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EVG 6
Interviewee: Tom MacVicar
Interviewer: Brian Gridley
Date: May 20, 2001


G: This is Brian Gridley interviewing Tom MacVicar at his office in West Palm
Beach. The date is May 20, 2001. Mr. MacVicar, what are the two or three most
important contributing factors that have led to the present problems in the
Everglades?

M: I guess it depends on what you define the problems to be. I think under the most
common definition of the problem, the factor would be population growth more
than anything. That brings with it land-use changes, but I think it is pretty
inevitable that the population growth that we have had will have had a lot of land-
use modifications associated with it, and those bring what people classically
consider problems for the Everglades.

G: In what ways does the population growth create a problem for the Everglades?

M: If you assume your vision of the Everglades was the Everglades before anyone
got here, which sounds like the perspective you are taking, then population
growth, [which] requires land and the consumption of land, especially where the
people live, was probably the most unique feature of the Everglades that is no
longer there and impossible to restore. The coastal ridge and the interface with
the Everglades that was probably the most important for wildlife is now where
people live. I think it is mostly just the disappearance of the land that was an
important part of the Everglades.

G: John DeGrove once characterized the ecological problems in South Florida as
being the product of "innocent ignorance." Would you agree with this
characterization?

M: No. Looking back, it is a change in the value-system today versus what was in
place when a lot of the changes to the Everglades were made. I do not know how
innocent they were. If you read the early documents before the major canal
system was built, for instance, or [before] many of the major levees were built,
the problems that we are now dealing with were foreseen by the design people
and documented in a lot of the early design reports. What you did not have was a
value-system in place that made people stop what they were doing because of
those impacts. There were a lot of, let us say, honest mistakes that were made,
but there were not any mistakes or big projects built that the outcomes were not
fairly well-understood. It is just that the [value-]system at the time accepted
those when balanced against the benefits they perceived they would get.









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G: To what extent does the current restoration initiative embodied in the [Army]
Corps [of Engineers] comprehensive plan and the state's Everglades Forever Act
represent a change from earlier management efforts?

M: The Everglades Forever Act represents, I would say, the most dramatic change
from the earlier efforts because it was a state initiative. It was derived and
probably promoted through litigation, as opposed to deliberation, so its role in the
process and the process itself that shaped it was quite a bit different. It was a
plan put together driven by litigation, consummated by legislation, and there was
a lot of design and technical analysis during that process, but the process was
quite a bit different. The state was clearly in the lead, as opposed to the
comprehensive federal plan that is now being proposed. And it included a much
different set of incentives and funding mechanisms than we have seen in any
other large-scale water project. It was different in almost every respect.

G: Briefly, tell me about your professional background, including education and
career positions, up to the time when you joined the Water Management District.

M: I joined the Water Management District right out of graduate school. I had a
bachelor's degree in political science and a bachelor's degree in engineering,
and I got a master's degree in water-resource engineering at Cornell [University;
Ithaca, New York] and then came directly from there to the Water Management
District. I was born and raised in South Miami. I grew up in South Florida. I lived
on a canal. I watched them dig a canal that went through my backyard as a kid. I
have had a lot of life experiences related to water management in South Florida.

G: Could you describe the process that led to the development of the Water
Management District's 2x2 hydrological model in the mid-1980s?

M: When I came to the District, there was a small team, actually two or three
individuals, working on computer-modeling. They had constructed a large-scale
electrical analogue model, which was a series of resistors, capacitors and
transistors and voltage-regulators, and [had] built an actual physical model of the
Biscayne aquifer. It took up a large wall, probably ten by twelve feet, with
thousands of wires running to computers that was a way to use the laws of
electricity, which are very analogous to the laws of fluid dynamics, to simulate
flow in the Biscayne aquifer. When I came here for the interview, they were just
beginning to transfer modeling from hardware analogues to software numerical
models. The District staff had tested some ideas and put together an early flow-
chart for a model. In 1979, I believe, the Corps of Engineers undertook what was
called the Shark River Slough Survey Review Report. The goal of that report was
to try and restore Shark River Slough, [and was] primarily focused on introducing
flow into Northeast Shark River Slough. Since Northeast Shark River Slough was









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all private property at the time, there was no analytical tool to evaluate what
would happen if you re-flooded Northeast Shark River Slough, so the Corps
signed a contract with the District to develop the 2x2 model. It was, I do not
know, a $300,000-dollar, two-year contract. I was the project manager and
primary software developer for the model at that time. The idea was [that] they
[the Corps of Engineers] paid the money to develop the model and then the
model would be used as a tool in the restoration of Shark River Slough, and that
is pretty much how it worked out. The model came together with several key
technical staff at the District working on it. The report was produced, never really
went anywhere beyond the survey review, but the modeling never stopped. After
the survey review, the experimental program began in 1983, so the model was
needed to document the environmental impacts of the experimental water
deliveries to Everglades National Park. In 1985, the Modified Water Deliveries
Project was first proposed, and that model, again, was the tool. Once the model
was developed in the 1981 time frame, [the] survey review for Shark [River]
Slough was produced, and then the model has never been dormant since then. It
has been applied to virtually every project that has been handled by the District
relative to South Florida, especially relative to the Everglades. Each team of
scientists who have come in and taken on the projects has enhanced the model,
so the model that is in use to today is similar in structure, but it includes much
more content and capability than the early model we had in the mid-1980s.

G: Was it the introduction of the model that led to a movement to shift towards rain-
based delivery to the [Everglades National] Park?

M: No. The model was just there for a tool to give comfort to the managers who had
to make complicated decisions. They wanted more information on which to base
their decisions, especially in the Everglades, because the direction was clearly in
terms of flooding parts of the Everglades that the government did not own. So,
the quantification of potential impacts to private property became a real key
element. The rainfall-delivery formula for the Park really grew out of the
experimental water-delivery program that was not related at all to the modeling.

G: Could you explain what that was and why there was an effort to go to a rain-
based approach?


M: In 1983, there was a very strong El Nino [name for atmospheric conditions that
create extreme weather]. There were fifteen or sixteen inches of rain in the first
six weeks of the year, in January and early February. That was an extreme
amount of rain for that time of year. Lake Okeechobee went way over its
schedule, and large quantities of water were dumped in the ocean. The
conservation areas were way over schedule, so a very large quantity of water









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was released into the [Everglades National] Park in what is normally the dry
season normally being non-El Nino years here. El Nino always produces a wet
winter in Florida. The Park was very frustrated with the floodgates coming open
in February, and so they came to the Water Management District with a seven-
point plan [in regard] to changing the flow of water to the Park. One of the key
elements of the plan was to try and re-flood areas that were outside the Park that
were still Everglades, primarily the east Everglades. The private-property owners
on the periphery of the east Everglades were very nervous about that. They
actually litigated pretty early on. The first attempt to release water into that area
led to immediate litigation by the south Dade agricultural interests. To settle the
litigation, we devised a series of experiments where the District would release
water into the east Everglades and document the impacts of it. A lot of
instrumentation was installed. Reports were produced on the results of each
experiment. The first experiment to release water outside the Park was a thirty-
day experiment in the dry season. It turned out to be a quite dry season this
was in 1984, not 1983 so the results were not typical. The goal was always to
put water in there when it is wet, not when it is dry. After the thirty-day
experiment in the dry season, we followed up in the summer of 1984 with a
ninety-day experiment in the wet season. Again, there was a lot of
instrumentation. We measured water levels all around the periphery of the
Everglades, measured the water quantities that were put there and produced a
report. That came out in late 1984. We really did not know what to do next. No
one wanted to go back to the old way of delivering water to the Park. As part of
the seven-point plan, one of the things the Park asked for in 1983 was to just
open the gates north of the Park and leave them open, and so the District did
that, and then each month we would revisit the decision. Each month, the Park
said, we want them left open, and so they were left open. When we got into late
1984, it stopped raining, we were in a typical dry season, and Area Three drained
pretty severely because the gates were open. But the Park did not want the
gates closed, so we came up with the idea of, rather than going back to the old
congressional formula of flow to the park, which was like an accounting scheme
where you got the same amount each month, we would develop a way to make
the monthly water deliveries responsive to the climate and hydrology and the
rainfall. We developed a formula that was based on flow into the Park in the
1940s and 1950s before the federal project was built. The flow was uncontrolled.
It was not a natural Everglades, but it was a much more natural and much less
managed Everglades than existed in the 1980s. We developed a formula you
measure rain at ten gauges north of the Park, you measure evaporation in four
evaporation-pans north of the Park, you plug it into a formula, and it tells you how
much water should go into the Park that week. The early simulations of the
impact showed a lot of benefits. Rainfall basically tells you when to start and how
fast to start flow to the Park and when to stop and how to step down the flows. In
wet periods, all the gates are going to be open, so the water management









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system still overrides the rainfall formula, but it became an effective formula for
[the] timing of starting the annual flow and stopping the annual flow or defining a
recession. That was developed in 1985; actually, in January of 1985, an
environmental analysis was done, and it was put in place that summer. But
modeling was not an issue there. It was the experimental program that drove us
there.

G: Why did the Fish and Wildlife Service express reservations about the adoption of
the rain-based approach?

M: They did not express reservations at the time about the rain formula, but they did
have a problem with the way the Modified Water Delivery project operated under
the formula. At roughly the same time, the Shark [River] Slough survey review
got put on the shelf. The experimental program was going along, and by 1985,
we knew we had to do some structural things because of the private-property
impacts, and we had to do some modifications to allow water to flow properly. So
we developed the Modified Water Deliveries Project, where we would remove
some of the impediments to flow in the southern Everglades build a levee and
install a pump around the Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile [Area] and eventually put
the Slough in public ownership. There was a regular Corps design document that
came out then, and there were questions over how you would operate the project
when you built this when you took out the levees on the Everglades and put in
the levee around the Eight-and-a-Half-[Square-Mile Area], how would you
operate the system? At that time, every Corps design manual also had the
operations defined in it since then, they have not always done that so there
were two operating plans, one which was basically the rainfall formula that we
had been using and began using in 1985. The Fish and Wildlife [Service] wanted
more water to stay in Conservation Area 3 for the snail kite [endangered
species]. They objected to what was called the Rainfall Plan and wanted the
Modified Rainfall Plan, [in] which the difference was you would keep more water
in Conservation Area 3 for the snail kite. Area 3 has a persistent pool of water in
the south end, and that became a favorite habitat for snail kites. So, it was a
single endangered species act review kind-of-thing. It was not that they were
opposed to the Rainfall Plan. It was they were opposed to the idea of an open-
flow system between the [Everglades National] Park and Conservation Area 3.

G: What is the relationship between the [Water Management] District's 2x2 model
and the natural-system model?

M: The 2x2 model was developed first, and it is really driven by the management
structure. The really amazing thing about it, it breaks no new ground on [the]
hydrology of surface flow or groundwater flow or evaporation, but it has an
incredible superstructure of every well, every levee, every canal and every water









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control structure, and it has got operating rules for all of them. It is an awesome
package for simulating a complicated water management system. The natural-
system model was an attempt to simulate the hydrology before people got here,
so it was built by stripping out, basically, this incredible package of management
structure that really is the guts, or the superstructure, of the 2x2 model. The
relationship between the two [is that] they are both large-scale models that are
driven by several key variables and those variables have to be calibrated or
adjusted based on field observations. The two really critical key variables are
evapotranspiration and sheet-flow, the dynamics of sheet-flow. [In] the water-
management model, because it simulates modern time, there is a lot of actual
data, so you can calibrate it according to actual data, real observations. [In] the
natural-system model, there are no real observations to calibrate it to, so the real
critical connection between the two is [in] defining the evapotranspiration function
and the sheet-flow hydraulics in the calibrated 2x2 model and then making the
assumption that the values obtained through the calibration of the management
model apply to the same phenomenon in the un-management model, or the
natural-system model. The two are forever linked in that respect. It builds in
somewhat of an uncertainty in the natural-system model, because two of the
major phenomenon are derived from a calibrated model, and the calibrated
model is dominated by the management structure much less than [by] the natural
phenomenon. It just adds a little uncertainty when you do that, but that is the key
connection. The other thing [they have in common is that] they have the grid, the
raw data like rainfall and evaporation that are fed in. Since they simulate the
same time period, they have a lot of those things in common. Like the 2x2 model
the NSM is much more sophisticated now than when I worked with it, thanks to
the work of people like Randy VanZee who have made it much more credible.

