This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.
This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be
For all other permissions and requests, contact the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Stuart Appelbaum begins the interview by describing his current position as chief of the
RECOVER branch of the Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District. He goes on to
state that water management, particularly issues of the flood protection and drainage
works, is the most important problem facing the Everglades. He gives a detailed history
of the construction of those works, including the Central and Southern Florida Project
(pages 1-7). He gives a background on the Kissimmee restoration effort and describes
his involvement in that effort (pages 7-12). Appelbaum believes the Kissimmee
restoration changed the Corps of Engineers as an organization and describes its
involvement with the governors office. He discusses the Corps=s reaction to the
lawsuit filed in 1988 by Dexter Lehtinen and evaluates the Everglades Forever Act,
which settled the litigation. He also tells about the Corps=s role in implementing the
Everglades Forever Act, particularly the C-51 project (pages 12-15). Appelbaum
became involved with the comprehensive review and restudy process due to Rock Salt
and their actions to solve problems that occurred after Hurricane Andrew. He talks
about his activities with the Everglades Coalition (pages 15-18).
Appelbaum next describes building the interdisciplinary teams and working on
interagency cooperation for Everglades restoration. Between 1993 and 1994, the
teams on the reconnaissance study worked on identifying specific problems in the
Everglades and Appelbaum describes the six alternatives that came out of that study
(pages 18-23). He then gives a very detailed analysis of the Governor=s Commission
for a Sustainable South Florida, including the agencies involved, recommendations
made and the final report. He believes the consensus built over the process was key to
making the restudy successful (pages 23-27). Appelbaum gives another detailed
description of the development of the restudy plan, including the teams and agencies
involved. He responds to the criticism of the initial report from the restudy and talks
about the changes made in reaction to that criticism (page 27-31). He comments on the
Chief=s Report and the controversy about it. He talks about the individuals who were
instrumental in getting the comprehensive plan approved. Appelbaum responds to
criticism that the plan is dependent on unproven technology, such as aquifer storage
and recovery. He believes adaptive management of the plan is critical and mentions
the agencies that will be responsible for that management (pages 31-35).
Appelbaum goes on to describes progress made toward and obstacles to the goals of
the Everglades Expansion Act. He talks about the Water Resources Development Act
of 2000 (WRDA) and its significance, including the programmatic regulations. He
concludes the interview with analyses of the impact of the National Park Service, the
South Florida Water Management District and the environmental community on
Everglades restoration. He lastly grades the restoration effort and talks about what he
has learned from the process (pages 35-39).
Interviewee: Stuart Appelbaum
Interviewer: Brian Gridley
Date: February 22, 2002
G: This is Brian Gridley interviewing Stuart Appelbaum in the Corps of Engineers
office in Jacksonville, Florida. The date is February 22, 2002. Mr. Appelbaum,
briefly tell me about your professional background, including education and
A: My current position is chief of the RECOVER [Restoration Coordination and
Verification] branch for the Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District. I am
a civil engineer by background, have a bachelor's degree in civil engineering
from the Polytechnic Institute [of] New York and a master of science in water
resources engineering from George Washington University. I have been with the
Corps since 1977, it's been twenty-four years now, coming up on twenty-five
years. [I] spent the first eleven years of my career in the Baltimore district, and
the time since 1988 in the Jacksonville district. [I have] been primarily [involved]
in our planning division, so I've been involved in water resources planning my
whole career. Starting a couple weeks ago, I moved over to project
management, [but] the rest of my career has been in planning, mostly in water
resources planning types of investigations. Here in Jacksonville, I became chief
of the flood control [and] floodplain management planning group in 1989 [and]
was moved into what we created the Central and Southern Florida Study
Section, which was [set up] to begin the restudy effort. That morphed into the
ecosystem restoration branch in planning, which I was chief of. Now, as I said,
just recently I've moved over to head the RECOVER group in our restoration
G: Are you a civilian member of the Corps of Engineers?
A: I am a civilian. The vast majority of the people working for the Corps of
Engineers are civilians. Currently, in Jacksonville, I believe we have three
military officers. There is a full colonel, what we call a district engineer, [a] district
commander, who is in charge of the office. There is a lieutenant colonel who is a
deputy and another lieutenant colonel that heads up [the] Antilles, our office in
San Juan, Puerto Rico. The rest of the staff, [about] 750-800 people, are all
civilians. That's the way it is, predominately, in the Corps of Engineers. It is a
military-run organization, but it is primarily civilians that do most of the activities
and most of the positions are civilian. It does have a military chain of command,
so the colonel here reports to our office in Atlanta, which is a regional office
called [the] South Atlantic division. There is a one or two-star general there that
is in charge of that office. It's a regional office [which] reports to headquarters or
the chief of engineers in Washington. The Chief of Engineers, being the top
Corps of Engineers military officer, has responsibility for all the Corps districts.
