Good News Monday: Some Relief for Florida’s Bear Hunt

Good News Monday: Some Relief for Florida’s Bear Hunt

Judge to consider stopping Florida bear hunt

A judge agreed Friday morning to hear arguments Oct. 1 that could stop Florida’s bear hunt.

Speak Up Wekiva Inc. and Chuck O’Neal of Longwood, opponents of the state’s first bear hunt in more than two decades, want Circuit Judge George S. Reynolds III to impose a temporary injunction to prevent the hunt from taking place Oct. 24.

The lawsuit alleges the state Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission has crafted rules that could unwittingly lead to the killing of more than 320 bears, the kill quota established by the wildlife agency.

More than 2,100 hunters have gotten a permit.

“The FWC is not above the law or common sense,” O’Neal said.

Mayo: Bear hunt too much too soon

Next month’s black bear hunt is a quintessential Florida event, blending our state’s love of guns with its disdain for reason and science.

Shoot first, get the data later.

“You should have all your science in place before you hold your first hunt in 21 years, especially when you’re dealing with an icon animal,” a hunt opponent told me Friday.

That quote didn’t come from some Sierra Club tree-hugger or PETA paint-thrower, but a Broward businessman, hunter and outdoorsman who answers his phone by saying, “Alligator Ron.” That would be Ron Bergeron, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commissioner who voted against the hunt.

Alligator Ron was on the losing end of a 3-2 vote earlier this month. That’s bad news for bears.

Not long ago, Florida’s black bears were considered a threatened species, numbering only a few hundred. They have rebounded to an estimated population of 3,100.

Starting Oct. 24, roughly 10 percent could get wiped out in a week.

It’s refreshing to read about a hunter who actually believes this bear hunt is wrong. I guess I will have to take back my “the only good hunter is a dead hunter” viewpoint. The problem is not too many bears; it’s too many humans moving to Florida. Too many lazy humans who…

The commission decided to allow an unlimited number of hunters off up to 320 bears, a curious decision because Bergeron said they haven’t even gotten updated bear information in all the hunting zones.

“The state is divided into seven bear regions, with four allowing hunting [next month],” Bergeron said. “Two of those four regions’ stock assessments have not been finalized. We’re making assumptions based on the 2002 assessments…We don’t have all the data.”

Bergeron still hunts one deer, one turkey and one hog a year, but he won’t be taking aim at any bears next month.

“Until all of the science and stock assessments are in and show that we have a sustainable bear population and we have a population greater than the balance of the food chain, this seems premature,” Bergeron told me.

State Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, has no qualms. He’s among the 2,100 (and counting) who’ve paid for bear-hunt permits.

“This is to sustain a population, not to eviscerate it,” Artiles said Friday.

Artiles said thinning some older aggressive male bears will allow younger bears to stay in their natural habitat.

Part of hunt supporters’ rationale: Bears have become a nuisance in some populated areas in central Florida, foraging through trash for food.

“One thing I hope this hunt will do is train bears to be afraid of humans again instead of there being no repercussions,” Artiles told my colleague Dan Sweeney last week.

Say what? How are we going to train bears since the ones who learn the lesson will be dead? And how does killing a bear in Collier County translate to reforming nuisance bears near Orlando? Will the bears who dodge bullets in the western Everglades go on Bear Facebook to alert their friends: “Those crazy humans are shooting at us! Stay away from trash cans and houses!”

“It’s not teaching like a circus animal, but I believe the hunting will pressure them,” Artiles, an avid hunter, told me. “It’s proven and documented that deer know to avoid humans during hunting season.”

“I don’t really believe this will change behavior,” Bergeron said. “Bears really want to avoid people. What brings them to town is garbage. It’s an easy meal.”

A better solution than a widespread hunt, Bergeron said, would be bringing bear-proof trash cans to the 14 counties where nuisance bears have been reported. And Bergeron led an effort to halt the harvesting of palmetto berries from state land, giving bears a better chance of finding meals in the wild. “We were taking away their natural food,” he said.

Next month, hunters will try to take away much more.