G: In a 1997 news article, you stated in reference to the natural-system model that "I
am very frustrated by how it is being used. It was never intended as a design
tool, and I am not sure it is going to be good for the Everglades." Could you
expand on those comments?

M: Yes. I developed the original version of the natural-system model, and it came
out of the buildup to an Everglades symposium in 1989. We had worked with a
broad cross-section of scientists involved in the Everglades, most of who were
biologists, not hydrologists. Biologists tend to do very focused research. You had
a couple of people who just studied alligators and a couple who just studied birds
and some who just studied fish. They all had these different intellectual models of
the species that they studied, and they did not have a framework for defining the
common elements that made all of them succeed. In the planning sessions up to
this symposium, I had agreed to try to develop a hydrology model of the
Everglades prior to development. It became the natural-system model only as
a way to give a common perspective to all the biologists and maybe help them









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understand how the different species related to the hydrology. The hydrology
was consistent over all the areas, so maybe they could end up understanding
better how the whole package fit together. It was never meant to be a blueprint
for restoration, and I knew from day one that if we built it, people would jump on it
as, well, this is the answer. But the uncertainties are so high, both with the
outcome of the model and the hydrology but, also, the ecosystem is incredibly
different than it was prior to when we got here. You do not have any of the
coastal ridge left. You have a large part of the Everglades in the north end that is
now all farmland. To try and impose water levels or flow quantities that are
estimated by a model that has got a lot of uncertainty and is only attempting to
simulate something that was here before any of [the changes were] done and [to]
apply it to a system that is a lot smaller and designed differently and operated
differently there is as much potential to do harm as to do good if it is not done
right. At the time of that newspaper article, the issue was flow. There has always
been a debate: do you try and replicate the water depths that the natural-system
model estimates, or the actual flow quantities? The flow quantity is the most
unreliable outcome in the model because very small changes in a couple of the
key parameters have big impacts on the flow quantity. There were attempts to
impose the flow quantities coming out of the natural-system model onto specific
parts of the Everglades, primarily the southern Everglades. Flow quantities are
very large, and our history of very large flows in the Everglades is that they cause
a lot of harm to wildlife and in some cases to the plant life, with flooding tree
islands or that sort of thing. So, I was concerned that the blanket imposition of
flow quantities coming out of the natural-system model, although it sounded good
and made an easy argument, it would not have been a good outcome for the
Everglades.

G: Is the Corps' comprehensive plan too dependent on the assumptions in the
natural-system model?

M: In general, I would say yes. What lowers the anxiety a little bit is that their
comprehensive plan is so conceptual and many of the technologies are so
uncertain that what is actually finally built under that plan will probably look and
behave quite a bit differently than what is in the proposal, the concept. So, I think
reality still has a number of years to intervene in this process, and I think it will,
and hopefully the understanding of how the Everglades will respond will also be
part of that, so it will all come out good in the end. That is what we are hoping.

G: Describe the efforts by the Water Management District during your time there to
address the problems with Lake Okeechobee.









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M: Lake Okeechobee hit the headlines, really. Well, when I came to the Water
Management District, there had just been a lawsuit regarding back-pumping of
Everglades Ag[ricultural] Area stormwater into Lake Okeechobee.

G: Is that the Johnny Jones lawsuit?

M: Yes, the Florida Wildlife Federation [lawsuit], and Johnny was their
spokesperson. The District was struggling with [the issue of], if you cannot back-
pump, what do you do with the water? There were plans to flood the Holey Land,
none of which ended up panning out. What actually did stick, though, was the
idea not to back-pump. Now, the federal project, which included the pumps on
the lake, require back-pumping under flood conditions. But there are ways to
greatly reduce the quantity back-pumped by aggressive pumping to the south,
and that is what was settled on. When I got there [to the Water Management
District], I was not involved [in back-pumping water into Lake Okeechobee]. I was
doing Shark River Slough modeling and those kind of things. The big
Okeechobee headline that affected my career was the algae-bloom we had in
1986. There was about a hundred-square mile algae-bloom, very graphic, that
covered a lot of lake. There was a lot of media coverage. It focused on water
quality in the lake. It focused on aquatic weed management in the lake and
primarily what to do with the upstream watershed. So, from 1986 on, the water
quality in the lake became the issue and the focus, because the lake's water
quality is controlled by what comes into the lake from the north. Even when the
back-pumping was going on, it was a such a small part of the water budget [that]
it did not really influence the lake-wide nutrient budget. What controlled the
nutrient budget was the Kissimmee River, Fisheating Creek, Taylor Creek,
Nubbin Slough, Indian Prairie the big watersheds that provide all the flow into
the lake. What had happened to those [watersheds], the water quality had gotten
progressively worse, until by 1988, the phosphorus concentration in [Lake
Okeechobee], I think, had doubled from what it had been in the 1970s. Where
the [South Florida Water Management] District ended up, after a lot of analysis
and public-policy debate and research, was a pseudo-land-use plan, which was
really a water-quality regulatory program. The biggest concentrated sources of
phosphorus were the dairies north of the lake. The District tried to regulate the
dairies, but the Department of Environmental Regulation at the time insisted that
that regulation should come under them. What was called the Dairy Rule was
written by the Department of Environmental Regulation to regulate the way
dairies were designed and operated, with the goal of improving water quality. The
Water Management District adopted a rule that covered all the land except the
dairies. Again, it required certain water quality limits on the runoff from property.
There was a goal set for [phosphorus] loading into the lake and a rule put in
place upstream to the lake. The presumption was, if you could get everybody
following the rule and meeting the goals in the rule, then the lake nutrient budget









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would come back into balance eventually. What happened was the rule was
clearly not sufficient to control the quantity of phosphorus coming into the lake. In
spite of the fact that a third of the dairies were closed down and all the dairies
installed very sophisticated water and manure management facilities, the
watershed continued to produce a lot of phosphorus into the lake. The Lake
Okeechobee SWIM [Surface Water Improvement Management] plan, which was
the vehicle for this, was adopted in 1989. I left the District in 1994. There was a
pronounced decreasing trend in phosphorus load to Okeechobee when I left. It
looked like the combination of the dairy design changes and management
practices and the regulatory program were working, because we had a significant
decrease in the [phosphorus] loading to the lake from 1989 to 1994. Since 1994,
the trend has gone [in] just the opposite [direction] it has been a substantial
increasing trend [of phosphorus loading to Lake Okeechobee] so there is still a
lot of work left to do.

G: Why the reverse in the trend? What happened?

M: It is hard to say. If you look at where the phosphorus increases have come from,
you have a couple of key places. The Taylor Creek Nubbins Slough Basin
[phosphorus content], which decreased significantly from 1989 to 1994, has
increased dramatically, almost doubled, since 1994, and that is a very large
inflow of phosphorus. Surprisingly, the watershed north of Highway 60, which
includes Lake Kissimmee, Hatchineha, Cypress, Lake Toho [Tohopekaliga], up to
Kissimmee/St. Cloud, has produced a lot more phosphorus than it did prior to
then.

G: What is the source of that? Is it still the dairy industry?

M: No. Up there, it is definitely not the dairy industry, and it is unclear exactly what
the source [of phosphorus] is. It is not a high concentration of phosphorus up
there, but the concentration has gone up enough to where it is a substantial
increase in load. I do not know if they know [what the source is]. I have not been
[involved] in the Lake Okeechobee issue since I left the District.

G: Describe your involvement with the Kissimmee River restoration during your time
with the Water Management District.

M: I really did not get involved in the Kissimmee restoration until I got into the
executive office in 1989. The District had done independent design analysis of
the backfilling of the Kissimmee with a computer and physical model program out
at Berkeley, at the University of California. In the mid-1980s, we hired Kent
Loften, who was the engineer who did the Kissimmee study for the Corps of
Engineers. He became the key engineer in charge of Kissimmee restoration at









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the Water Management District, and he worked on it continuously, did a lot of
real solid engineering analysis of the backfilling concept and proved, to the extent
you can, that backfilling would work hydraulically. The biologists also found that
backfilling appeared to be the way to get most of what they wanted out of the
restoration. So, by 1990, the issue was [whether there] would there be enough
political support to have backfilling adopted as the preferred plan. The District
and the state were pretty much there, as preferring backfilling, as opposed to a
series of intermediate plugs in the river. The Corps had already rejected the idea.
Their analysis in the mid-1980s concluded that backfilling might be a desirable
alternative but there was not enough federal interest to allow them to participate
in the cost share. At that point, the issue became more political, and Senator
[Bob] Graham [U. S. Senator, 1987-Present] and Governor [Bob] Martinez
[Florida Governor, 1987-1991] at the time lined up and supported backfilling. The
issue went to Congress in 1992, and in the Water Resource Act of 1992,
backfilling the Kissimmee [River] was authorized, according to the engineering
work that Kent Loften had supervised in the late-1980s. My involvement, by then
I was in the executive office, so I represented the [Water Management] District in
Washington on a few of the hearings and worked on the language in the WRDA
[Water Resources Development] Act. It happened to be the same WRDA Act that
authorized the Restudy, so I became involved in both. The most substantial
remaining issue was on limiting the backfilling plan. We had a full backfilling plan
that included most of Pool E, I believe, or D and E. The last part closest to the
lake was the most expensive. There were 350 houses that would have had to
have been condemned, and it was a whole lot more money than Congress was
willing to go with. The Corps was unwilling to support a plan that required
condemning that many houses, and they thought, you got 90 percent of the
benefits for 60 percent of the money if you backfilledd] the upstream part; they
were not going to support the other part [of the backfilling plan]. I got into the
process of talking to people down here and discussing the idea of dropping the
last increment [of backfilling], the Pool E increment, from the plan. Then we could
get Corps support, and then we could get it through Congress. I met with the
Corps' people in the Pentagon. They pretty much made it clear that they could
not support condemning all the houses or the I forget what the total cost was -
$600,000,000, but they could support [us] if we stepped back and did not take all
the houses and it became a $400,000,000 project. My role was to come back
here and communicate to our board and staff, Mr. Loften and some others, that
that was a reasonable compromise. Everyone seemed to think it was. So, with
that, the bill went through.

G: So, that was dropped out of the final bill, then, that section [about backfilling Pool
E]?









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M: It was not dropped out of the bill; it was converted from a part of the
recommended plan to what they called an LPO, or Locally Preferred Option.
LPOs are totally funded by the local sponsor, so there were no financial
obligations on the Corps in any way. They did not have to revise the plan
because that would have taken a lot of time, so they just changed that
designation; rather than [being] part of the recommended plan, it became an
LPO. The District's governing board passed a resolution accepting it as an LPO,
but declaring their position would be not to ever do it, because we had a lot of
land-owners, home-owners, who were opposing the Kissimmee [River
restoration] plan if that stayed in there. It was easy to cut the Corps out; it was a
little harder to convince the local people that our way of cutting the Corps out
protected them, so the board passed a resolution, it is my recollection, that
declared that the District would not sponsor the LPO either. It became an
obsolete part of the design document.

