Title: Colonel Terry Rice
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Colonel Terry Rice

Colonel Terry Rice, Army Corps of Engineers, opens the interview with his account of the
history of contributing factors Everglades deterioration (page 1-3). He talks about the
change in values and Aculture@ in both the Army Corps of Engineers and the
environmental movement that formed the background for changes in the Everglades
ecosystem (page 4). He stresses that holistic planning is the key new idea in the
comprehensive Restoration plan (page 5) and discusses the watershed moments he felt
were critical to arriving at that key new idea (page 5-6).

On page 6-7, those who dissented from the Restoration plan are treated, as well as key
people and organizations who helped usher in change for the Everglades (page 7).
Colonel Rice then detours into a discussion of his educational and professional background
(page 8-9), with particular reference to the influence of his earlier experiences and the
chance for the Everglades to serve as a model for similar projects in the future (page 9-10).
Colonel Rice discusses coming to Jacksonville as District Engineer for the Corps (page 10-
11) and his objectives in that role with regard to the Everglades (12), particularly concerning
two contentious issues that he was involved in: granting a permit for stormwater treatment
areas (page 12-13) and the widening of Route 1 in the Florida Keys (page 14-16).

In response to a question about the balancing of environmental interests with other
considerations (page 16), Colonel Rice discusses at great length the Restudy plan as a
case-study (page 17-20). He treats in particular the issue of the altered Chief=s Report,
which caused enormous dissension among Everglades constituents (page 20-23). Colonel
Rice responds to criticisms that the restudy depends on unproven technology (page 24-25)
and also converses on issues of water-distribution and the natural-systems model (page
25-27). He also talks about an important shift in the Army Corps of Engineers that allowed
the Corps to engage in environmentally-conscious work rather than destructive intervention
(page 28), and how he overcame the deep distrust of the Corps harbored by
environmentalists (page 29-30).

On page 31-33, Colonel Rice provides his take on the importance of the Restoration Task
Force in 1993 and its relation to the Working Group, particularly concentrating on
disagreements between the two (page 33), as in the contentious issue of modified water
deliveries (page 34-35). He also shares his perspective on the issue of the Eight-and-Half-
Square-Mile Area, for which many criticized him (page 36-37). Colonel Rice then goes on to
evaluate: the role of the scientific community in organizations like the Task Force (page 38),
issues of scientific uncertainty in Everglades work (page 39), the South Florida Water
Management District (page 39) the National Park Service (page 40), the Fish and Wildlife
Service (page 41), and the sugar industry (page 41-42). He also comments on the
controversy over Iteration 7 (page 42), the South Everglades Restoration Alliance (page
43-44), and the need to improve cooperation among all the elements involved in
Everglades restoration (page 44-45).

Colonel Rice also shares his thoughts on the need to involve the general public in

Everglades issues (page 46; 48) and how he attempted to do that during his Corps tenure
(page 47). He discusses his publicized grade of C to the Restoration effort (page 48) and
explains why he would still give that grade at this time (page 49). He also touches on the
current projects he is involved with and why the Miccosukee Tribe has resisted Restoration
efforts (page 50). Colonel Rice concludes with what he has learned from his involvement in
Everglades issues and what he feels remain the obstacles to Restoration (page 51-2)

Interviewee: Colonel Terry Rice
Interviewer: Brian Gridley
Date: March 8, 2001

G: This is Brian Gridley. I am at the Florida International University interviewing
Colonel Terry Rice. The date is March 8, 2001. Colonel Rice, I would like to begin
by focusing broadly on some of the problems that exist in the South Florida
region and the efforts to address those problems. What are the most important
contributing factors that have led to the present problems in the Everglades?

R: The problems we face in the Everglades, and I guess all of South Florida, go
back over 150 years. The history of this thing is very important, because you
[have] to know how you got to where you are at to try to stop those things in the
future and fix them. Obviously, Florida became a state in 1845, and at that point
in time, the military engineers came down and surveyed this area. They found
that it was a very inhospitable place. As a matter of fact, on the notes on their
maps that they made, they say this place was only fit for vermin, that humans
should stay away. But that was not the way man looked at things in those days,
and for a long time after. Obviously, using the land to their benefit was the
primary goal. In 1851, the Swamp and Overflowed Lands Act was passed. That
basically legislated the destruction of wetlands in the United States; it
encouraged people to drain wetlands by giving them cheap land with their
promise that they would improve those areas. The first major thing that happened
was in the 1880s when Hamilton Diston came down here. He was a tool-and-dye
maker from Philadelphia. He had bought a lot of the cheap land around Lake
Okeechobee and to the north, and he decided that one of his projects would be
to lower Lake Okeechobee, among other things. He did many, many things in the
north of Lake Okeechobee, as far as canals and drainage, but the one significant
thing he did was connect Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee River. Lake
Hicpochee used to be the headwaters of the Caloosahatchee. Lake Okeechobee
replaced the small Lake Hicpochee, and within two weeks, once it was
connected, it lowered Lake Okeechobee about two feet. Once that lake was
lowered significantly, the hydrology of this whole region was changed almost
forever. So, you can see, a long time ago, major things were being done in this
system to change the way the water [flowed]. Then you come up to the early
1900s, and Napoleon Bonaparte Broward decided that he would run on a
platform of draining the Everglades. He won, and he is one of the only politicians
I know who made good on his campaign promises. After being elected, he
actually went out and built the Miami Canal, the North New River, the
Hillsborough, the Palm Beach and the St. Lucie Canals, which were designed to
intercept water flowing through the Everglades and shunt [it] off to the estuaries
as quickly as possible. That really drained a significant part of the Everglades:

Page 4

another major step in changing the hydrology of the system. I keep going back to
hydrology, because getting the water right down here is the primary goal of
restoration the right amount of water at the right place at the right time and the
right quality. You can see here with the things I am talking about, all these things
have been changed over the years. Then [Henry] Flagler [industrialist] decided
he wanted to extend his railroad to the Keys, all the way to Key West, so he
embarked upon that. About 1912, I believe, he completed that project. His
engineers told him that between the Keys, you should not completely block them
off with causeways; you should leave openings so you can have tidal flushings
between Florida Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. He listened to them. They said it
would be an environmental problem if that was done, so he listened and he
actually left openings. Only 68 percent of the openings were occluded with
causeways, so he left a good significant portion more than what had originally
been planned. But from that date, when you go to Florida Bay and you start to
analyze the coral, you will find that, from the completion of that railroad, the
temperature and the salinity of Florida Bay have increased. Again, changing the
tidal-flushing action, changing the characteristics of the natural system, this time
from probably more of a water-quality standpoint than a quantity standpoint.
Then in 1928, another major happening was the completion of Tamiami Trail. We
had to get from Miami across the Everglades, so we decided that we would build
a road. That road was not designed to pass waters that traditionally had flowed
through that region, it effectively was a dam across the Everglades. Once it was
finished [we] again [had] a major encroachment into the system. Then you have
all these major changes in the hydrology, you go through a period of years where
you have drought, and since we have drained it so well, it starts burning. So, in
the 1930s and early 1940s, they had a lot of burning of the peat going on. In the
mid-1940s, it started raining heavily, and then we started having floods. I always
harken back to Senator [Bob] Graham's [D-Florida, 1987 to present] story [about]
living in west Dade or Broward [County, one of the two] where he had a two-story
house and when the hurricanes came the two came in 1947 within two weeks
of each other he said it looked like a lake all around his house for about nine
months. They had to live on the second floor and use boats to get to places.
They always joked in the family, [as] his uncle used to say, that if Columbus had
come to discover America at that point in time, he would have turned around and
gone back and said, there was no America, [that] it was just all ocean, because it
was so wet down here. The war was over, and you had a situation where we
were looking for putting people to work, building our economy. A lot of civil works
projects were being authorized by Congress. We had this catastrophe in South
Florida where [people] had been brought to their knees by trying to re-plumb the
area for man. So, Congress directed the [Army] Corps of Engineers to come
down here and help. The Corps inherited [a massive challenge]. It was a really
remarkable piece of legislation, because it was probably the first time Congress
had ever directed a multi-purpose project. They did not just say, go down and fix
the flooding. They said, go down and make sure they have adequate water-

Page 5

supply, make sure we prevent saltwater-intrusion, make sure we go in and we
take care of Everglades National Park, make sure we go in and take care of the
fish and wildlife and the other parts of the Everglades. It was a multi-purpose
effort. But the values for society back in those days were to reclaim the lands for
use by man, make sure they have flood- protection, make sure they have water
supply, and we [did] not really understand all that natural stuff. As a matter of
fact, John DeGrove used to call what the Corps did, as far as the [un]natural
[changes to the system], as a kind of innocent ignorance. They really did not
know what they were doing [to nature] by changing the hydrology, or [by] fixing
the hydrology [for the benefit of humans]. And I think I agree with that
characterization. Anyway, the Corps came, and from the late 1940s to the end of
the 1960s, they started building more dikes and canals, tying them into the ones
that had already been built to try to make the system more effective at draining
the Everglades and providing the water supply that was needed. The Water
Conservation Areas, which people now look at as major parts of the Everglades,
were actually designed to be reservoirs. If you look at the design memorandums,
they were designed to have sawgrass in them, because that would help alleviate
some of the wind-shear influences on the water bodies and prevent them from
tearing down the levees during high-wind hurricanes and other storms. So they
were reservoirs. They were to hold water during times of lots of water, so [the
water] could be used during times of drought for water supply. Essentially, their
high-ends were increased, as far as their levels go, and at the low-end, during
times of drought, they were drawn down to provide that water supply. The
envelope which they operated in was much expanded from what it had been in
the past: another change to the system that was not natural. Then, in the mid- to
late-1960s, [the] environmental movement started changing the whole tone of
how we looked at this entire system. Back in those days, a lot of the icons of
environmental restoration came from Florida. The cross-Florida barge canal,
which is north of the Everglades system, was stopped in 1972 by [U. S.]
President [Richard M.] Nixon [1969-1974]. Definitely a high-impact action. It had
been going on for over 100 years, as far as the planning and trying to make it a
reality, and then all of sudden, in the middle of the project, Nixon pulls the plug,
because they had a lot of people who were protesting this ravaging of the
environment that was [either] perceived or actually going on. We will not argue
that point. [For example,] you had the jetport. They were going to build [a major]
airport out in the Everglades, and there was a large uprising down here by a lot
of concerned citizens, [the] Miami Herald and others. They actually were able to
stop the jetport, even though the runway had been completed. [The runway] is
still there, [but] the jetport never went any further. As far as the system goes, this
gave [us] a lot of impetus to start looking and [find]ing things that were wrong and
trying to fix them. [For instance,] no sooner [had] the Kissimmee River been
straightened out [when] the environmental cry [called for the government] to go
put the kinks back in it, put the meanders back in it. So, that program [to restore
the Kissimmee] then started. It was [at] that point [that we started] changing our

Page 6

focus, from making the system so man can live here, giving him the water he
needs, giving the flood- protection he needs, to starting to look at [the]
environment, this natural system we work in. It [took a long time] to get to that
[point] where we finally realized in large numbers that we had a problem. Marjory
Stoneman Douglas, in her genius, knew about this a long time ago, but not a
whole lot of people listened to her.

G: Was it mainly just a lack of scientific or technical understanding that resulted in
this problem?

R: It is both. It is a lack of a cultural value-system that cherished nature in its
historical form. I mean, if you look at the early movies of the Corps of Engineers
working down here, you can clearly see that [their value-system] was reclaiming
nature for the use by man. That was it, period. There was no understanding
beyond that of the value of the natural system and what they were doing to the
natural system. The mechanics of the natural system were just out-of-sight, out-

G: Do you think the values have changed, and that the understanding has changed
sufficiently to the present point such that the current restoration initiative would
be fundamentally different than previous efforts?

R: What do you mean by previous efforts?

G: Say, prior to the 1990s, before the Kissimmee restoration.

R: You have to understand, once we started in about 1969 to get serious about our
environment, we [already] had rivers on fire [and] had clear-cutting of forests. It
was pretty obvious something was not right. We had poison in our environment
that was making birds go extinct. It was just a whole litany of things. We had
come to a critical node in our society, in the culture of our society. At that point in
time, the environmental movement started to change that value-system by
making people more aware and doing things to make sure that we did not just do
things for capitalism, [that] we did things for the environment simultaneously. We
had all these great laws passed the National Environmental Policy Act, the
Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act. A whole litany of these [laws
came] out of that initial burst of environmental consciousness. But you [have] to
understand, we did not really know how to implement those laws. We did not
understand the biology. We did not understand what it really meant to try to
maintain and/or restore the system. We had to learn. Our people [in the Corps],
who had been doing these things over the years, had to change their culture, too.
It is hard to go into an organization that has been chartered for decades, to go
out and build canals for navigation and flood-control projects and switch them,
just like you have an on-and-off switch, to where they are now going to go out

Page 7

and make great things happen for the environment. You [have] to understand
[that] the whole motivation for doing flood-protection and water supply and hydro-
power and all these projects [was], are they economically viable? If the benefits
did not exceed the costs in monetary terms, they were not done. That was the
gauge. Now they [were in] a situation where there is no way to put monetary
terms on these environmental things, so how [can they] justify these things [to]
Congress? How [can] we get them approved? If you get them approved, they are
not going to have high priorities. So, from that point in time, about 1969, to the
early 1990s, you had this learning period. You had all this cultural change going
on, [but] it had to get to a critical mass before people could more logically start
looking at how this is all integrated. I [believe] that 1969 to 1992 was a transition
period in our consciousness and our understanding of what it meant to restore an

G: Does the comprehensive plan, then, represent the culmination of that?

R: Absolutely. When we reached that critical mass in 1992, we looked around, and
we started saying, not only do we have to [view this challenge holistically], there
is no other way to do this [successfully]. We have to holistically look at this entire
ecosystem at one time. You cannot do something for Lake Okeechobee and not
expect something bad to happen somewhere else. You have to look at [the
ecosystem] in a system-context. That was a major, major step forward, when that
act of Congress and those two resolutions of Congress directed the Corps of
Engineers to fix the whole system at one time. That was a culmination of all
those years of learning and grappling and trying to fix one piece of it and
forgetting about another piece of it. [For instance, you] say, you cannot
back-pump into Lake Okeechobee because it is hurting Lake Okeechobee, [but]
you [can] put the water into] the Everglades and destroy the Everglades. You
just cannot do those things. You [have] to take care of [the entire system] all at
one time, [and] not just for South Florida. [What we do here] is a significant event
for the world, because it is not done that way very often, still yet.

G: Is holistic planning, then, what you would identify as being the distinguishing
characteristic of the comprehensive plan that would distinguish it from earlier
restoration attempts?

R: Absolutely. The fact that [Congress] basically directed a look at the entire
system, the system being a watershed, the greater Everglades ecosystem, and it
did not even just look at what was authorized under the Central and South
Florida Flood Project back in 1948. [It also] took into account all of western
Florida and all the estuaries and everything else, which really were not a part of
that. So, it even expanded the idea of the project to [a] look at the ecosystem.
That is, without a doubt, the major step forward. It is an order-of-magnitude
increase in our ability to deal with this restoration process.

Page 8

G: Are there any specific events or turning points or watershed events that you
would identify as leading to the type of change that we see in the comprehensive

R: There has obviously been a lot of major events down here that really spurred
things forward. Between 1969 and 1992, there were a lot of people trying to do
the right thing for Lake Okeechobee, trying to do the right thing for the
Kissimmee River, all independentlyy. Now all those things were important, [in]
that people were fighting, [and] they started seeing that it all fits together. All
those [things] together were very important to where we are at. I think probably
one of the major catalysts to this whole process was the [1988] lawsuit filed by
the United States against the state of Florida for not enforcing their water-quality
standards. People do not like litigation, but sometimes you [have] to hit people
over their head to get their attention. I think that was a shock[wave] that ran
through this whole process, in that finally somebody [could not] just deny the fact
that they [were] polluting; they [were] going to have to do something about it. I
think that lawsuit was a watershed event. Again, I do not support lawsuits, but
sometimes they are necessary, and that [lawsuit] definitely was a catalyst to
move all of this forward.