Come Oct. 24, I’ll be rooting for the bears.

mmayo@sunsentinel.com, 954-356-4508.

Here is MY letter to the editor at our Stuart News.

Letter: Those opposed to the bear hunt are not ‘animal-rights extremists’

Cyndi Lenz, Jensen Beach

Letter: Those opposed to the bear hunt are not ‘animal-rights extremists’

What is going on now in reaction to the Florida bear hunt is not a circus. It’s the reaction of most Floridians. Most of us are fine with hunting. We have many things in Florida you can hunt. In Florida, if it moves you can shoot it. Unless it is protected.

At last week’s hearing in Ft. Lauderdale I heard the hunters say they are for conservation and they know what they are doing. Well, they don’t. The hunters are being used to promote a bigger agenda, and that is deregulating everything so developers can develop and builders can build. Florida has the most protected species in the world — “developers.”

There will not be any land to hunt on because it going to be full of shopping centers and no-lot-line houses. There will be no hunting because there will be no place to hunt. When I spoke to a representative from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission last year the plan was education. The issue was humans feeding the bears. There was no doubt about this. People needed to be educated.

There was a bill approved by the Senate that made it a third-degree felony to feed the bears. So instead of educating people we’re going to charge them with something that is as serious as possession of cocaine. Makes sense only because we live in Florida. We don’t fix things in Florida like normal people. Logic has no home here. The downlisting came after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was petitioned by Pacific Legal Foundation, a private property advocacy group in Sacramento, California. So let’s all settle down and do what needs to be done for our black bears. Stop the hunt. Educate.

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So all good!

If you can please take a moment and vote on our poll. We just have a few days left.

Poll: Florida Legislators reading list

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writing 101: why i write

I used to write. Then I stopped.

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Last January I made a commitment to my blog to use it for the highest good.

I started out just posting video. This a great way to post all the video from a particular event and send to everyone so they could watch and share.

As a documentary filmmaker I let the film do the talking for me.

Then I started to write. I felt that if one person read what I wrote and it resonated with them I would be happy. One became two, became ten, became fifty. The US became Australia that became Brazil that became all kinds of countries.

I am so humbled.

I can’t stop writing. This is one my issues. My friends complain that it takes a week to read one of my blogs.

There are many things to talk about. What I have found is lots of people have the same questions and concerns that I have but not the time to think about it. I do on my blog what I do in my daily life. I educate. I write about the water. I write about the environment. I write about mental health. I write about Golden Retrievers.

I make list of things I want to write about and then I loose them.

My daily life is that of a psychiatric home health nurse. The writing I do for that is no of your business and protected information.

I have to have an end to that day and a beginning of one where I live in the universe with my fellow travelers.

Thank you all for being here! I am so grateful.

Big Sugar Summit: Stephen E. Davis III PHD, Wetland Ecologist. Science Guy!

Big Sugar Summit: Stephen E. Davis III PHD, Wetland Ecologist, The Everglades Foundation

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This presentation will available thru the Sierra Club, Florida in full with all the slides. So enjoy this preview.

Stephen E Davis Wetland Ecologist  The Everglades Foundation

Stephen E Davis
Wetland Ecologist
The Everglades Foundation

http://www.evergladesfoundation.org/what-we-do/science/

“The Foundation employs a team of scientists to serve as technical expert sources for the environmental community.  These resources include providing sworn expert testimony in legal proceedings, testimony at public hearings, and general education and training for environmental partners. The Foundation also provides fellowships and internships to graduate students from regional and national universities working on Everglades projects, all to ensure that the next generation of Everglades experts will be well-trained to face the mission in front of them well into the first half of the century. Areas of fundamental interest in the science program are: hydrology, natural resource planning, water quality and ecology”

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Check this out! It’s so cool!

