Sunday, October 22, 2017
Breaking News
Goldsboro Farmers Market Opens This Friday Posted 10 months 3 weeks ago
Be Santa To A Senior This Holiday Season Posted 10 months 3 weeks ago
The Case For & Against Adam Putnam Posted 10 months 3 weeks ago
Gartners Top 10 Tech Predictions Posted 11 months 4 weeks ago
New Florida Poll Shows Trump Up Posted 11 months 4 weeks ago
Septic Is Ruining Our State Posted 11 months 4 weeks ago
PREVIEW: Conor Oberst "Ruminations" Posted 1 year 1 week ago
How 9/11 Reshaped My Generation Posted 1 year 1 month ago
Hollerbach's Announces Sanford Oktoberfest Posted 1 year 1 month ago
Seminole High Grad Wins Bronze At Olympics Posted 1 year 2 months ago
Wayback Burgers Opens In Mt. Dora Posted 1 year 2 months ago
Florida Blue Expanding To Seminole County Posted 1 year 2 months ago
Seminole County Artist Marla E Honored Posted 1 year 3 months ago
Star Wars Themed Tree Suspended Tents? Posted 1 year 3 months ago
Apartment Living in Lake Mary Posted 1 year 4 months ago
Heavy Rains Force Need For More Storage Posted 1 year 8 months ago
5 Books Every Politico Needs This Christmas Posted 1 year 10 months ago
Patrick Murphy - The Master of Flip-Flops Posted 1 year 10 months ago
Seminole Clerk Retires, Endorses Successor Posted 1 year 11 months ago
Republicans Lose Ground In House District 50 Posted 2 years 2 months ago
Ted 2 Much Better Than First Film Posted 2 years 3 months ago
Wanderlust And The Joys Of Travel Posted 2 years 4 months ago
Andy Gardiner's Game of Thrones Posted 2 years 4 months ago
The Truth About The Everglades Land Purchase Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Space Exploration: Our Future, Today Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Lollapalooza's Lineup Is Lollapalovely Posted 2 years 6 months ago
6 Questions for Carly Fiorina Posted 2 years 6 months ago
Sweetwater 420 Fest Is Gonna Be Dope Posted 2 years 7 months ago
Dressgate: Has Adobe solved the mystery? Posted 2 years 7 months ago
6 Questions For Rand Paul Posted 2 years 8 months ago
First Look - Little Econ Love Fest 2015 Posted 2 years 8 months ago
A Few Thoughts On Music & Music Festivals Posted 2 years 9 months ago
How To Speak Startup Posted 2 years 10 months ago
Sunblock Making You Impotent? Posted 2 years 11 months ago
A Girl and A Gigabyte - FaceTime Audio Posted 3 years 1 week ago
A Girl and A Gigabyte - Canon Pixma Review Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Our Endorsements in House District 28 & 30 Posted 3 years 1 month ago
Our Pick - GOP Primary In CD 7 Posted 3 years 2 months ago
Sunshine Law Indictments: A Primer Posted 3 years 4 months ago
Getting Central Florida Moving Posted 3 years 4 months ago
Bortles Drafted By Jaguars Posted 3 years 5 months ago
The SunRail Shell Game Posted 3 years 5 months ago
First Day Seminole Tax Hike Voting Numbers Posted 3 years 6 months ago
April In Historic Seminole County Posted 3 years 6 months ago
Seminole County Vegetarian Eats Under $10 Posted 3 years 7 months ago
Zuckerberg Out To Rule The World? Posted 3 years 7 months ago
Lessons Learned From Flappy Bird Posted 3 years 8 months ago
Shane's Weekly Music Picks Posted 3 years 8 months ago
The Good Neighbors Farmers Market Posted 3 years 8 months ago
Facebook Turns 10 - Unveils "Paper" App Posted 3 years 8 months ago
What Is The Seminole County Post? Posted 3 years 8 months ago
It's Working In Seminole County Posted 3 years 8 months ago
Baking Tip - Organic Ingredients A Must Posted 3 years 8 months ago
Vintage Shopping At It's Best Posted 3 years 8 months ago
Life With MS - Dr. Mark Cascione Posted 3 years 8 months ago
It's Time To Convert The - In Your Life To Posted 3 years 8 months ago

Eric Draper: Lake Okeechobee to Everglades Flowway 'Will Never Happen'

everglades, florida everglades, sunshine state news, nancy smith, florida news, news florida

By Nancy Smith


Sending water south from Lake Okeechobee to meander naturally through the Everglades -- the "flowway" endorsed by the Everglades Foundation as the only way -- "will never happen, it's pie in the sky," admitted one of Florida's leading voices on environmental policy.