For civil-works projects, which is obviously what we do here in Jacksonville, the
civilian leadership comes out of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil
Works out of the Pentagon. That's kind of the structure of the organization.
G: Based on your experiences, what do you see as the two or three most important
problems facing the Everglades today?
A: I think the main problem is water management. I'd say the second [most
important problem] may be the invasive exotics. Obviously, what I'm most
familiar with, probably what we'll spend most of the time today talking about, is
water management. There's a long history of management and mismanagement
in central and south Florida that has led to the problems that are facing the
G: Which specific issues of water management would you identify as contributing or
leading to the present problem?
A: The problems are primarily a consequence of the flood protection and drainage
works that have been constructed since the 1880s, [over] a 120-130 year period.
I would say from a historical basis, as soon as Florida was admitted to the Union
in 1845, there's always been this desire to drain wetlands, primarily the
Everglades. There's always been this view that if we could drain the Everglades,
because the soil that underlies the Everglades is so productive, it would make
wonderful agricultural land. In 1850, Congress passed the Swamp and Overflow
Land Grants Act, which actually turned over to state ownership a good portion of
the Everglades [with] the stipulation [that] it would sell the land and any money
raised through the sale of those lands would be used for internal improvements.
Today, the governor [and] cabinet sit as the trustees in the Internal Improvement
Fund, which is the entity that was created as a result of the Swamp and Overflow
Land Grants Act. The desire has always been there to drain the Everglades. It
began in 1880 [when] Hamilton Disston [wealthy businessman who purchased
land for the state of Florida in the 19th century], who was the heir to the Disston
saw-works up in Pennsylvania, [came] down. They actually sold four million
acres of land to Disston at the astounding sum of twenty-five cents an acre.
[That] raised a million dollars, which wiped out the debt that the Internal
Improvement Fund had at that point. Disston got lands that were in the
Kissimmee basin extending over the Caloosahatchee basin and four million acres
of land, which his engineers went to work on. First thing you need to understand,
Lake Okeechobee has no natural outlets. The Caloosahatchee River used to
kind of dead-end near the lake. It's something called Lake Hicpochee, but it was
not connected to Lake Okeechobee. Disston's engineers came in and made a
connection between Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee, [which] allowed
the lake to flow freely to the Gulf of Mexico. There's anecdotal information about
[an] almost overnight drop in the water levels in Lake Okeechobee [of] five [or]
six feet because of that connection. He also did some [of] what we call clearing
and snagging and some channel improvements in the Kissimmee basin. I think
his company went bankrupt and he committed suicide and that effort ended.
The next effort began when the state created the Everglades Drainage
District in the early part of the twentieth century. They had a very ambitious plan.
This is an outgrowth of [a plan of] Governor [Napoleon Bonaparte] Broward
[Florida governor, 1905-1909], who ran in 1904 on a campaign promise to drain
the Everglades once and for all. The Everglades Drainage District was part of
that state effort to drain the Everglades. They created a set of major canals that
are still out there today. The West Palm Beach Canal, the Hillsboro Canal, the
North New River Canal, and the Miami Canal. These are major canals that
extend from Lake Okeechobee, cut across the Everglades, and go out to hook up
with the existing rivers or streams that cut through the coastal ridge and enter the
ocean. Those canals intercepted] the flow that normally would have moved
south in the Everglades and moved it out to the ocean. They put lockages at
each end of these canals, because the thought was [that] we were going to open
up the interior of the Everglades for agriculture, move commerce through these
canals and ship it out that way. Of course, as the twentieth century developed,
truck transportation became the cheaper way to move produce. Navigation
never quite panned out. The canals remain today. They're actually incorporated
in a project. Two killer hurricanes [occurred] in 1926 and 1928, [and] moved
inland, out over Lake Okeechobee, [and] caused a wall of water to affect the
town of Clewiston on the south end and Okeechobee on the north end. About
2,800 people were killed in those two hurricanes. It was really a horrendous loss
The federal government, in 1930, authorized what is today called the
Herbert Hoover dike. We wanted to build a dike to protect people against
hurricane flooding. The Corps of Engineers didn't have authority for flood control
in those days, at least not beyond the Mississippi River. They used the
navigation authority that we had in Lake Okeechobee, called the Okeechobee
Waterway, to improve the navigation project by dredging and piling material up to
form a dike on the south and north ends, which [are] partly still out there today.