G: How important is the Kissimmee River restoration to the overall Everglades
restoration effort?

M: In terms of the hydrology and the biology, I do not think there is much connection
at all. They are far apart from each other, and there are not any direct hydrologic
connections. It became a very important policy precedent. The 50-50 cost share
for the Kissimmee restoration was a huge precedent. The idea that it was an
environmental restoration project, not a flood control and water supply project,
was a huge precedent. The fact the District or the local sponsor did the
engineering analysis that became the plan approved by Congress was a huge
precedent. What it showed was the Water Management District could take the
initiative in proposing ideas, could do the engineering work, and could sell it to
Congress under the Public Works Program with a 50 percent federal cost-share.
Florida gained the initiative and the ability to promote its own project and to
design its own project. The price Florida paid was the higher cost share, 50
percent, [as] the original Corps project down here was roughly 80, 85 percent
federal. Having a local sponsor, that had the funding that South Florida did, step
up and say, okay, we will pay 50 percent, but you [have] to let us, A, make the
goals purely environmental and not economic, and let us drive the train in terms
of what we do and [how] the engineering [is done]. Those are all kind of
hallmarks of the Kissimmee [River restoration plan] that have sort of been the
model for CERP [Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan] and for some of
the other programs since then. The biology and the hydrology [of the Kissimmee
River restoration plan and the Everglades restoration plan] do not connect at all,
but the policies [of the Kissimmee River restoration plan] became the forerunner.

G: How important was the passage of the Surface Water Improvement and
Management [SWIM] Act in 1987?









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M: Well, it has been a disappointment. It was very important at the time for Lake
Okeechobee because it defined a process which I thought was a real good
process, a process that required a lot of public involvement and also a lot of
documentation. The SWIM program was statewide and had a different impact in
the other districts, [but] I can only speak in terms of the South Florida obviously,
[and] in South Florida, it had a big impact on the way we did business because
the lake was a huge issue then. SWIM was the vehicle we used to define our
participation in the lake restoration process. Very public, it is driven by producing
planning documents that are backed up by technical documents. It became a
framework for the state to do stuff totally on its own. There was no concept that
this [SWIM] was going to be a federal project. This was a state project. The state
invented a process that was, we hoped, a lot more streamlined than the (Corps')
public works process but kept the best parts of it such as the public access, the
public participation and the science in planning documentation. Also, because in
the state process, the legal entry points, I guess, what lawyers like to call them,
were there, [and] it gave people more comfort in that if [SWIM] really went nuts
they could go in with lawyers and have their day in court. That is a great incentive
for agencies to get it right the first time because litigating is so painful. I think it
worked reasonably well. The first one out of the box was one of the hardest,
which was Lake Okeechobee. But the legislature never followed up with
consistent funding to, more or less, obtain the promise that the SWIM Act held
out there. There was a whole lot of process in terms of identifying SWIM priority
water bodies and doing other SWIM plans, and they were never funded. The
thing just kind of withered away after the lake plan really got approved and in
gear. So, at the time, it was important; looking back, it was real important for
Lake Okeechobee from about 1987 to 1991, and since then, it has been a
frustrating probably failure, I guess you would say, to South Florida.

G: Why did the [Water Management] District make the decision to do an Everglades
SWIM, even though they were not required to do so?

M: The Everglades lawsuit was filed the year after the SWIM Act was passed. We
had the framework in place to do SWIM plans for Lake Okeechobee. It was a
process we understood and could control. You have to have a process. For
agencies to do anything big, they have got to have some kind of a process or
blueprint to follow. We knew we had to do something for the Everglades. I mean,
the lawsuit was not totally frivolous, obviously, so we got into that. The District
was full of people who worked there because they wanted a chance to be a part
of restoration. It was not a place full of engineers who wanted to do flood control
and water supply those people were there in the 1960s, [they] were not there in
the 1980s. In the 1980s, you had a lot of people who had gone to college in the
1960s and 1970s and wanted to be part of restoration. I grew up in South Florida









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and saw it develop. Many childhood recreational memories are [from the]
Everglades or Biscayne Bay or some kind of outside experience. So, you had
people like that who were committed to it, and they wanted to work on the
Everglades. The District had the most thorough pool of Everglades technical
expertise on staff. We also thought we could put something together like the
Lake [Okeechobee] plan, only more ambitious, but that also had enough broad
support that it would be implemented. That is always the objective, to get
something out there you can actually do, as opposed to something that all you do
is litigate or put on the shelf. SWIM, at the time, was the planning vehicle to
accomplish that. In the litigation context, federal courts are probably the worst
place in the world to try technical cases. They just do not have the framework to
deal with the huge factual base of data. The Florida administrative process was
viewed as a little better at that and the SWIM plan, by requiring the technical
documentation and a planning document, and then the Florida administrative
process for dealing with disputes over the basis of the plan. It just became a
framework that was better than federal court. But it gave people their day in
court, so that is why I think we stuck with SWIM.

G: Why was the development of the Everglades SWIM so contentious?

M: Because of the litigation.

G: The federal litigation?

M: Federal litigation, and because the sugar industry is big and it is easy to put a
black hat on the sugar industry, and a lot of people do that because it is so easy.
You need a big issue to get the kind of attention that is going to allow you to get
the resources you need to solve a problem. But with the Everglades lawsuit, you
had the mix of politics and media and science, and science was usually the junior
partner in that trio. It became contentious more because of the politics and the
litigation than the science.

G: What were the major issues of contention?

M: The basis for the lawsuit was that Florida had not exercised its regulatory
responsibility to control the quality of the water flowing into the Everglades. That
was kind of the basis of filing the suit. One issue was, from the farmer's
perspective, they were farming on land that the state and federal government
had decreed should be farmland. They had designed their farms to match the
design of the federal water control project. There were all kinds of references in
the early design documents. That is why the project up there was built they
knew the water would go to the Everglades, they knew the water would have
nutrients in it. All of these things were known when the project was built, but the









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context in which they were designed and approved was a context where the
Everglades was burning up every year and they needed the water and were
willing to accept the impacts of the water quality. Of course, they had not seen
the impacts, so it made it easier for them to accept. By the late 1980s, we had all
seen the impacts and did not like what we saw, so the [Water Management]
District got into the SWIM planning mode, the Justice Department got into the
litigation mode.

G: What was your reaction to the filing of the federal lawsuit by Dexter Lehtinen?

M: I am not sure I remember my initial reaction. We had already started the SWIM
plan, and I was in Tallahassee trying to get Cabinet approval to give us a 4,000-
acre farm in the [Everglades] Ag[ricultural] Area. We were going to build an
experimental marsh treatment area on the farm. It was 4,000 acres the state
owned, but it had been leased to the Sam Knight family to convert it to
agriculture. What struck me as most ironic is the original lease had a penalty in it:
if he did not eliminate the sawgrass and convert it to crops, he was penalized and
he would forfeit the lease. He had a twenty-year lease with the understanding
that he would convert the land at productive use in those terms. By the time the
lease expired, we were in front of the Cabinet asking them not to lease it again,
to give it to the District to convert it back to a wetland. Just one twenty-year
lease, the Everglades had gone from something you had to get rid of to
something you had to restore. I remember being in Tallahassee and talking to the
Cabinet aides about the District obtaining the lease when the lawsuit had just
been filed, and no one really knew what to make of it. Most people at the District,
I think, were offended because we were working very hard to produce an
Everglades SWIM plan. We were getting a lot of resistance from the family that
farmed the land on the idea of the District taking over this 4,000-acre farm and
turning it into a marsh. We felt like we were out in front of an issue and were not
quite sure what to make with the lawsuit. It was filed a month before a federal
election, and there was a lot of posturing going on, and we could not tell. Dexter
[Lehtinen] was a politician, not a scientist, so when it was first filed, we did not
know what to make of it.

G: Do you think the lawsuit was politically motivated?

M: No, not totally. I mean, you cannot ever separate that [politics] from
[environmental policy]. There was a very aggressive superintendent of
Everglades National Park who was frustrated with [the] Water Management
[District] on another issue, a south Dade farming issue related to the place called
the Frog Pond. The District had a number of people very legitimately concerned
about water quality in the Everglades. That is why we were doing the SWIM plan.
That is why we were in Tallahassee taking over the lease. There were a lot of









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legitimate issues. I was always with the school [of thought that] you can get a lot
farther, sooner, without litigation, but that was just my feeling at the time. It turns
out we got pretty darn far. It took us five ugly years, but we got pretty far with the
Everglades Forever Act as a result of the litigation.

G: Do you think the Water Management District was unfairly singled out in the
lawsuit as being responsible for pollution problems in the Everglades?

M: Yes, I would say they were. I cannot help but say it was a little bit unfair. But
unfair may not be the right word. When you work for an agency that is out in front
of an issue like that, and it is an agency with a big budget and a lot of financial
authority, you are going to be a target for that sort of thing. It sort of goes with the
territory. I felt it was a little unfair at the time, but only because we had been
working so hard to try and get some things done in the Everglades.

G: Could you describe your role in representing the District during this [Dexter
Lehtinen] lawsuit?

M: The lawsuit had two phases, really. The first phase was when the federal
government was suing the state and there was active prosecution of the case
between those two. The [Water Management] District hired a national law firm. I
was the senior technical person. I was brought to the executive office specifically
to deal with the Everglades in 1989. I was theoretically in charge of the technical
issues. I oversaw the SWIM plan, and then I was also overseeing the litigation
technical side. The SWIM planning and the technical support fell under me. The
legal stuff was under Steve Walker, who was [the Water Management] District
counsel. That was sort of our team. I went to the negotiations with the federal
scientists. Richard Harvey, who worked at DER [Department of Environmental
Regulation] at the time, was sort of my peer on the DEP [Florida Department of
Environmental Protection] side. Carol Browner [head of the Environmental
Protection Agency under President Clinton] represented the Agency. Richard
Harvey was the senior technical person. He and I were in charge of negotiating a
technical solution for the lawsuit between the federal government and the state.

G: Could you characterize the working relationship between the governor's office,
the Water Management District and the Department of Environmental
Regulation, as you tried to respond to the lawsuit?

M: The governor's office pretty much depended on Carol [Browner], from our
perspective anyway. You know, I was never involved in any discussions up there.
We met with the governor probably two or three times, and my impression was
he depended almost exclusively on Carol for guidance in the Everglades
litigation. From the governor's office, that is about the extent of it. Carol was new









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to Florida. I mean, she was born here, but her career had been in Washington.
She had never been so immersed in an on-the-ground issue in Florida the way
she got immersed in that one. We had a very good relationship on the working
level that I dealt with. The director of the District at the time, John Wodraska,
hired one of our former board members, Timer Powers, who was a genius for
getting people to work together, and he established a strong relationship with
Carol, and he became kind of a senior, I do not know if mentor is the right word
but something close to that, for a number of people in the case me, for sure, -
and there was a very senior person in the Justice Department who played a
similar role for the feds. But Carol controlled the state team. Her lawyer, Dan
Thompson, and our lawyer, Steve Walker, worked well together. Both understood
the law and tried to do the best they could on the legal side. Richard Harvey and
I concentrated on trying to come up with a technical solution. But on the policy
level, it was pretty much Carol. Once [Lawton] Chiles [Governor of Florida, 1991-
1999] came in and Carol was appointed, she took charge. I think we functioned
as a good team. We had a lot of common interests.

