FORCE - Friends of the Rivers Coalition eNewsletter
March 2007 ~ P.O Box 2627, Stuart, FL 34995 ~ 772-225-6849

Next Public Meeting March 30, 2007
The next meeting of the Rivers Coalition will be held this Friday at 11:00 a.m. at the Blake Library, 2351 SE Monterey Road, Stuart, FL (nearest Ocean Blvd.) This is our regular monthly meeting and, as always, we welcome public participation and support.

Business Matters
• Chairman’s Comments Leon Abood
• Correspondence to the Governor Leon Abood
• Seagrass Awareness Calendar Sue Millet
• Port Salerno Fishing Dock Authority Mike Baker
• Legal Update Karl Wickstrom
• Martin County Resolution Ted Guy
• Special Event Jamie Burns

Coalition Committee Reports
• Water Quality Mark Perry
• Local issues Mark Perry / Ed Fielding
• State / Federal Issues Kevin Henderson / Paul Gray
• IRL / CERP Kevin Henderson / Paul Gray

Progress Reports
• South Florida Water Mgmt
• DEP / Issues Team

Next month's meeting will be April 27th, also at the Blake Library.

View the entire year's meeting schedule on our website!

Click Here To See 2007 Meeting Schedule

Lawsuit Update
Federal Lawsuit to Stop Discharges
Wins Support from Everglades Foundation

A federal lawsuit aimed at stopping massive discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie estuary has won key support from the Everglades Foundation, an environmental group that has been active for many years in efforts to restore the Everglades.

The Foundation approved $25,000 for the suit, with a prospective additional $25,000 to follow. Additionally, board member Paul Tudor Jones donated a supplementary sum of $50,000 for the case now pending in the Court of Federal Claims in Washington.

"We feel this is an extremely important case that can have tremendous repercussions in forcing government to better manage Lake Okeechobee, our coastal estuaries and the Everglades," said Foundation President Bob Smith, a former U.S. senator from New Hampshire who was instrumental in drafting the original comprehensive plan for the Everglades. Smith and many others believe that significant changes are now needed to accomplish sheetflow drainage in the Lake Okeechobee watershed.

The recently filed lawsuit is based on an "historic new weapon" claiming that 22 waterfront-owning plaintiffs in the Stuart area have a constitutional riparian right to enjoy waters free of pollution. According to the action, the defendant U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is guilty of taking this property right without compensation due to the Corps releasing vast amounts of polluted fresh water in most years from Lake Okeechobee into the estuary.

The individual plaintiffs have formally waived any claims for personal compensation, however, because the goal is to stop the discharges, not obtain particular damages. The properties are appraised at $50 million and other like property in Martin County alone is valued at more than $6 billion.

"The case is on behalf of all citizens because any remedy will benefit everyone," noted Leon Abood, chair of the Rivers Coalition Defense Fund in Martin County, which filed the federal complaint.

Click here to visit Legal Update on our website

Events and Fund Raisers
The Rivers Coalition Boat Raffle is still in full swing and the boat itself is making a grand tour of variety of events.

On March 2nd the Coastal Conservation Association held their annual banquet and fundraiser at Indian Riverside Park and invited us to attend with our boat and sell raffle tickets. Thanks for the help from Danielle Adams and Ron Burns

Florida Oceanographic Society held their annual Swashbuckler fundraiser on March 15th and generously offered us a spot at the 'boarding ladder' to sell our raffle tickets and display the boat. Thanks to our own costumed crew for all the help, Laurie and Ed Lorch, Ron Burns, Bonnie MacDonald, Helen Harralson and Danielle and Bill Adams.

The Stuart Rod & Reel Club (RC members) were at Sandsprit Park on March 17th, and so were we! Ron & Jamie Burns took the early shift and Bill & Danielle Adams stayed till the end.


Call 772-225-6849 to Volunteer!

Running For The Rivers On April 13th, Mike Melton, President of Stuart Striders, will participate in the unbelievable new marathon, the First Annual Sunrise to Sunset Relay. Unlike several clubs and teams that are forming to run in a relay fashion across the state, Mike will run the entire 165 mile race solo. It sounds like a crazy thing to do but he is well prepared. "I will be running most of the way along the path of the Okeechobee waterway to the lake and west. I start out at Indian Riverside Park in Jensen Beach and finish in Fort Myers" Mike said. Mike intends to use this unique opportunity to promote the Rivers Coalition and our lawsuit along with the effects the discharges from Lake Okeechobee have had the east coast as well as the west coast by Running For The Rivers from Jensen Beach to Fort Myers.

Earth Day, April 21st at Memorial Park, downtown Stuart. Join us to celebrate Earth Day 2007!

Click Here to Purchase Raffle Tickets Online

Have You Heard?
We've outgrown our grassroots newsletter and have moved to an online solution. Sure hope you're getting the full benefit of the pictures we can now include. If you can't see them, chances are you need to adjust some stupid setting or another on your browser or virus program. Yes, we know it's a pain but pictures are such fun! Oh, and past issues are posted on our website!

The City of Stuart has pledged $25,000 to the Rivers Coalition!

WRDA is back! The Water Resources Development Act is making it's way back to Congress - AGAIN!

Annie Mac Millan, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, has made a commitment to assist in our fund raising efforts and will concentrate on individual and organizational donations.

Congratulations to Elyse Levy, a Rivers Coalition volunteer, a member of the junior class of Martin County High School and recently crowned Miss Martin County 2007!

Have You Read?
Bud Jordan, Rivers Coalition member and President of the Saint Lucie River Initiative, wrote an outstanding Eight Part Series Report "The Decline of the Saint Lucie River". If you missed it in newspaper, you can read it in it's entirety on our website.

Click Here to read "The Decline of the Saint Lucie River"

Rivers Coalition Board Members Outstanding Leaders
It may have been St. Paddy's Day but there was no blarney at all in the presentations made by Kevin Stinnett, Indian Riverkeeper for the annual awards by the Conservation Alliance of St. Lucie County on March 17th.

Leon Abood and Karl Wickstrom, were both the well deserved recipients of Outstanding Leadership Awards from the Conservation Alliance of St. Lucie County at their annual banquet.

Leon Abood, Chairman of the Rivers Coalition, received their award for Outstanding Leadership as Conservationist of The Year.

Karl Wickstrom, Board member and Rivers Coalition Legal Defense Coordinator, was presented the Outstanding Leadership Award for Conservation Journalism,.

Congratulations to both!

Pass This Newsletter On!
If you would like to represent your organization as a member of the Rivers Coalition, eMail us at
Application is free and you need only represent an organization of 25 or more members.

Visit our website at or call us at 772-225-6849

Check it out! Use the buttons at the bottom of the newsletter to pass on this newsletter to a friend, to subscribe or (heaven forbid) unsubscribe!

Editor: Jamie Burns

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