[One of] the earliest efforts at flood protection by the federal government in south
Florida is this Herbert Hoover dike that was built in the very early 1930s. The
decade of the 1930s was basically a drought decade, [with] a lot of over-drainage
in the Everglades. The agricultural canals had been put in, in the early part of
the century by the Everglades Drainage District, [who] did their job too well.
They over-drained the Everglades. There's anecdotal information about muck
fires in the Everglades burning for months at a time because of all that over-
drainage during drought time.
The 1940s was more of a wet decade. We had two hurricanes in 1947
that caused water to [sit] on the land for a long period of time. It caused $59
million in flood damages. The state documented that in a historical document
called the Report of the Everglades Drainage District, [and] is affectionately
called the crying cow report. It's in the archives, I think. It is a documentation of
flood damages, a very interesting photo archive of all these scenes of flooding.
What's amazing is looking at various areas of south Florida the way they were in
1947. You see Boca Raton for instance, as kind of a migrant labor camp with
agricultural fields around it. You don't see condos, you don't see houses.
Obviously, the landscape has changed greatly. That 1947 report was the calling
card that the state used to get the federal government to deal more
comprehensively with the water resource problems in south Florida. The Corps
of Engineers came in and did a study [and] a report. The report was completed
in 1947, went to Congress, became adopted in the Flood Control Act of 1948,
and authorized what is today called the Central and Southern Florida Project. [It]
is the basic series of canals and levees and water-control structures that are in
the landscape today in south Florida. They actually manage the entire water
resources from the Orlando area, pretty much [from] where Disney World starts,
all the way down to Florida Bay. That entire 18,000 square-mile area is part of
the Central and Southern Florida, or C&SF Project. [The Corps] built the C&SF
project over the course of the 1950s, 1960s, early 1970s.
When we put our report in to Congress in 1947, recommending that we
create this project called C&SF, we also recognized that there are a lot of boom-
and-bust cycles in south Florida and problems with government lending. We
needed a reliable local sponsor to participate financially in the development of the
C&SF project. The recommendation was that a single entity be created. The
legislature in Florida, in 1949, created what was then called the Central and
Southern Florida Flood Control District, which is now the South Florida Water
Management District. The first Water Management District in south Florida was
the South Florida Water Management District, primarily [started] as an entity to
be a local sponsor for Corps of Engineers projects. Their boundaries
encompassed the Everglades watershed. Just as an aside here, the second
Water Management District created in south Florida [in 1961] was the Southwest
Florida Water Management District, also designed to be the local sponsor that
we would deal with in the construction of the Four River Basins Project in the
Tampa area. They liked what was going on in south Florida, so they created
that. In mid-1970s, the legislature said, that's a good idea, let's manage all the
water resources in south Florida through water management districts. [The
forerunner of] the system we have today of the five water management districts
in Florida is the Central and Southern Florida [Flood Control District]. Their
mission as a water management district today is broader than it was originally,
which was just to be a local cooperator for this project. Their mission is more
encompassing than what was envisioned back in 1949 when it was created. The
reason that you have the South Florida Water Management District [is] to be the
local sponsor for this massive Corps of Engineers project. Their responsibilities
were primarily the acquisition of all the real estate needed for the project and
some financial contribution. Of course, they were given ad valorem taxing
capability to do that.
I think I've caught you up historically. I really haven't talked much about
the problems in south Florida, but I wanted to give you a water management
perspective and history. Let me spend a couple minutes talking about the
problems. The Central and Southern Florida Project has probably done
everything it was envisioned to do when it was formulated back in the late 1940s.
It was designed to be a multi-purpose project. I would say flood control,
because of the flooding in 1947, was the predominant reason that project was
developed. There was a recognition, you can read in the historic documents, the
actual reports, that there were other factors. They recognized that there was an
interrelationship between water control, water conservation, [and] flood control.
The desire was to take excess water during the wet season and store it to
conserve it for regional water supply later on. There's an interrelationship
between the dry season and the wet season. Their solution was essentially to
use Lake Okeechobee. Today the water conservation areas are remnants [of
the] Everglades [used] as water storage features. They also recognized the
need to conserve the unique fish and wildlife resources that made up the
Everglades. I don't think they really understood how the ecosystem functioned in
those days. What's interesting [is that,] even fifty-plus years ago, [there was a]
recognition that the Everglades was a unique place, [and] they wanted to
preserve that. I don't think they really understood the functioning of the
ecosystem. The problems that we have today are a consequence of not
understanding how ecosystems function, not understanding the changes that the
C&SF project has done.