G: To what extent did the lawsuit affect the working relationship between the [Water
Management] District and the Corps [of Engineers] on other issues, like the
Kissimmee River restoration?

M: I do not think it affected anything appreciably on the Kissimmee because it is in a
different watershed. The District had pretty much wrapped up what it needed to
do by 1990. The fact that it was authorized in 1992 is more a scheduling issue
with how Corps projects got authorized. I do not remember any conflict there. It
seriously complicated the relationship on other projects, especially the
Everglades Park Expansion project. It became another big problem for Modified
Water Deliveries. Not so much that they acknowledged water quality was a big
issue at that stage, but it became very hard to work collaboratively with the Park
Service because the superintendent of the Park was one of the champions and
most aggressive sponsors of the litigation, and that relationship went pretty sour.
Because most of our Corps projects were really three-way projects Corps,
District and Interior the projects kind of floundered a little, I guess.

G: How important was the decision by Governor [Lawton] Chiles to "surrender"
before Federal Judge William Hoeveler in May of 1991?

M: It completely changed everything. I do not know how you define important, but it
was an event that completely changed the process. My recollection is that that is
not why [Governor Chiles] went there that day. The state team went there, and
we had progressed way down the road on our Everglades SWIM plan. We had a
plan that Carol [Browner] seemed comfortable with and we thought was
responsive to the issue of water quality. It was not as big as the Everglades









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Forever Act, but this was 1991. If we could have started the SWIM Plan then, it
would have made a huge impact on the Everglades. We were in Court asking for
a one-year stay to get our SWIM plan through the process and begin
constructing stormwater treatment areas. We had the money, we had the
backing of the state. [The] agriculture [industry] would probably not have litigated
it. But once the court hearing started there, there was just a lot of theatrics, and
the governor [Chiles] decided on his own to say that. [It caused] complete
bedlam in the courtroom. Depending on which side of the aisle you were on,
there were groans or sighs. I do not know how to describe it, but there was
definitely some audible reaction. The judge [Hoover] immediately declared a
recess because he knew it changed the whole context of everything. He declared
a recess, [and] everybody in the courtroom jumped up. All the government
people went over to their corner, and Carol and the state team got around
Lawton trying out to figure out what to do. The feds were ecstatic. They had just
won the case. It had just ended right there. We reconvened, and [Judge]
Hoeveler said, I sense that we need to continue this for awhile and let you all
talk. We did. We started very serious settlement negotiations with the federal
team. That resulted in the consent decree that was accepted by the Water
Management board in August of 1991, I believe.

G: You did not know Governor Chiles was going to do that on that day?

M: No. We had a plan, and the plan asked for a one-year stay so we could pass our
SWIM plan. I think all the attorneys on the state side were on board with that, but
Lawton changed the plan on the fly.

G: Why do you think he did that?

M: He was an expert at reading what would work or not work politically. He knew the
state being on the wrong side of the Everglades issue would never work
politically. He saw some theater transpiring. Dexter [Lehtinen] was very theatrical
in his approach to the judge. Lawton saw the theater, knew that Florida could not
win if the feds stayed with that kind of conflict. If we had gotten a stay, it was
clear we did not have the relationship with the feds that they were ever going to
accept anything we proposed. Even if we could get it through the state process
and maybe convince a state judge, we would have an ugly relationship with the
federal government. Lawton kind of just processed all that, I assume. Obviously I
did not talk to him about it, but I am assuming he processed that and went for it.
No one had any clue what the settlement would look like. But the process was
not working, and he knew he had to change it, I guess.

G: Why was the sugar industry so strongly opposed to the initial federal-state
settlement?









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M: I am sure you will get some comments from them on that. At the time, I was on
the state side. There were so many flaws with the state-federal settlement. It was
not a settlement to end the case. It was a settlement to put the state and the
federal attorneys on the same side of the courtroom against sugar. There was no
prospect at all that the 1991 settlement between the state and the federal
government would end the litigation. It was designed to put the litigation in a
posture where the government could win it, not to end it, because it did not deal
with any of the sugar issues, it did not deal with any of the very legitimate
scientific debate that was still raging over every single aspect of it, and, most
importantly, it did not deal with financing. [The litigation] proposed doing things
that no one [had] identified where the money would come from. It was not a
complete plan. It certainly was not a complete package because the science was
not done. The legal authorities, in terms of [whether] the [Water Management]
District [could] even do this this [action] being [to] condemn farmland [and] build
30,000 or 35,000 acres of treatment areas. The District did not have the legal
authority at the time to do it, there was no funding mechanism available to do it,
and I think the sugar industry had been offended by this process all along
because it was played out in the politics and media with them as the bad guy.

G: Could you describe the next phase of negotiations that led to the Statement of
Principles Agreement announced by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in July,
1993?

M: Yes. After the August 1991 settlement, we went through a year I do not know
exactly how long it was of really hard-core litigation. The sugar industry and the
Justice Department were throwing huge dollars at this case, and the state and
the District were trying to keep up in terms of throwing staff at it. After about a
year of that, it became clear it would not work. There were marathon depositions
of scientists and huge boxes and boxes of data and statements and transcripts. I
was deposed for fifteen days by a bank of lawyers, that, in my opinion, never
covered one bit of useful ground. It [came] almost [to the point where] the
process itself was the end. It was going to torture everybody until they were
desperate enough to do something different, and finally we got to that point.
Actually, it came after a governing-board meeting. We had the preliminary design
document of the 1991 settlement. The preliminary design document had the
levees and the pumps and showed where they would be, and we presented that
to the board in a way that the Justice Department did not like. They were not
happy. We met with Suzanne Ponzoli, and I was not alone Tony Federico, the
top District scientist was with me, [and] we brought other scientists in. We went
down to Miami to their war room they had an Everglades [war] room and
suggested, why don't we bring in a mediator and involve all the parties. [Suzanne
Ponzoli] said, well, I guess so; this is not working. We came back and called









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around [to] people to find out some names of potential mediators. We located a
couple, brought them in, had everyone meet with them privately. They met with
the sugar industry and the U. S. Attorney and Justice Department privately. They
met with the Water District and the state. We picked a mediator, Jerry Cormick
from Seattle, and then we began mediating. The first stage of the mediation was
[to] let us revisit the technical plan that was the basis of the 1991 consent decree,
and everyone could participate. The sugar industry had scientists there, the
District, the Interior Department, the Corps, Indian tribes, environmental groups,
everybody. Under the leadership of the mediator, everyone redesigned the plan
to deal with the Everglades. One of the things they decided early was [that]
phosphorus is not the only problem; that let us design a plan that deals with more
than phosphorus. Let us try and fix some of the other problems. They mediated
the technical issues for half of 1993, I guess, and came up with what was called
a technical mediated plan, which they had pretty much in place by May or June
of 1993. What it did was it made the STAs [stormwater treatment areas] bigger,
brought in more watersheds so you could put more water in the Everglades [and]
tried to address all the water flowing in the Everglades. The 1991 settlement was
an anti-sugar thing; it was only going to deal with the water coming from the
sugar farms we are not going to deal with all the water that is coming into the
Everglades from other places because our fight was only with the sugar industry.
So, the mediated plan was bigger in scope, did a lot more for the Everglades,
cost more money, but brought more people into it. Then where do you go when
[you have] the mediated plan? Once you have that, you have to have a plan for
what comes next. We all worked on a Statement of Principles, which would
define how we would try and bring it to closure, because you still have to finish.
Plans, you know, there are a million plans that are on shelves, but you [have] got
to build it, especially in litigation. The Statement of Principles came out of the fact
that we were optimistic because the scientists had developed a mediated plan
that there was broad consensus for. It was not one that was crammed down
people's throats, sort of the way the 1991 settlement was. This one was
developed in the open with all the interest-groups, and people liked it and wanted
to build it. The Statement of Principles sort of defines the playing field to bring it
to closure [and] the key things that had to be part of it money from the industry,
a regulatory program on the industry, the roles of the Corps and the [Water
Management] District and the Interior Department and all that.

G: Who are the key individuals who were involved in these negotiations?

M: On the technical side, the technical mediation, by this time, [Steve] Walker and
[John] Wodraska had left the District and I was in the executive office, not as the
technical guy so much as the last man standing, maybe, or the policy guy, so I
did not do any of the technical mediation then. You had a couple of key players
on the technical mediation. Two federal consultants turned out to be extremely









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key Bill Walker, a statistician from Boston, or Cambridge, and Bob Kadlec, a
civil engineering professor from the University of Michigan, who specialized in
wetland-treatment systems. They became Bob the design guru [and] Bill the
statistician and standard-setting guru. On the state side, it was really Tony
Federico for the Water Management District who led the District team of
scientists; Richard Harvey from DEP, but he leaned more and more on Frank
Nearhoof, who was on his staff at DEP. On the federal side, you had Mark Mafae
from the Loxahatchee Refuge, Bob Johnson from Everglades National Park. But
the federal team leaned more on their two consultants, Bill Walker and Bob
Kadlec that is my recollection. The environmental groups had Paul Parks and
there were numerous other people. On the policy side, the legal side, the
District's team was: I kind of represented the District on the policy side along with
Valerie Boyd, who was the chairman of the board of the Water Management
District. Irene Quincy was deputy District counsel [and] really understood the law
and was great at drafting complicated legal documents. The DEP team, Dan
Thompson was their key lawyer. Lieutenant Governor MacKay was involved on
an almost daily basis by then. Jerry Cormick, the mediator, I think, in the final
analysis, did a great job. There are so many opportunities for a process like that
to just implode, and people get angry and insult each other and walk away and
never come back and all of that. But he did a real good job on the technical
mediation. When we got to Washington, you had the Clinton team in Washington
who wanted to be in charge, and they sort of put [Jerry Cormick] in the
background. You had two Assistant Secretaries of Interior who played the key
role on the federal side, George Frampton and Bonnie Cohen. They spent a ton
of time on this. After the Statement of Principles, the whole entourage went to
Washington [D.C.] for six months. We lived in a hotel in Crystal City [area in
Arlington, Virginia] and met virtually every day. It was amazing how much time
people like George Frampton and Bonnie Cohen and the Justice Department
lawyers [put in]. Keith Saxe was their main lawyer, and Suzanne Ponzoli of the
U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami was totally involved. We just worked and worked
and worked. After six months, we were real close to everyone, all the big players,
agreeing. But one thing we all had agreed on was [that] we would never get a
settlement that everyone would sign. There were farmers and environmentalists
and others who would never agree, just on principle, and they were not going to
sign an agreement. If you have a settlement agreement that not all the parties
sign, it is not a settlement agreement, so everyone agreed you had to pass a law.
Right before Christmas, 1993, the mediation ended in Washington. It was
portrayed [that] talks broke down and all that, but, really, it was just an
acknowledgment that it had to be finished with a new law, not a court settlement
agreement.

G: How important was Secretary [of the Interior, Bruce] Babbitt's involvement?









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M: From my perspective, Secretary Babbitt was kind of like Governor Chiles. I
mean, he was involved occasionally. We met with him a couple of times as part
of a large group just to more or less keep him informed. I think he was important
in talking to the very highest levels of people in either the sugar companies or
Congress or the administration or the governor's office. He had a good
relationship with Lawton. But he had a real solid team negotiating it day-to-day,
and he had senior political appointees, Bonnie [Cohen] and George [Frampton],
who he trusted with everything. [Babbitt] was not a figurehead but he only got in
at the highest levels. We did not see him at the working level very much. The
federal staff probably saw him a lot more than I am aware of.

G: Why did the Statement of Principles Agreement break down in December?

