A peek into the Everglades reminds us that spring flowers are blossoming, completely indifferent to the events of the world.

Every person on Earth is watching to see what happens as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. As alarming as that may feel, it’s also a powerful reminder that we’re in this together.

Even amidst the chaos, the beat goes on. As you read this, the Army Corps of Engineers is assessing new ideas and desired outcomes for the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual, which will influence the condition of our waters for years to come. Nonprofits, elected officials, and government agencies on the Project Delivery Team for LOSOM are helping to shape a new management schedule for Lake Okeechobee. The new schedule could have a tremendous positive impact for communities downstream of toxic discharges if water managers incorporate goals that prioritize human health and safety by aiming to lower lake levels each year during the dry season. The public will get the chance to hear and comment on the consolidated feedback at the next LOSOM PDT meeting, scheduled now as an online event on March 31st.

As individuals we have the ability to effect major change when we work together. And it’s times like these, when so much is out of our control, that the opportunity to channel all of our anxious energy into things that we can still influence becomes especially important.

With all that in mind, following CDC guidelines recommending the cancellation of events with 10 or more people, Bullsugar and our affiliated partners at Friends of the Everglades have made the decision to postpone an outreach event scheduled for April 4 in Boca Grande. The value of face-to-face gatherings is hard to replace, but even in challenging times we remain determined in our efforts to build community knowledge across Florida that will stimulate educated voting relevant to solving the state’s most challenging water issues.

While we wait and worry with the rest of you, we’ll continue to keep you updated on important water-related events, relevant environmental agency and office closures, and opportunities for the public to provide personal comments from the safety of their own homes.

In the days ahead when life seems tough, remember to be kind to each other, make small differences where you can, and keep washing your hands.

Be well, everyone.