VIDEO: The Army Corps must make LOSOM a system-wide win

"Cautiously optimistic." That's the way we're feeling as the process to write a new Lake Okeechobee management plan, known as LOSOM, continues into the optimization stage with Plan CC as the foundation. During today's Clean Water Conversation you heard from experts on the east and west coast as they tackled details about the differences in the impacted coastal ecosystems and the necessary modifications it will take to make sure the new LOSOM is a win for everyone. We'd like to extend a big thanks to Mark Perry of Florida Oceanographic Society and James Evans of Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation for sharing their knowledge and insight with us. If you missed the conversation today, you can find the full recording here. And if you [...]

2021-07-29T17:36:09-04:00July 29th, 2021|All Posts, Clean Water Conversations, LOSOM|

Plan CC makes LOSOM a win for this entire region

The following comments were made during the July 15, 2021, meeting of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board by Gil Smart, policy director of Friends of the Everglades. Good morning, my name is Gil Smart and I’m Policy Director for Friends of the Everglades, founded in 1969 by Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Today we first wish to first thank the governing board members and everyone at the water management district who have been neck deep in the LOSOM process. The selection of the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual will have a huge impact on the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries, Lake Worth Lagoon, the southern Everglades and Florida Bay — all of which have suffered under the current [...]

2021-07-16T10:31:01-04:00July 16th, 2021|All Posts, LOSOM|

Friend of the Everglades Summer Giveaway!

Our partners at Patagonia recognize that great environmental victories can be won by groups of committed and locally driven citizens. In an effort to grow our grassroots movement, Friends of the Everglades is pleased to announce a summer giveaway featuring prizes donated by Patagonia when you sign up for our email list. Why should I sign up?  There is great value in staying in the know. Our newsletters are informative updates on the issues that are most important to people interested in protecting waterways and wild spaces across Florida. As Friends of the Everglades works to preserve, protect, and restore the greater Everglades ecosystem, you can expect to see concise coverage of key water-policy meetings, breakdowns of environmental news , [...]

2021-07-15T12:16:42-04:00July 15th, 2021|All Posts|

Everglades Illustrated: An industry exposed

  NASA satellite image of multiple sugarcane fires burning near Belle Glade, Florida, acquired January 5, 2021 See the plumes of smoke in the satellite image above? They mark actively burning sugarcane fields, a practice that’s been used for decades at the expense of exposed residents to make harvesting cheaper. The surrounding black squares show an expansive checkerboard of recently burned sugar fields in the Everglades Agricultural Area. Now imagine living in that area where skies regularly fill with dark smoke that causes eyes to sting and chests to tighten almost every day for six or more months of the year. In Glades communities, nestled south of Lake Okeechobee, that’s reality. Sugar companies set fire to cane fields spanning [...]

Your moment of Everglades Zen: Wild, wonderful Everglades

Wild, Wonderful Everglades A Friend of the Everglades, Josh Staab, recently gifted us a glimpse of the unspoiled beauty and adventure that is the River of Grass. The short video shows us moments that not even all Floridians are lucky enough to have seen, featuring miles of uninterrupted watery views and animal encounters unique to this part of the world. The video perfectly capture the solitude and beauty of an ecosystem that, despite all odds, remains wild and untamed, all backed by an expansive and ever-changing Everglades sky. These are views worth fighting for. Take a minute to watch the video at the bottom of this page — you'll be glad that you did. In Josh's own words: "In this [...]

2021-07-06T10:24:15-04:00July 6th, 2021|All Posts, Everglades Zen|

VIDEO: The latest on Florida’s toxic algae crisis

With toxic algae yet again plaguing Florida's water, residents are still left vulnerable due to inadequate warnings about the health impacts of exposure and retroactive "solutions" that focus more on temporary clean up than tackling the issue at its root cause. Today's Clean Water Conversation delved into the details of this worsening crisis. We heard input from Florida Gulf Coast University algae scientist Dr. Barry Rosen, Lake Worth Waterkeeper Reinaldo Diaz, and Stuart resident Becky Harris on the toxins in our water, the threats they pose to people and our pets, and how you can become an advocate for change. If you missed the conversation today, you can find the full recording below. Today's Clean Water Conversation was brought [...]

2021-06-25T16:38:49-04:00June 25th, 2021|All Posts, Clean Water Conversations, Toxic Algae|

Documenting the Discharges by Plane – 6-23-21 The toxic algae crisis in Lake Okeechobee is worse than it was the last time our partners at LightHawk shared a flyover with us. Pilot Howard Greenberg captured video on June 23 of a festering bloom piled up at the gates of Port Mayaca and streaked through the open waters of Lake Okeechobee just beyond that. That's bad news for Florida residents that are already on edge after recent reports of a dog that died after ingesting toxic algae and more than 120,000 residents in Palm Beach County were warned not to drink their tap water, which was contaminated with toxins caused by blue-green algae. As we continue to document the visible changes by air, be sure to keep [...]

2021-06-24T17:04:18-04:00June 24th, 2021|All Posts, Lake Okeechobee, Toxic Algae|

Getting LOSOM right — the home stretch

We’re in the home stretch — and the front-runner in the quest for a balanced and fair plan for managing Lake Okeechobee is putting some distance between itself and its competitors. During a June 22 workshop on the proposed new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual, detailed data analysis presented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made it increasingly clear Plan CC — one of six under consideration — is the most equitable proposal being offered by the Army Corps of Engineers, offering benefits to most stakeholders. The six plans (AA, BB, CC, DD, EE1 and EE2) were given scores in 10 main sub-objectives: water supply for the Lake Okeechobee Service Area, the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Lower [...]

2021-06-22T17:31:39-04:00June 22nd, 2021|All Posts|

A pivotal moment to get LOSOM right

It’s crunch time. In less than a month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will pick a tentative plan for the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual. It’s a once-in-a-decade opportunity to finally and dramatically improve the way water is managed in South Florida — and mitigate the Sunshine State’s worsening toxic algae crisis. On June 17 the “LOSOM” Project Delivery Team and members of the public, including Friends of the Everglades, examined the latest computer modeling data showing how the new system might work. From tens of thousands of computer models, Corps engineers have selected six possible alternatives: AA, BB, CC, DD, EE1 and EE2. The Army Corps’ goal is to create an equitable plan that reduces damaging discharges [...]

2021-06-17T17:02:46-04:00June 17th, 2021|All Posts, LOSOM|

Florida Cabinet rejects State Road 836 extension order, threatening the Everglades

Today, Governor DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet voted to overturn a judge’s ruling, paving the way for a new expressway that will cut through Florida’s Everglades. Proposed as a solution for traffic congestion, Judge Suzanne Van Wyk previously found the proposal was out of compliance with Miami-Dade County’s comprehensive plan, posing a threat to sensitive Everglades wetlands and a major drinking water source for area residents. In total, the tollway is expected to shave a meager 6 minutes off the average commute time for local motorists once complete — a benefit that seems far outweighed by the potential to do great harm to state and federal lands acquired specifically for Everglades restoration. Friends of the Everglades, which supported the legal [...]

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