Leading Science Initiatives

Hydrology

Water is the key to understanding the Everglades and the built environment. One in every three Floridians relies on the Everglades for their water supply and the native flora and fauna are finely tuned to the seasonal water cycles.  Part of what we do at the Everglades Foundation is discover  how the Everglades works, convert that to mathematics, and then program it on a computer. Once you do that, you can run “what-if…” scenarios that help decide what can and should be done to restore the Everglades. Hydrology and engineering allow us to look for solutions to restore the “River of Grass.” Thomas Van Lent, Ph.D., Senior Scientist

Ecology

Ecological research at the Everglades Foundation is centered on understanding how human impacts such as the introduction and spread of exotic invasive species, urban development, off-road vehicle (ORV) use, oil and gas activity, water management and nutrient inputs have affected plant and animal life across the Everglades. To do this, we partner with agencies, academic institutions and environmental organizations across the region to tap into the extensive body of scientific information and peer-reviewed research. We analyze data and provide input regarding various social and political issues that may offset the current ecological balance of the Everglades or thwart progress of Everglades restoration. Stephen E. Davis, III, Ph.D., Wetland Ecologist

Water Quality

Restoring the Everglades will take more than just putting the right amounts of water back. It will also require that the water be clean. We conduct research on what causes imbalances in native flora and fauna, and then determine what actions are needed to correct those problems. The survival of the Everglades depends on the quality of its water. Melodie Naja, Ph.D., Water Quality Scientist

Planning and Project Implementation

Research and ideas alone will not restore the Everglades.  These ideas must be converted into specific actions and projects.  The science team at the Everglades Foundation works with government agencies and stakeholders to implement science-based solutions. We contribute modeling information, review scientific research and analyses, provide scientific and engineering input to restoration and water quality projects, and work to educate decision makers and the public on the issues. This helps to build consensus and get things done.  Hong Xu, Environmental Engineer and Aida Arik, Ecological Engineer

Synthesizing Everglades Research

“No single entity is tackling or can tackle all of these issues,” Van Lent says. “It’s actually a concerted effort on the part of government agencies, non-profit organizations such as ours, and research entities to get this accomplished.” The single most important project being accomplished by Foundation scientists is not in-the-lab, test-tube science. It’s the synthesis of all scientific work conducted on the entire Everglades ecosystem from the Kissimmee River through Lake Okeechobee and into the southern Everglades and Florida Bay.

“The project combines all the available information and seeing which is most likely to get us to the goal,” says Van Lent. “This will guide us to recommend public policy that will lead to decisions to fix the ecosystem.” The initiative, financed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, involves explaining the work of 15 top scientists in Everglades-related fields for the past decade and making their work understandable to decision-makers and the public. “We’re taking the reports off the shelf and making them useful,” says Van Lent. “We’re the bridge between the laboratory and the real application of the science. We make the science useful.”

Science!

Stephan has a bunch of studies. I tried to get an account to read but I’m not with an institution.

Check these and other research by Stephen.

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/274638205_Sea_Level_Rise_in_the_Everglades_Plant-Soil-Microbial_Feedbacks_in_Response_to_Changing_Physical_Conditions

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/259195457_Biogeochemical_effects_of_simulated_sea_level_rise_on_carbon_loss_in_an_Everglades_mangrove_peat_soil

Here is one my favorite song writer/singers/comedians/philosophers Tom Lehr teaching us “The Elements.”

Thank you Stephen for your great presentation.

Sugar U: Fanjuls some history and a little trouble in Paradise.

Sugar U: Fanjuls. Some history and a little trouble in Paradise.

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The Fanjul Bro’s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanjul_brothers

The Fanjul brothersCuban born Alfonso “Alfy” Fanjul, José “Pepe” Fanjul, Alexander Fanjul, and Andres Fanjul — are owners of Fanjul Corp., a vast sugar and real estate conglomerate in the United States and the Dominican Republic. It comprises the subsidiaries Domino Sugar, Florida Crystals, C&H Sugar, Redpath Sugar, Tate & Lyle European Sugar, La Romana International Airport, and resorts surrounding La Romana, Dominican Republic.