G: What was the impact of that? How did it move things forward?

R: You were in a situation where anybody who had any sense could see that the
Everglades was being polluted. I mean, if you look at aerial photographs, you can
see that thousands of acres were changing from sawgrass to cattail. Lake
Okeechobee was well over the concentrations of phosphorus and other
pollutants that it should [have had], but nobody was doing anything about it. All
they were doing [was] denying the fact that that was the case. The state, for
whatever reason, probably political reasons, was not really making people stand
up and do what was necessary. This was the first time [that the state of Florida]
had to understand that there was a lawsuit: either a judge was going to find them
guilty, or they had to come to some agreement as to what it really meant. They
took the approach of developing a settlement agreement. There would have
been no settlement agreement [and] no consent-decree in a federal court, unless
there had been a lawsuit filed. [The settlement of this lawsuit] was the catalyst to
move people forward on an actual beginning of real restoration of the

G: Do you think, then, it helped to bring the parties together, in a certain way?

R: At first, it was very fractious in its impact and kind of pushed them apart, but in
the end, I think it has really brought people together into a common
understanding. Everybody's interest is still different, but they understand that
their interest has to dovetail with everybody else's interest. That is a very

Page 9

important thing. If I have an interest and my interest is agriculture and somebody
else's interest is water supply and somebody else's interest is environment, we
are never going to get anywhere unless we can reach common ground and move
forward. I think that has been a very big impetus, providing a means to reach
common ground among a lot of adverse interests.

G: Not all the groups were necessarily happy with the final settlement that was
reached. For example, the Miccosukee Tribe.

R: Marjory Stoneman Douglas took her name off the Everglades Forever Act. The
initial settlement agreement was for 2002, that they would have final water-
quality standards. That is a long time from the early 1990s. [She] said, God, it is
going to take that [long]? Now, it is 2006 they are going to reach a final water-
quality standard. Sure, there are a lot of people who [did and do] not like that, but
when all is said and done, if the state of Florida stands up and meets that date,
that would be a major accomplishment. [I say that] will be a major
accomplishment, because nothing like this has ever been done before. This is a
very, very significant happening all over the United States. We have a Clean
Water Act, and the Clean Water Act says that you will have certain standards
developed for water bodies and you will have certain standards created for
affluents that you put in those water bodies. We have a system that allows a
water body to have a standard, and then we have standards for the effluents
which are not protective of that water body. We have a standard that we say this
water body has to meet, but then we actually have standards for the people who
are discharging into that water body [and] will violate the standard of this water
body. There is a disconnect. The way that is fixed in the law is by a system called
total maximum daily loads, where you actually go in and find out what is the
maximum load of each pollutant that water body can accept, and then you go
back to all the effluents, or sources of the pollutant, and you have to figure out
some way to limit them so you do not violate that load. That is the law. Now, we
are a long way from doing that in Florida. We are a long way [from] doing that in
the United States. There is not a water body in Florida, hardly, that is meeting its
standard, and they are all degrading because of this problem. This is the first
time, anywhere I know of [here] in the state of Florida, where actually we are
having to [produce] an effluent which meets the standard [set for] the water body.
That is a significant step forward. People do not realize that. People do not
realize that we are actually doing something that needs to be done [for] every
water body in Florida. We found a way to do [it], and it all stems from a lawsuit
that made this happen. If we could just get people to understand how this
matches these effluents to this water body. We need to do that all over the state
of Florida, all over the United States, all over the world, and we can start moving
forward. But people do not understand the significance of it yet, and we have not
done [much] to educate them.

Page 10

G: Are there any specific organizations or groups that you would identify as being
catalysts for change?

R: Obviously, Marjory Stoneman Douglas was a unique person in that she was a
genius. She saw things that were wrong [when] other people did not, at a stage
[in] our country's history] where people were not looking at environmental things
very much. It was all economy. We just got through the Depression, and we had
been through a war. Our country basically went through these two traumatic
periods, and now here is this lady who writes a book who sees, by herself,
basically, the problems that we face. Then, on top of that, she had the tenacity to
go out and preach it. With tenacity, she [was able to educate and] convince
people and start developing an army of understanding [that] there [was]
something wrong with our environment, and on top of that, she had the
perseverance. She never quit. Until the day she could not walk out of the house,
she kept doing it. You put all those together into one person, and that is definitely
a strong catalyst [for] what this is all about. She was well ahead of her time. As a
matter of fact, if you read in her [1947] book [The Everglades: River of Grass], it
talks about maybe the Army Corps of Engineers will come in and do something
about this problem we face. That was in 1947. That was before the Corps ever
did anything. She had some insights that, I think, were very inspirational to a lot
of people and propelled a lot of these actions forward. [Just as] the
environmental groups were important back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, in
increasing] the consciousness of our society about what environment meant to
our future, and at the same time, on a parallel track, they were the inspiration for
all these laws that we have talked about, the Clean Water Act, the National
Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and you can go on and
on. There are a lot of laws that came out of the environmental movement. So, I
think that was an extremely important catalyst to move these things forward.
Now, that was to get it started, and I think that is the question you asked, [were]
there some people and an impetus to get this thing moving in the right direction?
I think that is what really got it moving in the direction it is headed. Now, there
have been some people after that who have played a big role in this thing, but I
think those were the major catalysts.

G: I would like to focus now more specifically on your involvement in Everglades
management during your time with the Corps of Engineers. Briefly, could you tell
me about your professional background, including education and career positions
leading up to your involvement with the Everglades?

R: I will try. I graduated from West Point in 1969, general engineering. I went to the
University of Illinois and got a master's in civil engineering, water resources, in
1977. Got a Ph.D. from Colorado State in water-resources engineering in 1981.
That essentially was my educational foundation as far as Everglades-type things
go. I also spent a year at Georgetown University, working more on the political

Page 11

science side of things on developmental assistance to the Third World. That
really helps a lot, because you can know all the mechanics in the world about
water, but you also need to know the human aspect of how this all fits together. I
think that was a very helpful year for me. I was a member of the Corps of
Engineers for twenty-nine years, and in that capacity I have worked in over
twenty-five countries and traveled to probably half the countries in the world in
some capacity or another. I have worked in Europe, Africa, in South and Central
America, in Asia, [spending] a lot of time in the developing world trying to help
them grapple with their problems. I had one significant assignment, I think
probably more significant than any other in setting the foundation for my life, and
that was my almost three years that I spent in sub-Saharan Africa. I had the
wonderful opportunity as a young Ph.D. graduate, just itching to go solve water
resources problems around the world, to be assigned, actually loaned, to the
United States Agency for International Development, to be their expert, on-the-
ground advisor on the development of the Niger River Basin, which is the
seventh-largest river basin in the world in the heart of western Africa. So I went
and worked in the Niger Basin Authority, which was an all-African organization,
made up of people from all nine countries that were in that basin. I worked right
from the scratch, helping them develop their technical capabilities and helping
them to do their master-planning and assessing the entire system, doing
geomorphic studies. But what I found out very quickly was that all my great ideas
and all the things we know about water resources and basins and everything
really do not mean a whole lot in light of the politics that you have to deal with in
a situation like that. It really becomes, not [just] being an engineer, because the
engineering usually is the simple part of it; the hard part of it is trying to get all the
people to agree and to support what you are trying to accomplish. So I spent
three years flying around western Africa trying to basically do that. You [have] to
understand [that] when you are working in sub-Saharan Africa, you are working
in the poorest countries of the world. Their major concern is, where is my next
meal coming from, more than how are we going to fix this basin? You really have
a lot of hurdles to overcome to do that. But I think that one opportunity was
probably the one that set the base and the foundation for my continued work
here in Florida.

G: Those were lessons, then, that you were able to bring to your experience in

R: There is no question about it. I had spent like eleven out of my twelve years
overseas, before I came to Jacksonville, in Africa, South and Central America
and Europe, working, with the developing world. I really enjoyed it, because I
thought this was a challenge. I thought this was my life-calling, because [it] was
such an exciting opportunity to help people in the most abject poverty you can
find, to step up to a new level in life. I just liked the whole idea of that. [When I

Page 12

came here], it was an honor to be selected to be a District Engineer. At that point
in time, I really did not know the difference between Jacksonville and Anchorage,
Alaska. They assigned me to Jacksonville; I came to Jacksonville. I [appreciated]
the honor, but I really wanted to work in the Third World. I thought I would go to
Jacksonville and spend a year, retire, and then go back and work in the Third
World. I got [to Jacksonville], and I started getting involved in this Everglades
restoration process, which was rapidly reaching this crescendo. I soon found out,
clearly, that the problems we face in South Florida are really the same problems
we face everywhere you go in the world. I could relate all the problems I faced in
the Niger River Basin to the problems we face here in Florida. Usually, they were
at a different level of resolution, they were at a different level of priority, they were
at a different level of intensity, but it all was about how does man take care of
himself and not destroy the environment in which he lives. Here in South Florida,
you found that you had people, huge amounts of people, trying to move into
South Florida in one of the most delicate ecosystems in the world. Now, how can
these people live and, at the same time, maintain the balance with [a] delicate
ecosystem? You have to understand this is a cliche the environment is the
economy down here. Who wants to come down here and live if the water is
putrid, and there is no place to go to the beach, and there is no place to get good
drinking water, and you cannot get an ample [water] supply, and the reef is dying
because people are not taking care of their [waste-]water discharges. If you do
not have [these], you do not have a tourist industry, you do not have a
development industry, you do not have a fishing industry, you do not have a
recreational [industry]. These are major things down here. So how do these
people grapple with this common problem we find throughout the world? You
also have to understand that down here you have better-educated people who
understand this, you have people who have more time on their hands to
contribute to it they do not have to worry about where their next meal is coming
from they have a lot of money that they can allocate to the process. You are at
the point where you have a national issue, not just a local issue: the Congress is
standing up, the president is standing up, everybody. You [have] all these forces.
Your time in history seems propitious to do something good and resolve a lot of
these problems that we face. Then I said, shoot, if we cannot resolve these
problems here, how are we going to ever resolve them in the Third World? We
cannot. There is just no way. I had this pollyanna view of the United States when
I got here. I just figured we did it the right way. We knew what the problems were,
we went out and solved them. That just is not the case. And it is not because we
do not know how to solve them; it is because of all these different interests that
you have to get together to agree and move forward and make things priorities
that should be priorities and move forward. That is not easy here, even though it
is probably the easiest place there is to do it. So that was kind of the evolution of
my life in getting to [the] point, where [I realized that] this is really a microcosm of
all the problems we face throughout the world. [And] that hopefully as we solve
this problem, we can develop procedures, develop methodologies, develop

Page 13

understandings and extrapolate them to solutions to those kind of problems

G: So the Everglades could become a model.

R: The Everglades is one of our greatest chances on this earth for the model that
we need to move forward into history.

G: You have said that you were not looking to come to Jacksonville. How was the
decision made for you to assume that position?

R: The way it was made, as I understand I am not privy to all the meetings and
discussions you understand the Corps of Engineers is part of the Army, and
one of the honors in the Army is to be selected as a commander at each level
that you have an opportunity. Your first chance is a captain, as a company
commander. Then as a lieutenant colonel, you have a battalion command. Then
if you are good enough, you get selected for a brigade-level command as
colonel. So I was selected to be a brigade-level commander. The Army's
mentality basically is, a colonel is a colonel is a colonel, like interchangeable
parts on a car. You know, one colonel will do the job, the other one will do the
job. They are colonels, they are not individuals. So, they go through this mostly
random process to put all the people in all the positions that are available. They
do ask you what your preference is. I think Jacksonville was my fourth
preference, and I got my fourth preference. There was no rationale trying to
match the perfect guy with the perfect job. That just does not really happen very
often in the Army. As a matter of fact, Senator [Bob] Graham [U.S. senator,
Florida, 1986-present] always had problems with that kind of thing. Senator
Graham used to talk to Rock Salt. When I got here, Rock Salt was the bee's
knees. Everybody in the world was trying to keep Rock Salt in his position. I
would go up to see Assistant Secretary of the Army or his staff for civil works,
and there would be all these letters, keep Rock Salt, we need Rock Salt. Senator
Graham was fighting for Rock Salt. And it did not work. The Army would not do it.
So, here I come in, and here I am behind the eight-ball, because here is this guy
who has done all this good stuff. He finally turned the corner and [got] things
moving in a direction which shows an environmental consciousness on the part
of the Corps of Engineers that is overt rather than hidden somewhere. I [have] to
do at least what this guy did. So I was pressured to try to do the best I could, to
continue what he had started. I just said, I will have to try to do it. That was the
motivation for me to move forward. When I got to the end of my time, the same
thing happened with me that happened with Rock; everybody was writing letters
that we want to keep him, how can we do this? Senator Graham would go see
the Chief of Engineers, Secretary [of Interior Bruce] Babbitt personally went to
see the Chief of Engineers, and it [fell on] deaf ears. Senator Graham had an
amendment or a rider put on an appropriations bill directed at the Department of

Page 14

Defense to look at how they assigned Corps of Engineers officers and see if
there was a more logical way to assign them and keep them in place for longer
periods of time. I understand that the response by the Department of Defense
was kind of inane and it never went anywhere, so we are still in the same
system: you come for two or three years and then you move on. That is the way
interchangeable colonels work.

G: Is there not an important loss of knowledge when you do that?

R: Oh, there is no question. Anybody who thinks you can just walk in here and do
these jobs, I mean, the Corps of Engineers Commander is an important job and it
is complex, but there are other ones out there very much the same. It takes you
at least a year, year and a half, to start feeling comfortable that you are
understanding the system, the players, all the different interactions. So you have
half a year or a year and a half to actually make some contributions if you are so
motivated, and then here comes somebody else and you start all over again.

G: During your time at the Jacksonville district, what did you identify as being your
most important objectives?

R: My most important objectives while I was at Jacksonville...well, you got to
understand Jacksonville is a lot larger than the Everglades.

G: Yes, I should say your job in Jacksonville in relation to Everglades.

R: Obviously, I was there when the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
was just going to start the actual planning process. We had been through what
we call the reconnaissance phase, which I think ended the fall after I arrived, and
then we had to [construct a] plan. My number-one priority, clearly, was to put that
on the right foot, to make sure that we were going in the right direction and doing
the right things to make that plan something that was as good as it possibly could
be. I also, in South Florida, had a lot of regulatory challenges, which were very,
very important to the future of this area and the future of how that whole
regulatory-process occurs. To name a few: number one was the permit to build
the stormwater treatment areas. That probably took more of my time and more of
my effort over three years than anything else that I did. We had to craft a [404]
permit that not only got the job done, but spent the taxpayer's money wisely and
[so that], at the end of the day, we could be assured that not only we were going
to get [the job] done, but we were going to get something [constructed] that really
did the job. That was my responsibility, crafting that 404 dredge-and-fill permit for
the stormwater treatment areas, and it was probably one of the most
controversial things that I had to deal with. I guarantee I was attacked from all
different directions, but you know what, [the permit] has never been challenged
and it is working and they are building STAs [stormwater treatment areas].

Page 15

G: Why was it so controversial?

R: First of all, I did it because I felt my public service [as Commander of the Corps]
was to make sure we had a permit that served the public interest. Actually, if you
read the regulations and laws, it says I am supposed to do that, and when you
look at public interest, it [involves] everything. I mean, there is nothing it does not
cover as to what I am supposed to take care of. I just wanted to make sure that
was the case. Now, a lot of people just wanted me to issue a permit. Here is a
permit, go dredge-and-fill, and it is over. But [we] even got into the operations of
the project. [We] got into the monitoring, how they would monitor what they were
doing to make sure [that] if there were problems, they would correct them. [We]
even put in the permit that [we] recognized that the default standard was ten
parts per billion, which was an incredibly contentious issue. What you had was a
sugar industry, who had signed up with the Department of Interior for an
agreement on an Everglades Forever Act, and they never saw that there would
be any interference from any other federal agencies, except just going and doing
and executing those plans. It was like I was somebody who had broken that
promise that was made. Even though the Corps of Engineers were not a part of
that negotiation, they felt that there was a betrayal there, and I was the agent of
that betrayal, even though I was trying to serve the public. So they really found all
kinds of ways to make the state legislature, in particular, by the Governor, try to
vilify me in this process so that they could do it the way they wanted to do it. I
always believed, and I still believe today, that what I did was in their best
interests; they just did not see it that way.

