Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
108 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-0108
Dear Ms. Darcy,
On behalf of CCA Florida’s 16,500 members, CCA’s 120,000 members nationwide, and recreational anglers throughout Florida, I write to you about CCA’s concern over the toxic algae blooms that have wreaked havoc in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuary systems this summer. I realize you are well aware of this problem, having been involved in the Everglades restoration since the early 1990’s and having heard from several of Florida’s elected representatives recently on this very issue. We appreciate the recent decision by the Corps to reduce discharges out of Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, and understand this to be a temporary measure.
The recent discharge decision notwithstanding, I wanted to communicate our interest in finding more permanent solutions to what has become an environmental disaster and a public health issue for South Florida. Although this is rightfully viewed as an ecological problem, as you know, it also brings with it dramatic economic consequences.
We request your help, and the help of Florida’s political leaders, to develop creative and workable solutions which will provide additional short-term and lasting relief to our estuarine systems. We also need the Army Corps to develop more efficient approaches to your review and study of CERP projects that can best contribute to longer-term restoration solutions. We understand the complexity involved with these endeavors, but we believe these projects can be reviewed and approved by your agency more efficiently. If not, we risk reaching an environmental and ecological tipping point which may lead to the end of some of Florida’s most valuable resources.
We are urging our elected representatives at the state and federal levels to make these issues their highest priority, and are strongly advocating for the necessary appropriations for the projects we believe offer the best hope for Florida’s future. Among these, we strongly support CEPP projects which can play a strategic role in reducing estuary discharges. We are also communicating our views with the leadership of the South Florida Water Management District, with whom you work closely. We also appreciate the important role the ACOE must play in resolving these issues.
We understand the intricate and convoluted nature of these issues and the need to have a strategic view about these problems, and we hope with your attention to this matter, every near-term and long-term solution can be pursued.
Chairman, CCA Florida