M: Because we could not figure out how to finish it and keep everybody there. Once
the plan was in place, it became an argument over money who paid how much
and why and how and legal authorities in terms of the regulatory program and
taxes. There were some people who felt they never had their day in court on the
science [issues], and so they were not going to be part of any settlement that
involved millions of dollars when they had not even had a hearing on the science.
The science was packaged through these mediated sessions and a consensus
plan developed. Well, unless you accept the consensus plan, it is not a
consensus. We always had a few parties who did not trust the science we used.
There were environmentalists who were just horrified with the idea that Babbitt
would ever sign an agreement with the sugar companies, regardless of how good
it was for the government. We heard a lot of that. Some environmental groups
did not favor any agreement. Not all of them, certainly; some of them wanted to
solve this. We had some real productive environmental groups on the mediating
team, but there was a large, very vocal group that would never accept any
settlement.

G: Which group, in particular, are you referring to?

M: The Everglades Coalition, I believe, which is a large collection of groups, did not
support it. I would have to go back and really look to come up with other
individual groups.

G: The sugar industry also backed out of the agreement for a time. Is that correct?

M: My recollection is [that] when it was clear it [the settlement] would not come to
closure, U. S. Sugar went home first, but I cannot remember all the details
around that. In the end, none of the companies backed out.


G: How were these issues finally resolved?









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M: They were resolved in Tallahassee in the negotiations over the Everglades
Forever Act. The Everglades Forever Act started with the mediated technical
plan. It did not try to undo the plan; it only tried to finish what the settlement
negotiations had almost finished, which is provide a legal framework to build the
plan and to fund the plan and to regulate agriculture, and then do some of the
research and stuff. But the things you really had to do, you had to have the legal
authority to build the plan, you had to approve the plan itself, you had to provide
the money to build the plan, and then you had to regulate agriculture so that they
improved their own water quality as much as they could. Those were the three
things that you had to have to make the settlement work. You could not get that
in a courtroom. Breaking up the negotiations was really an admission that you
could not get there in court; let us go to Tallahassee and do it. There were not
any major attempts to undo any of the big features in Tallahassee. The broad
team had negotiated it, negotiated the actual EFA, Everglades Forever Act,
language, and it held together remarkably. Not that everyone was happy, and
there were critics in the sugar industry and in the environmental groups and
probably in government, but it all got done.

G: How would you compare and contrast the provisions of the Everglades Forever
Act to the SWIM plans that had been advanced earlier by the Water
Management District?

M: The SWIM plans did not have as big a hammer, so you were much more this is
my impression dependent on consensus to develop a SWIM plan that would
actually become approved and final. The other big thing is money. The SWIM
program died for lack of funding. The Everglades program knew that it could not
die, so it was not going to be a plan until it had the funding as part of it.

G: Could you discuss the controversy over the Frog Pond area that nearly
prevented the passage of the Everglades Forever Act?


M: The Frog Pond was a tomato farm outside Everglades National Park. It was
basically across on the private side of the levee and canal that formed the
boundary of Everglades National Park. Many of the farmers in the Frog Pond
used to farm inside the Park in a place called The Hole in the Donut. They were
moved out of the Park in the 70s, and they ended up in the Frog Pond [which]
supposedly [served as] their place to farm without bothering the Park. It is a real
complicated history of why it became controversial. There was a project called
the South Dade Conveyance System. The idea of the South Dade Conveyance
System was [to provide a way for] the south end of the Park [to] get water from
Lake Okeechobee in a drought. In order to make that possible, you had to greatly









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enlarge the canals between Lake Okeechobee and Florida City, and that was
done in the late 1970s. When that was done, what used to be relatively small
ditches in western Dade County became great big deep canals, and when they
made them bigger and deeper, it turned out they intercepted such a huge amount
of groundwater flow that the canal system did not know what to do with it [the
water]. All the groundwater flow collected in the canal had to be sent to south
Dade to get out of the system. The only way out of the system was through the
C-111 Canal into Florida Bay or Barnes Sound or through L-31W into the Park.
The last piece of the South Dade Conveyance System was Pump Station S-331
that became operational in February of 1983. That is the year of the big El Nino.
The Park was flooded, the south Dade tomato farmers were flooded, and we
began the experimental program. The experimental program brought even more
water into south Dade. The way the tomato farmers in the Frog Pond used to
operate, whether it was [in] The Hole in the Donut or in the Frog Pond, they
would wait until the winter dry season, and then as the water table receded, they
would go in and plant. Once the canals were over-excavated and the S-331
pump was put in, there was so much water coming from the north that you never
had a [water table] recession in the canal system and the Frog Pond. There was
a gate there, and all the water coming from the north, if the gate was not opened,
the water levels in the Frog Pond never went down, so they could not get in and
plant. If they got in and planted and then there was rain without the gates being
open, they would flood, even with a little bit of rain, in the dry season. It was the
Frog Pond tomato farmers who filed suit against the experimental program, and
the condition of the suit was [that] the District could send a lot more water to
south Dade but we had to open the gate and let it out the bottom, so it did not
just pool up under the farms. We did that from 1983 until 1989. [There was] a big
seagrass die-off in Florida Bay in the late-1980s. People were not sure what
caused it, but there was a need to find a cause, so they focused on the
experimental program, the outcome being a very politically active, vocal group in
the Keys wanting to eliminate farming in the Frog Pond. They did not know what
to do about Florida Bay; they thought that would help, and they thought that was
at least one thing you could do. The District and the Corps were in a bind
because the Frog Pond was surrounded by federal canals that were supposed to
provide flood protection. With the experimental program, they were operating the
conveyance system in a way that [it] was never expected to be operated in the
design documents. Everyone was [working] outside the range of the original
design and kind of operating the best they could to help the park without killing
the farmers. Mike Finley, the superintendent of the Park, was totally opposed to
the compromise that the previous superintendent had worked out on the
experimental program, which was, if you are going to send all that water to south
Dade, you can let it pass through rather than backing it up; he wanted to back it
up, he wanted to keep the water table high to help Taylor Slough. He was
adamant that you had to do that. If you did that, you could not farm. The farmers









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wanted to farm. His solution was, let us take their land. So, several Florida Bay
activists latched on to the Everglades Forever Act and tried to fix part of the
Florida Bay problem in that act by dealing with the Frog Pond. As I remember, it
was a section that allowed the District to condemn the western half of the Frog
Pond. [It] required an interim plan to put more water in Florida Bay. Florida Bay
was actually getting more water than it ever had, but in the wrong location. It was
just [that] people did not know what to do, [and] it was easy to blame the canal
system for the problems in Florida Bay. But anyway, the end result, I think, was
[the incorporation of] language that allowed the board to condemn the western
half of the Frog Pond, which is where most of the tomatoes were growing; it was
where the best soil was. [It was] very controversial. The Frog Pond people were
always active in court to protect themselves and active in Tallahassee, so it was
not an easy thing to get through.

G: And that was actually done? The land was condemned by the District?

M: Yes, in 1995, I think, and by then, I was no longer at the District.

G: Marjory Stoneman Douglas refused to have her name placed on the Everglades
Forever Act. Why were so many of the environmental groups critical of this
agreement?

M: They were opposed philosophically with any agreement between the government
and the sugar companies. It is not fair for me to trivialize their position on that,
but that was the perception. We had one national environmental group who came
into Florida at the time of all this controversy with water quality as the issue. They
went door-to-door collecting money from people using water quality as the issue,
which is kind of an easy issue to get people's attention on. They collected, I do
not know how many millions of dollars, and then left. They did not stay and were
not active in the process after that. I do not know how any and all of that works,
but there were a lot of just strong, basic philosophical beliefs that farming did not
belong in the Everglades, [that] government should never agree with the sugar
industry, and [that] you will never fix the system until the farmers are gone. There
are some strongly-held beliefs among a lot of individuals, and they just never got
beyond that.

G: What are the most important obstacles that will need to be overcome in order to
meet the new phosphorus water-quality standards, perhaps as low as ten parts
per billion by 2006?

M: One obstacle is the public perception that there is something you can do that
makes sense to create ten parts [of phosphorus] per billion [parts of] water and
that that is something you have to do. In other words, there is no doubt the









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technology is available to produce water at ten parts per billion. It is a matter of
money, and maybe if we have enough time to do the science right, it may not
even be a whole lot more money. Maybe we can do it with fine-tuning the
stormwater treatment areas. But you got to remember, the Everglades is a big
system; phosphorus is one issue. You are going to have to spend a lot of money
to fix all the issues. If the STAs are producing water at twenty-five parts
[phosphorus] per billion [water] and you are going to have to spend another
$500,000,000 to get it to ten [parts per billion], and possibly create other water
quality problems in the process, would it make more sense [instead] to spend
that money fixing some of the other Everglades issues? I think the biggest thing
about the ten, it is a lightning rod, it is easy to trivialize the effort it would take to
get it, and it is easy to exaggerate the problems associated with not achieving it.
It may be very important, but a sort of blind adherence to a ten parts per billion
standard could easily force government to do things that are not in the best
interests of the Everglades, such as build big chemical-treatment plants north of
the Everglades. The obstacle is that [the number] ten has become symbolic, and
there are a lot of camps that are entrenched on one side or the other at ten. That
is a setup for gridlock and lack of progress and maybe even some going
backwards.

G: How would you characterize the relationship between the Water Management
District governing board and staff during your time there?

M: It was very collegial. When I first came to the District, there were several very
experienced board members. The core of the board was there for a long time.
The chairman when I got there was Bobby Clark. He had been chairman for
twelve years. The vice chairman was Bob Padrick, who had been on the board
for something like seventeen years. There was a good close working relationship
with the key board members and staff. In Bob Graham's second term, he pretty
much not cleaned house but made a large block of appointments that gave an
immediate new majority to the board. And anytime the board changes, there is a
lot of anxiety, because people who have never been on the board, or who have
never really worked with water management, do not know what to expect when
they get on the board; they bring their background to the board, and it takes them
a while to fit [into] it. My recollection is [that] every time there was a major change
in the board majority, when you get five new members at once which happened
with Bob Graham, Bob Martinez, [and] Lawton Chiles there is a certain period
where there is a lot of anxiety and feeling each other out and getting board
members oriented. Generally, what happened as long as I was there, was no
matter what board members thought they were going to be when they were
appointed, whether they came in with an agenda to lower taxes or make it easier
to get permits or to restore the Everglades, they very quickly became impressed
with how complex the issues were and how capable the staff was and how









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exciting it could be to be part of something where you were really changing
Florida. Usually within a year, they developed a strong relationship, a team-like
relationship with staff, and it was very collegial, supportive. I think that really was
responsible for one of the most positive periods of water management, which
was the 1980s and early 1990s, when we were able to attract a lot of really
bright people and energize a lot of smart, dedicated board members who
believed in public service. That carried through Martinez and through Chiles.
Although when Martinez and then Chiles came in, it began to get a lot more
political.

G: Was that because of the lawsuit, again?

M: Not just the lawsuit, the Kissimmee Restoration and the Okeechobee SWIM
process also attracted a lot of attention. The lawsuit led Carol Browner and later,
Buddy McKay, to take a much more active role, and so the District sort of had to
share the state playing field with other big players, especially on that issue. As
you get into real complicated or controversial issues, if you are going to take
people's land or you are going to regulate an industry and make them spend
$12,000,000 to $15,000,000 a year that they had not spent before, those are
huge issues, and there is always controversy, and politics is always drawn into
settling those big issues. The higher the sights were set for the District, you
know, if you are going to condemn the Frog Pond or condemn 40,000 acres of
sugar farms and spend $700,000,000 on an issue like phosphorus or backfilling
C-38 (the Kissimmee River Channel), those are major public-policy and social
movements, and you are always going to have a lot of politicians involved in that
and it is critical that you do. I guess it was a natural progression, but it has clearly
progressed that way in the last decade.

