August 18, 2020 Meeting SummaryGuest Speaker: Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, Governing Board Member South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). (website: sfwmd.gov)
Charles Grande introduced and welcomed Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch to the meeting. The two have worked together over the years on water related issues in the area.
Ms. Thurlow-Lippisch launched into her discussion by explaining the organization’s structure, reporting relationship, and the direction. It is composed of 5 Districts with the South being the oldest. The current problems with Lake O were placed in context by explaining the history of the development in the state since 1923. (Meeting presentation is available on the PC website, Governmental Affairs Committee.)
SFWMD began a new journey in 2019, when the Governor replaced all of the board members and the current mission was developed. For the first time “to safeguard and restore South Florida’s water resources” was included in the mission. Governor DeSantis 2019 Executive Order 19.12 outlines the new strategic plan and is useful to review in order to gain a better understanding of the direction.
The SFWMD projects all tend to be long term efforts and the 3 significant projects were described: the EAA reservoir, C44 reservoir, and C-43 reservoir. Funding for all of the efforts was also explained and more information is included in the presentation slides, including other major project timelines.
Ms. Thurlow-Lippisch was asked what we, as interested residents, can do to support water resources efforts. “Become an advocate!” was the reply. She further explained the need to build relationships with elected officials, speak out during public meetings and voice what’s important to you.
Additional questions from participating PC members were discussed, including one on the Lake O height schedule (LORS). The criteria for determining the level now considers “Human Health & Safety” impacts, along with agricultural needs. The Army Corp manages the Lake level and SFWMD is the local sponsor.
Ms. Thurlow-Lippisch’s enthusiasm and passion are infectious. We all took away information that we can share with others to support the effort to improve the water quality in our area.
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