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FORCE
FRIENDS OF THE RIVERS COALITION E-NEWSLETTER
October 2013
FLOWWAY CHAMPION TO EXPLAIN DAMAGES AND CURES
INVOLVING  DISCHARGES FROM LAKE OKEECHOBEE
You will have a chance Thursday to meet and hear in person one of the state's most respected leaders explore and describe a solution to the continuing river pollution crisis, caused by discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

Ray Judah will appear at the Rivers Coalition meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at Stuart City Hall. Judah is among the most knowledgeable and effective public figures who favor the Plan Six Missing Link flowway, which could send water south through a small part of the Everglades Agricultural Area instead of inundating the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and canals.

Judah is considered an instrumental leader in environmental issues. He served two decades as a Lee County commissioner and has been on numerous agencies and boards, especially concerning the waters. Don't miss Judah's special presentation.

Meanwhile, you're encouraged to visit the Rivers Coalition.org website and see the executive summary of the "New and Broader Plan 6 Flowway" proposal. The summary includes new illustrations which simplify where the Flowway would be located (subject to practical refinements) and make clear the fact that fixing the missing link would require only a fraction of "Big Sugar" land.

Judah will field questions on this increasingly hot issue. There's plenty of free parking. Remember, it's at 6 p.m. 
 
Agenda for Thursday, October 24th
Meeting - Thursday October 24, 2013
6:00pm-7:30pm at: The City Hall - Commission Chambers
121 SW Flagler Ave Stuart, Fl 34994
 
Business Matters
• Chairman’s Comments - Leon Abood
• Special Presentation - Ray Judah, Lee County 
• New Website - Leon Abood 
• River Kidz - Nic Mader/Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch
• Rivers Coalition Defense Fund Update - Charles Grande
• Speakers Bureau - Todd Weissing    
 
Coalition Reports
• Local Issues & Estuary Water Quality - Mark Perry
• Indian Riverkeeper Update - Marty Baum
• WRAC  “Water Resources Advisory Commission” - Mark Perry
• Federal & State Issues-CERP/IRL & Lake Okeechobee - Kevin Henderson / Paul Gray
• ROGER “River of Grass Estuary/Everglades Restoration”    - Ted Guy/John Marshall
 
Government & Agency Progress Reports
• Martin County    - Deborah Drum/Don Donaldson
• South Florida Water Mgmt District - Boyd Gunsalus
• FDEP - Jason Storrs          
 
Plan 6 Executive Summary!
New and Broader

Plan 6 Flowway
 Overview of an expansive Plan Six Missing Link Flowway that incorporates the flowway as first described by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the acquisition of limited agricultural property and inclusion of some projects outlined in the Central Everglades Planning Project.– Rivers Coalition Defense Fund, 2013 
 
JUST WHAT IS PLAN 6?

Facing sieges of disastrous discharges from inland, the St. Lucie river estuary, as well as the Caloosahatchee river to the west, must gain emergency measures to stem the releases permanently.

 
This “New and Broader Plan 6 Flowway” program would simply create a vitally needed flowpath to let water move south from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades instead of to the coastal estuaries.
 
A broadened approach includes acquisition of about 50,000 acres of the 700,000 acres in the Everglades Agricultural Area (7%). The new acreage would be tied into lands already in public hands to form the overall Plan 6 flowway.
 
WHAT ABOUT OTHER PLANS?
 
The new Plan 6 program also would embrace the most helpful features in the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), recognizing, however, that the CEPP changes by themselves will reduce discharges by no more than 14%.  A much greater reduction is necessary if estuary life and benefits are to be brought back.
 
The Rivers Coalition Defense Fund concludes that the broader Plan 6 Missing Link Flowway would be simpler, faster and less expensive than alternatives.It should be emphasized that two-thirds of the Plan 6 path is already in public hands. The remaining one-third is potentially available under a state option to purchase lands from the U.S. Sugar Corp. or other sources.
 
Although present state officials have not pursued the sugar purchase, it had been strongly supported by the previous state administration and South Florida Water Management District. Funding was found to be practical via restructured bonding. Potential benefits were judged to be far greater than costs.
 
The Water Management District’s website includes this 2008 statement regarding the purchase:
 
“Acquiring the enormous expanse of real estate offers water managers the opportunity and flexibility to store and clean water on a scale never before contemplated to protect Florida’s coastal estuaries and to better revive, restore and preserve the fabled River of Grass.”
 
A majority of other public and non-government entities also supported the purchase, which drew international favorable attention. Political changes and the economic recession, however, led to setting aside the Missing Link purchase, while preserving an option to buy that extends to 2020.
 
The Defense Fund finds that the option, or similar acquisition, must be implemented in order to provide a meaningful solution to the estuary and Everglades drainage woes that beset us. It is now up to the Water Management District, coordinating with other state officials, to execute the purchase and flowway.
 
Continuing damages to our eco-system, to our quality of life and to our economy are far too severe to accept do-little measures or distractions that only preserve the destructive status quo.
 
WHO OPPOSES PLAN 6?
 
Resistance to the flowway comes basically from industry lobbyists and allied political forces, who make two main claims.
 
One is that a series of aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) wells proposed for locations around Lake Okeechobee could drain,  store and supply water, negating the need for the flowpath south.
 