G: Was it just this idea of outside involvement? Were there substantive policy
differences that made them upset with the decisions you were making in that

R: Say that one more time.

G: I am thinking in particular about this issue about the Clean Water Act water-
quality standards, if I recall that correctly, that was part of the permit. That was
part of the controversy, was it not?

R: Hm-mm [yes].

G: Why were the groups like the sugar industry, the Department of Interior, which
you mentioned, why were they upset with that standard?

R: The sugar industry never believed that was the standard. They just believed the
standard would be something that would be determined through the
Environmental Regulatory Commission in the state and it would be something

Page 16

different than that. What I said was, the law says if you do not by 2003 establish
that standard, then the standard is, by default, ten parts per billion. What I told
them that they had to do as they built these STAs, they had to show me, they
had to convince me, that they could meet a final standard of anywhere between
fifty and ten parts per billion in their design and the process they use to move
forward in this thing. I said, it is kind of like a rheostat. You got to have a plan that
you can dial up the standard and meet it when you have to. That only makes
sense. Why would you build a system that can meet thirty parts per billion when
your final standard is going to be maybe ten parts or fifteen parts per billion and
you [have] to go back and redo everything. It has to be a logical sequence.
Whatever you do needs to be logical, so we do not waste taxpayers' money, we
do not waste time, and we can meet the dates that are out there. Well, they just
took exception to the fact that I would even insinuate that there would be a
possibility that the standard would be ten parts per billion.

G: Let me ask you about a related controversy. The eighteen-mile stretch for
widening U.S. [Route] 1 before Florida City and Key Largo....

R: Yes, that was my second most contentious regulatory issue.

G: Could you comment on that?

R: Yes. There are big principles here. The first principle in the STA permit was
making sure you are serving the public interest. That is a very seldom-used
principle when you are putting together a 404 permit, but I think I used it to the
maximum in that process. When you get to the Route 1 widening issue, it had
nothing to do with destroying wetlands. That always befuddled some people,
[but] in my mind, it did not. What I used to do when I had these issues is, I would
go take two days, get a helicopter, [and] fly to the project [to] see what it was. I
would get on the ground, I would walk it, I would smell it. I would meet with the
people, [at least] all the interests that wanted to meet with me. So, I would get
these feelings about what was going on. I did that through January 1995 on the
widening. I was impressed because DOT [Department of Transportation] had
actually gone out and done mitigation already. They had gone down to Key Largo
and restored and created the American Crocodile Refuge. They filled in canals in
the Everglades. They had an incredible plan to mitigate any destruction. I was
impressed. But the problem that started developing is [that] it is like making the
gate wider, as far as access to the Keys. It would be much less of a hassle for
people who wanted to go to the Keys to go to the Keys. People who wanted to
live in the Keys and work in Miami-Dade County would not want the hassle of
having this one-lane stretch, so therefore you would encourage commuting more
often. It just makes it much more accessible for people to go to the Keys. Now
the question becomes, how do you accommodate all these people who now have

Page 17

better access to the Keys? DOT would say, well, they have a comprehensive]
plan. I said, the comp plan does not assure me that we are not going to exceed
the [environmental] capacity of the Keys to handle these people. I said, you
[have] to show me that whatever you are doing, you have a control in place to
ensure that you understand what that capacity is and how you are going to deal
with that increased capacity. Is it acceptable? Is it not acceptable? And they just
kept saying, we have a comp plan; that is not our responsibility, it is the comp
plan. I said, well, it is, you are the applicant for the permit, you got to show me
that you are addressing the problem. The problem is encapsulated in the term
"secondary and cumulative impact." So, the hierarchy when you do a 404 permit
is, first, you try to avoid the impact of all wetlands. That is your first goal. That is
basic. The second thing you do, when you cannot avoid [impacting the wetlands]
to accomplish what you need to accomplish, you minimize your impact. So,
avoid-and-minimize is your first priority. When you minimize, then you [have] to
mitigate what you destroy. So, mitigation, do you have an adequate mitigation
plan to take care of what you are going to hurt? Now, there is where most 404
analyses stops. If people do all that, then most people would say okay, but above
that is secondary and cumulative impacts. Are you dealing adequately with
secondary and cumulative impacts? Is your road or your bridge going to inspire
more development, which is a result that is going to be negative to this
community, and if you are, then how are you going to handle that? So, this
became a secondary and cumulative impact permit, and they just never came to
the point where they could show me that they had handled that. [The Keys are]
an area of critical state concern, which makes it more sensitive. Basically, its
growth is controlled by the state. There was an Executive Order by Governor
[Lawton] Chiles [1991-1999], which had four major components, that they had to
abide by because of the degradation of the environment. One of them was they
had to develop a carrying-capacity study. Well, that carrying-capacity study is
exactly what I was talking about. You [have] to do a study to find out how much
you can handle, [whether you] are already exceeding your carrying-capacity
study and any components that might be an issue. So that [Executive Order]
even reinforced what I was trying to get them to do. It went [on] through my entire
time as the District Engineer. It got to a point where I went to one final meeting in
Tallahassee where I was going to listen to the final concerns and [in the absence
of new information] deny the permit. I went to Tallahassee and had the meeting,
and it was very contentious. It was full of DOT and development [representatives]
and other state agencies. When I [finished], Estes Whitfield said, Terry, let us go
back to the office. I [went] back to the office [and] said, Estes, I do not really have
any alternative here from what I see, I have to deny this permit. He said, Terry, I
hate to tell you this, but Governor Chiles already signed a letter elevating this
over your head. So, I had no capability to deny the permit. Estes and I basically
worked out an agreement. They questioned my authority to impose restrictions
on secondary and cumulative impacts. I said, Estes, I am pretty much convinced
that I do have that authority, and what I would suggest we do, rather than

Page 18

elevating this over my head, is convene the people who can really address that
issue, the people from Washington who oversee the 404 process. As a matter of
fact, one of the guys involved is one of the major players down here in [the
Department of the] Interior now, he was in the Army then, Michael Davis. He and
John Hall from Jacksonville and other key players from the state started
convening these meetings after I left, and I think they started seeing that, yeah,
secondary and cumulative impacts is a major part of the 404 program. And, we
have secondary and cumulative impacts in other areas we have not really been
addressing. Maybe state law requires that, too. So it started changing the whole
mentality about how that whole process is addressed. I think it moved things
forward. From my perspective, I am pretty pleased with it.

G: What has happened to that issue since?

R: I am still part of it. I advise one of the commissioners in Monroe County on the
widening of Route 1 still yet, just pro bono work. It has gotten to the point now
where I [believe] they are trying to come up with some way to build, rather than a
four-lane road, a three-lane road to accommodate hurricane evacuation [without
fostering] more access to the Keys going south. That is right now in negotiation.
What will be the structure of that road? What it will look like? Because there are
still people out there who fear if you build a three-lane road, they are going to
build it as such that it could easily expand into four without doing anything. That
is the negotiation currently going on.

G: Why do you think the proponents of road widening were so unresponsive to your

R: It is culture. The proponents primarily were DOT. DOT builds roads. They go get
permits [and] they build roads. Somebody tells them to build a road, widen a road
to the Keys, they do it from the standpoint of safety and all that kind of stuff. They
just put blinders on to all the other impacts that are out there; [they] do not feel
that those are their responsibilities. [Also,] there is a large lobby behind DOT to
do certain things. The development community obviously is behind something
like that. There are all these political reasons and monetary reasons why people
want things like that to happen, and when you try to change how you go about
doing business and bring new principles into the process, it always brings up

G: When you say they were trying to move the decision over your head, who were
they trying to persuade to make the decision...?

R: There is a provision in the regulations implementing the Clean Water Act where a
governor can elevate a permit decision above the District Engineer's level if he
thinks that the District Engineer is not giving him the service that he needs, so it

Page 19

would go to Atlanta, maybe to Washington, for final issuance and decision.

G: Generally speaking, when you are faced with these types of issues, how did you
go about balancing the environmental interests with other interests that were in

R: Whatever I was going to do, I tried to find common ground that would satisfy all
the interests. I always tried to find recommendations that, if they were not [close]
to a common-ground solution, I would give them what I thought maybe would be,
so they could maybe pursue it and find some way to get there. It really boiled
down to common sense and [the] understanding that everybody had something
they needed to accomplish and that, usually, if you worked hard enough, there
was a solution that did that. The tendency for most interests in this process, and I
guess all over the world, is to go to an extreme. You know, the extreme on the
part of an environmental group is, you just will not do anything to that road, that is
the bottom line, I will not accept anything else. The extreme on the other side is,
we are going to build a four-lane road, and that is the way it is. Now, we are to
the point where we maybe [have] a compromise in the middle that I talked about
three or four years ago [and] thought might work, the three-lane road. I would
have put some more provisions on some of that stuff, more restrictions I should
say, on some of it, because I believe before anything is done they need to be
seriously getting to the end of this carrying-capacity study. Because I think that
really holds a lot of answers, at least a lot of information that would be useful, as
we look at how the Keys develop, and other places too.

G: Is this going to be an important obstacle to the implementation of the
comprehensive plan, this unwillingness to compromise between various
positions, environmental value versus development?

R: Well, let us look at how we did the restudy. This is, to me, a classic example of
what we are talking about. You asked me what my major focus was. It was
getting this thing off and running to a point where we would have a successful
conclusion. So how are you going to do that? Obviously, the traditional way the
Corps handles those kinds of things is go to Jacksonville, develop a plan, have a
public meeting, let people talk, and then you send it to Congress. Now, in my
wildest imagination, even though I had not been involved in that kind of process
very often, I could not imagine all the interests that were involved down here
[and] over 18,000 square miles allowing something like that to happen, that
would be successful, that would actually be signed into law by the president
someday, that would be meaningful, that would work. But I was fortunate to get
here at a time [when] we had established a South Florida Ecosystem Restoration
Task Force, and the Governor's Commission for Sustainable South Florida. I
worked very closely with Rock and others in trying to figure out how to make

Page 20

those organizations as effective as we could [at] building these kinds of common
solutions to problems. It was very obvious to me that the forum that had to really
agree to this thing if we ever had any chance of success was the Governor's
Commission for Sustainable South Florida. They brought all interests to the table.
It did not bring all members of all interests, but you looked around the table and
you would see the World Wildlife Federation and [National] Audubon, you would
see sugar farmers, you would see vegetable farmers, you would see mayors, you
would see commissioners, you would see feds, you would see state secretaries. I
could go on and on and on. The dairy farmers were represented. All the interests
were brought to that table. That is somewhere around forty, fifty people, in that
neighborhood, that would meet once a month to try to grapple [with] problems in
South Florida. Obviously, their number-one priority soon became the restudy,
too. I can remember at the Biltmore [Hotel], and I think it was June of 1995,
sitting around that table, and [saying], why don't you develop a conceptual plan
that you all agree to and that if that plan does not violate my authorities in any
way, I can actually go out within my authority and do what you want me to do. I
said, I will do it, but you [have] to give me the plan, and you all have to agree to
the components of that plan. There were a lot of people who thought I was some
kind of a liar. I mean, the Corps does not work this way, it just does not happen
this way. Or maybe no interest works this way in this process. You [mean], you
are actually going to let us tell you what to do? I said, look, I live in Jacksonville, I
do not even live down here; what right do I have to tell you all what you want? If
you, representing all these interests out there, can tell me what you want and [if]
it makes sense and we can do it, we are going to do it. So they spent the next, I
guess, year developing this conceptual plan. It was excruciating. We provided
the staff support and everything, but we put together what everybody wanted.
Every issue that came up [was] a major discussion, which established working-
groups to go out and look at seepage out of the Everglades and come back to
the commission and say, this is the truth on seepage, from a multi-interest group
of hydrologists. They would look and [say], well, that makes sense. We want to
tear all the canals out; well, we will go look at that. Then, well, that does not
make a whole lot of sense to do that. So [they] converged all these concepts and
all these different ideas into a] conceptual plan that was approved unanimously
[and] turned over to the Corps. Stu Applebaum, the main hero of all this process
[on a] day-to-day basis, another very incredible individual who has done
marvelous things in this process, took this conceptual plan and basically fleshed
out all the concepts and details and put it into the re-study in a form that the
Corps of Engineers is used to accepting. When it came to April of 1999 and there
were no interests out there that did not support this plan, that was a marvelous
accomplishment. People do not realize that. You started in 1992, and in April of
1999, you have this plan completed, which takes this concept from the
Governor's Commission, all interests, into this final plan, and everybody agrees
to it. There were no major antibodies about that plan. That was an amazing
accomplishment in the history of the world, in my mind.

Page 21

G: How did this consensus come about with these people on the Governor's

R: A lot of hard work. What you find out is that if you do not meet with people and
have regular discussions with them, you do not know who they are, you have
these stereotype ideas and images about them, you do not know who to believe,
who not to believe. But then you get around that table and you caucus on certain
issues with a group of them. Or Dick Pettigrew, who was the leader of all of this,
goes out and says, well, you and you who do not agree, would you go off to the
side and go figure out something that will work, and they come back to the table
and say, we got it. It is getting to know people, gaining common understandings
of people's interests: why they are concerned? Rather than trying to hypothesize
about why they are concerned. Actually knowing them, knowing their ideas,
knowing their feelings, understanding their priorities. [It takes] a lot of time and
work. It is not easy. It takes a lot of effort, and it takes good leadership, but it can
converge to something, like it converged in April of 1999, this incredibly complex,
difficult plan that everybody agreed with.

G: Do you think there was a lot of underlying consensus between the actors that just
needed to be discovered, or was it more of a process of learning together?

R: I think it was both. The fact that people had to start understanding what each
others' issues were in-depth, not just assume they were nefarious. Also, at the
same time, they had to start understanding the individual people as people. Both
of those things together, I think, is the concoction that makes consensus

G: So what did the Corps then do with that conceptual plan, once it was submitted
by the Governor's Commission?

R: Well, that conceptual plan was a fairly extensive document [although] nothing like
the final plan, obviously, because of all the concepts. There were all these
concepts; there were concepts about decompartmentalization, water-preserve
areas to store water, storage in all parts of the system to make sure that we
could store it properly on the surface, the ASR [aquifer storage and recovery]
concept [that] came out of the Governor's Commission [as] something that we
need to [examine further]. All the components, all the concepts, if you look at that
plan, are the same as you see in the final Corps plan, but what the Corps did
then was to go into great depth and detail about each of those concepts, what
they were, how much they would cost, and which components went together into
one project. Some of them were going to be authorized through the initial
legislation, some of them were going to be authorized later as these project-
implementation reports were submitted to Congress, some of them will be done

Page 22

under a programmatic authority. So, the Corps just put all the details on those
concepts. The concepts are still there in their original form. I do not think there
are any that were changed.

G: Was it just the Corps who was involved in that process, or were there other
actors also participating?

R: In what process?

G: In taking the Governor's Commission's conceptual plan and turning it into the
final restudy...

R: Oh, no, no. Once the conceptual plan was there, which basically served as the
foundation for most all the interests that were involved, then there was public
meeting after public meeting and continuous discussion. The scientists from all
the agencies and all the interests would meet to deal with the scientific [issues,
such as], what are our indicators of success going to be? [There were] these
alternative-development teams, and then alternative-evaluation teams, which
would spend hours running the different models about how well the grouping and
the implementation of these projects would improve the natural system and, at
the same time, provide water-supply and flood-protection. So, once that
conceptual plan was done, and I really think it was in 1996, 1996 [through] 1999
was working out all the details of how it would be presented to Congress.

G: That was done primarily by scientists and various agents?

R: That was done by engineers and scientists and lawyers and every discipline you
can imagine working their components of it, the Corps and [the South Florida]
Water Management District being the orchestrators, but all people being
involved. Everybody was brought into the process.