G: How much of a role did the board have directing the agency's position during the
negotiations over the lawsuit?

M: They had quite a bit. We had a real strong chairman during the first settlement,
the 1991 [settlement], Jim Garner, and we had a majority appointed by Martinez.
Chairmen are always very involved in the big issues. It is harder for the other
members to get as involved. Jim Garner was very involved. He was followed by
Valerie Boyd, who was also very involved. But these people have not done water
management their whole career or water law their whole career, so their role is
different. Their role as leader is more of a policy leader and outreach to the big
players. The board chairman, no matter who it is, has to be on good working-
relationship terms with the administration in Tallahassee. Jim Garner certainly
had that with Bob Martinez. Valerie Boyd had that with Lawton Chiles and Buddy
MacKay [Florida Lieutenant Governor, 1992-1998]. But in terms of content, it did
not matter who the chairman of the board was. The content was generally









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worked as an issue among staff and presented to the board, usually by the
District counsel. Certainly in the first settlement, Steve Walker was key. The
chairmen are not equipped to step in and say, okay, we are going to do X in this
clause because I know a lot about the law and we are going to do that; that is not
their role. But the chairmen are always very active in any of the big issues.

G: In 1994, Sam Poole [Executive Director, South Florida Water Management
District] was selected over you for the position of executive director by the Water
Management District board in a close and controversial five-to-four vote. Why do
you think the governing board made the decision to go with Mr. Poole?

M: Well, we had just had a very tough five years on the Everglades litigation. We
had some new board members on the board who were brought in with the idea
that things had to change. The Everglades Forever Act was very controversial. A
number of high-profile environmental groups were opposed to it. I was the
symbol of the Everglades Forever Act on the staff at the District. The Florida Bay
issue had been very hot, and, still, people were not sure what caused the
seagrass die-off. They thought it was lack of fresh water, and I was perceived as
the guy who would not automatically buy in to things like condemning the Frog
Pond or whatever they felt was necessary down there. Anytime you finish a very
big and controversial project like the Everglades Forever Act, when it is over, you
hear from the people who are unhappy, and the governor had heard from a lot of
the unhappy people, and Buddy MacKay had heard from a lot of the unhappy
people. It is a lot easier just to make a change in leadership in response to that. I
have never really tried to overanalyze it. I did not look back once it was done and
am very satisfied with how things turned out.

G: How important was the creation of the Governor's Commission for Sustainable
South Florida by Lawton Chiles in 1994?

M: It turned out to be pretty important. It was created by Chiles, but I think it was the
brainstorm of Buddy MacKay. We had conversations about the Governor's
Commission at the end of the Everglades Forever Act process. Because the
Everglades Forever Act was really the result of settling litigation and a lot of
negotiations in Washington, there were a whole lot of people in Florida who cared
a lot about water and a lot about the Everglades who were not in the room when
all that was done, and they felt like they wanted to be a part of any process that
was that important for what happened in South Florida. But there was no way for
them to get involved. You could not have redone the Everglades Forever Act with
a much bigger group. So, Buddy and I am not sure who all his key advisors
were up there came up with the idea of the Governor's Commission as a forum
to let everyone who had an interest in the Everglades issues and South Florida
environmental and water issues be part of a process where they could be heard









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and feel like they had some input that mattered. It probably was a very important
thing to do, not so much for the Everglades Forever Act but for the Restudy that
was happening about the same time.

G: How would you compare the Chiles Commission with Jeb Bush's Governor's
Commission for the Everglades?

M: The Chiles Commission had a mission. They had a goal to achieve, which was
[to] represent the local interests in the development of the Restudy plan. They
went on a few side-issues early on, maybe not side-issues, but I always
considered them sort of filler-issues. They were waiting for the Restudy to get far
enough along to where some work product and big issues could be brought
before the Governor's Commission. But really, they were set up to make the
Restudy plan work and to give it the broad public exposure, from a concentrated
group of people who would pay attention to it, over a series of years rather than
just go to a couple Corps public hearings. So, they had a goal, they had a
mission, a time-frame, an end-product, and they got it, and they did it, and it
matched the timetable of the Restudy. The Jeb Bush Commission really does
not, did not, have that kind of mission. There is no pressing work-product that
they have got to review or participate in, so they really just do not have an issue
that can bring them together. When you look at the Governor's Commission, you
have to look at Dick Pettigrew. He is a brilliant leader in terms of public policy,
and a lot of the success they had was the strength of his personality and just how
much he knew about what he wanted to do and what it took to get a big group
there. He gets a lot of credit for that. When he left, there was a natural, sort of, air
going out of the balloon on the Governor's Commission. But their job was
finished, really.

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

M: I have seen limited value in it, from the outside. The idea was good. We were
constantly running into projects that one federal agency wanted and another
federal agency did not, and we would get stuck in [the] process over endangered
species or environmental policy act reviews. The concept of a group of primarily
federal agencies in Florida [that met] to iron out the differences and come out
with one federal position, it made sense philosophically. [It] has not seemed to
work that way. We have more conflict than we have ever had among the federal
agencies. I have a hard time seeing that the Task Force has produced a whole
lot of value in terms of moving big things forward. Rock Salt has produced some
useful work-products that are necessary considering the scale of the effort down
here and he has worked to make the Task Force and Working Group a success.
I think the crosscut budget that they do is a real useful document. The process-









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oriented things [such as] trying to get an Everglades agenda through Congress,
when it involves ten agency budgets, or whatever the number is, I mean, that is a
real valuable thing. That is [the] sort of stuff you do not see that is important that
goes on, but the Task Force itself or the Working Group, as an outsider, I am not
seeing much value added there lately.

G: Why do you think it has been so ineffective?

M: I do not know. It would be hard for me to say. The federal government is
designed to be out of control, I guess I would say. That is a little overstatement.
Designed to be hard to control. You have a lot of conflicting missions with very
strong statutory backup. The Corps [of Engineers] has some real strong statutory
justification for everything they do. The Department of Interior has some real
strong, but different, statutory justification for everything they do. There is no
single accountable person below the White House on those issues, and the
issues we need to resolve are much too local and much too complicated to,
hopefully, ever raise up to that level. As a result, there is no place to take a
decision, and agencies are free to continue their own positions indefinitely.

G: How much of a problem is that going to be as we move forward with the
restoration effort?

M: It is a monumental problem right now. Moving forward with the restoration
includes doing a bunch of projects that should have already been done. The
Modified Water Deliveries Project is the best example. The Corps designed a
plan, everyone approved it at the time, Congress approved it and funded it, but it
is no longer the preferred plan among the federal [agencies], or at least the
Department of Interior. So, it has not gone anywhere, and it has created a whole
lot of different logjams that have been tough to break. Unless something a little
smoother is worked out in terms of how you resolve those [conflicts], then you
cannot be too optimistic about CERP actually building any big things soon.

G: Could you describe your involved with the Corps of Engineers Restudy?

M: I was involved (when I was at the District) in reviewing the language in the 1992
WRDA that authorized it. Jim Webb was an environmental activist and leader, it
was really his brainchild. We discussed his objectives and supported his effort to
get his language in WRDA. My more meaningful involvement came as a private
consultant after I left the District. I worked for a number of private-sector interests
around South Florida, through the Department of Agriculture, through the
Everglades Ag[ricultural] Area Environmental Protection District, through 298
Water Control Districts on the Caloosahatchee River, the city of Homestead and
a bunch of south Dade people. I participated in the process as the plan was









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developed, on a couple of the technical teams that put the plan together,
reviewed the model results, made comments and kept refining the plan. I would
say my involvement was secondary. You really had a strong government team to
put the plan together. I participated as a person who went to the meetings and
the technical team meetings and reviewed the outputs and made comments
where I thought it was useful. I did not have any special role. I was just another
technical staff who was somewhat involved throughout the development of the
plan.

G: Could you describe the decision-making process that led to the development of
the CERP plan?
M: I can describe what it looked like to me. Since I was an outsider, I am not sure
what the real decision making process was. You had a very organized and
effective leader of the planning team, Stu Applebaum, an extremely capable
Corps planner. The idea throughout the plan was never compromise, or at least
do whatever you could to avoid compromising, on your objectives of restoration,
and ignore cost as you go through it. Keep the restoration goals and objectives
as your primary concern. That mind-set made the plan as expensive as it is,
because money was not an issue as the plan was put together. It also led to the
consideration of what would be, I guess, uncertain technologies in terms of what
has been done before. There are a number of uncertain technologies, in the plan
that were key to achieving this objective of no compromise on the environmental
goal and do not worry about the cost. It led the modelers to put large-scale
applications of some uncertain technologies in the plan because they were very
effective, if they worked the way they were assumed, in meeting the objectives.
The decision was [to] always try to get all your environmental objectives [into the
plan]. Now, the approach to that was tempered with the need to meet the water
supply and flood protection needs of the economic side of South Florida. The
conflicts generally came with [resolving] how [to] make those two work. They
could not eliminate cities or agriculture or tear down the water conservation
areas, and so it became a process of adding complicated hardware and fine-
tuning operations, so that you could get the most out of every square mile in the
Everglades, but still provide water and drainage to the people.

G: How responsive did you feel that the people developing the Restudy were to the
interests of your clients?

M: I think they were very responsive. I think they responded to pretty much
everybody they could. Agriculture, for the most part, is not a huge new user of
water in the future. Agriculture is actually decreasing in many areas in the future,
so we did not have to compete for new water as much. There are some areas of
agriculture on the west coast of Florida that are growing or are projected to grow,
but for the most part, agriculture is shrinking, not growing. So, they did not have a









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huge fight over new water, but they had to be guaranteed that their current
allocations would still be there. That did not become a design issue as much as a
policy issue that was reflected in the planning document, but not the planning
hardware. The other big thing is real estate. You [have] got to have land to farm.
[Farmers] do not want all their real estate taken, and they want to make sure that
whatever is built for the Everglades next to their property is compatible with what
they are doing on their property. But those are basically mainline Corps
objectives and requirements in any design process, so they were not hard to get
them to agree to. What was more difficult was making sure [the planners]
understood what [farming interests] were, because the plan-development team
was [an] in-house government team, mostly biologists and wildlife people. Our
role was more just explaining to them what the private-sector needed and where.
It was never really very controversial, I do not think, to have that reflected in a
plan.

G: Why was the chief's report, written by Lieutenant General Joe Ballard, that
accompanied the Comprehensive Plan to Congress so controversial?

M: It appeared to be a rejection of a lot of the consensus-protection language that
was part of the plan. I guess the most controversial part was where he committed
I would have to go back through [because] there were a lot of controversial
parts [but] one of them [was] where he committed to giving the Park an extra
245,000 acre-feet per year, [when] there was no way in the plan to get it there.
You have an $8 billion-dollar plan, and then you have the chief of engineers
committing to something that you cannot do with the $8 billion-dollar plan. You
have to add many more millions on to do it. There were some other things
associated with that. It appeared to abandon flood control as a mission, or as an
essential mission, of this project. I think the most offensive part, though, was the
way it just came out of the blue. The Restudy was a consensus-oriented thing
with Pettigrew's commission on the public-policy side and the design group on
the design side. We all got to a pretty comfortable place at the end of the day,
and then with no warning to have a chief's document come out at the end it just
introduced some huge mistrust in the process.

G: Where did that proposal come from, or where did the chief's report come from?

M: I do not really know. It would be interesting to hear the Corps' take on that. We
never really knew. There were a whole lot of people who disavowed any role in it
when it was over, but someone had to do it, and I do not know who.

