014.


Campaign commercials I have done in support of Congressman Patrick Murphy, Democrat and Senator Joe Negron, Republican, 2014.

Congressman Patrick Murphy commercial IRL: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdODyl-tFE0&feature=youtu.be)

Senator Joe Negron commercial IRL(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLDSi4EsPJU)