G: How, as part of that process, were disagreements handled?

R: I guess there were ways at all levels to deal with disagreements. Most of the
disagreements were worked out in the technical groups that handled each of the
components in each of the issues. There were times when disagreements were
brought to the Governor's Commission for discussion. There were times when
disagreements were brought to the Task Force and Working Group for
discussion and, hopefully, resolution. Sometimes it was a question of the District
Engineer getting the right heads of each agency together to discuss differences
[about] how things would go forward. There were times, I guess, when it even got
to the Washington level on certain issues. But in the end, all issues were worked
out at least to the satisfaction of those who made the decisions in each of the

Page 23

G: Was there one actor or set of actors who had the final decision-making authority
during this process?

R: Well, the District Engineer always has the final-decision authority. It is [under] his
authority [that] this is being done and he has the final decision.

G: So that would be you.

R: If I was there when it was finally brought to the finish [it would have been me]. In
April of 1999, it was [Colonel] Joe Miller.

G: Are there any specific issues that you recall where the participants could not
agree amongst themselves and you were asked to make a final decision, on
some key component?

R: No. I think [by] the time they got to any sticky issues that were still out there and,
in the end, there was really only one, and that was the extra water that
[Everglades] Park wanted. The Park decided that they needed 245,000 more
acre-feet per year the District Engineer did make this decision. He put [the
extra water] into the Restudy as something that had not been proven to be
needed and that it, over the course of developing the plan, would be evaluated,
and if it seemed to be something that was needed and could be done, it would be
included in the future plans. That is how he sorted that major issue out. Now, that
major issue did not end there. You [should] notice something here; I keep saying
April of 1999 [for] when that plan was done, [but] it was really not. It went to, as
we say, hell in a handbasket after that, because there were some selfish people
out there who tried to get more than what [the plan provided]. In between April of
1999 and the time it went to Congress on July 1, 1999, there [was], as far as I am
concerned, some surreptitious changing of the plan that occurred.

G: Are you referring to the promise to direct 80 percent of the water to...?

R: No.

G: Could you be more specific?

R: Yes. First of all, we [have] to understand that it came to the end in April, and [the]
major issue that was still out there was this 245,000 acre-feet [of water]. The
District Engineer decided to put that into the overall plan as something that would
be looked at but would not be part of the plan until evaluated and found to be fit.

G: Was that District Engineer you or was that Colonel Miller?

Page 24

R: That was Colonel Miller who made that decision, and that was through
negotiations with Dick Ring [superintendent of Everglades National Park]. I will
tell you, if I [had] been there, I would have done the same thing; it was the right
thing to do. But what happened after that is, that report goes through the Army
chain of command. That report is finalized by the District Engineer, [and] it goes
to Atlanta to the Division Engineer. They do their thing and put a cover letter on
it. Then it goes to the Chief of Engineers. Now, the Chief of Engineers has a
special responsibility in these things, and his responsibility is to write a letter, a
[Chief's] Report, that goes on top of this big report which caveats his feelings
about anything] that he thinks he needs to comment on. Then it goes to the
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, who then transmits it either to
the White House to go to Congress or transmits it to Congress for the
administration. So what happened is that when Joe Miller completed his
endorsement and it went to Atlanta, there was a two-page draft Chief's Report.
That is what the public reviewed; that is what the public looked at. It even said in
the transmittal letter that anything significantly changed to this Chief's Report
would have to be evaluated [on] whether it needs to go back through the public
process or not. So, unknown to us, us [meaning] the other people down here who
were not involved in this, we did not know there was a group of people who were
trying to get the Chief's Report to reflect things that would throw the balance of
this consensus off. That Chief's Report went from a two-page document and draft
to its transmission to Congress, or to the Assistant Secretary's office, to twenty-
seven pages. Obviously, there were significant changes made to the draft letter,
and the two things that were put in there were that, one, it committed the 245,000
acre-feet of water to the Park and, number two, it said that, if necessary, [it]
would take away people's flood-protection to implement the plan. Now those are
killers. There were other things in there, but those were the two things that were
absolute total killers. Those things by themselves would have never allowed [the
Restoration] Bill to ever be passed, because there would be all kinds of interests
out there to stop that from happening. So, the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians and, I
believe, some other people involved filed a lawsuit against that, said it was a
violation of NEPA [the National Environmental Policy Act]. There were all kinds of
things done, [such as] congressmen trying to write letters saying, no, no, that is
not what this means and this is not what we are going to do. But, you know, this
Chief's Report means a lot because every time Congress authorizes a bill, [it]
says, in accordance with the Chief's Report. They do not say, in accordance with
the plan or anything else. That April consensus got totally destroyed, and so,
now, how do you get this back on track? Well, [the] lawsuit was filed to try to get
them to avoid the Chief's Report and go back to something that was reasonable.
Obviously, people started learning the issues of why that was so contentious.
Now, we have a new governor's commission. It is not the Governor's
Commission for Sustainable South Florida; it is the Governor's Commission for
the Everglades, which [was formed under] a new administration. They took it up
as one of their major issues, primarily because the Miccosukee Tribe brought it to

Page 25

them, but they were not the only ones; there were [many] other interests out
there that were definitely opposed to it. The [Governor's Commission] even
passed a resolution against it. Anyway, it went on and on and on. Then what
happens is that the administration, once they pass that report to Congress, they
also have to get it authorized, so the next step is the Water Resource
Development Act of 2000. Let me take a step back here. The reason this thing
changed is because of two primary groups, from my perspective, Everglades
National Park, using their allies, the environmental groups, to carry their water for
them and getting these things put in there, especially the 245[,000] acre-feet. I
think the flood-protection was probably environmental groups on their own. But
those were the interests up there lobbying the administration to get these things
changed in the Chief's Report. The Chief's Report was not written by the chief;
the Chief's Report was written by somebody else. I hear there are a lot of stories
about the contention that was created by all that, but I do not know it for a fact, so
I will not talk about it. Anyway, the administration writes the Water Resource
Development Act [WROA], which is the implementation of the plan, and it is in
accordance with the Chief's Report. It [contained] a lot of other things, like the
Secretary of Interior has veto[-power] over everything that is going to be done.
The bill [would] never be passed in that form. Anyway, Senator Graham and
Senator [Connie] Mack [R-Florida, 1989-2001] took [real] leadership roles with
Senator [Robert] Smith [R-New Hampshire] in the Senate. They finally
understood they had to draft their own legislation, and they did. I really did
appreciate how they went about this. The staffers up there [in Washington did]
not understand all the nuances that we all understand down here, and they also
do not know who to trust and who not to trust. So what they did was actually
have [sincere] dialogue. This was my recommendation. Before that, Mary Doyle,
who was the Chair of the Task Force for Secretary Babbitt, understood that [the
altered Chief's Report and subsequent flawed draft bill were] very contentious
issues] and maybe a killer. I made a recommendation I do not know if anybody
else did that she convene the Task Force and let us discuss these differences,
let us find out what people's opinions are. So, we met over here at the Miami
airport, and, man, we had a knock-down drag-out [fight] for a half a day. But you
know what, I think that aired everybody's feelings, and they started
understanding that there were some issues here that needed to be addressed,
and I think that was a significant step forward. The next thing that happened was
that Senator Smith, Senator Graham, Senator Mack and others up there in the
right committees decided that they would draft their own version of the bill. They
actually called people up and said, come up here and tell us what you think about
this bill. In that situation, I represented the Miccosukee Tribe, so I would go to
Washington, D.C., into the committee room, and I would have my whole list of
things I thought needed to be changed. I think it started out with eighteen
different things that I wanted done. There would be [representatives of the]
Seminole [Tribe] out in the hallway, [and] the environmental groups. They just
rotated them. [I thought] this was great, [it] was a wonderful process. That went

Page 26

on until October-November time frame, something like that. It was a herculean
effort to get that document to a point where people would actually agree to what
it said. But what it did was it got rid of the Chief's Report. It did not reference the
Chief's Report. They understood that it was a killer that did not need to be there,
so it was removed. [The bill] actually took a lot of the ideas that we had. It did not
take all of them, and if you are reasonable, you are not going to expect to get
everything you would like to see in there. [Many] of the significant ones [were]
actually put into the bill as things that were part of the legislation, and they did not
do that for just one interest, they did it for all interests. So there you have a group
of people who understood the importance of having this consensus, understood
all the interests and how to get them together, and they came out in the end with
a bill that was agreed upon.

G: So neither of these two provisions were included in the final bill?

R: No.

G: Do you think there will be any lingering animosity as a result of this, say, with
Interior or the Park Service?

R: I think there is a lot of animosity at this present time between the Park and the
Corps. I think that we have new leadership in both, and I think that will improve
as time goes on. I think that there will be more trust built up between the different
people, between those two different groups. But, yes, I think there is still some
animosity out there. I think there is a lack of trust on account of some of the
[things] that went on.

G: Is the question of who gets the water likely to be a continuing contentious issue?

R: Oh, it is always going to be a contentious issue, but I think the legislation lays out
a methodology [by] which all interests will get what they want.

G: Some critics of the comprehensive plan, which came out of the Restudy process,
contend that it is overly dependent on unproven technologies. Could you
comment on that?

R: Certainly I can. To me, these are uninformed people. The number-one untested
technology is aquifer storage and recovery [ASR]. First of all, it is not unproven
technology, because we use it all over the state of Florida. We just do not use it
on the scale that we are talking about using it down here. I mean, we have
communities that have one or two wells where they use it and they pump water
out of the ground and it works. It is just the question, can you put 100 wells
around Lake Okeechobee and make them all work in an efficient way? But the

Page 27

problem is this. This Restudy is about storing water. We waste something like 1.7
billion gallons a day to tide, or some huge number of gallons of water. The whole
Restudy is about trying to capture that water and use it for beneficial purposes,
whether it be the natural system or the human system. When you go in and try to
store water, you try to find the cheapest way to accomplish what you are trying to
accomplish. This is not the Wild West where you have mountains and you find a
gap and put a dam in it and store all your water so you can use it when you want
it. There is nothing like that down here. The closest thing you come to something
like down here is Lake Okeechobee, and people do not want to sacrifice Lake
Okeechobee [and] the health of the natural system of Lake Okeechobee to store
water. So that became kind of a non-starter. So how else do you store water
down here? The cheapest way is to build surface reservoirs on the ground.
Unfortunately, you cannot build them very efficiently because this is such a flat
area, you [have] a lot of leakage because of the topography, the geology. You
can build berms, and you can stack water somewhere between four and eight
feet high I think they averaged about six when they did the plan and you
should capture and use that methodology to the greatest extent you possibly can.
But you [have] to understand that because of seepage and because of
evaporation, you cannot store water in those reservoirs very long a month, two
months, through a season at the most because it is going to go, it is going to
evaporate, it is going to seep in. So what you try to do is build enough reservoirs
to satisfy all the benefits that you want to achieve in this process, but when you
get to the point where you have to store water from one season to the next or
one season to five years later to meet the benefit you want to achieve, how do
you do that such that you do not lose it through seepage and evaporation? You
tell me. I mean, where do you go to do that? Do you go out in a farm field and
build a big hot-water bottle and pump this huge balloon full of water so you [have]
it in a bag? That is an idea, but the point is that I do not think people are going to
buy it. But that is the kind of thing you have to do. How do you do that? Well, the
next cheapest way to accomplish that is by storing it in the ground where it
cannot evaporate. I think the evaporation potential [in South Florida] is like fifty-
four inches a year. If you had sixty inches of rainfall, fifty-four inches of it would
be evaporated in one year. That is a huge amount of water to be lost to the
atmosphere. How do you prevent that from happening if you want to use that
water for something else? When you go, I think, four feet underground, you lose
all evaporation. From fifty-four inches on the surface to four feet underground,
you go from fifty-four inches evaporation to zero, so underground storage is a
good thing to do. Now, a lot of people say, well, we [have] an aquifer here, but
you cannot pump out of the aquifer. You can only go down to certain level,
because you got a saltwater-intrusion problem, so that is a non-starter. So,
aquifer storage and recovery becomes the second level of storage. You [have]
surface storage, and then you go up to the next least expensive way to do what
you need to do; you go to the aquifer storage and recovery. Once you get past
aquifer storage and recovery, you say, well, I still need more water, I need some

Page 28

other ways to get enough water to do what I [need] to do. Then they went to in-
ground reservoirs, which are more expensive, but they can be done if you need
to do them. Then above that, they went to wastewater treatment, re-use, and
telling wastewater plants to clean up the water so you can use that water. Here
you got these, basically, four levels, and each one of them more extensive,
because [when] you run out of use of one, you have to go to the next more
extensive and on up. You have this hierarchy of storage. Now, people say it is
untested. Well, my question is, what are you going to do to get those benefits?
Tell me what you are going to do. You either make it work, or you do not get it,
and people [need] to understand that. Either you make aquifer storage and
recovery work, and we have pretty good indication that it will work to some level,
or you are going to lose those benefits. There is no alternative that is viable.

G: How about the issue about the distribution of water? Tom MacVicar was recently
quoted as saying his natural-systems model is being misused.

R: Tom MacVicar has been saying that for years. Now tell me this is not the most
ridiculous [thing you have ever heard]. Tom MacVicar first unveiled the natural-
systems model in, I think, September of 1989 at the Sheraton, Key Largo, as a
demonstration model of how the Everglades functioned. That was his intent, that
was his mission, and it was never designed to be a precise measure of what
happened in the Everglades. If you get plus or minus a foot accuracy in it, you
are doing good, based on the technology that was used and everything else.
Plus or minus a foot in the Everglades, that is like night and day. I mean, an inch
of water in the Everglades makes a lot of difference. I used to go to all the
meetings to debate, and I would say, look, why are you all thinking that this
[model] is the end-all, as far as what we need to do to save the Everglades, when
the guy who built the thing says it cannot be used for that? Tell me where you get
the arrogance to do something like that. But it is like, I do not care what the guy
who built the thing says, we are going to use it for what we want to use it.

G: Do we know enough, then, about how we should time these releases?