The Fanjul brothers’ were born in Cuba and are descendants of the Spaniard Andres Gomez-Mena who immigrated to Cuba in the 19th century and built up an empire of sugar mills and property by the time he died in 1910. In 1936, his descendant Lillian Gomez-Mena married Alfonso Fanjul, Sr, the heir of the New York-based sugar companies the Czarnikow Rionda Company and the Cuban Trading Company. The couple’s holdings were then combined to create a large business of cane sugar mills, refineries, distilleries, and significant amounts of real estate. Due to Fidel Castro‘s 1959 Marxist Cuban Revolution, the family moved to Florida along with other wealthy, dispossessed Cuban families. In 1960, Alfonso Sr., the father of the current CEO of Fanjul Corp. Alfonso Jr., bought 4,000 acres (16 km2) of property near Lake Okeechobee along with some sugar mills from Louisiana and started over on the US. Alfonso Sr. and his son Alfy Fanjul got the firm off its feet and Pepe, Alexander and Andres joined in the late 1960s and 1970s.[1] Pepe Fanjul Jr. joined the sugar firm in 2002. As of 2008, the company owned 155,000 acres (630 km2) in Palm Beach County.

José-y-Alfonso-Fanjul-Nuevo-Herald

Here are some great articles and blogs on the Fanjul’s.

Make sure you read  http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com for great commentary!

Here’s a little classic salsa to set the mood!

http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2013/06/big-sugars-money-ball-by-gimleteye.html

But managing water is a state responsibility; Big Sugar’s interest in counties goes deep into the bread and butter of local politics: land use zoning. While Big Sugar wages water use and water quality battles on many levels of judicial review, fighting tooth and nail to dictate every last term of its water pollution control measures, it wages war on the land use zoning front by ensuring complicit county commissioners are well funded. If not sugar cane, then rock mines and inland ports and shopping centers and subdivisions strategically placed to thwart the aims of environmentalists to protect the Everglades and our rivers and streams and estuaries.

http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2010/05/fanjul-family-big-sugar-influence-under.html

Jose “Pepe” Fanjul, one of four brothers who control a sugar empire that includes Domino and Florida Crystals. Fanjul and his family have held at least two fundraisers for Rubio at Florida properties this year, while donors associated with Florida Crystals have given Rubio at least $81,100 since 2009.

(also some money from the Koch Brothers. Koch Industries, the conglomerate run by conservative activist brothers Charles and David Koch: $37,200. (Koch has donated $17,000 to Sen. Paul since 2010.)

Now, contrary to what almost anyone could have imagined, the 76-year-old Fanjul has begun to reassess old grievances and tentatively eye Cuba as a place for him and other U.S. businessmen to expand their enterprises. Quietly, without fanfare, Fanjul has started visiting the island of his birth and having conversations with top Cuban officials.

“If there is some way the family flag could be taken back to Cuba, then I am happy to do that,” Fanjul said in a rare interview, publicly discussing his recent visits to the island for the first time.

Here’s an early story on the Fanjul sugar interests well worth reading: “The power and wealth of the Fanjul family is enormous, so much so that they can quietly control their public image. But behind that image lies a family with a reputation for ruthlessness whose riches were made on the backs of migrant laborers and at the expense of America’s public resources and tax dollars. Without the artificial federal price supports of sugar, their industrial advantage and wealth would collapse.

http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2008/08/dear-alfie-and-pepe-fanjul-no-nyet-non.html

The Fanjuls of Coral Gables and Palm Beach are among the richest farmers in America. The family interests own Florida Crystals/ Flo Sun in lands formerly of the Everglades.

AG049

I wouldn’t care except that the Fanjul’s sugar growing interest in the Everglades Agricultural Area is a home-grown Florida polluter whose influence in the political sphere has contributed to the destruction of millions of acres of publicly owned property and irreplaceable natural resources. What adds to my ire is that in the execution of its business strategy, Fanjul lobbyists and attorneys take maximal positions in defense of the last dime of profit– even when lands like the 50,000 acre Talisman Farm have been committed to public ownership– causing years and years of delay.

Here are some other articles worthy of reading.

