Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visited the Everglades Oct. 10, 2012 to see the restoration work being performed by the Jacksonville District and their partnering agencies.
A letter to Gov. Rick Scott asks him to restore pending cuts to the budgets of Florida’s water management districts responsible for the water supply and Everglades restoration.
[Everglades Review note: Same guy, Eric Bauerman, supported SFWMD / Florida purchase of US Sugar property at over inflated price. We also think the Herald errs in not bothering to get reaction from taxpayers. After all, district tax cuts (or increases) are the subject here. Bottom line is that this is another instance in which otherwise well-meaning people take the silly position that writing a blank check is the only way to help the Everglades. But come on, can we really afford this approach? Look at the ecomony!]
By Eric DraperFlorida legislators have cut conservation spending more deeply than any other part of government.
[Puzzle note: This is really confusing. Just try and follow the numbers in this piece. Draper writes: "This year, the documentary stamp tax will generate about $1.3 billion. Of that, $622 million is already pledged to pay for existing environmental bonds and other programs linked to managing land and preserving water resources....So almost half of this revenue is theoretically available for environmental spending."
If one-half the tax is already committed to the environment, what sense is there in voters approving a constitutional amendement guaranteeing that one-third of the same tax base be set aside for conservation? (After all, we already can see ithat one-half is already committed to this same purpose.)
Also, as noted in the article ("If the Legislature follows through with current projections on revenue from the documentary stamp tax, only $381 million – just 27 percent – will be available for land and water conservation.") doesn't this show that even in these lean times the Leigslature is already effectively setting aside at least one-third of the tax for the purpose sought by this group?
Anybody else confused? This is an issue that could use a hard analysis.]
Today’s news that the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is moving forward with the purchase of Mecca Farms for $55 million is, ah, interesting.
County taxpayers are going to loose their shirts...
And hey, SFWMD is spending $30 million in cash. But didn't the excutive director say following a recent expose that found the district's land buying program had deep problems that land buying was a thing of the past?
The proposed $880 million plan to restore the Everglades drew concern from all sides at a public hearing Wednesday, from environmentalists saying it didn’t provide enough guarantees, to a water district board member who called the plan impractical...
A Burmese python believed to be the largest such snake ever found in Florida has been caught in the Everglades. The University of Florida says the 164-pound snake, measuring over 17 feet long, had to be euthanized after its capture.
Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida says the plan could be improved if the sugar industry paid more forcleanup.
“Right now the sugar companies do pay a small agriculture privilege tax but that’s only used to operate some of these projects. The actual cost of building the projects is borne by the state of Florida and the taxpayers.”
Draper says that is something they can take a look at, in the future. Right now he says its critical they meet the deadline the EPA has set for the State of Florida.
Oct 3 - Fitch Ratings affirms the 'F1+' rating on the following State ofFlorida Department of Environmental Projection adjustable rate documentary stampbacked bonds, for which the state provides liquidity...
[Editor's note: The F1 rating is the highest given by the international agency.]
The chairs of the state's five water management districts say their agencies are focused on the "prudent use of taxpayer dollars" rather than on raising taxes.
They wrote a letter on Monday in response to a missive sent to Gov. Rick Scott last week by 20 former board members of the districts . The former board members asked the governor to restore funding for the districts in the wake of cuts last year imposed by legislation...
"The South Florida Water Management District — the largest public landowner in Florida — has no detailed inventory of the 1.4 million acres it owns and no formal process to sell or lease land it no longer needs..."
[Everglades Review: How many more exposes will it take before the feds and state launch an independent criminal probe of SFWMD land buying practices? Enviro groups are not making a peep about this issue, by the way. For the simple reason that the Everglades Foundation, which helps fund those groups, has been the loudest voice calling for a blank check approach to Everglades restoration and spending "whatever it takes." Also note the open and transparent handling of this issue by the board, who were briefed bfore the meeting. There was 'no discussion or comment from the public about the findings." Could it be because nobody had a chance to review the findings or knew this item would come up?].
Water managers approved a contract Thursday for $64 million to install six massive pumps in the controversial L-8 Reservoir — a move that will finally put the 10-year-old water storage system to use and jump-start new Everglades restoration projects.
The author of a book on human-disrupted ecology pities the Everglades' pythons.
Puzzle note: Emma's take on the invasive snake problem in the Everglades is practical and mature -- and deserves to be mirrored in our best thinking on all of the problems throughout the Everglades.
Here is what she says about the python problem:
"Yes, insofar as they threaten native species in the Everglades, I wish we could undo that mistake and remove them all. But it ain’t gonna happen."
I accept her view. And expert snake people I know have voiced similar views. Unless you're a purist and want to fight to keep the Everglades as it was at the turn of the cenury, how can you not agree?
I also think we benefit from exteding this attitutude toward all of the Everglades' problems. Farms and the overpopulated cities and webworks of roads and powerlines should be viewed similarly -- if you're waiting to see them all undone, "it ain't gonna happen."
Unfortunatley, if you pay attention to the environmental battle over restoration, purists are driving the agenda. They won't accpet "It ain"t gonna happen."
The result is the waste of billions of dollars and time.
Conservation is needed. Restoration is right. Best management practices are great. Standards are guideposts. But pay attention, cetrain special interests are out to eradicate farming north of the Everglades. This is their definition of restoration. And it is a purist's definition.
And that stand is simply ensuring a battle that drags on and on when there are clear, acieveable environmental goals we could be, and should have been, achieving all along.
The pity is that, as with the snakes, too few people at this point are being realitsic. Man has changed the ecology of the Everglades . We can bring it back, yes. But probably not all the way. Certainly, not to some mythical state of original purity.
As Emma writes:
"Maybe I am going overboard on my “learn to love the inevitable changes” mantra. But it is really how I feel. If the choice is to fight for a pure Everglades and lose, or to work with nature as it changes and adapts to what we humans have done to planet Earth, respecting its dynamism and resilience as it shifts to new states, I vote for the latter. Just don’t call me a python hugger. That sounds painful."
LAKE WALES | Plans for the planned Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge are likely stalled by election-year politics, a group of conservationists was told Monday.
1) Specifically, the Democrats are concerned for the president's election campaign, fearing that Republicans will charge the feds are exerting too much control over Florida matters. And, of course, the feds are.
2) This article omits one of the most important and intentionally "blacked out" facts about the Everglades restoration movement -- it is so important, in fact, that conservationists and environmentalists seem to never speak of it: The reason such conservation efforts north of Lake Okeechobee need this attention is that the highest concentrations of pollution found entering the lake come from up there and NOT from the sugar cane farms to the south of the lake where environmentalists want the public to believe the greater problem exists. But to mention such SFWMD research findings in articles like this one, or during public meetings, is too much good context apparently, or in the nicely turned phrase of a former presidential hopeful, what we have here is "an inconvenient truth."
Just when you think Florida environmentalists can't get any further out in left field, they go and drop back against the wall. I'm talking about their latest plan to budget their causes by ballot initiative.
Listen to this.
A coalition of environmental groups thinks it's a good idea to fund Everglades restoration and other environmental programs with a $10 billion marker locked into the state Constitution for the next 20 years. And, yes, that's billion with a "b." ...
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House today is expected to pass a bill that would pour $145 million into Everglades restoration projects from the Kissimmee Valley south of Orlando to a series of reservoirs in Palm Beach and Broward counties.
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