R: No, but this is when we get into the important concepts that we have to keep in
mind. The natural-systems model is a good way to envision how the Everglades
used to work; it used to fluctuate based on rainfall on different parts of the
system, based on hydrology. We do not know if the levels are right. We know it
mimics, probably, the fluctuations, but we do not know about the levels, because
too much has been changed to know all that. The mechanics of all that from a
hydraulic standpoint is very, very complicated. We very much simplify it in the
natural-system model. But what we use [the model] for is kind of like an
indication, an initial target. We say, okay, we know that this is just an initial target,

Page 29

so we need to build our systems such that we can achieve that target, but we
also need to build our system such that we have enough flexibility that we can
adjust when we know we are not where we need to be. Do you see what I am
saying? It is the thing about adaptive-management. Adaptive-management, a lot
of people do not like it, they think it is an excuse for failure. My friend Dexter
[Lehtinen] thinks that, and I understand where he is coming from, but I look at it
in a different way. I think if you look at it from my way, and if everybody looked at
it from my way, it would not be something that people abused. But that is the
problem, it is so esoteric that you cannot get your arms around it. There are three
components, in my mind, to adaptive-management. First of all, there is
workability, endurability, and flexibility. Workability means that when you are
going to go out there and do something in this system, you want to make sure
that it can accomplish what it needs to accomplish. When I say that, I always use
the Kissimmee River as an example, because the Corps of Engineers is
notorious from getting a directive from Congress to go do something, going to
their headquarters and designing this thing in one fell swoop, send[ing] it to
Congress [who] says, okay, do it, and [then] they build it and it does not work.
Under the principle of adaptive-management, you want to make sure it works.
That is why there are so many pilot-tests in the Restudy. You do not want to go
out and just start digging wells and shoving water down; you want to go out and
see if it works. Then if it does work, you may have to adapt what you thought
[about] how it would work. You make sure it works, if it can work, before you go
whole-hog and do the [entire project]. Kissimmee River [is an example]. [Rather
than] go[ing] up there and filling in fifty miles of canal to get 100 some-odd miles
of river, the Corps of Engineers went to the Kissimmee River and said, let us take
this 1,000-foot plug and let us do what we think is the [best] way to do this. We
will build [a] plug in that canal, and then we will monitor for a year or two. We will
find out, did it actually achieve the recreation of the old meanders that have been
cut off? Did it have an effect on water quality? Is how we did this stable, does it
stay there? Does vegetation grow on this thing? Are we doing it to the right level?
Hundreds of questions are looked at through this process. Then, at the end of
[the process], you take what you did, you adapt to what you learned over the two
years, and then you design the whole thing and go do it. There has to be
workability; you [have] to understand [that] what you are doing works. That is why
you have, like I said, the pilot-projects, seepage pilot-projects, in-ground reservoir
pilot-projects, aquifer storage and recovery pilot-projects, pilot-projects to find out
if it works, and if it works, what is the best way to design it. After workability
comes endurability. You do not want to build something this goes back to the
stormwater treatment areas I was talking about you do not want to go in there
and build these stormwater treatment areas if, when you go to phase two, you
have to go rip out what you did and build something new. You [have] to make
sure it is endurable. You [have] to go through the thought-process to say, if I
build this now, is this logically going to fit in as a component of my master plan
when I start building everything? You want to make sure that you have

Page 30

endurability built into it. Some of the prime examples of that are some of these
projects we are doing down south for the Park, Modified Water Deliveries and C-
111 projects. It is pretty clear that whatever we do down there, and it is captured
in the Restudy, that if we build Modified Water Deliveries, that is the first step of
re-hydrating Shark River Slough, and we can add onto that other ways to
continue that restoration as we move forward. So it [must have] durability written
into it as it moves forward. The last one which we have really been talking about
here is the flexibility. In flexibility, you have to ensure that you do not design
something that can only be operated within a narrow band. You have to
understand that the natural-systems model may not be what we want, ultimately.
We want to be able to go out there and build something that we operate like the
natural system, [followed by] monitor[ing] for five years or ten years, and then we
[might] say, well, I think we are operating at too high of a level here. We need to
ratchet down [the in-flows]. Your system has to be designed to be able to do that;
you do not want to go back and rebuild the system. That is where the flexibility
comes into it. If we all keep in mind this concept of adaptive-management as I
have described it here, I think it will serve us very well as we move through this
process, because all it is, is common sense. You are talking about the reputation
of the Corps and how it has changed over time, and I do think it has been
evolving since this environmental movement started in the late 1960s, and each
District Engineer becomes a little bit more game to change the culture. I think
Rock Salt took some major steps forward when he got here. Early in my time
here, somebody came up to me one day and said, have you heard the Janet
Reno story? I said, no, I have not heard that one. Apparently, Janet Reno went to
a cocktail party in Washington, D.C., and at the cocktail party was the Chief of
Staff of the Army, General [Gordon] Sullivan. They were making small talk, and
finally General Sullivan looked at her and says, Janet, how is the Corps of
Engineers doing in Florida? Out of the clear blue. Janet thought for a second and
said, General, are you just making small talk, or do you really want an answer to
that? He said, I really want an answer. She looked and him said, General, they
are [a] problem in Florida; they have not done one thing right since they have
been working in South Florida, they have torn everything up, they have destroyed
nature; it is the worst example of a federal agency abusing their power that I
know about. He said, well, thank you, Janet, I really appreciate your candid
opinion; next time, tell me what you really think. So, that was the end of that. The
General was probably disturbed that one of his units was not doing good [things]
for the people. A short time after that, there was another cocktail party, [or] there
was some function at least, they both went to, and Janet made a point to [talk]
him. She found General Sullivan and she said, General, I [have] a problem. He
says, what do you mean, Janet? Well, I called my sister who is Maggie
Hurchala, who was a member of the Governor's Commission [and who had]
been working with us for a long time and I told her what I told you about the
Corps of Engineers, and she told me in no uncertain terms if it was not for the
Corps of Engineers this restoration would never happen like it is happening; I

Page 31

guess my mind was back in the old days. That little story was a signal that [what]
Rock and I had done [was] finally moving to a point where the Corps was getting
a reputation that they were a team-player, [that] they were doing the right things
and they did understand what the environment was about and everything. That
story permeated throughout the Corps as an example of what other districts
should be as far as the Chief of Engineers was concerned.

G: How would you explain that change on the part of the Corps? Where does that
come from, or why did it happen?

R: It was a combination, the convergence of a lot of things. Number one, a lot of the
big players in South Florida were starting to really understand the importance of
the natural system and keeping it in some kind of acceptable shape for the future
of this area. That had been mounting for a long time, and it got big. [Many]
people were behind that. Senator Graham from 1983, when he first established
his program to save the Everglades, and many people after that, had really been
bringing [it] to the forefront. Then you have the culture of the Corps slowly
changing. You [have] to understand: you had people in the Corps who had
actually designed and built the Kissimmee Canal, who no sooner got it done
[when they] were told to change their whole culture and go back and make a river
that had meanders in it. They thought, this is stupidest thing in the world, and it
does seem kind of stupid when you first look at it, given what you have been
brought up to do. But that culture had been changing slowly over time. On top of
all that, you have somebody like Rock coming in, followed by somebody like me,
who are not really traditional Army-type guys [and] do not have the typical
personality of an Army guy. What is it, the Myers-Brigg [personality-indicator
test], most Army officers are ESTJ or ISTJ [meaning extroverted/introverted
sensor, thinker, judger]. We are nowhere near [that type of personality]. We are
like 1 percent of [the type of people] that the Army has in its leadership. We are
willing to go for consensus, we do not have to control everything, we do not want
to necessarily control everything. We want to make things happen. Our goal is to
actually do something good for people in South Florida. I just think [that] all [of]
that together, [and] at that point in time, just came to a head, and the whole
reputation of how we were doing business in Florida changed, and hopefully will
continue to change.

G: Let me ask you a related question. Marjory Stoneman Douglas once said the
Corps of Engineers' work in the Everglades amounted to a declaration of war on
the people of the United States. How were you able to overcome this sentiment
and gain the trust of the environmental community?

R: Let me tell you what I did. I would sit in my office in Jacksonville, and I would get
my staff into the office and I would say, let us go over all the people that we deal

Page 32

with. I want to know all the newspapers. I want to know who thinks we are good,
who thinks we are bad, and if they think we are bad, I want to go to the editorial
board and I want to talk to them. If they do not agree with us, I want to make sure
they understand what they do not agree with. We would go over all the people
out there, the farmers, which enclave of farmers did not like us. I would go to
Homestead and see red faces, beet red, just ready to shoot me sometimes. I
would go to the Rotary meetings, or I would go to special meetings they called. I
would just sit in there and take the flak and try to be a human being and talk to
them. Environmental groups were very diverse. If you go to the Coalition
meeting, I think you are going to find about forty-five different groups as
members as the Everglades Coalition. Each one of them has a different focus, a
different constituency, and a different idea about what Everglades restoration
means. Some of them liked us a little bit, and some of them hated us. I would
[evaluate our relation to each to determine where to focus, and then] arrange
meetings with them. I would go sit down and talk to them. I would try to say, well,
I understand what your concerns are, let me give you my view on it, and I will get
back with you and see if we can take into account some of the concerns you
have. I can remember Friends of the Everglades had a very big concern about
mercury accumulating in the stormwater treatment areas. I said, my people do
not think that is a problem, but I hear your concern. I said, if it is a problem, it
would be a big problem. I said, here is what I will do: I am going to find twenty-
four people that I can get their opinion on mercury accumulating in stormwater
treatment areas, and I will read those responses that they give me and I will
make a decision on what I should do about this. I did. We wrote to twenty-four
different people who were interested in this, most of them scientists. They all
wrote back. Twenty-one of them said, we do not think it is a problem, three of
them had concerns about it, and I [responded to] their replies. I said, here [are]
twenty-one experts who think there is not a problem, three think there might be a
problem. I am going to tell you what I am going to do. I do not think it is worthy of
canceling this project because of what I have here, [but] I think it is very
important for us to monitor in case something does happen. So I wrote a
monitoring plan for mercury into the stormwater treatment area permit, which
satisfied a concern which I should have been concerned about. But then they
were happy. Somebody listened to them, somebody had investigated, and
somebody had done something to at least pursue what they thought was a
problem. I mean, that is a major step forward. Marjory Stoneman Douglas, I went
to her 105th birthday party in April of 1995. It was the first time I had met her, and
she was there, and I had to give a little talk. I used the quote you just used. I
said, at one time Marjory said, that the Corps of Engineers [has] declared war on
the people of the United States. Dante Fascell [Florida congressional
representative] was there, Dick Pettigrew was there, Sally Jude, a lot of the old-
timers who had done a lot in this process. I can tell you that the Corps had
already overcome that stigma. They now were the allies who could make this
happen, much similar to the story that Maggie Hurchala related to her sister

Page 33

about the only reason [that] this can ever happen is [due to] the Corps of
Engineers' leadership in this process. It was a methodical, mechanical thing, to
go out there and find out who the people were who did not trust you so much and
try to at least explain to them what you are doing and what it is about. As a
matter of fact, one of the important people in this process, George Barley, I did
not know him long enough to call him a close friend, because, you know, he did
pass away, killed in an airplane crash. But you know what? George was amazing
because George did not act like he knew what the answers were. George went
out and found the answers. He went and found the people who knew the
answers. He trusted Ron Jones over here like he was his brother, because he
had talked enough to enough scientists to know that when Ron spoke, it was the
right thing. George Barley would go around taking Ron to see congressmen and
to see agencies and to see different people. I can remember George on my two-
day trip to [personally view Route 1]. I can always remember going down to the
Key Largo end and having a meeting and listening to people vent, and then I
went to the other end in Dade County, went to the Tropical Audubon House here
in Miami, to talk to the people on this end who wanted to talk about it. I got there,
and I was supposed to have a four o'clock in the afternoon meeting. At four
o'clock, the only person there to talk to me was George Barley. On the way up, I
had told my assistant who was with me, the only thing I hope is when I get there
George Barley is not there, because he can give people hell. I get there to the
Audubon House and I said, George, I do not think I need to have a formal
presentation here or anything. It is just you and I, and I said, we can just have a
discussion. George said, Colonel, I am not here to have a discussion with you, I
just came because I like to hear you talk. Anyway, George then began saying, I
want to come to Jacksonville because you guys are doing the right things; I want
to know what they are, I want to know what is going on so I can help you. The
irony is that George crashed in that airplane coming to see me, coming to see
the Corps in Jacksonville to get a briefing. We had been delaying this thing for
months because George said, do not do something special for me, just tack it
onto somebody else['s visit]. It just never [happened]. Finally, I said, invite him up
here. The rest of the irony is that Ron Jones, who has been the witness for the
federal government and many other interests in the Everglades lawsuit for over
twelve years now, was supposed to be on the plane with him. But Ron had just
called right before that and said, George, we are going to Washington tomorrow,
I really [have] to get some work done and I am not going to go. So Ron was not
on the plane. I tell this story because I really believe that if George Barley had not
had that accident, we would have been a lot farther along now than we are,
because George was a very tenacious individual who really sought the scientific
truth and then sought to have it followed through on, and I find that lacking on the
environmental side these days. I think he would have been a champion who
would have served this whole thing very, very well. We all miss [him], to be
honest with you.

Page 34

G: How important was the creation of the Restoration Task Force in 1993?

R: I think that was one of those seminal moments. It did not take Secretary Babbitt
very long to understand that federal agencies did not even work together, let
alone with all the other partners. You [have] to crawl before you walk, and that is
what I call that. In September of 1993, he got six agencies in Washington to sign
a memorandum of agreement that said, we pledge to work together on
Everglades restoration. It sounds pretty simple, but that really inspired [many]
things. First of all, it inspired the federal agencies to sit down at the table and talk
to each other. Then, it inspired their agencies on the ground down here in Florida
to sit at the table on a monthly basis and talk together through the working group.
The next thing it inspired was Governor [Lawton Chiles], who said, what are
these feds doing, they are getting together and working on this stuff, what am I
going to do? (I am just giving you my opinion on what happened.) Governor
Chiles says, gee, we cannot let them get together and scheme all these things
up. He says, we [have] to do the same thing, so I am going to create the
Governor's Commission of Sustainable South Florida. I am going to, more than
one-up them, I am going to ten-up them, and I am going to bring all the interests
to the table, state, [and] I am going to bring the feds to my table, too. I really
believe that inspired the Governor's Commission for Sustainable South Florida.
Then what it inspired was the [local Native American] tribes saying, look, we want
to be a part, you guys cannot have these meeting behind closed doors. I can
remember the Miccosukees almost pounding the door down in Key Largo in
September of 1994 to get into a meeting, and the feds would not let them in. We
had these federal-advisory committee act restrictions that would not allow this to
happen, but you know what, they pounded enough and both the Miccosukees
and the Seminoles [were let in] and then at the same time we decided, why not
let the state in too, so we found a way to let the state in. So the group expanded
as we went forward. Getting these people together to talk was a very important
part of what we needed to do to accomplish all these goals, but you know what,
right now we have two organizations that do that, but they exist at the whim of
who is in charge. It is at the whim of the administration in Washington or the
whim of the administration in Tallahassee as to whether these things continue to
exist or not. How are we going to institutionalize these things? Through some
efforts of a lot of people and the Water Resources Development Act of 1996, the
South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force was institutionalized in law.
That became something that [will] be there forever. Now, the administration may
not pay a lot of attention to it sometimes, but at least it is there, it is a mechanism
that will never leave unless the laws change, and so you have an
institutionalization of the process. Now, the question becomes, what have all
those people accomplished in working in these organizations? I think that,
clearly, there is [a] better understanding of agencies and people, and that
understanding then leads to more cooperation, more ability to come up with
solutions that have common ground for all interests. I believe that a lot of the

Page 35

issues that we have faced in the past could never have been resolved without
getting people like that together. I believe that the whole Restudy would have
never gotten to the point where it is at [now], to make so much sense and have
so much consensus, if those groups had not moved forwards together in unison.
I think we are kind of at a crossroads right now; we [have] new administrations in
both the state and the federal government. I think the crossroad is, are we going
to continue to make these organizations more a part of what we are about, or
less a part of what we are about? Are we going to improve on what they
contributed to the process? Are we going to get past these issues of refusing to
get into serious dispute-resolution and solutions to issues that we face, because
the people do not want to bring their dirty laundry to the table, [or] they do not
want to lose their authority? Are they going to somewhat give up their
sovereignty to solve problems? That is a question that is going to face us over
the next couple of years, I really believe. A lot of people have brought this to the
attention of Congress [and] to others, but to get over that hurdle, it is going to
take some pretty strong leadership to continue to make this thing effective and a
part of what we are trying to accomplish.

G: Whose idea was it to create the Task Force in the first place, in 1993?

R: I [believe] it was Secretary Babbitt. I do not know that directly, but I will tell you
that, from everything I have heard through this whole process, it was his

G: In what way did the nature of the Task Force change in 1996 with other actors, of
the state, the tribes, the non-governmental actors? How did that impact the
nature of the Task Force?

R: At that point in time, it hardly impacted it at all because [they] already had been
included in the process, and so basically it was more just an institutionalizing of
their participation.

G: Could you explain the relationship between the Task Force and its Working

R: Yes. I look at it this way: I think that the Task Force is more of a policy-level
group. They deal with Washington, Tallahassee, Tribal headquarter issues that
are more along the policy-law type stuff. They are the big thinkers, and they only
get involved, really, when [one of] two things happen: either a policy issue that
needs to be resolved, or an issue, other than policy, that the Working Group
cannot resolve. The Working Group, they are the meat-and-potatoes people.
They are down here trying to make sure that everything is proceeding in a clear
and logical manner, that the train stays on the track on all these different issues
out there, whether it be building a melaluca quarantine facility and making sure

Page 36

everything that needs to be done gets done, prioritizing land-acquisition under
the farm bill, ensuring that we have a system for selecting critical projects under
the Corps' authority that move forward. You know, they are down in the trenches
doing work that needs to be accomplished. What you essentially have is the
Executive Director, Rock Salt, who is like the funnel in both directions. He takes
what comes from Washington and disseminates that into the Working Group, but
he also takes Working-Group issues and disseminates those back up. He is kind
of like the go-between between those two groups.