From 2003

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/29/opinion/america-s-sugar-daddies.html

Sugar growers in this country, long protected from global competition, have had a great run at the expense of just about everyone else — refineries, candy manufacturers, other food companies, individual consumers and farmers in the developing world. But now the nation’s sugar program, which guarantees a domestic price for raw sugar that can be as much as three times the world price, needs to be terminated. It has become far too costly to America’s global economic and strategic interests.

The less defensible a federal policy is on its merits, the greater the likelihood that it generates (or originates from) a great deal of cash in Washington, in the form of campaign contributions. Sugar is a sweet case in point. The Fanjul brothers, Florida’s Cuban-American reigning sugar barons who preside over Palm Beach’s yacht-owning society, were alone responsible for generating nearly $1 million in soft-money donations during the 2000 election cycle. Alfonso Fanjul, the chief executive of the family-controlled Flo-Sun company, served as Bill Clinton’s Florida co-chairman in 1992 — and even merited a mention in the impeachment-scandal Starr report, when Monica Lewinsky testified that the president received a call from him during one of their trysts. Meanwhile, brother Pepe is equally energetic in backing Republicans, so all bases are covered.

The Fanjuls harvest 180,000 acres in South Florida that send polluted water into the Everglades. (A crucial part of their business over the years has been to lobby not just against liberalization of the sugar trade, but against plans to have the sugar industry pay its fair share of the ambitious $8 billion Everglades restoration project.) The Fanjuls had been Cuba’s leading sugar family for decades before Fidel Castro’s takeover. Crossing the Straits of Florida, they bought land in the vicinity of Lake Okeechobee, which feeds the Everglades, and imported platoons of poorly paid Caribbean migrant workers. Their business was aided by the embargo on Cuban sugar. The crop is protected from other competition by an intricate system of import quotas that dates back to 1981.

The government does not pay sugar producers income supports as it does many other kinds of farmers. Instead, it guarantees growers like the Fanjuls an inflated price by restricting supply. Only about 15 percent of American sugar is imported under the quota rules, and while the world price is about 7 cents a pound, American businesses that need sugar to make their products must pay close to 21 cents. Preserving this spread between domestic and world sugar prices costs consumers an estimated $2 billion a year, and nets the Fanjuls — who have been called the first family of corporate welfare — tens of millions annually. The sugar exporters who are able to sell to the United States also benefit from those astronomical prices. The Dominican Republic is the largest quota holder, and one of the big plantation owners there is — surprise — the Fanjul family.

The sugar situation hurts American businesses and consumers, but its worst impact is on the poor countries that try to compete in the global agricultural markets. Their farmers might never be able to compete with corn or wheat farmers in the United States, even if the playing field were leveled. But they can grow cotton and sugar at lower prices than we can, no matter how advanced our technology. Our poorer trading partners bitterly resent the way this country feels entitled to suspend market-driven rules whenever it appears they will place American producers at a disadvantage.

In fairness, the United States is not alone in distorting the sugar trade, and the European Union’s massively subsidized exports of beet sugar make it the biggest culprit. The American sugar lobby uses that fact as a shield, arguing that the crop not be included in any regional trade deals until distortions are addressed by all countries at the World Trade Organization. But quotas are set between trading partners, not on a global level. Right now the United States is negotiating the creation of a hemispheric free trade area that would benefit many United States industries, including other agricultural sectors. It is ridiculous for the sugar lobby to argue — as it does vociferously — that sugar should not be included in the agreement even though it is one of the few products that some Latin American republics can hope to ship to the American market.

So far the Bush administration has rightly rejected the sugar lobby’s push to keep the commodity off the table. The danger, however, is that American trade negotiators might still prove far too deferential to sugar industries when hammering out the trade deals’ specifics. For instance, any move to phase in elimination of sugar quotas over a period longer than a decade (as was done in the North American Free Trade Agreement) would undermine any promise a trade deal might hold for poor farmers in Latin America. The strength of the protectionist sugar lobby in Washington — which unites Southeastern cane growers and Midwestern beet farmers — was apparent in the success of Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana last year in bashing Nafta’s modest sugar provision during her re-election bid.

If the sugar trade were liberalized, world prices would start creeping up and domestic prices would fall, which would benefit both the developing world and the American economy. The industry itself cites ”alarming” studies that if the United States imported an additional two million metric tons — roughly the amount Central America exports — domestic prices would be cut in half. But that is no argument for opposing trade liberalization. That is an argument for the handful of individuals who control the sugar business in this country to start thinking about a new line of work, and be grateful for the long run they had.

Harvesting Poverty: Editorials in this series remain online at nytimes.com/harvestingpoverty.

The Fanjuls are looking back to the future with Cuba

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sugar-tycoon-alfonso-fanjul-now-open-to-investing-in-cuba-under-right-circumstances/2014/02/02/4192b016-8708-11e3-a5bd-844629433ba3_story.html

Now, contrary to what almost anyone could have imagined, the 76-year-old Fanjul has begun to reassess old grievances and tentatively eye Cuba as a place for him and other U.S. businessmen to expand their enterprises. Quietly, without fanfare, Fanjul has started visiting the island of his birth and having conversations with top Cuban officials.

“If there is some way the family flag could be taken back to Cuba, then I am happy to do that,” Fanjul said in a rare interview, publicly discussing his recent visits to the island for the first time.

This, I’m sure, will make Marco Rubio’s head spin.

http://news.yahoo.com/here-s-where-marco-rubio-gets-his-campaign-money-204131516.html;_ylt=A0LEV79NuX5VmnIAgronnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTE0MjRrZ2t1BGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDRkZYVUkxMl8xBHNlYwNzYw–

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement on reports of Cuban-American sugar tycoon Alfonso Fanjul considering investing in Cuba:

“At a time when the democracy activists on the island are facing even harsher reprisals from the brutal Cuban regime, it’s pathetic that a Cuban-American tycoon feels inspired to trample on the backs of those activists in order to give the communist thugs more money with which to repress. The only little old thing that is standing in Alfy’s way of realizing these sleazy business deals with the devil is US law. He doesn’t talk about the arbitrary arrests of pro-freedom leaders in Cuba or the continual beatings endured by the peaceful Damas de Blanco. Oh no, for Alfy, the only hindrance to turning a profit off the suffering of the Cuban people is pesky US laws and he is working with groups to undo those laws. It is sickening to read that he brings up the separation of the Cuban family when he is doing all he can to exacerbate that problem. Shame on him..”

A little trouble in Paradise!

Despite the Fanjul family’s influence over U.S. policy and access to government officials at the highest levels of power, Alfy Fanjul has never become a U.S. citizen. He remains a permanent U.S. resident who maintains Spanish citizenship. Alfonso Fanjul served as co-chairman of Bill Clinton’s Florida campaign in 1992 and is a major contributor and fundraiser for the Democratic Party. His brother Pepe, who is a U.S. citizen, contributes to the Republicans.

How to grow your own sugar cane. DIY

ACOE and the Herbert Hoover Dike: We should be up in arms together!

To the people of Clewiston, Florida

ACOE and the Herbert Hoover Dike: We should be up in arms together!

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Let’s take a moment to remember when the discharges came back in 2013 and we all went to Phipp’s Park. 7000 of us together in true Solidarity. The day most of us met each other.

That day we all heard this speech from the Indian RiverKeeper Marty Baum.

For many of us this was a call to action. For the people of Clewiston it was a call to flood them and make them float away. Of course, that’s not what Marty said. He didn’t say flood the houses. He said flood the fields and he was referring big sugars ability to keep their water at the exact height needed.

I posted that video of Marty on my old video blog on UVU which was part of WPBT2. I’m not sure what happened to UVU but I posted a lot of content there.

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I posted Mark Perry, the video of the march to the locks, and others that got a decent amount of views. Marty’s video got 2400 views which is huge.

After the Sugarland Rally, when the people of Clewiston were accusing us of wanting to flood them I realized that probably every person in Clewiston probably saw that video. There was no explaining to them what the intention was. Their minds were set.

We heard that we HAD to have to discharges to protect the people that live south of the lake. Most of us understand that. That was 2 years ago and many millions of dollars.

Are the people south of lake any safer today than they were then?

This is from 2013

http://www.hurricaneanalytics.com/2013/02/three_levee_fact

. The levee is expected to fail. I know that sounds bad, and it is. FEMA is apparently planning to update flood assessments this summer and redraw flood maps for Palm Beach and Martin counties. These flood maps are expected to be drawn as if the levee around Lake Okeechobee didn’t exist. In other words, they are not counting on the levees to protect against flooding.

2. The Herbert Hoover Dike is in the highest failure category of the Army Corps risk scale. Current efforts are being directed at reducing the risk category, but as it stands (and even after millions of dollars worth of improvements) the levee protecting the area still carries the highest risk classification (DSAC 1) of any dam in the United States.

3. There is no emergency spillway, nor is one planned to be built. There is no good, controlled way to drain off excess water from the lake should a large amount of rain fall in a short amount of time. Lake Okeechobee fills six times faster than it can be drained, and a foot of rainfall would result in 3 to 4 feet of water rise in the lake. Current levees will start to fail when the lake rises above 18.5 feet above mean sea level (it’s at roughly 14 feet currently), and significant levee problems are almost certain to occur when the lake reaches 20 feet over MSL.

This is from 2015.

http://www.constructionequipmentguide.com/Improvements-Continue-for-Herbert-Hoover-Dike/21625/

“In what appears to be a never-ending task, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers crews in Florida continue working on the outdated Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee — the state’s largest freshwater lake. Since 2007, teams have performed various tasks to reduce the risk of dike failure due to flooding from high water levels.”

Because of the construction methods used in the 1930s, the dike is susceptible to erosion of the earthen embankment,” said John Campbell, public affairs specialist of the Jacksonville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). “Over the past six years, we have installed a 21.4 mile concrete barrier known as a cutoff wall into the southeast quadrant of the dike. The cutoff wall is designed to reduce seepage and prevent erosion.”

The cutoff wall extends from roughly 6 ft. (1.8 m) from the top of the dike through the foundation to several feet beyond the limestone bedrock, averaging between 60 to 80 ft. (18.3 to 24.4 m) below the crest of the dike. It’s considered crucial to the rehabilitation effort, although is by no means a solution to a complex problem. Despite a multi-million dollar effort by USACE, the dike remains on a national shortlist of unsafe class 1 dams, with a category defined as either “almost certain to fail under normal operations” or at “extreme risk of failure with high fatalities and economic losses.” Campbell said progress has been made, but there is a long way to go.

“The $200 million invested so far made it possible to install the cutoff wall in the southeast quadrant of the dike between Port Mayaca and Belle Glade,” said Campbell.

TWO HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS and the people are no safer than they were two years ago.

Anyone say Big Dig?

People of Clewiston you should be up in arms!

Up in arms

We should be up in arms because as long as this is the case our discharges will never stop.

We should be up in arms together.

I feel  like Danny Kaye in this clip.

Here are some photo’s I took from the car as Julie and I whizzed by last weekend.

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There was one spot that looked like a giant sand bag. Not a lot of confidence going into hurricane season.

The reason I bring this up is because our campaign to build a reservoir ended with discharges and toxic green algae sightings and it felt like what went around came around and we were back to square one with the ACOE. The people south of the lake are still in grave danger.

Don’t you think that having a reservoir south of the lake would take some pressure off those dikes and help to keep those people safer?

It felt like ring around the rosey.

It felt like deja vu all over again.

So just a note to the folks out in Clewiston. If you want to be upset with someone be upset with the ACOE and be upset with your bosses at big us sugar corp who are against anything that will keep you safe.

gumbe

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Coffee talk ! Let’s talk!

For two years I’ve been begging people to talk to each other  in the paper. We are so blessed to have the very best dedicated lagoon team. Now we can send articles to our friends! Our voices and the voices of the Stuart News is intragral to being heard.

So thank you who ever made this happen. (I think the person has the initials E.S.) because now we can talk to each other and reach out even more.

Thanks for publishing my letter.

Thanks to all the people who commented.