What we have is a very efficiently designed (for the most part) flood-
control project, which means that when it rains, the project is designed to get the
water into canals. The C&SF project is the backbone, the federally-constructed
primary drainage system. You have secondary and tertiary drainage canals and
works that have been constructed by state or local governments, or drainage
districts that feed into that primary system. When it rains on the land, water gets
in local canals and ultimately [goes] out to the C&SF project canals and then it's
dumped out to the tide. We get it out to the Gulf of Mexico, or in most cases, to
the Atlantic Ocean. Then when we have drought conditions, we move water from
the water conservation areas and or Lake Okeechobee to recharge the aquifer,
which has the effect of improving water supply [and allows] agricultural or urban
users to get [a] water supply. It's a very complex system of water management.
The predominant feature is to get rid of water when it rains and, in the dry
season, try to use somewhat natural areas, [like] Lake Okeechobee and water
conservation areas, to supply the water. That has had an effect, obviously, on
fish and wildlife resources. If you think about Lake Okeechobee and the water
conservation areas as part of the natural areas, then this problem [is in] the
duality of trying to have highly-managed areas for human need, precise
engineering regulation schedules, if the lake or the water conservation area is a
certain level at a certain date, we drain water, versus the needs of a natural
system, which has its cycles of drought and flood. In a lot of the cases, we have
timing that's very backwards or different from what the natural system needs, so
that duality of the natural areas has been one of the major problems.
The water-quality problems in the natural areas [occur] because the
project works allow for the movement of water between various places, so you
have agricultural run-off, [for] example, coming off fields and being pumped for
flood protection into canals. That water then goes into the water conservation
areas, and you have water-quality problems. The fact is that the Everglades is a
nutrient-intolerant system. It has developed over eons because it has [such] low
nutrients naturally, [that] it's built a food chain that begins with periphyton, which
is this algal mat, this brown gooey stuff that's out in the Everglades, on up to the
higher trophic levels of wildlife. When you introduce phosphorous, even [in]
minute quantities [of] parts per billion, into the water column, you get a
tremendous imbalance in the flora and fauna. That's caused problems, so we
see cattails predominating a lot of the landscape in south Florida. A lawsuit [was
filed] in 1988 that was designed to clean up the water before it damaged federal
properties, particularly Locksahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, which is Water
Conservation Area 1 and Everglades Park to the south. That was a lawsuit that
Dexter Lehtinen [Florida state senator, 1987-1988; U.S. Attorney, Dade County,
1988-1992] brought in 1988 which, I think, solved that.
There are projects being constructed by the South Florida Water
Management District and by the federal government. The Corps of Engineers
got one project to solve these water-quality problems coming off agricultural
areas. You have water-quality problems, you have water-quantity problems, and
the timing and distribution are very different. When we talk about getting the
water right in south Florida, we're talking about the four facets of quantity, quality,
timing, and distribution. When water management [is] trying to fix the problems,
we're dealing with those four pieces of the puzzle. There are other problems in
the Everglades: invasive species, melaleuca, Brazilian pepper and others.
Tremendous problem in the Everglades. Any time you bring in a species that's
not native and has no natural enemies, it [causes] a tremendous imbalance.
Melaleuca was imported from Australia in the early part of the twentieth century
either as an ornamental [plant] or as a good way to soak up some water. Of
course, with no natural enemies like it has in Australia, it's gone wild and [it]
becomes very expensive to treat or move the melaleuca. What they're looking at
now is biological controls. They're actually bringing in natural enemies of
melaleuca from Australia. They brought in some beetles and put them in a
quarantine lab for a number of years and made sure that the critter was not going
to do something [unexpected], that all it wants is melaleuca and not something
else. You don't want to create a new problem. A few years ago, they released
this beetle out into the Everglades as a way to control the melaleuca. They're
still doing manual methods of getting rid of the melaleuca trees. They're kind of
keeping it in check [for] now, the biological controls [are] probably going to be
G: Do you think that reflects a lack of understanding of ecosystems?
A: Clearly, we have much more scientific knowledge these days. You look back
fifty, one hundred years ago, and hindsight is always 20/20. We have more
knowledge about ecosystems and scientific things that we didn't back then.
There are different values too. Values [come into] play. We elected a governor in
1904 on a campaign promise to drain the Everglades and we elect governors
[now] on campaign promises to restore the Everglades. That reflects a shift in
societal values. The Corps of Engineers gets a lot of bad press because we're
the guys that dike and drain and ditch and so on. In fact, there's probably a good
segment of the public in south Florida that says, why would you turn restoration
over to the Corps of Engineers? They're the guys that screwed it up in the first
place. If you look back at the 1940 time frame, I think we were doing pretty much
what society wanted. You can see the tremendous support the 1948 plan had
among all the stakeholders and among the government. In fact, the Corps of
Engineers' plan in 1948 was a holistic way to deal with a lot of problems that
have been created by the federal government but [also] by others [who] weren't
doing it [with] a holistic solution. They had segregated flood control from
drainage, from water supply. The 1948 plan really was an attempt to integrate.
As I said, they didn't really understand ecosystem functioning, but they wanted to
provide flood-protection [and] also knew they needed to manage water more
That was different [from] the way the state had been doing it for the sixty
or seventy years before. If you look at the transcripts of public meetings and so
forth, there is a tremendous amount of support for the C&SF project in the way it
was formulated. Everybody thought that was the right thing to do. Societal
values change and the Corps as an agency now reflects the things that are
important to us [as] a society. I grew up in the 1960s [with] environmental values
and Earth Day, [and] things like that. You [can] look at the people who work for
the Corps of Engineers, and we reflect growing up in that era and having those
kinds of values just like the rest of society. Agencies kind of reflect society, the
culture that they work in, they operate in. There's an interesting dynamic with the
public about whether the Corps really gets it or not, or whether the Corps is the
right agency to do restoration. The Corps is just a bunch of engineers, so we're
always perceived as going to overly-engineered solutions, when what this natural
system really needs is a more natural, harmonious kind of solution and not a
G: Describe your involvement with the Kissimmee restoration effort.
A: Let me give you a background on Kissimmee. The Kissimmee project is part of
the Central and Southern Florida Project. The works, existing canals and
structures up in the Kissimmee, were authorized in 1954 as part of the Central
and Southern Florida Project. [The] Project was built from 1966-1971. Pretty
much as it was being built, a lot of people thought it was a terrible thing to do,
[that] these channelizations, straightening the Kissimmee [was a] horrible
mistake. The Corps completed the project in 1971. We did a study that began in
1978 and went to 1985 [which] looked] at ways to undo the Kissimmee. We
looked [at] a number of different things, from minor operational changes all the
way to backfilling, removing the existing project works. The policy that was in
place at that point did not allow us to become involved in those kinds of fixes.
The report that was completed in 1985 that went to Congress basically said,
we're not recommending [that] the Corps of Engineers do anything, however
there's a lot of good information here that the state or others can undertake.
As we were wrapping up in 1985, the South Florida Water Management
District was taking over. They began doing a number of studies. They did some
demonstration projects and various other things. They developed a plan which
they completed in 1990, a big, nice volume recommending backfill of the
Kissimmee. They tried to get that plan authorized through Congress and couldn't
get it through, because the authorizing committee in the Senate [is] very judicious
about how they do things. [They] don't authorize projects unless and until the
Corps of Engineers completes a report. There are all kinds of procedures. The
attempt of [to] authorize the Corps project, using the Water Management
District's report, just didn't go anywhere. The commitment was made that we
would do a Corps of Engineers study and we would use that as the basis for
going back. We had until April 1, 1992, to get a report back to Congress.
Senator [Bob] Graham [U.S. Senator, 1987-present; Florida governor, 1979-
1987] agreed to that. Senator Graham went to the Corps of Engineers and said,
this is what we've authorized. We're going to hold your feet to the fire, you will
make this April 1 date. There was a hell of a lot of political pressure put on the
Corps to deliver. A lot of times, Congress sets deadlines. They set deadlines all
the time. Administrations, agencies, for whatever reasons tend to choose to
ignore those. You can always argue that funds are not directed to you or
appropriated, [so the] deadline means nothing. You can't work without money.
In this case, because of the politics involved, the Corps made a policy decision
that we would comply with the Congressional mandate to complete [the report]
by April 1,1992.
At that point, I got involved in planning. [They said,] Stu, we need you to
honcho this effort, put it together. I led a team, as chief of the flood-control
branch, that worked for less than a sixteen-month period to put together a report
to get to Congress by April 1. We did make the date. The game plan was to
take the Water Management District's report that had been completed [and] put it
in Corps-speak. We would take their report, do very minimal formulation, but do
some basic analysis that the Corps would do. Do an NEPA [National
Environmental Policy Assessment] document. Clearly, an environmental impact
statement hadn't been done. That's a federal thing, not a state thing. We
needed to do the environmental impact statement [and] deal with various other
issues. We began an effort in early 1991, which culminated in a final report
completed by the Jacksonville district [in] December 1992. It went through
Washington-level processing, which is a pretty intricate thing. It was transmitted
by the Assistant Secretary of the Army to Congress in April of 1992.
At the Washington level, there were a number of policy issues that had to
be worked out. They primarily revolved around cost-sharing. There were all
kinds of negotiations that went on between the administration and the governor
and the Water Management District to arrive at a 50-50 cost sharing for the
project. That was unique. Our authority at that time didn't really deal with
ecosystems. We had guidance about fish and wildlife enhancement, habitat
work, [but] not ecosystem restoration. [There were] policy issues of how [to] deal
with [the] Kissimmee, which was at that time a pretty holistic solution. It was
about restoring a marine ecosystem. It was much more than just fish and wildlife
enhancement. Certainly we were going to get fish and wildlife enhancement out
of that project, but the driving force was ecosystem restoration. That caused
some policy hiccups at the Washington level that had to be worked through.
When they finally made the determination that we were going to do ecosystem
restoration, they had to basically invent a cost-sharing policy which was 50-50.
In the Kissimmee project, [the state] was really putting more money up front. 50-
50 [cost-sharing] was unique, because [with] fish and wildlife enhancement, it
was 75 percent federal, 25 percent non-federal. Most of our projects in those
days were 75-25, so when [we] had 50-50, essentially the state [was] kicking in a
lot more money. The argument was [that] it's about ecosystem restoration, [and]
there ought to be more non-federal cost-sharing than if we were simply doing
[things] that had been enumerated by Congress, legislation. This was some
policy precedent. The report went to Congress in 1992, the Water Resource
Development Act was enacted in 1992, and we received authorization to
proceed. I felt very proud to be part of that group that actually put the project
together. After that, the restudy began in 1993. That's the effort that we have
today that's going to be a massive change for the project.
Kissimmee was pretty precedent-breaking for us in the Corps. It was very
complicated technically, at the time, but when I look back and compare that to
the overall Everglades effort that we're now involved in, it's like the difference
between a high school diploma and getting your Ph.D. The degree of complexity
between what we're doing as an Everglades ecosystem now versus just looking
at the Kissimmee is amazing. Back in the 1991-1992 time frame, Kissimmee
was precedent-shattering. It was about partnership with the South Florida Water
Management District, harnessing their capability, which had been extensive. [It
set] some precedents about adaptive assessment, monitoring, and ecosystem
restoration and essentially undoing a Corps project, actually taking out structures
and removing canals that had been built. For people like me, it's the thrill of the
project. There were, at that time, old-timers here who thought undoing what they
had done twenty years before was almost anathema. It was a radical kind of
thing. It's amazing now, the shift in the agency, [toward] the concept of taking
structures out, undoing what we did fifty years ago. We don't have the people
here that maybe had an emotional investment in some of those projects. We're
just looking to do whatever needs to be done to solve problems. If it means
removing the projects or structures that the Corps built in an earlier generation,
so be it.
[With the] Kissimmee, there were still some people that were left [from the
original project]. That was the first of undoing [of] what had been done before,
[which was] kind of radical. The agency right now [is] about a third of the way
complete with Kissimmee, so that's actually moving. I've seen the before and
after pictures of [the] Kissimmee and they're pretty dramatic. You've got historic
photos of the way it was before it was channelized in the mid-1960s and they're
interesting. You've got the channelization [pictures]. Now, you've got the places
where the channelization has been undone. Within a four- to six-month period
the vegetation is back and you'd be hard-pressed to tell there used to be a canal
here. In fact, taking the canal out is relatively straight-forward and easy. I'm not
trying to minimize it, there's a lot of complications. But what's been more
interesting technically is where they've had to reconstruct river. In other words,
you've got a lot of remnant ox-bows in the Kissimmee that really are the
remnants of what was out there. Fortunately, they weren't obliterated. You had
all these pieces of Kissimmee River with the canal cut right through the middle.
They're having to reconnect the ox-bows [and] river-engineer it so it looks and
acts natural. You've got meanders that have been created. People think
engineers only think in straight lines. If you actually see how they engineered
this to replicate what we lost back in the 1960s, it's pretty unique. Now, you
couldn't believe there was a canal there. It looks just like the river did historically.
That project is going very well. It's provided the learning laboratory for knowing
[that] restoration works.
The whole thesis behind restoration, for us, is like the Field of Dreams
[Kevin Costner baseball movie with the tag-line "build it and they will come"]. If
you wet it, it will grow. If it grows, they'll come back. You're doing water
management in an attempt to fix the habitat. If you fix the habitat and create
better conditions, you expect the wildlife to come back, maybe not in the same
numbers that were out there historically, but certainly in more richness and
abundance than what was there in the last few decades. Kissimmee has borne
that out. They've put the river back, the habitat is coming back, they're starting to
see a lot of vegetative changes that mirror what was there historically. The
thesis [that] if you wet it, it will grow, looks like it's being borne out in the
Kissimmee. They're learning a lot about adaptive management, how [to] monitor,
make sure things are working. There's a wealth of experience that we're going to
get out of the Kissimmee that the nation as a whole and other ecosystems are
going to get. Kissimmee is really a good microcosm for us.
G: At the time you were doing this, did you have the sense that this was somehow
unique and special?
A: It was kind of radical. We knew we were on the cutting-edge, but we were on
such a strict time-line. Sixteen months is the wink of an eye for a Corps project.
The notion of going very quickly to a report was amazing. This sixteen-month
requirement, [to] get it done by April 1, 1992, was in the Water Reserves
Development Act of 1990. I happened to be home; my wife was pregnant [and]
we weren't going out. It was a Saturday night, the end of the legislative session.
Of course, the big [news] was they hadn't passed the federal budget. The
question is, do you come to work on Monday or is the agency closed down? I'm
watching C-SPAN that evening and there's this colloquy going on in the House
floor [between] two members. The chairman of the authorizing committee [was
talking] with another member, [and they were saying], I understand we passed
the Water Resources Development Act of 1990. I understand there's a provision
for the Kissimmee River restoration there. We've asked the Corps of Engineers
to do a study and complete it by April 1. Can the gentleman assure me that the
study will be completed on schedule? We will ensure that the Corps of
Engineers completes the study. As I'm watching this, I'm having an out-of-body
experience because I know [that] I'm the guy who's going to wind up having to
figure out how to get this done. I immediately got [on] my computer, banged out
a memo about how I think you could put a game plan together to get this done in
this unprecedented amount of time. We normally take three [or] four years, or
more, to do a feasibility study. The thought of completing it within sixteen months
and [figuring out] how [to] do that [was overwhelming]. I banged out a game plan
and figured out [what to do,] which was essentially to take the Water
Management District's report [and] use it whole, do a Corps of Engineers project-
cost estimate, because they hadn't done that, do the NEPA document, do a few
other things, put it in Corps-speak and package it and send it up. I came to see
my boss Monday morning, [and] said, I got the game plan. Of course, at that
point, we haven't been given any instructions, [and he said] I don't think this thing
is going to really take off. [He] kind of put it back in a file-drawer somewhere.
That was probably [the] mid-part of October 1990. I came back from New Year's
holiday and Senator [Bob] Graham had [the meeting] with the Assistant
Secretary [of the Army] and the headquarters, [where he said he would] hold
[our] feet to the fire and there will be hell to pay if [we] don't get it done by April
1992. Suddenly, as an agency, [they said,] yes sir, we'll get that done. Then
[the] Jacksonville [people were told], you've got to get this done, do you have a
game plan? I just happened to have one here and we went from there. That's
the game plan we operated on. It was kind of fascinating for me, personally.
A lot of what we did in the Kissimmee was just develop partnerships. The
Corps of Engineers has always had a very interesting relationship with the South
Florida Water Management District. As I said before, we kind of feel responsible
for having created it as an agency, because of [its] requirement of being the local
sponsor for the Central and Southern Florida project. Their genesis as an
organization is to be a [local cooperator] for the Corps. It's kind of like a parent-
child relationship. We felt like we gave birth to them. This is my view of it. I can
say this because I've only been here since 1988. I don't go back to the 1960s
and 1970s era. They were learning and we were definitely the parent, giving
them instructions, telling them the way to do it, and so on. They got [to the]
teenage years and grew up and they had a different path. They had more of an
environmental mission, the Corps didn't have that. Corps policy prevented that
at the time, particularly in the early 1980s. They were off doing things and they
didn't like what the Corps was doing. They talked openly at board meetings
about divorcing themselves from the Corps of Engineers. There was a kind of
rebellious child thing. As we began to work together on the Kissimmee, it was
more of [an] adult relationship. When your child grows up, you can treat him as
an adult. It's this evolution out of the fifty-plus years we've been together as
partners. The early era, the middle era, and now. The Kissimmee, to me, was
the beginning of the modern era with the Water Management District. I can trace
Kissimmee back to how we do business as two agencies, how we're in
partnership, [there is] a lot more mutual respect, a lot more [of a] collaborative
process. The Kissimmee is the beginning point, at least in my mind. Others may
have different views about particular projects, but that stands out in my mind.