G: Is the Working Group, then, more of an implementation agency or organization?

R: No, it is not an implementation agency. Each agency that sits around the table
has their own programs and they do all the implementation. It is more of a
facilitation group, more of an issue-resolution group.

G: What happens in cases of disagreements in either the task force or the work
force? How are those settled?

R: I think that is the issue we face as move into the future. If there is an issue that
an agency has and that agency is willing to bring that issue to the table for input
[and] recommendations from the Working Group, I think that bodes well for
success, in most instances. That agency is always going to make the final
decision, because that is where the authority is vested. The question becomes,
what do they base that decision on? If you go through some of the lengthy
analyses that we have gone through for instance, the aquifer storage and
recovery, Lake Okeechobee cleanup we establish committees, issue teams, to
go out and to actually get all the players around the table, find out what all the
issues are, find out what the plans are, try to put that together into a
comprehensive package. Then, when that is brought to the table and turned over
to the agency who has to implement it, that becomes the guiding basis for that
agency going forward, to me that is success. When an agency will not allow that
to happen when an agency says, that is my authority, this is my issue, I will
take care of it that is when we have a problem. We have to find some way to be
non-threatening in getting issues to the table when you have this reluctance on
the part of some agencies, some people, to relinquish some of their sovereignty
to get ideas that may help them.

G: How often has that occurred, where an agency will look at the Working Group
and the Task Force and say, I do not agree with what you are saying here, we
are going to do it our way?

R: I will tell you for a fact that one of the most contentious issues we face down here
is this Modified Water Deliveries Project.

Page 37

G: Could you explain what that is?

R: Yes. The Modified Water Deliveries Project was a project that was enacted in
1989 under the Everglades National Park Protection Expansion Act, PL 101-229,
which was to, overall, expand the size of the Park by 107,600 acres. [That land-
acquisition was] one component. The second component [was] to re-hydrate that
area. The Park was to buy the land, [and] the Corps was to build the project to
re-hydrate the area. It passed in 1989, and clearly, in the legislation, the
Congress expected it to be done by 1997. Here we are in 2001 and we are not
really close to being done, even though the Corps right now is advertising a 2003
date, because that is what they are required to do, under the Biological Opinion
for the Cape Sable seaside sparrow. [It will] be tough getting it done by 2003 if
they stay on the path they are on now. It is really a project which puts water back
into the heart of the Everglades through Shark River Slough into Florida Bay,
which needs the water also. The Park needs the water, Florida Bay needs the
water, [and] the areas to the north need relief from too much water. The Water
Conservation Areas have been flooded for quite a few years, based on the fact
that the project is not done. Water is actually backed up in Big Cypress. Lake
Okeechobee has had to be maintained at a higher level. A lot of the water out of
Lake Okeechobee has been forced down the Caloosahatchee, into [the] St. Lucie
estuarie [and] has done a lot of damage there. This project by itself, [in] my
judgement, will provide probably half of the environmental restoration for the
whole Everglades that is needed. When I say half, I mean half compared to what
the whole Restudy will do to do the other half. We are talking about an initial
authorization here that was for $79.6 million dollars, that will do probably as
much for restoration of the Everglades as a $7.8 billion dollar authorization. That
is the way it is. There have been this ongoing differences, squabbles, whatever
you call them, between the Park [Service] and the Corps, on how it should be
done, and it continues, and continues, and continues. The Park [Service] has
really refused to bring it to the Working Group for some kind of a resolution. It is
basically looked at as, hey, this is a Corps/Park issue and you guys just stay out
of it. And maybe I am remiss, maybe I should have forced it to the Working
Group when I was a District Engineer, but it sure has not progressed in a way
that is conducive to progress. It is also a very bad example for the future. It does
not bode well for the future of Everglades restoration when we cannot execute
what Congress authorized as a $114 million dollar project in almost twelve years.
How are we going to do a $7.8 billion dollar project with hundreds of different
components to it? It just does not make a whole lot of sense. So, that is the
Modified Water Deliveries Project.

G: What is the essence of the disagreement, though? What is the Park Service's

R: It is hard to really explain that. There is this fundamental difference between the

Page 38

Park [Service] and the Corps. There is this total lack of trust on the part of the
Park and the Corps. The [Park] look at the Corps and the Water Management
District basically as their enemies. As a result of that, it is almost like anything
that they propose has got to be wrong. It is like the old example of somebody
says the wall is white, well, you say it is black, if they say it is black, you say it is
white. It almost gets down to that childish type of mentality, in my mind. That is
just a fundamental foundation issue that is out there. The other issues come
about how you are going to do these different things. The Park sometimes looks
for perfection when perfection is not really in the cards. You make improvements.
You do not hold things hostage for perfection when, first of all, perfection is
nothing you can ever achieve and, second of all, you do not even know what
perfection is. So that kind of thing goes on for a long time about, well, you are
going to put water in Shark River Slough, but we want more water in Shark River
Slough. You know, that comes with the comprehensive plan later. You [have] to
[do] what you can now to make this improvement and relieve all these other
areas. The second thing is that the Park is, from my perspective, obsessed with
buffers. They like buffers around their parks. They like to not have only their
Park, but outside of their Park, they want this low-intensity used area as kind of
like a protection-buffer. The Resources Committee in the House of
Representatives has told them time and time again, if you want a buffer around
your Park, put your buffer in your Park, you are not going to get [more land for]
another buffer. This is a never-ending game; it just keeps on going and going and
going. The Park does not want people living on their border; they want a buffer
there. They know if they go to the Resources committee, they [will] not get a
buffer because the Resources Committee does not give buffers, and they are
finding a way to get a buffer by making this kind of like a rider on the Modified
Water Deliveries Project. [They claim that] moving these people out of the Eight-
and-a-Half-Square-Mile Area is essential to implementing Modified Water
Deliveries in its right way. Therefore, they have a reason to get the Corps to say,
move them out. Well, the Corps, since 1992, has had a plan to carry out the
directive of Congress, which says, clearly, if there are adverse effects to the
people in the Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile Area because of re-hydration in
Shark River Slough, the Secretary of the Army is authorized and directed to
construct a flood-protection project. Those words are pretty clear, but that does
not matter. The [Park] continue to try to find ways to get this buffer, and it delays
the project. [The buffer] never happens, and they never accept anything except
the perfection in their minds and moving all those people out. You have the
questions about moving water across Tamiami Trail and also across the L67
Levee and between Water Conservation Areas 3A and 3B. There is a
fundamental difference between the Park and the Corps. The Park wants no
structures, no control we want the water to flow like it flows [naturally]. The
Corps says, well, that is okay, but you are not going to get the restoration you
want, because to get the restoration, with the right amount of flows into the
Slough, you are going to have to have some control. Plus, if we need to adapt, if

Page 39

you do not have control, how do you adapt? To do adaptive-management, you
[need] to basically have some way to have control of the water and how it flows.
The Park believes that if they have control, the Corps will operate it against the
Park, so therefore they do not want [it].

G: Let me ask you this question. You have received some criticism from the
environmental community for your position on the Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile
issue. Could you comment on that?

R: Yes, I can. I have just explained to you why I think the Park wants the Eight-and-
a-Half-Square-Mile Area rid of the people, because they really do want those
buffers. They already have their buffer on the Frog Pond and the Rocky Glades
Area just south, which is just farm fields. They have been able to convince the
Corps and the Water Management District to buy those pieces of property, but
when you get to the Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile Area, you start talking about
people's homes, where people live. You [have] 350 families out there. I know the
people, I know what they are about. There are million-dollar homes out there,
there are farm fields, there is a packing plant. It is a thriving community, actually.
I know for a fact the Congress told the Corps to protect them, very clearly, in the
law. I also am a hydrologist [with] a Ph.D. in hydrology, and I know that it is not
necessary to remove these people for restoration of Shark River Slough,
absolutely not necessary. As a matter of fact, it may even be hurtful in some
ways. When you put all that together, I really believe that we are headed down a
very, very dangerous path when we want to compromise with people's lives
when we do not have to. Unnecessarily removing people from their homes under
the guise of Everglades restoration is not something that is going to sell very
favorably to the American public as we move through this process. The second
thing is, it is not going to happen. It is just not going to happen, and therefore we
delay the project and we keep killing the Everglades. Fighting over this little-bitty
area, compared to the hundreds of thousands of acres we are trying to save, is
ridiculous. Let's restore the hundreds of thousands of acres [of Everglades], and
if this is problem, we will deal with it as we go on. It has nothing to do [with
Everglades restoration]; they are totally two different issues.

G: Why do you think the Water Management District originally decided to buy the
people out and later changed their position?

R: First of all, in September of 1994, I signed a contract with the Water Management
District to build the 1992 plan. It still exists. The contract we had is to protect the
people and build the flood-protection system. It was signed with the Water
Management District. The chairman at that time, Valerie Boyd, and I signed that
agreement in Key Largo on September 29, 1994. After that time, there was an
effort by a group of people in the Water Management District to work with the

Page 40

Park to find ways to build a buffer around the area to try to provide at least a
small area in the west where they could [have a water flow-way]. Governor
Chiles established a commission based on that request. They went through the
process and again determined I mean, it has never been declared that these
people being moved is necessary for restoration but they decided that if there
were willing sellers out there, that this would be a good area that they could buy.
[But] they needed to design this flow-way and come up with the costs. I can
remember sitting in a meeting of the Everglades Coalition in January of 1996 with
Dick Ring and Sam Poole, who was the Executive Director of the South Florida
Water Management District, and all of our staffs, and discussing this idea about
not implementing the 1992 plan, even though we had this contract to move
forward. They would only take a short period of time to take a look at this buffer
area, and if it panned out that there was a way to do it, then we would go ahead
and do it. Well, this thing just kept growing and taking longer. I kept telling them,
you know, you guys are killing the Everglades here if we do not get this thing
moving. But, I said, I will let you try one year max. Well, it went on for one year
and two years and finally three years. In 1998, it was coming to a head. What
they found out was that every study they did [showed that] it cost so much and
did not give any more benefits to the Everglades that they could not justify it [in
the end]. I remember that, at that point in time, they were getting desperate,
because it was getting down to the end of the Chiles administration. What
happened was that this report that they had been working on all these years was
not giving them what they wanted, so they found this consultant out in Seattle
and brought this guy in. I did not even know they were doing it. I [had just
become] part of this team that was still trying to formulate this plan and make
comments on it and everything, [and] I did not even know they did this. Anyway,
they brought this guy in, like, in August of 1998. They got him in there, gave him
all the information. He had one of these little models where you put in different
[values for] parameters and get a result. It is like turning a rheostat [as] the
answer keeps changing, based on what values you give each parameter. They
finally got this [model] to say, buy-out is the best [option] for everybody, just out
of the clear blue sky. [This option was forced to the top], because what they
ended up with is a situation where what they have been studying for all these
years came to a point where they could [not implement] it [because] Dade
County would not support it, because Dade County did not want to give all these
improvements to these people who lived in the rest [of the area] that was going to
be protected. So, they had this big controversy; either they are going to build the
Corps project or they are going to buy everybody out. They got this little model to
say that it would be best to buy them out. And staff, they go meet with each one
of the board members and they tell them what they want to tell them. November
8, 1998, I think was probably one of the worst days in my life, when eight
members of the [Governing] Board who were present voted unanimously to buy
these people out of their homes. It was the most incredible thing I think I have
ever seen in my entire life, because I had been involved in it all these years [and]

Page 41

knew that it was just a total waste of money, time, destruction of the Everglades,
[and] something that would not set us on the right path as far as the future of
Everglades restoration goes. Finally, it got reversed because of switched
administrations and a lawsuit on the part of the [Miccosukee] Tribe, [saying that]
the [District had] violated the Sunshine Act, and the [District] settled and basically
threw out their decision and then embarked upon another odyssey in the next leg
of this whole delay process, which is still ongoing.

G: How large a role has the science community played on organizations like the
Task Force?

R: On the Task Force, I do not know that the scientific community plays that great a
direct role, because they are mainly dealing at policy levels. I guess when it
comes to budgets and things like that, the scientific community has gotten some
chunks of money that are important to the science of Everglades restoration.
When it comes to the Working Group, we have scientists that sit on the Working
Group who are there to make sure that views of science are interjected in all
discussions and are a part of the process. One of the things by charter is the
science-coordination team, which is one of the sub-groups under the Working
Group. It has always been mandated as a sub-group, right from the original
memorandum of agreement that Secretary Babbitt inspired. They have had a
large responsibility in making sure that all the decisions, and all the managers
who sit around that table, have a scientific view of what needs to go on. Through
the science-coordination team, they are supposed to [do this], and do, to some
extent I think it needs to be improved as we go forward into the future inspire
the right science, the right support for science, making sure it is infused into all
this process. Then they also are the people who go to the different groups that
are out there supporting the scientific efforts that are going on, to make sure we
have the plans that are viable, like the RECOVER group that John Ogden heads
up and some other ones. I think one of the major shortcomings we still face is
getting science effectively integrated into managerial decisions. I told you how I
did it with mercury. I went to the scientists who understood mercury and got their
opinion and was able to use that. I had basically a twenty-one-person majority
opinion and a three-person minority opinion, and I made my decision based on
something like that. That kind of process, and what you get out of that kind of
process, is still not institutionalized in what we do. Managers are still making a lot
of decisions without effective scientific input. We have not found [an effective]
way to make [certain] that science is integrated into all decisions that are made.
Probably the best example of it being done right is how we did the Restudy, the
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan [CERP]. I [believe that the] group of
scientists, who were on the alternative-development team and the alternative-
evaluation team working together, probably brought to the table the best science
[available] at that point in time, to [develop] the alternatives that would best serve
the Everglades. I think that is a remarkable example of how it should be [done]

Page 42

every time we do anything. We still have a long way to go to try to figure out how.
It is normally institutionalized that we have science as part of all decision-making
processes. I have even talked in the past about some way to establish some kind
of a Supreme Court of science where I, as the Commander of the Jacksonville
District, say, I have this issue, [and] you guys down there the seven- or nine-
man body of venerable scientists who do not have anything to lose by giving their
opinion in the process come back to me and say, well, five of us think this is the
way you ought to do it and four of us think this is the way you ought to do it. At
least I have input that I can weigh and say, yeah, this helps me in making my
decision. We have not gotten to that point yet. We [do not] anything that
substitutes for that yet. I think that is one of our major goals for the future as we
continue this restoration process.

G: Is there a mechanism that the Task Force or Working Group uses to deal with
scientific uncertainty, if you have five on one side and three on the other side?
How would the working group deal with that?

R: I do not think [that type] of issue ever gets to the Working Group.

G: Okay. That would be more at the science-coordination team...?

R: Well, restate your question.

G: Basically, in the process now, how do we deal with scientific uncertainty?
Because there is a lot of disagreement between scientists on many of these

R: Oh, sure.

G: How do those get resolved?

R: By the decision-maker. That is what I am saying, as far as the Restudy goes,
[Colonel] Greg May has to make a decision. He takes the input and makes the
best decision he can. I am not saying that is ultimately the best way to do it, but
that is how it is done now because there is no Supreme Court of science or
anything like the Supreme Court. As a matter of fact, I find it very hard
sometimes to even get scientists to give their opinion, because they may be cast
in a way they do not want to be cast.

G: I would like to mention a couple of specific organizations and ask you to
comment on the relationship between the Corps and these organizations during
your time as commander of the Jacksonville district. The South Florida Water
Management District, how would you characterize the relationship between the
Corps and that organization?