The deep-well technology is highly controversial, however. Many scientists contend that the wells would handle only a tiny fraction of the water involved and that they would be subject to dangerous exposures of pollution such as arsenic.
 
Moreover, the wells would preclude vitally needed re-hydration and re-creation of historic wetlands.
 
Costs estimates for ASR run to $1.8 billion, whereas Plan 6 outlays are estimated to be less than half of that.
 
The state of Georgia has banned ASR injections into the same Floridan Aquifer present in Florida. A wealth of information about ASR is readily available via web search engines.  
 
WHAT ABOUT THE ‘BOWL EFFECT’?
 
A second claim against the flowway concept is that the natural downward slope through the agricultural area has been disrupted by loss of soil, causing a supposed blockage of potential flow.
 
This claim is still voiced by some key officials, although it has been thoroughly discredited for many years. A careful analysis of the topography involved shows that the Plan 6 flow would work well. An evaluation of the bowl claim may be seen at RiversCoalition.org
 
WILL PLAN 6 REALLY STOP THE NASTY WATER?
 
Plan 6 can do more than any other program to curtail the discharges and restore wetlands. It was originated by the Corps itself and is supported by a host of veteran engineers and conservationists.
 
The public must demand real action for a new and broader Plan 6 Flowway,  as well as support any other potential remedies.
 
For more information see the Plan 6 Concept report at RiversCoalition.org, the Florida Oceanographic Society and other sources.
 
SO HOW DO WE MAKE ALL THIS HAPPEN? WHO MAKES THE DECISIONS?
 
It is up to both state and federal authorities to move the ball. Your insistence and support can make it happen.
 
The contracting party for purchasing the Missing Link land is the South Florida Water Management District, headquartered in West Palm Beach. It operates as an arm of the Florida Legislature. The District’s Board of Governors is appointed by the governor.The state SFWMD works in partnership with federal entities, notably the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Interior,  which in turn operate under the U.S. Congress.
 
Yes, it’s complex and there are numerous players. In the end, all of us must demand the flowway and drainage reforms.

10 Key Points

PLAN 6 FLOWWAY
River of Grass, the Missing Link
• Stops polluted discharges from Lake O to estuaries
• Needs just 15% of “Big Sugar” fields
• Simpler and cheaper than current plans
• Brings back estuary wildlife and plant life
• Restores crucial natural sheetflow to Everglades
• Stops pathogens dangerous to humans and others
• Reduces risk of Lake O Hoover dike failure
• Curtails tons of muck that degrade waters
• Restores wetlands lost to overdrainage
• Helps recharge Biscayne Aquifer and cuts waste to ocean
 
Support the Rivers Coalition and Come Out to the
Stuart Seafood Festival!


The River Kidz have had a very busy month; they spoke in
Washington, DC, supported the Environmental Studies Center, raised awareness and passed out River Kidz workbooks to local schools! 
River Kidz in Washington, DC
 River Kidz at the Environmental Studies Center
The Pine School presented a check to the River Kidz
St. Joseph's River Kidz receive new workbooks
 Redeemer Lutheran River Kidz receive new workbooks
Bridges Montessori River Kidz "Speak up for the St Lucie" and received workbooks
River Kid Ceilia Traylor received new workbook
 
Our mission is to speak out, get involved, and raise awareness  because we believe kids should have a voice in the future of our rivers.
 
The River Kidz are raising awareness, our FaceBook numbers
keep growing, we now have 412 friends. We are continuing to
work on our workbook for the Kidz and are planning for our
annual event in September.
 
Please friend us on Facebook or go to www.riverscoalition.org to learn about all the cool things your River Kidz are doing!
 
10 Things Every River Kid Should Know!
 
How to Become a RiverKidz Member!
 
Follow RiverKidz on Facebook!
Check out what we are up to!
The River Has a Voice and It Is Yours!
SPEAK UP FOR THE RIVER! Sign our petition, let your voice be heard!
 
Let's Restore the Florida Everglades
 
Stop Wasteful, Harmful Discharges to Sea. Send Excess Lake Okeechobee Water South instead of destroying our Coastal Estuaries.
 
We petitioners urgently ask that government agencies stop discharging unnatural flows from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie River and restore the historic River of Grass southward.
 
Please pass along to everyone you know!
 
Please join this campaign: Click Here to Sign - Make a difference!
 
Ian's Tropical Grill Supports the River!
Come out and have a drink at Ian's Tropical Grill on East Ocean, near Carson's.
 
Ian's Tropical Grill will donate $2.00 each for two choice drinks; the Indian River Lagoon and the Okeechobee Releases.
 

On the right, the Indian River Lagoon and on the left The Okeechobee Release!
Both are delicious!
Rivers Coalition is a Eco-Voice Sponsor!
How to Become a Member?
 
Membership is free! If you are interested in helping save the environment of SW Florida, you may join Eco-voice by going to www.eco-voice.org and selecting subscribe.
 
Pass This Newsletter On!
Use the buttons at the bottom of the newsletter to pass this on to a friend, to subscribe or unsubscribe.
 
Thank you for all your support.
 
Editor: Jessica Briske
 
PO Box 2627
Stuart, Fl 34995
 
772-225-6849
www.RiversCoalition.org
 
 
Rivers Coalition • PO Box 2627 • Stuart, FL 34995
http://riverscoalition.org
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