As we enter a new decade, Florida residents are finding themselves at a pivotal crossroad: will they continue to be targets of toxic Lake Okeechobee discharges, or will state and federal water managers finally break free from the decades-long vice grip of Big Sugar and start standing up for human health and safety? In a longer than usual update, we’ve provided a synopsis of some of the most significant details and events that have led us to this critical moment in Florida water history. During most of Rick Scott’s reign as governor, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and the Army Corps stood by in willful neglect as the coastal communities were swamped by Lake O’s nutrient-filled dirty water [...]
Can political will be infectious? We’re about to find out. This Tuesday, the City of Stuart made a strong stand towards protecting the health of its citizens. Five out of five city commissioners voted to move forward with drafting a complaint to sue the Army Corps of Engineers over their announced 2020 Lake Okeechobee management strategy. The drafted complaint will come up for a new vote during the next commission meeting scheduled two weeks from now on January 27th. On the east coast, Stuart sits at “ground zero,” downstream of Lake O where massive summertime releases have regularly robbed local residents of an otherwise paradise. Last year kicked off a statewide debate regarding the best management practices for the lake [...]
It’s no longer news that Florida’s water management system is broken. We know that water that historically traveled south from Lake Okeechobee, rehydrating the Everglades, is instead wasted to tide in the northern estuaries thanks to operational priorities that have long favored the needs of the agricultural industry. Along the St. Lucie and the Caloosahatchee, we’ve seen what that looks like: headline-grabbing toxic algal blooms, steep decline in critical marine habitats, economic damages including increased pressure on local businesses and deteriorating real estate values, and a general sense of alarm and confusion from local populations worried about known and unknown human health effects. But what happens at the southern end of the system, where a chronic freshwater deficit wreaks a [...]
On the heels of a horrific year for water, we made tremendous strides in 2019 towards securing water management that prioritizes environmental benefits for the whole Everglades ecosystem and protecting human health and safety from the dangers of toxic algae exposure. In 2020, we’re committed to taking those victories further. That means doing everything we can to advocate for management of Lake Okeechobee that mirrors operational changes made by the Army Corps last year--lowering the lake before the rainy season and protecting coastal communities from massive discharge events when cyanobacteria blooms were on the rise. That means maximum flows during the dry season west to the Caloosahatchee and south to Everglades National Park where water is so desperately needed. We’ve [...]
Here's to you and the thousands of Bullsugar supporters who made 2019 the most promising year in a long, long journey to take back our Everglades, our rivers, our estuaries, and our health. May 2020 be known as the year we started our voyage back to the water we remember. And to all the Bullsugar supporters who deserve nothing less than the certainty that their passion and effort is making a difference and turning the tide in a battle for something truly amazing, thank you for all you've done. Happy New Year!