Page 43

R: I think the relationship between the South Florida Water Management District
and the Corps is overall a good relationship. I think that over time, and especially
as we go into the implementation of the CERP, that it is going to become even
stronger. The problem you [have] is just the different cultures of the
organizations, the different responsibilities of the organizations, sometimes
causes conflict. The South Florida Water Management District, in my mind, is a
very political organization. They are overseen by the governor and all the way
down through the secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, to
other people who are very much interested, to a board of nine appointees by the
governor. Therefore, you cannot just alienate just anybody out there, you [have]
to be very careful what you say. As a result of that, I think sometimes they are a
little bit timid to go forward with a plan, with a good idea. It is best to be careful
and protect your interests [and] not do anything out of the box that may bring
unnecessary grief that you do not need to have. Sometimes I think they are
limited by politics, because I think they could accomplish a lot more if they were a
little bit more free to do what they [wanted to]. They [have] a lot of great people in
that organization, they can do a lot of great things, but sometimes I think they are
kind of hobbled by this process. The Corps is completely different in that the
Corps really does not have to answer to hardly anybody, when you really get
down to it. I found during my time in the Jacksonville District, I was almost free to
do whatever I wanted to do, and nobody really ever got involved in what I was
doing, except when it came to making sure, each year, that I spent the money
that was appropriated for our programs in Jacksonville. Now, that was important
to the people above me and we had to watch that and make sure that we were
doing our best to make sure those programs were executed. But when it came to
any other kind of decision or what I did, where I went, what position I took, that
was all up to me. I do not have this big hierarchy that restricts me in what I can
do. So, I think the Corps has the ability to be more progressive and actually do
more forward-thinking things if they so choose. It really depends in the end on
the leadership [as to] what they can accomplish.

G: The National Park Service?

R: The National Park Service, every agency, just like a society or a country, all have
their culture, and the Park Service, they are very much focused on the
advocacy] for their parks. They are so much focused on that advocacy
sometimes that I think they lose sight of many important things that occur around
them. They give the perception a lot of times that they would be willing to
sacrifice other parts of the system for the benefit of the Park, which [does] not
bode well for most interests playing in the process. I have seen memos within the
last year from internal meetings in the Park [Service] where it is very clear that
they are, in my mind, paranoid about other agencies. They look clearly at the
Corps, clearly at the Water Management District, clearly at the Miccosukee Tribe

Page 44

of Indians, clearly at the press, as being threats to their existence. It is almost like
they build this fortress around themselves, and they want to make sure that they
can defend this fortress and hopefully survive in the face of all these threats that
are trying to ruin them from the outside. I know that for a fact that just is
absolutely not true. How do you change that kind of culture? I do not know. My
experience is wherever you go you go to Washington, you go to Tallahassee -
and you can explain that issue, you can explain that problem, you say, hey, we
got to face this, we [have] a problem because you do not have team-players
down here trying to cooperate in these things, [they are] demanding
unreasonable things, making unreasonable evaluations of different alternatives
that exist out there. And, what you find out is that it is nothing new, that is the
way it is everywhere; it is the culture of the Park Service. This is not a red sore
thumb sticking up down here, it is just the way they work everywhere.
Unfortunately, that can be disruptive to progress. I really believe that is one of the
major organizational hurdles that we have to overcome as we move forward into
the future. We [have] to get the Park [Service] playing on the team. I used to say
at meetings, where we would have discussions about how [to evaluate] different
plans, that [each interest must assess whether the plan is giving them a
reasonable solution]. I also [would] look out there and [assess whether] all those
other interests out there are getting anything unreasonable. But I never could
seem to get the Park [Service] to take that approach. It was always, yes, I got
this, but I want more. It just never could be that reasonable balance that needed
to be accomplished. Even when the Department of Interior people, Mary Doyle
being the lead person, was negotiating with Congress on the Water Resource
Development Act of 2000 in order to try to get this Comprehensive Everglades
Restoration Plan in place, the Park [Service] was down here speaking against
the plan as being something that was not good for the Park. It was an incredible
phenomenon. I said, how in the world can this happen? But it seems that
superintendents are almost autonomous entities without anybody ever holding
them accountable for whatever it is they do; they are almost like kings of their
empires. To me, things like that are just not conducive to what we are trying to
accomplish. But hopefully, like I said, we [have] new leadership all around, and I
have been so far encouraged by what I have seen in trying to break some of
those barriers and move forward.

G: Fish and Wildlife Service?

R: Again, they live in their own world. They have their own responsibilities, they are
not good team-players, they do not see the whole picture, they only see what
their responsibilities are and that is what they try to rule on. They also are very,
very careful not to ever put themselves in a situation where they would be
vulnerable to some blame in the process. They can make unreasonable
decisions about things, or I should say they can issue unreasonable opinions,
because that is what they basically do, is issue opinions, but there is nobody,

Page 45

again, holding them accountable for whatever they do. Again, after the Park
Service, I do not see them yet as good team-players in this process, but I am
encouraged by some changes that have been made that may help that.

G: The sugar industry?

R: I think the sugar industry was obviously an interest that went to the extreme
when all this started with the lawsuit-filing back in 1988 [that] protected their
interest and tried to find ways to deny that anything wrong was being done. But I
think we have come to a point now where I think they clearly understand that
there is a problem and they [have] to solve the problem and they will do
everything in their power to solve the problem at the least cost, which [is how] all
industries work. I think their fear right now is that they can sign up and support
solving the problem, but the solution has to be implemented by government. I
mean, these programs, these projects and everything, are being [built by
government]. Sometimes that causes a problem, because the [industry does] not
have a whole lot of control whether those go right or not, and they are going to
get blamed for it if it is not. So there still is that kind of reluctance out there to
have total trust in government to execute what needs to be done to make these
things right. Over the last few years, I believe, as far as the restoration goes and
including the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, I think they have
been team-players. They are willing to give to get something reasonable for
themselves, and I think that is an important step forward in this process.

G: Could you explain the controversy that surrounded Iteration 7 of the
experimental-delivery program?

R: It goes back to the Park again. I can tell you that I sat in rooms for months, hours,
trying to come up with an Iteration 7 that would be better than Iteration 6.

G: Could you explain what the iterations are about?

R: Yes. Experimental Water Deliveries were authorized back in 1984 to provide the
Corps, with agreement of the South Florida Water Management District and the
Park it was a three-party agreement to modify the operations of the Central
and South Florida project in order to improve flows to Everglades National Park.
Understanding clearly that, in the process of doing that, you do not harm
anybody outside of the Park, whether it be residents, farms or whatever. So, it
started. The first [iteration] went into place back in the mid-1980s, and it
continued forward. Iteration 6 racheted up the water levels in the canals so that
the Park could have higher water levels. Iteration 7 came along during my tenure
as District Engineer, and the effort again was to rachet up water levels to a
higher level. It was always racheting up water levels, making canals higher so

Page 46

that you get higher levels in the Park, but at the same time, when you do that,
you also bring higher levels to the urban and agricultural areas on the east side
of the levee. We went through all kinds of modeling and reworking, trying to find
out where changes were being made when we did these things, and we came up
with what I considered the highest that I could ever support, as far as being
District Engineer, because I thought anything higher than that was bringing
undue risk to people in the agricultural and urban areas in south Dade County.
There was one iteration above; it was 7a and 7b, I think it was. There were two
sevens. There was the one that basically was the highest I could support. I did
not feel comfortable with it, but I could support it. Then there was a higher one
which Dick Ring wanted. Sam Poole and I were on the same level, and Dick was
up here. We just continued and continued to go through these negotiations and
these debates. Finally, Sam and I went in, and I remember saying, Dick, look, I
really believe, my strongest recommendation to you is that we go with Iteration
7a, the lower level. (I need to go back to the other one and correct what I said
before because Dick's iteration was plausible, but it was right on the border of
being something that was not acceptable.) So, what we told Dick at that point in
time is, Dick, we really recommend that you take 7a, but if you want to go to 7b,
we will support it, but we got to tell you that we think you are taking undue risk.
So, Dick backed off, because Dick said that, essentially, even if we went with 7b,
which is what he wanted to do, we would not be really supporting it. The press
would pick us up as saying we really did not recommend that happening, so he
would not go that far, even though we gave him the chance [and] we would have
signed the agreement with him. So it was implemented. As time went on, and
you [have] to understand [that] the water has been a lot higher since we decided
on what that alternative would be, I have to say, in retrospect, that probably even
7a, the lower-level alternative, was probably something that pushed the limits a
little higher than what I would think would be acceptable. But that is, in retrospect
now, that I see what has happened and what has gone on. But it is always this
thing about continually wanting more and more and more, and no matter what
you do in your negotiations, there are advocates and sometimes you do not even
know if it is good or bad. But they want more, so you [have] to argue with them
and fight with them. Unfortunately, the people on the other side of the levee, they
do not have anybody sitting there at the table trying to fight for them. Here is Dick
on one side of the levee, and I guess Sam and I are the people who are
supposed to fight on the other side, but there is no direct representative there in
this process. It really becomes somewhat unfair sometimes. It is like the big
federal gorilla just moving in and taking over. We [have] to stop that image,
because there are a lot of people down here who believe that is what really

G: What was the purpose of the Southern Everglades Restoration Alliance?

R: The purpose of it was to try to find a way to make the five agencies that were

Page 47

involved in the restoration in South Florida around the Park to work better
together. We were sitting on the back porch of Sam Poole's house one evening
and discussing different ideas about how we might work together. It was Craig
Johnson, who was the head of Fish and Wildlife, Dick Ring, myself, Sam, and I
do not know if Ernie Barnett was there or not but he usually represented DEP on
these kinds of issues. Those were the five organizations. As I remember, Sam
proposed this NATO-type [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] organization where
you essentially had people working together but you had no body officially [and]
you never gave up your sovereignty. You worked with the group, but you did not
give up your sovereignty. You worked together to try to solve problems, and
[Sam] thought that would be the next step to try to make the restoration around
the Park work more effectively. We decided we would give it a shot if they
thought that would help, and we went forward and tried to make it work.

G: Did it work?

R: No.

G: Why did it not work?

R: There were two reasons it did not work. Number one is there should have been
seven agencies sitting around the table on equal basis, and they would not see
that as fit. I thought the Department of Agriculture should be there to represent
the people on the other side of the levee, and I thought the Miccosukee Tribe
[should be there], because they were the other people on the edge of the Park
who always had some difficulties [with] how the system was operated. I thought if
all those seven were sitting around the table, on an equal basis, it would be a lot
more effective group. The second part of it was it became quickly clear that this
group, from the perspective of the Park, had not been established to work
together. It became clear that the group became a forum or a stage for the Park
to espouse their positions in public. Rather than solving things, it just became
another soapbox for the Park to get on to espouse positions which never ended
up being resolutions to problems. It separated us in what we were trying to
accomplish more than brought us together. I do not think they ever treated it as a
sincere effort to actually come to common ground. I think they used it more for
their own purposes. That is my judgement.

G: Do you see that the Restoration Task Force as potentially having a similar
problem in the future?

R: No, I do not think so. The Restoration Task Force, unless it becomes more
active, really does not do all that much. They meet twice a year and not for very
long, so at this point in time unless they get more actively involved, I do not see
where that is going to happen.

Page 48

G: What do you think we could do to improve cooperation between these various

R: First, you have to have a willingness to be able to give something to somebody
that is reasonable. If you are there only to get more and more for you and to heck
with everybody else, you are just never going to make any progress in this
process. The only player I see that has done that, at this point in time, is really
the Park. As soon as they come to the table and they are willing to be a team-
player and do things in a way that is conducive to finding this common ground,
then we are going to make incredible progress. Let me give you an example
which I was involved in after I left the Corps of Engineers. I had this ongoing
battle with Dick Ring over housing for the Miccosukees. They [the Miccosukees]
had requested a 404 dredge-and-fill permit to build houses. Their tribe had gotten
to a point where they had people living in trailers, some people in Dade County, it
was substandard conditions. They had this fifty-year special-use permit area
where they lived. Now, they were forced out of the park by the Park Service
because they were incompatible. Even though the enabling-act for the Park says
that they can continue to practice their traditional ways in the park, in something
like 1962, they were moved out of the park. They were given a special-use permit
area along Tamiami Trail. It is an area that is five miles long and 330 feet deep. It
is like a piece of spaghetti along the Trail. That is where they were moved. They
were given a reservation up north near Alligator Alley, but they did not want to
move there. That was not their homeland. They wanted to stay down there by the
Park, so they were given a special-use permit. This special-use permit area was
basically overseen by the Park. Anything they wanted to do, wanted to build a
building, wanted to do anything, the Park had to come in and give them
permission. There were a lot of controls they had on it. They had a fifty-year
lease, it was free, and they had controls of the Park. They asked for the housing,
[and] the Park kept finding ways, continually I do not care what it was, there
was some reason why you could not build more houses. Finally, I issued a
permit to them. You [have] to understand [that] they sued me and they sued the
Park, as I remember. I was in the process of getting the permit ready, I think,
when the lawsuit was filed. Anyway, they did that. Then there were all these
things about the Park finding other places for the Tribe to move to; since they
had no room for more houses there and the Park did not want them to build more
housing pads, maybe they could move somewhere into Big Cypress area or
maybe we could use Homestead Air Force Base for them. These were the kinds
of ideas that were being promulgated. The Tribe had been forced out of the Park,
where they had almost a 100,000-acre reservation established in perpetuity in
1917. In 1934, in perpetuity ended. [Congress] established the Park [and] gave
them rights to live there, and in 1962, they are forced out of the Park again [to
live] along this [strip of land]. Now, they are trying to force them out of this little
area along Tamiami Trail. At that point in time, the Tribe clearly understood they

Page 49

are going to do something about this, because obviously any idea of them
staying there permanently was going to resisted by the Park, and everything they
did was almost questioned to every detail before they were ever given
permission to do it by this Park Superintendent. So they went to Congress. After,
I think, about a three-year battle it was a long arduous affair, and I was in on
the tail-end of the negotiations for it they finally found a way to pass a bill which
gave them what they call a Miccosukee Reserve Area, no permit, a perpetual
little kind of like reservation in the park. [Congress] doubled its size from five
miles long and 330 feet deep to five miles long and 660 feet deep, [and] they
gave the Tribe total sovereignty over it. I may be wrong, but I understand that
Secretary Babbitt wanted to solve this problem. He told one of his counsel, a guy
named Ed Cohen, I want you to solve this problem, Ed; I want to get this behind
us. I can guarantee, to the day that Act was signed, the Park down here was
fighting tooth-and-nail for it not to happen, even though the Secretary of Interior
wanted it to happen. So not only [does the Park Service] lose more ground, more
sovereignty, they do not gain any good-will on their part [than] if they would have
helped the Secretary and negotiated with the Chairman and make it a big deal
and a good deal. No, they fight it tooth-and-nail, and they inspire environmental
groups to go out there and fight for them. At the last minute, these people are
piling on and trying to find all these concocted ways why they should not do that.
Here is what you end up with. You go into a negotiation and you sit there with
your adversary in front of you, or the person you are negotiation [with] in front of
you, and you hope you come to some position which is close to where you are at.
The other person is sitting across the table and wishing the same thing.
Somewhere in the middle would be acceptable. Heck no, you do not end up in
the middle; you end up farther on the side of the other person. In this case, the
Miccosukees gained a lot more than they were even asking for, because there
was not an ability on the part of the Park Service to give up this total advocacy
row and fight for more and more and come up with common ground which would
solve the problem. In the end, they end up losing more. It is a ridiculous
phenomenon that has to end.

G: How important is it to involve the general public in what is going on in South

R: Oh, it is incredibly important. I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said, with public
sentiment, you can accomplish anything, without public sentiment, you
accomplish nothing. I really believe there is a lot of truth to that. I have been
going to meetings down here for almost eight years now, and I think every time I
go to a meeting it is kind of like a permutation of 500 individuals. I will go to one
meeting, and there will be twenty people out of that 500; I go to another meeting,
and it will be thirty people but ten of the meeting I just came from and twenty new
people. It is like these 500 people are just kind of tossed around to fill meeting
seats in the process. I think there are 500 active players, maybe, in this process.