G: Some critics have suggested the Comprehensive Plan is overly dependent on
unproved technologies, such as aquifer storage and recovery. How do you
respond?









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M: I don't disagree with that. Part of the problem is the name. When you call it a
comprehensive plan, it is comprehensive in scope, but it is not comprehensive in
design; it is still very conceptual in design. It is really a comprehensive
conceptual plan, and a conceptual plan is not a design until you can do the
design work necessary to prove that it will work. What hurt the Restudy in the
final analysis in 1996 well, in my opinion, it hurt it [is that] the time-frames were
changed, and there became a requirement to submit a feasibility-report to
Congress in 1999. The report that was submitted was not a feasibility-report
under the normal Corps definition of a feasibility-report, so they had to invent
some new names for future reports. But in order to meet a deadline, not being
able to do the engineering, and when your instructions are [to] not back down on
any environmental goals, the only real option left was to put some uncertain
technologies in the plan on a large-scale, even though you knew you had not
proved them and you were not sure the plan would work if they did not prove out.
I do not know if it will end up doing any harm in the long run, but the harm it may
do in the short run is [that] people's expectations are driven by what they see,
and the modeling of the plan with all of the uncertain technologies in there the
planners would not have put those [uncertain technologies] in there if there were
any more obvious technologies that they could have put in to do the same thing.
If the large-scale ASR [Aquifer Storage and Recovery plan] does not work, there
is not another off-the-shelf thing you can do. You probably have to start relaxing
your environmental or water supply goals. The harm that may be done is [in that]
people's expectations are so high, because the computer says the plan can do
all these great things; if the technology that is in the computer model does not
pan out in the real world, then you [have] to back off on meeting your
expectations, and that is always hard.

G: How confident are you in the ability to plan and the process that the plan sets up
for bringing about the restoration goals that it envisions?

M: I'm optimistic that the process is a framework that can work if the people in the
agencies let it work. I would have to admit to some skepticism at this stage,
because we had a consensus on a plan with no uncertain technology for
Modified Water Deliveries that Congress approved thirteen years ago where we
have yet to break ground on the important parts of it. The relationships among
the agencies that have to work together to build and operate any of these things
are not as good as they need to be. There have been some issues that have
undermined the ability of people to work together. [The issue of] the Cape Sable
sparrow has been the most obvious example. At this point, you would have to be
pretty skeptical that the agencies could ever work together as hard as they would
have to, to get most of these components ready to build, and then you have got
to confront Congress on the money.









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G: In recent years, the Water Management District has received a lot of criticism for
its handling of flood and drought conditions. Are these criticisms fair?

M: The criticism on [the handling of] flood conditions arises from the reality that flood
protection is not a popular notion. You do not notice shortcomings until you have
a flood. [There have been] two Dade County floods in the last two years. The
areas flooded that everyone knew were flood-prone. It was just a lack of will to
spend the kind of money to upgrade a flood-protection system. Urban flood
protection is mostly just money. It is very expensive. The damage is high-value
damage, and the solutions are certainly expensive and almost always require
environmental compromise. The District would probably merit some criticism for
not keeping flood-protection high enough on the agenda, but I would say that is a
generic social problem. Dade County did not keep it high on the agenda, and
neither did anyone else. Usually, flooding is a local issue that the local interests
have to drive, and in this case, county interests would be driving it to the District,
the District would have to accept it and drive it to the Corps, and there have not
been any drivers on flood-protection. On the water-shortage management, I think
there is room for criticism because of the decision to lower Lake Okeechobee last
spring, 2000. But, given that, they have been very aggressive and successful in
managing the shortage. There is one lake-stage that defines water supply for
South Florida, and that is the level of Lake Okeechobee on June 1. It is the most
sensitive water supply level in the system. South Florida droughts are caused by
low rainfall in the summer. Not low rainfall in the winter low rainfall in the winter
is typical, and the system is designed to where that is fairly routine. Low rainfall in
the summer stresses the entire water supply system. There are two sides to
managing water supply in a deficit situation. One [side] is the water shortage
itself, which is defined by the fact [that] you do not have enough water in storage
to meet your needs, so you are short on water, and [the second side is that] you
have a drought, which is the lack of rainfall. In South Florida, regional water
shortages do not generally happen the same year as the drought. Usually, you
have the drought, and then the year after that, you have the shortage, because
Lake Okeechobee and the conservation area system gives you a one-year carry-
over supply. If you look [at the situation] in the past droughts, usually there is not
even any water shortage declared in the drought year. 1980, which was the dry
year before the 1981 drought, there was no water shortage declared. 1989,
which was the drought year, there was no shortage declared until 1990. The
shortage comes the year after the drought when your supplies in storage are low,
but, usually, the worst of the drought is over, so you get enough rain to where
you can deal with [having] less [water in] storage. By lowering the lake last
spring, the District ended up with the shortage and the drought occurring in the
same year, which this system is not built to deal with. We are in huge stress right
now trying to meet needs in a system that was not designed to operate at these









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levels. This is one the Water Management District took the lead on. They are the
only agency who speaks for regional water supply. They made what they thought
was a good environmental decision a year ago, but it did not turn out that way. In
their defense, they have taken some important actions since that have helped
both the Lake [Okeechobee] ecology and water users.

G: Why do you think they made that decision at that time?

M: It was a conspiracy of Mother Nature. We had just had five years of high lake-
stages. The lake is changing. There had been no progress on improving the
water quality in the lake for those five years. There was high water. Things that
were very unusual in terms of the plant life in the lake were occurring. Even
hydrilla [was] disappearing. In the 1980s, too much hydrilla was the problem.
And a lot of the other wetland plants around the edge of the lake suffered with
high water. You had that backdrop, and the way to fix that was to get the lake
lower to encourage the plants to come back. You also had this, I think,
inappropriate reliance on long-term weather forecasting. The District just
changed the Lake Okeechobee regulation-schedule to include a climate factor in
decisions on operating the lake, but the regulation-schedule includes a climate
factor based in actual hydrology in South Florida, not weather forecasts. One of
the key things [in the regulation-schedule] is [whether] the Kissimmee Valley [is]
wet or dry, and do you have flow from the Kissimmee? That was giving an
unmistakable dry signal last spring, which is trouble because that is where the
lake gets its water, but you had the NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration] regional climate forecast center predicting a wetter than normal
summer. It does not really predict a wetter than normal summer; it predicts
actually a 37 percent chance of wetter than normal and a 63 percent chance of
normal or below normal. There was too much weight given to that forecast. But
because the climate forecast looked like it was predicting wetter than normal, that
gave the District staff and board a false sense of security that they could lower
the lake and it would fill back up. They downplayed the fact that the Kissimmee
Valley was dry. They never mentioned the fact that we rarely, if ever, go ten
years in Florida without one of these wet-season droughts and we had just gone
twelve without one, or eleven. They gambled with the one thing they control and
the one they cannot replace, which is water in storage.

G: How well has the District balanced the needs of the natural environment with
those of urban and rural water users?

M: I think they have done a pretty good job, actually. I mean, there might be
individual cases on one side or the other where you might think it was too heavy,
but they spend a lot of time trying to balance it. They have got legal requirements
to try to balance them, and I think they do a pretty good job.









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G: What is your perspective on the controversy surrounding the Eight-and-a-Half-
Square-Mile Area?

M: My perspective? It is very frustrating. I was the engineer at the District when the
Modified Water Deliveries Plan was developed. I was doing the modeling and
whatnot. Having been in the executive office when it went to Washington and got
through Congress, I was real involved in the testimony and all of that. I also
worked for at least two governor's appointed committees that looked at the Eight-
and-a-Half-Square-Miles when I was at the District. Governor Graham appointed
a committee, and Governor Martinez appointed a committee. Both of them
strongly endorsed the plan that Congress adopted. I would say my biggest
feeling is frustration that we thought we had solved the [problems by developing
the] plan. We had a very open multi-year broad-based discussion where we
debated every issue at length, and everyone was there, and we ended up twice
at the same place, but we were not able to build it. So, [I felt] frustration more
than anything.

G: Do you believe, then, it is possible to restore the flows into Shark River Slough
without removing the residents from the Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile Area?

M: Yeah. Definitely possible. I think the 1989 plan would have worked. Some of the
objectives have changed, so people have constantly tried to go back and change
it. One thing you cannot do is just think you can pour all that water into Northeast
Shark Slough and not have a plan to deal with it because it all goes east
underground. The Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile portion of the Modified Water
Delivery project was a part of the design that would collect seepage. All of that
works to prevent the impacts of restoring the Slough from reaching the populated
areas of Dade County. There is this notion [that] when people look on the map,
they say, well, the L-31 North is such an obvious divide-line. Well, it was not built
to divide the Slough from the people. It would have been built on the west side of
the Eight-and-a-Half-[Square-Mile Area] if that was the case, because it would
have followed the ground contour, not the political boundary. But you cannot use
that levee to separate the slough from the rest of the county because of the south
Dade conveyance system. When the conveyance system project enlarged that
canal, it opened up the aquifer there, and [the levee] leaks like crazy. So, one
thing you cannot do is restore the Park by not building the Eight-and-a-Half-
[Square-Mile Area]. If you are not going to build the Eight-and-a-Half-[Square-
Mile Area], you [have] to build something much more aggressive to control
seepage, either a curtain wall or a bunch of big pumps, and something really
manageable, which you do not have. The misconception is that, well, this is just
an appendage; we can just take it off the map, and then we [will have] free-
flowing east Everglades. That will not work. That will just be another ten- or









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fifteen-year delay in the project, because they will not know what to design to
deal with the seepage. Hopefully the compromise plan that was recently
selected will work.

G: Why have the Park Service and environmental groups been so vocal against the
idea of keeping the residents in the Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile Area?

M: The Park Service is afraid that, once they get in there, the residents will want
more flood protection, and that will require lowering canal levels in a way that
impacts the Park. You can agree or disagree with that, but that is their feeling,
and I think it is a legitimate way to look at it. I think it is overstated a little bit. If
they are not there, you are going to have that same issue at L-31 North. But that
is their point, and that is a valid point for them.

G: This past March, the Water Management District governing board proposed and
then backed away from adopting Phase Three water restrictions. Why do you
think the governing board made this decision?

M: I think they were convinced that the technical basis for declaring Phase Three
had not been met. The water-shortage plan at the District was, again, developed
in the late 1980s with a scientific basis, and a progression through the different
phases tied to economic harm. Declaring a Phase Three imposes a lot of
economic harm on certain segments of the economy. It is warranted, and the rule
was adopted based on it being warranted, under conditions that were severe
enough to make it the only reasonable response. But implied in that is the fact
that, if the conditions are not met, the shortage is not severe enough, and going
into higher phases would not be appropriate because of the economic
consequence. I think what happened in March, they had some time to get more
feedback from the economically-affected parties, and the staff had more chance
to look at the actual conditions. They did that.

G: Why have recent efforts to get the general public to reduce water usage in the
current water shortage been unsuccessful so far?

M: I do not think they have been unsuccessful. I think the criteria the media is using
is not really a valid indication of the success of the cutbacks. The media likes to
focus on the one number, which is the percentage pumpage reduction from the
public utility compared to last year for the same week. I mean, why is that a valid
percentage? Last year's pumpage is related to last year's weather conditions and
a number of other factors. There may not be any relationship at all. We have
been a whole lot drier this year. If you can reduce consumption by 15 percent
when it has been a lot drier, that is equivalent to a 30 percent reduction if you
had a comparable period to look at. But you do not have a comparable period to









EVG 6
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look at. The other thing that is unfair is a lot of the easy conservation measures
are now required by law, so there is not as much cutback from the wellhead that
you will see when you impose a shortage. For example, car washes are required
by zoning codes to be water recycling. Home-owners are no longer allowed to
water during the daytime. A lot of the things that were conservation measures
that you would use in a shortage in the 1980s are now part of the everyday code.