But Eric Draper, executive director of Florida Audubon, cautioned Sunshine State News Wednesday not to think that just because Plan 6 (the flowway) isn't where the Legislature should focus, doesn't mean Big Sugar should be allowed to escape its obligation to help solve water problems.


Participating with about 400 other Florida residents in a "clean water" rally at the base of the Old Capitol steps in Tallahassee, Draper said, "The sugar industry should see there's an additional need for land for reservoirs and they should agree to some of the land proposal," he said.


The land proposal comes from U.S. Sugar Corp. -- to buy a 46,800-acre parcel of its property. The Everglades Coalition, which includes more than 50 environmental groups and other advocacy organizations, claims buying that land is the only way to fix rainy-season problems created by water discharged from the lake.


According to U.S. Sugar's offer, state officials have until October to make the purchase; after October, the state would also have to buy another 106,200-acre parcel at top dollar.


In addition, there are three significant obstacles to lawmakers choosing that option before or after the October deadline:


The state already has a plan in place to fix and pay for Everglades restoration and save the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.


Only 26,000 acres of the 46,800-acre U.S. Sugar parcel are south of the lake. The remaining acreage wouldn't help. And the deal doesn't come on an a la carte menu. The state can't buy just some property and leave the rest.


The per-acre price of U.S. Sugar property is significantly higher today than it was in 2010. Bang for the buck isn't there.


Judy Sanchez, senior director of corporate communications and public affairs at U.S. Sugar, said Draper's statement is a first -- a public admission from a respected environmentalist who deals in realities that a flowway is a pipe dream.


"James Moran, one of the (South Florida) Water Management District's trustees explained it at the last meeting to a group of citizens who showed up demanding the flowway," she said.


Quoted in The Palm Beach Post, Moran said, "It's not as simple as buying the land and moving the water south. To come in here and lecture us -- just buy the land and move the water south -- if it was that simple, it would have been done already."


Sanchez said, "With only 26,000 acres south of the lake, that land isn't going to solve anything. A few days' worth of releases in 2013 would have gobbled that up. It's a drop in the bucket for what's needed. So, I'm saying, if it's not going to solve your problem, you're wasting your money."


She said Everglades restoration is working. The state already has 100,000 acres south of the lake -- a repurposed A-1 reservoir and an A-2 reservoir on the drawing board. And on top of that, it's all right next to established stormwater treatment areas.


"The way you fix the Everglades and the estuary problems is, fix the mess from Orlando south to the lake," said Sanchez. "That's the real source of the pollution going into the canals and into the rivers, and that's what the governor understands and what he's trying to do."


The U.S. Sugar Corp. land buy is looking more and more like a sinking option. The governor is unlikely to give it his blessing -- in 2010, while he was running for office, he signed a taxpayers-protest petition advocating against it. (See video reminder.) But the Water Management District trustees at the time bottomed out the district's bank account buying a small parcel anyway. They paid $197 million for 26,800 acres. Some of that land was never put to restoration use.


And House Speaker Steve Crisafulli revealed his feelings in an email to the Post Wednesday: “At this time, I do not support spending limited state resources to purchase more land south of the lake. My priority is to utilize and care for the land we own now.”


At the SFWMD trustees' Feb. 12 meeting, Jeff Kivett, chief engineer for the district, outlined other obstacles to moving water south, with or without the U.S. Sugar land:


Pumps, canals and other structures that water leaving the lake must pass through are not capable of moving large volumes of water from the lake to the Everglades.


The Endangered Species Act and other federal environmental regulations limit how much water can be moved south to protect migratory birds and prevent nests from being inundated.


Strict water regulation schedules set maximum limits on water depth in conservation areas. The East Coast Protective Levee, which protects western neighborhoods in Palm Beach and Martin counties from flooding from the Everglades, could be compromised by higher water levels.


An agreement in a federal lawsuit prohibits the district from moving water with high levels of phosphorous south. Doing so would put the district in violation of the agreement.


Reach Nancy Smith at [email protected] or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith