The Last Burn Season video series: “Isn’t our life worth it?”

Sugarcane burning leaves communities vulnerable to air pollution, health risks and economic stress. It’s time to forge a meaningful path to a long-overdue solution. Make this the Last Burn Season. "I don't blame the people for not having hope, but I've got hope for them. I'm standing in the gap for my people."— Kina Phillips Kina Phillips knows what it is to sacrifice. At her home in South Bay, Florida, all she has to do is look past the fence line in her backyard for a reminder of the largest agricultural influence south of Lake Okeechobee, and the risks it poses to residents of the Glades communities. Sugarcane stretches for miles into the horizon. When the cane is burned [...]

Everglades Illustrated: Lake O levels and the “water shortage management band”

    It’s been a relatively dry summer. As of September 11, Lake Okeechobee stood at 12.55 feet. That’s about 2 feet lower than this time last year. Last week, the lake officially entered what’s known as the “water shortage management band” — a point where water managers can implement water restrictions if necessary and South Florida Water Management District steps in to determine release volumes from Lake O. But let’s not sound the drought alarm bells just yet. Typically the biggest concern during rainy season is that Lake O will rise too fast, threatening the integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike and triggering damaging discharges to the northern estuaries — but that has not been the case this summer. [...]

2022-09-14T16:43:47-04:00September 13th, 2022|All Posts, Everglades Illustrated, Lake Okeechobee, LOSOM|

Presenting the Maggy Hurchalla Opportunity Fund

It’s hard to believe six months have passed since we said goodbye to Everglades hero Margaret Reno Hurchalla. Not a day goes by that we don’t remember the immense contributions and sacrifices she made in Florida for our communities and environment. As difficult as it was to think of a world without Maggy’s perseverance and inspiration, you helped us realize that her triumphant spirit lives on through Everglades advocacy and supporters. Hundreds of Maggy Hurchalla’s friends and loved ones contributed more than $25,000 cumulatively to Friends of the Everglades in the wake of her passing. Now, Friends of the Everglades is honored to announce the creation of The Maggy Hurchalla Opportunity Fund, seeded by your heartfelt contributions. Your gifts [...]

VIDEO: Corps demonstrates that transparency is the best policy in shaping LOSOM

Friends of the Everglades Executive Director Eve Samples (left) and Policy Director Gil Smart (right) converse with Tim Gysan and Col. James Booth of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during a Clean Water Conversation at the Friends of the Everglades offices in Sewall’s Point. For more than three years, Friends of the Everglades has advocated for a better Lake Okeechobee management plan — one that prioritizes public health and prevents toxic-algae crises like we've seen in years prior. Today we had a chance to speak candidly with Army Corps leaders about the specifics of the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) that will govern the way water moves in and [...]

2022-08-18T16:52:09-04:00August 18th, 2022|All Posts, Clean Water Conversations, LOSOM|

NEW SHOP: Raise a glass to the River of Grass!

Introducing the Friends of the Everglades Shop! Friends of the Everglades founder Marjory Stoneman Douglas was famous for her persistence. In her work to preserve and protect America's Everglades, moments of discouragement and disappointment only seemed to make her more sure of the need to galvanize the next fight. One of Marjory's quotes perfectly illuminates her resolve — so, we've decided to memorialize it on some everyday items to share her sense of strength and purpose in the face of adversity. This year, on the 75th anniversary of Everglades National Park and Marjory's seminal book, "The Everglades: River of Grass," consider supporting our work to preserve Marjory's legacy by purchasing one of our debut shop items. Marjory Stoneman Douglas [...]

2022-09-14T16:45:01-04:00August 15th, 2022|All Posts, Friends of the Everglades SHOP|

The Last Burn Season Video Series: A love letter to the people of Belle Glade

Sugarcane burning leaves communities vulnerable to air pollution, health risks and economic stress. It’s time to forge a meaningful path to a long-overdue solution. Make this the Last Burn Season. “When people come to Belle Glade they don’t fall in love with anything else first, but the people.” — Robert Mitchell Robert Mitchell knows that the true soul of Belle Glade is in the people who live there. From an empty plot of land where his late grandmother once owned a beloved restaurant, Essie Mae’s Cafe, he makes a firm declaration: “We have a saying here in Belle Glade that her soil is her fortune. I’m here to tell you that her soil AND her people are her fortune.” [...]

Live conversation with Corps to address how LOSOM will impact the southern half of Florida

                                Join us for a live LOSOM update with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Three years in the making, the Army Corps of Engineers’ new playbook for managing water out of Lake O just hit a new milestone with the release of draft documents that will guide the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). The consensus of the people has been clear: We are tired of being poisoned by water management policies that over-prioritize benefits to the agricultural industry and leave communities downstream of Lake Okeechobee vulnerable to toxic discharges.  LOSOM was an attempt to address the concerns of many competing interests and [...]

2022-08-05T12:13:44-04:00August 10th, 2022|All Posts|

Environmental organizations provide a progress report on the Blue-Green Algae Task Force recommendations implementation

In early 2019, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis created a new Blue-Green Algae Task Force — made up of highly qualified scientists from around the state charged with issuing recommendations for addressing Florida's blue-green algae crisis. In 2019, the task force released a "consensus document," outlining recommended steps to do just that. And yet, in the nearly three years since then very few have ever been implemented. Today, a press release issued by environmental organizations including Friends of the Everglades criticized Florida leaders for failing to address critical water-quality concerns by not adequately implementing the recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force and announced the debut of the Blue-Green Algae Bloom Task Force Recommendations Implementation Progress Report As it states, "during [...]

VIDEO: The fight against toxic algae continues

Many of us in Florida vividly recall recent years with highly visible toxic algae outbreaks on our waters — a reoccurring crisis that eventually prompted the creation of a new Blue-Green Algae Task Force in 2019. Despite the list of sound recommendations for combatting blue-green algae that the task force released later the same year, the issue and its root causes have remained largely unaddressed by Florida's elected leaders.  During today's Clean Water Conversation, Matanzas Riverkeeper Jen Lomberk and 1000 Friends of Florida's Haley Busch joined Friends of the Everglades' Gil Smart and Eve Samples to discuss the various ways that Florida should address the blue-green algae crisis and where we’ve so far failed in our response. Today's conversation scratched the surface of [...]

2022-07-27T16:37:37-04:00July 27th, 2022|All Posts|

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