Page 50

Outside of that, there is kind of like a halo, that you got about 5,000 [people] or
something like that who are knowledgeable but not active. They understand what
is going on, they follow what is going on, they go to a meeting occasionally as an
observer or whatever, they give a public comment from time to time. But, you
know, it is no more than 5,000. Then outside of that, you have 5,500,000 people
that, gee, they do not really understand a thing about what is going on. They do
not have a clue. If you ask them about Everglades restoration, half of them will
tell you it has already been restored and the other half would not even know what
you are talking about. They would not have any clue about what the mechanics
[are] or why it is important, anything about that. They would probably tell you, to
save the Everglades, we [have] to move everybody out of that Eight-and-a-Half-
Square-Mile Area. That is probably what they would tell you because that
message has gotten around farther than it should have. But what is important to
these people? The things that are in their face every day: crime, jobs, illegal
immigration. These things that they see every day that they have to grapple with,
that is what they are going to spend their time on and what they understand and
what they are going to push for. What we are talking about is restoration of the
Everglades, which is a very subtle thing. As long as they can go in and turn their
tap on and water comes out, everything is okay. But subtly, more people are
using more and more water, more and more water is becoming more and more
contaminated. If you looked in Biscayne Bay forty years ago, it would be a lot
clearer. You look at it today and you say, it looks good, but forty years ago, it was
a lot clearer. It is kind of a subtle change over time, where people who come in
do not really see that change going on. I say that, if we do not find some way to
more effectively educate people, so that they can go out and make informed
decisions about their future when it comes to things like voting for a
commissioner, supporting a program or something like that, we are eventually
going to start losing our ability to be successful. Because when you lose the
support of the masses, then you are just going to find it very, very difficult to
reach the end of all this, which has to go on, now, for thirty, forty, fifty years.

G: What kind of things did you do, when you were with the Corps, to try to
encourage public involvement?

R: Well, you always try to bring as many people to all the public fora that you have
to ensure that you reach as many as possible. That was kind of like a
bureaucratic requirement, that you have a public meeting and you announce it so
people come. Fine, but as far as being proactive in getting people to a meeting or
inspiring people to come to a meeting, what you find out is the only time they
ever come is if they know that there is some issue [that is] going to be discussed
that directly affects them. Then they will be there. As a matter of fact, what
happens is, the better you do at solving the problems and making sure they
understand that they are not going to lose anything, the less people come. I have
gone to public meetings where nobody showed up, because we had done such a

Page 51

good [job] of developing consensus [that] nobody came. You have to have some
kind of a proactive campaign where you go out and identify the different
segments of the society in South Florida and you determine what media they
use, what message they are receptive to, and start doing that stuff on a
methodical basis in large areas throughout the entire system to educate them
and get them inspired as to how important things like this are. It is like those
people in Africa I told you about; they were more worried about where their meal
came from than developing the water resources in the Niger River Basin. People
down here are more interested in things that are more immediate, and that is
where they spend their time. Something subtle like Everglades restoration is kind
of a feel-good thing but not a well-understood thing.

G: Do you think we can maintain the current level of public support for the
restoration if, for example, it begins to conflict with urban development or things
of that nature?

R: I have always said that the greatest challenge we had down here is trying to find
some way to link land-use planning with conservation-planning. You cannot do
them independently. You [have] to link them. You [have] to make sure they go
hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, we developed another culture that basically does
not allow that to happen. If you could get commissions and counties and local
government to develop comprehensive plans that ensure that they take into
account all those environmental issues that we are concerned about, doing
environmental restoration as part of their planning process, then we would have
plans that are compatible with what we are trying to accomplish. There are very
few counties that have programs that allow those kinds of things to happen. They
still have a situation where we have more commissioners who are devoted to the
development committee than are balanced in how they approach development
and environment together. So when you have a vote, in most situations, the
people who are more development-oriented always win the vote, as opposed to
people who look for a balanced or a compromise kind of position as they move
forward. That comes from this informed public that I am talking about. If we do
not have people out there voting with informed discretion, then they are going to
continue to make the wrong I should not say wrong they are going to
continue to make the same decisions, and those same decisions, from my
perspective, are not compatible with what we are trying to accomplish in the end.
I always say that, thirty years ago, when the environmental movement started, if
all these groups would have come down here, and put their emphasis on county
commissions, city commissions, and tried to make sure that those commissions
were doing the right thing as far as linking land-use planning and conservation-
planning, we would not have a problem today. It would have all been solved.
Unfortunately, they put all their efforts on [regulatory] agencies that [carried out]
environmental [regulatory responsibilities], rather than the people who really
make the decisions on how the land is going to be utilized. If they had put their

Page 52

emphasis on those commissions, we would be in good shape today. But
unfortunately, they did not, and we have lost in a lot of ways that we could have

G: Just before you left the Corps, you were quoted in the Miami Herald as giving a
"low C" to the overall restoration effort. Why the low grade?

R: I think, at that point in time, we had a situation where I thought there were some
good things that were going on. I thought we had made some progress, from my
perspective, in viewing the world that were incredibly successful. I think we had
realized that, number one, this is a system [that we have] to look at it holistically,
and we were standing up to the challenge. I think we understood that a holistic
government was important in this process; we actually were working together
through these organizations that were important. The third thing I thought was
very important is the fact that we had embraced the idea, as I articulated it,
adaptive-management, which really boded well for being successful as we
moved through this whole process. But I also looked out there and saw some
things that I did not think were going well, and I think we talked about many of
them here today, that must be improved. Number one was linking land-use
planning and conservation planning. I did not think, from what I had seen, that we
had done that. As a matter of fact, one of the most controversial issues I faced as
I left the District was the southwest Florida EIS, which was an effort to look at
Naples and Collier County and try to make some rhyme-or-reason about how we
linked land-use planning and conservation planning. I was called in one paper
over there "the Green Gorbachev" and another one, "being from Hale-Bopp"
[comet; meaning, from outer space]. That was a major, major concern of mine,
that we had to find ways to do that better, and we really were not standing up to
that challenge the way we needed to. Science: we had not integrated science
into the process in an effective way in all components of managerial decisions,
and I thought that was something that we needed to find a better way to move
forward on. I was concerned about how we were going to fund Everglades
restoration. I can tell you today, I am pleasantly surprised that we seem to have
gotten through that hurdle, and we have state commitment to the money and we
have federal authorization, which now requires appropriation, but we have come
a long way from where we were back in those days and where people thought
money would come from. I thought that outreach was broken, and we just talked
about how people are not voting or making informed discretion. I think that is a
very important aspect of what we are about, and we need the sentiment of the
public to be successful as we move into the future. So, even though there were
some great things that we moved forward with, there were some things out there,
some imperatives, that we had not quite come to, in some cases, some kind of
recognition of the problem, let alone solutions or more effective addressing of
those issues. Therefore, when you have good and you have equal bad, you get a

Page 53

G: If you were to give a grade today, what grade would you give?

R: Today, I would still have to give a C. I think a lot of the different areas that are out
there, we have some strategic imperatives, that I have just kind of gone over
briefly, that we need to start learning how to grapple with better. We have not, in
quite a while, moved the bar higher on this dispute-resolution idea. How do we
use these agencies working together to actually resolve differences so we can
move forward on tough issues, like Modified Water Deliveries? We just have not
done that. We have to [find] some way to put the issue on the table and [so that]
somebody to say yea or nay, that is good, that is bad, so we can move forward.
Right now, we allow too many people to sit around and squabble with each other
ad infinitum rather than get along with what needs to be done.

G: What Everglades-related activities have you been involved with since leaving the

R: Here at Florida International University, I have been working with [Dr.] Ron
Jones. This program here, now called the Southeast Environmental Research
Center, became a center about a year and a half ago. As a Center, it has a
special status in the State University System, and it can start expanding its role in
bringing holistic solutions to these problems. It can do that by establishing
endowments, bringing money in and appropriations from state and federal
government to unleash the freedom of all the people who work here and are
associated with this institution to solve these problems from a multi-disciplinary
aspect. I have been trying to work with Ron on developing the ideas about how
all of this fits together and how we should proceed in the future to establish this
multi-disciplinary effort, and that is hard. That is changing of a culture and
bringing new ideas in. I think things have moved forward, it just takes a long time
for a lot of these ideas to grab hold. I have also had the great opportunity to work
with the Miccosukee Tribe. The Miccosukee Tribe are the only ones that live in
the Everglades. The Chairman says, when we were fleeing the U.S. soldiers, the
Everglades saved us and now it is our job to save her. They are very committed
to making sure that they can continue their culture, the way they live, and to do
that they need to make sure that the right things are done to save the
Everglades. So they are committed to that. The second thing that is important
about the Miccosukee Tribe is that they do not tell you what to do; they respect
your professional opinion on what needs to be done. Even if you disagree with
something they say, that is your prerogative, because they want you to maintain
your professional credibility. It has been a great pleasure to work with them on
the water-quantity and -quality issues that they have faced over the last three
years. I work very closely with Ron Jones on that also. Those are really the two
primary things that I have been involved in, and I have done a few other little
things but nothing major.

Page 54

G: Why have the Miccosukee been so critical of the Everglades Forever Act?

R: The primary reason they are critical is [because of] the timing. They do not
believe that allowing [until] December 31, 2006, [to clean up the water] is saving
the Everglades. [They believe the Everglades may] be destroyed before they
save it. I think that is the main [contention]. [They actually challenged the
Everglades Forever Act as a change to water-quality standards in federal court
under the Clean Water Act and won against the Environmental Protection
Agency.] There are other things in the act that they do not agree with, but they
are more technical things [about] what do words mean and do not mean. [Some
of the] issues that they have with the Everglades Forever Act are before Judge
Hoeveler, [a] federal judge, and [he monitors clean-up deadlines].

G: Looking back at your more than decade of experience in Everglades
management, what do you think are the most important lessons that you have
personally learned?

R: I think we have already discussed the thing I have learned the most, and that is
that this is very important for the future of what we are all about, in that if we
cannot solve these problems here, we are going to have a heck of time solving
them in other places. I do not think [people] really understand that fully. I did not
understand that at all, until I got here and started dealing with all of this. I think
that is something that always motivates you to move forward, because it is such
a big responsibility to try to make this thing work, and I enjoy being a part of that.
I think the next thing I have learned is that the United States of America is not
nearly as sophisticated and democratic as I once thought it was, when I was
idealistic and lived overseas and worked overseas. We have a lot of room to
improve how we do our business and how we really make democracy work.
Everybody always talks about it being messy and everything, but I never
expected it to be quite as messy and tortuous as what we have to deal with down
here. Sometimes it just gets downright questionable whether it is democratic or
not. When I lived and worked in the Third World, a soldier could come up and
beat somebody over the head with a rifle [and] move them out of [their] house,
and that was not good, but it did not surprise anybody, because that is the
system. Here when it happens, something similar to that, you say, God, that can
happen in our country? No, you think, that is not what we are about, but subtly,
those kinds of things seem to continue to happen. It is not very heartening to see
that. So, [what] I learned is disappointing, but, well, that is reality, and we [have]
to continue to move forward.

G: What do you think are going to be the greatest obstacles to successfully
achieving the restoration in South Florida?

Page 55

R: I think the greatest challenge we have is trying to figure how to maintain unity of
effort. I come from an Army background, and in the Army you have commanders,
and when you are in command, you are in command. That means you are
responsible for making things happen, and if they do not happen, your head is
going to roll when it does not. General [Norman] Schwarzkopf [commander of
United Nations forces in the Gulf War], he could call everything that happened in
the Gulf War. Anything that happened, he was the one who could make the
decisions. He did not make all of the decisions, because some of them he
delegated and let his subordinates make, but they knew what his intent was, and
they better abide by his intent or they get their heads chopped off. Here, nobody
is in charge, and there will not be anybody in charge. I do not think they are going
to allow a benevolent dictator to come in here and run this thing, but that is what
we need. Now, you [have] all these different heads out there, all these different
agencies, all these different interest groups. How do you get them to work
together? How do you get them to focus on the right thing? How do you keep
them off these secondary tasks that just waste people's time, like trying to move
people out of that Eight-and-a-Half Square Mile [Area]? We waste so much effort
on something that is so minuscule to what we are trying to accomplish that it just
makes you incredulous. You have to figure out how we can all get on the critical
path to progress and stay on that path and all work together to accomplish the
goals. Right now, we are very fragmented. We have a lot of things going in a lot
of different directions, and I am not sure they are all productive in working toward
accomplishing what we need to accomplish. Now, I can tell you the problem; I do
not know if I can tell you the solution. I do know one part of it is, even though it
may not be a General Schwarzkopf, a General [George] Patton [World War II
tank commander and famed disciplinarian], you do need strong leadership. You
got to have somebody somewhere [in the process] with a vision of this entire
operation and in a position to be able to have significant influence on all the
different [activities]. We have to find somebody who has a vision of this entire
effort, this entire system, how the components play together, what are all the
different issues, which are the ones more important than others, and [ensure he
or she is] in a position with enough influence to do [the things necessary] to keep
those [priorities]. Right now, we do not have that capability in the system, and I
really worry about that, because we just waste too much time and too many
resources doing things that are not critical to our overall goals. I do not know how
to [correct this], but I do know one component is strong leadership.

[End of Interview.]

Colonel Terry Rice

Colonel Terry Rice, Army Corps of Engineers, opens the interview with his account of the history of
contributing factors Everglades deterioration (page 1-3). He talks about the change in values and
Aculture@ in both the Army Corps of Engineers and the environmental movement that formed the
background for changes in the Everglades ecosystem (page 4). He stresses that holistic planning is the
key new idea in the comprehensive Restoration plan (page 5) and discusses the watershed moments he
felt were critical to arriving at that key new idea (page 5-6).

On page 6-7, those who dissented from the Restoration plan are treated, as well as key people and
organizations who helped usher in change for the Everglades (page 7). Colonel Rice then detours into a
discussion of his educational and professional background (page 8-9), with particular reference to the
influence of his earlier experiences and the chance for the Everglades to serve as a model for similar
projects in the future (page 9-10). Colonel Rice discusses coming to Jacksonville as District Engineer for
the Corps (page 10-11) and his objectives in that role with regard to the Everglades (12), particularly
concerning two contentious issues that he was involved in: granting a permit for stormwater treatment
areas (page 12-13) and the widening of Route 1 in the Florida Keys (page 14-16).

In response to a question about the balancing of environmental interests with other considerations (page
16), Colonel Rice discusses at great length the Restudy plan as a case-study (page 17-20). He treats in
particular the issue of the altered Chief=s Report, which caused enormous dissension among Everglades
constituents (page 20-23). Colonel Rice responds to criticisms that the restudy depends on unproven
technology (page 24-25) and also converses on issues of water-distribution and the natural-systems
model (page 25-27). He also talks about an important shift in the Army Corps of Engineers that allowed
the Corps to engage in environmentally-conscious work rather than destructive intervention (page 28),
and how he overcame the deep distrust of the Corps harbored by environmentalists (page 29-30).

On page 31-33, Colonel Rice provides his take on the importance of the Restoration Task Force in 1993
and its relation to the Working Group, particularly concentrating on disagreements between the two
(page 33), as in the contentious issue of modified water deliveries (page 34-35). He also shares his
perspective on the issue of the Eight-and-Half-Square-Mile Area, for which many criticized him (page
36-37). Colonel Rice then goes on to evaluate: the role of the scientific community in organizations like
the Task Force (page 38), issues of scientific uncertainty in Everglades work (page 39), the South Florida
Water Management District (page 39) the National Park Service (page 40), the Fish and Wildlife Service
(page 41), and the sugar industry (page 41-42). He also comments on the controversy over Iteration 7
(page 42), the South Everglades Restoration Alliance (page 43-44), and the need to improve cooperation
among all the elements involved in Everglades restoration (page 44-45).

Colonel Rice also shares his thoughts on the need to involve the general public in Everglades issues
(page 46; 48) and how he attempted to do that during his Corps tenure (page 47). He discusses his
publicized grade of C to the Restoration effort (page 48) and explains why he would still give that grade
at this time (page 49). He also touches on the current projects he is involved with and why the
Miccosukee Tribe has resisted Restoration efforts (page 50). Colonel Rice concludes with what he has
learned from his involvement in Everglades issues and what he feels remain the obstacles to Restoration
(page 51-2)

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