G: Could you compare the current water crisis in South Florida and the District's
handling of this crisis to the drought of the late-1980s and early-1990s when you
were with the District?
M: There are some parallels. The drought we are in now is comparable to the 1980-
1981 drought, because the drought is focused north of Lake Okeechobee and
the lake has been receiving the brunt of it and the lake is at the record low. If you
look in 1980, the June 1 lake-stage that I talked about was about 15.5, and then
we did not get any rain that summer, and we went to 9.7 in the summer of 1981.
This year, the lake entered the summer at a level of 12.5 on June 1, and then we
did not get any rain, so we are going to go way below 9.7. The 1989 drought was
focused south of the lake, with extreme rainfall deficits south of the lake. The
Everglades were very dry, the aquifers were very dry, but we had water in Lake
Okeechobee, so it became a matter of just managing the distribution of water out
of the lake. The great asset was that we had some water in the lake, not a lot, but
the lake never got below 10. So, by today's standards, we had enough to get
through. The media aspects were the same. There are some additional
complications that have been added. The Conservation Area 1 regulation-
schedule was changed in 1995, so some of the flexibility was lost to manage
during a shortage. But I remember the media being just as excited then as they
are now.

G: How confident are you that, when the Comprehensive Plan is implemented, that
that will help to alleviate some of these cycles, problems with the drought and
flooding that we have seen?

M: I am not very confident of that, because the key component that is going to solve
the Lake Okeechobee cycle is the 200 ASR wells around Lake Okeechobee, and
that may not turn out to be feasible in the long run. I think Florida has a weather-
cycle that goes back and forth. If all the other components work, we will go a
long way to dealing with the cycles, but I think it will always be a challenge.
When you are on one end of the cycle, whether it is the flood or the drought,
there is always going to be stress, whether you build the project or not build the
project. In theory, if all the hardware that we talked about in the Restudy works
the way it is supposed to work, then we would not have the swings. But that is all
conceptual, and it is $10,000,000,000 and forty years down the road.









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G: How much of a problem do you think we will have maintaining public support for
the restoration effort, if these problems continue to occur?

M: I think we will have a some problems maintaining public support. It is easy to be
negative and very hard to sustain the positive [support], because the positive
[support] for a project like this has to be sustained over twenty, thirty years. It is
real easy to be negative because that is just a matter of controlling the next new
cycle. We had a debate in Tallahassee this spring about a bill designed to make
it easier to permit ASR. It turned out to be a chance for a lot of people who do not
want to see the Restudy succeed to undermine one of the key components in the
Restudy before it had even been tested. To me, that is an example of how easy it
is to let a minor distraction become a major negative. It is real hard, and it is
going to be hard to point to a major positive anytime soon. So I think that
maintaining public support is will be difficult.

G: Looking toward the future, what do you see as being the most important
obstacles to Everglades restoration?

M: In the near term I think it could be developing a consensus among the
government and the public, but primarily among the government agencies. I may
be too close to this process, but recently the agencies are finding it very hard to
work together. This is critical at this stage in the plan. With an agenda as high-
profile as the Everglades restoration, you cannot have chinks in the armor on the
public-sector side, and right now, we have conflict between agencies over who
does what, what will work, what will not work, what you should do first, how can I
protect my interest in the law. If it was a matter of having a project to design and
fund and build, I would be very confident we could do that, but we are not there
yet on any of those projects. Government agencies are going to have a find a
better way to work together.

G: I would like to mention some specific groups and organizations and ask you to
assess their overall contribution to the restoration effort. First, the Corps of
Engineers.

M: By the restoration effort, do you mean since 1980, since CERP?

G: From a very broad perspective. Overall.

M: Overall, the Corps is an essential participant. They have not been the leader yet
on a project that has been built. Their first real episode that I have seen as the
leader of a restoration project has been CERP, and CERP is a long way from
having actually accomplished anything on the ground. The Corps has tried to
change direction, but it is too early to say whether they have succeeded or not.









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They have been an essential element, but up to now, it has been another agency
or interest-group on the outside that really drove the Corps there. Kissimmee
restoration is a good example. The Corps tried and could not get through their
policy road-blocks, so the state took it over and was able to drive it to Congress
and then bring the Corps on board.

G: Do you see the Corps of today being different from the Corps of, say, the 1980s
or the 1970s?

M: In some ways. They are different in terms of their objectives. I mean, obviously,
the Restudy is a restoration project, so the fact that they are spending so much
effort on that is different in itself. But the Corps as a functional unit and how they
do things and the time it takes and the process they go through, in that part, the
change has not been obvious yet.

G: The National Park Service.

M: The Park Service is, again, always involved in the Everglades, especially the
southern end of the Everglades. They were involved in the Everglades Forever
Act process in a very important way. They have a solid scientific staff in place,
but from the outside their contribution has been more noticeable in conflict as
opposed to consensus. They have been one of the reasons things have not been
done, as opposed to a key reason why things have been done by been done, I
mean things [being] built to fix a problem or changed to fix a problem. I think
their effectiveness is limited by how narrow their focus is. The Park Service, by
definition, has to have a narrow focus on [the area] inside the boundaries of their
park. They reach out to influence issues outside their boundary, but it is from the
perspective of protecting or enhancing what is inside their boundary. That is a
much narrower focus than [the state of] Florida has. But they are very competent
and committed to their mission.

G: The environmental community.

M: The environmental community is always there. They are very diverse, so it is not
one interest group. They have a lot of individual interests within the
environmental community. Some are more committed to a consensus base, and
recognize we need a broad support to do big projects. Others are single-issue
and litigation-oriented, and they tend to clog up the process. Obviously, the
environmental groups have a huge influence on the political process, and
politicians in the end will control what is done or not done for the Everglades. So,
again, environmentalists are always a player, always involved, not always
consistently and not always among themselves for the same purpose. But they
are the most important political activist unit, I think.









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G: The sugar industry.

M: The sugar industry was critical in the [passage of the] Everglades Forever Act.
They will be much less critical for the Everglades restoration, because they
accomplished so much in the Everglades Forever Act with the stormwater
treatment areas and their BMP program. They are not a growing water use, so as
water supplies continue to get tighter, I think new users will bear the brunt of that,
as opposed to existing users. In general, farms are still less intrusive on the
Everglades than cities, so I think there will be a need to preserve farming. [The]
sugar industry, to the extent it survives, will stay involved in the process, but not
nearly as aggressively as they were prior to the Everglades Forever Act, because
so many of the Everglades restoration issues now are dealing with the urban
cities and fixing design problems in the Everglades themselves.

G: The Water Management District.

M: The Water Management District is also always there now. They are essential.
They have been the source of the best technical expertise. That is declining a
little bit, not as much because their expertise is declining, as because the Park
Service is building their own staff [and] the Corps of Engineers is building some
of their own capabilities to match some of the Water Management District's. The
District has the money, or access to the money, so they are going to have to be
involved.

G: Final question. Looking back at your experiences with Everglades water
management, what are the most important lessons that you have personally
learned?

M: We're all still learning, so it is probably too early for that question, but I will tell
you what I am most comfortable with: I am most comfortable with analyzing the
data, learning from the past and trying to make significant incremental
improvements. I have never been comfortable with the grand, huge project. In
the early [19]80s there was something called the Central and Southern Florida
Water Supply Study. It started out as the Restudy of the 1980s. That was going
to be a grand scheme re-evaluate all of South Florida's water issues and fix
everything. What came out of it was the Modified Water Deliveries Project and
the C-111 Project. They decided, this thing is too big, it is going nowhere, we
cannot sustain it, let us spin off the projects we really need and hold off on the
rest. To me, by far, the most momentous Everglades restoration project that has
been undertaken since 1950 is the Everglades Forever Act 40,000 acres of
wetlands created from productive farmland to buffer the water quantity and
quality of flow to the northern Everglades. There are some major incremental









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steps that can be taken, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing those work.
No one's career is going to span all of Everglades restoration. Like I said, one of
the first projects I worked on was modified water deliveries, or what became
modified water deliveries. That was twenty years ago, and we have not broken
ground on the main part of it yet. My lesson is, if you are going to have a career
in the business, especially the restoration side of it, it is nice to be part of these
great big esoteric, CERP-like, generational efforts, but if you do not find a few
winners that you can go build and have personal input on and affect the outcome
of, then it is not going to be a very rewarding career on the technical side. The
politics, the policy, the law, the finances that is all going to go on, [but] that is
just not my thing. I am more [interested in] what the data show, how does the
system work, and what can we do to put in the ground what's needed to fix it or
help it.


[End of interview.]









Tom MacVicar
EVG 6 B Summary



MacVicar begins by stating that population growth is the most important factor that has caused
the present problems in the Everglades. He describes how management practices have
changed over the years. He then gives his educational and professional background. The
Water Management District, with the Army Corps of Engineers, developed the 2x2 hydrological
model to evaluate re-flooding Northeast Shark River Slough, which was used for the Modified
Water Deliveries Project (pages 1-2). He describes the rain-based approach for water delivery
and the objection of the Fish and Wildlife Service. He talks about the relationship between the
2x2 model and the natural system model (pages 3-7). MacVicar goes on to describe the
problems of Lake Okeechobee and the Johnny Jones lawsuit regarding back-pumping water
from the Everglades Agricultural Area into the lake, including phosphorus levels (pages 7-8).
MacVicar was involved in the Kissimmee Restoration only after 1989, and he represented the
Water Management District in hearings and helped word the Water Resources Development Act
(WRDA), which he discusses. He relates the importance of Kissimmee restoration to overall
Everglades restoration. He believes the Surface Water Improvement (SWIM) Act of 1987 has
been a disappointment and how the Water Management District made the decision to do an
Everglades SWIM. He describes the issues that have caused contention in regard to SWIM
(pages 8-12).

MacVicar tells his reaction to the Dexter Lehtinen lawsuit and believes the Water Management
District was unfairly targeted in that litigation. He describes his representation of the District
during that lawsuit, including the interaction between various agencies. He then relates the
surrender by Governor Chiles. He describes the sugar industry=s reaction to the settlement
(pages 12-16). He talks about the Statement of Principles Agreement announced by Interior
Secretary Bruce Babbitt, and lists the involvement of various individuals and reactions of various
interests (pages 16-20). He recounts the controversy over the Frog Pond Area and Marjory
Stoneman Douglas refusing to have her name put on the Everglades Forever Act. He then talks
about phosphorus water quality standards (pages 20-22). He discusses the relationship
between the Water Management District governing board and staff and the selection of Sam
Poole as executive director (pages 23-24). MacVicar then describes and compares Governor
Chiles=s Commission for a Sustainable South Florida and Governor Bush=s Commission for
the Everglades and the South Florida Restoration Task Force. He then describes his role in the
Corps of Engineers Restudy and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)
(pages 25-28). He talks about the Chief=s Report and CERP (pages 28-29). He then responds
to criticism of the ways the Water Management District has handled flood and drought
conditions and the controversy over the Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile Area (pages 30-32). He
discusses water restrictions and the South Florida water crisis (pages 33-34). He concludes by
discussing public support, obstacles to restoration and the contribution of the Corps of
Engineers, the National Park Service, the environmental community, the sugar industry, and the
Water Management District to the restoration process. He lastly talks of lessons he has learned
from his involvement with the Everglades (pages 34-37).




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