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FORCE
FRIENDS OF THE RIVERS COALITION E-NEWSLETTER
February 2014
SPECIAL UPDATE!
Get the latest information on Everglades Restoration, the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie Estuary from the perspective of highly respected and noted environmentalist, Nathaniel P. Reed. Mr. Reed has served as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife. He was appointed by three different governors to serve as a member of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board.  For 14 years he was the voice of conscience for everglades restoration and efforts to end outdated drainage practices and mismanagement of water.   Mr. Reed has served seven governors, republican and democrat, on every conceivable committee and commission.  He is best known as the highly visible Chairman of the Commission on Florida's Environmental Future. Reed is a former Board Member and Vice Chairman of the National Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy, Board Member of the National Parks & Conservation Association, American Rivers, and continues to serve as a member of the NPCA’s Advisory Board, emeriti on the boards of the Natural Resources Defense Council and 1000 Friends of Florida which he helped found. Reed is a founding member of the Everglades Foundation and presently serves as Vice Chairman. 
 
All concerned citizens are welcome, as always. There's plenty of free parking, and even coffee and donuts will await you.
 
Agenda for Thursday, February 27
Meeting - Thursday February 27
11:00am-12:30pm at: The City Hall - Commission Chambers
121 SW Flagler Ave Stuart, Fl 34994
 
Business Matters
• Chairman’s Comments - Leon Abood
• Special Presentation - Nathaniel P. Reed
• River Kidz - Nic Mader/Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch
• Rivers Coalition Defense Fund Update - Charles Grande
• Speakers Bureau - Todd Weissing 
 St. Lucie River Documentary - Leon Abood 
 
Government & Agency Progress Reports 
• Martin County    - Deborah Drum/Don Donaldson 
• South Florida Water Mgmt District - Kathy LaMartina 
• FDEP - Jason Storrs      
 
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
  
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
We are participating in this year’s BBQ and Blues Marathon Festival. The event is Friday February 28th, Saturday March 1st and Sunday March 2nd. 
 
Three days of amazing BBQ, live music and entertainment. We’ll have a booth to interact with the public and to spread our mission of saving the St. Lucie and Indian River Lagoon. 
 
WE ARE ASKING ALL OF OUR MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS TO PLEASE CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING A FEW HOURS, signing up is simple and can be done here:http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0848A5A92FA2F58-bbqand
 
Everyone is welcome! High school students are encouraged to participate too and can volunteer for community service credits.
 
Contact Olivia at 520-665-1907 if you have any questions about the event or volunteering, we hope to see you there!
 
The River Kidz won the River Advocate award for Keep Martin Beautiful's 2014 Environmental Stewardship Awards! Congratulations, River Kidz your hard work is paying off and you are making a difference!
 
 
Calling all River Kidz! Saturday, March 1st 10-1pm,
Harbour Bay Plaza, Sewall's Point.
 
Come join the fun with the River Kidz, JBHS Marine Science students, Sigma Phi of MCHS and Earth Savers Crew of the Environmental Studies Center.
 
We will be tye-dyeing t-shirts with St. Lucie muck! Come join the fun - all colors. 200 shirts available - first come first serve.
 
Feel free to bring your own white tee. Lemonade, music, river education and fun! 
 
A special thank you goes out to our sponsors for the MUCK event: Harbor Bay Plaza; the Guardians of Martin County; Tom & Polly Campenni; Jack & Ceejay Heckenberg; Ballantrae Anglers Club; Michael Natale-MN Worldwide; and Scripps reporter, Tyler Treadway, DeeJays and Emcees and the Prawnbroker Restaurant.
 
Also, thank you to everyone helping to put on this very special event: Marty Baum, our Indian Riverkeeper, along with River Kid Colton Moir, will be speaking about the St. Lucie Muck, Crystal Lucas, Cristina Maldonado, Kim Moir, Colton Moir, Brenda Leigh, Kemps Shoe Salon, Jenny Flaugh, Julianne McGovern, Nancy Collins, Bluewater Editions, Kevin Henderson, JBHS Marine Science 2 class, Earth Savers Crew - ESC, and MCHS Sigma Phi.
 
The River Kidz participated in Walk on the Wild Side and got some one on one time with Congressman Patrick Murphy. 
 
 
River Kidz will be participating in the Martin County River Reef Project (http://www.martinreefs.com/pages/reefballs/reef_program.html) building Nursery Reef Balls in the late spring (date to be determined) with Benjamin D'Avanzo, Enviroforce.
 
Environmental Studies Center Earth Day (Saturday, April 12th): River Kidz will be there painting kidz faces and playing spin the Earth Day wheel!
 
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.
 
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!
2014 Meeting Schedule
The 2014 meetings will be held at The City Hall - Commission Chambers
121 SW Flagler Ave Stuart, Fl 34994 
 
March 26 - Weds 6:00pm – 7:30pm
April 24 - Thurs 11:00am – 12:30pm
May 29 - Thurs 11:00am – 12:30pm
June 25 - Weds 6:00pm – 7:30pm
July 31 - Thurs 11:00am – 12:30pm
August 28 - Thurs 11:00am – 12:30pm
September 24 - Weds 6:00pm – 7:30pm
October 30 - Thurs 11:00am – 12:30pm
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
 
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!
 
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!
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Thank you for all your support.
 
Editor: Jessica Waugaman
 
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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