G: How much interaction did you have with the governor's office during that period?
A: The Corps had very little. That was primarily handled by the South Florida Water
Management District. Before they published their findings [in a] report in 1990,
they took it to the governor's office. I remember because Kent Lofton was the
project manager, the guy that was honcho for the Water Management District. I
remember him saying they took [the report] up; they flew to Tallahassee [with]
the governing board chairman [and] the executive director, [and] met with
Governor [Bob] Martinez [Florida governor, 1987-1991] and got the governor to
buy off on the plan that they had. They finalized the report and that's what they
wanted to get authorized [and instead] got [a study] authorized. After that, when
we were actually working, from 1990-1992, we down here in Jacksonville really
didn't work [with] the governor's office at all. [At] the Washington level, the
assistant secretary at the time was Nancy Dorn. Ms. Dorn worked with Governor
[Lawton] Chiles [Florida governor 1991-1998 (died in office)]. That's where the
deal-making was done. It was clearly done at a policy level at Washington,
dealing with the governor's office. The Water Management District probably dealt
directly with Tallahassee, we in Jacksonville just weren't involved with that.
G: In what way did the experience of going through the Kissimmee project change
the Corps of Engineers, as an organization?
A: It would be hard for me to say how it affected the entire organization. Here in
Jacksonville, I think it had a large effect. Because this deadline was so important
and mandated, we had very intense management from Colonel Malson, who was
the district engineer at the time. I remember we had weekly Kissimmee group
meetings up in the main conference room with red, yellow, green indicators. All
the staff chiefs had to be there. Probably there were some unhappy campers
because the Colonel was very clear that this was our number-one priority. We
were going to make this date, come hell or high water. There were no excuses.
Whatever resources needed to be directed to that effort would be directed. I had
carte-blanche [for] the people that worked for me [to do] whatever was needed.
[It] caused some repercussions. I think there were some hard feelings about the
fact that we were number-one, kind of the golden child. Other projects or jobs
suffered for resources because we got whatever we wanted. Certainly, there
were some old-timers that had problems with the whole concept of undoing the
project. I think the success of getting that through, [and] seeing the kudos we
were getting, was starting to permeate the organization. [People thought], we can
do environmental work, we can be viewed as a good agency, not just a bunch of
black-hatted dikers, drainers and ditchers. I think it had some real positive
effects here in the Jacksonville district. What was interesting, [was that] clearly
at the Washington level, they had gotten the mandate that we were going to meet
this date [given] by Congress. At that time we had the Washington-level review
center, we had the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors. At the staff level,
they clearly fell in line. I think there may have been a sense of some generals
grumbling at the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors. They knew the
administration had stepped in. The deal-making was done by the assistant
secretary's office and these generals needed to go along with it. [End of side 1,
tape A] I think [with] the effort we're engaged in now, Everglades restoration,
[the] bigger picture has been a changing experience for the Corps. That's had an
interesting evolution, too.
G: In October 1988, U.S. Attorney Dexter Lehtinen filed his lawsuit against the
South Florida Water Management District and the State Department of
Environmental Regulation, claiming that the state water-quality standards had
been violated. What was the reaction within the Corps to this litigation?
A: That lawsuit was filed back in mid-1988. I had just arrived here from Baltimore. I
remember the lawsuit coming in. At that point, I don't recall a lot of reaction one
way or the other, except we knew that the Water Management District was tied
up in the litigation. It colored a lot of what they were doing. Their focus clearly
was [on] that lawsuit. It was hard to engage them in other things. They spent a
lot of staff time and a lot of money trying to fight that lawsuit. The amazing thing
was, that went on until Lawton Chiles came in as governor. The famous, I
surrender [speech]. Who do I hand my sword to? Suddenly changed. That's
when the Water Management District flipped from spending] whatever it takes to
defend against the litigation to [an attitude] that [it] is over with, let's move on.
That was really an affirming event for them. I don't recall a whole lot [of activity],
but it may have been because I wasn't directly involved in those things. There
were people involved in the negotiated settlement, people involved in the
technical-mediation panel, and so forth, that probably were tied up to some
degree. Once the lawsuit had been settled, they had an administrative
challenge. I think the Corps got more involved simply because part of the lawsuit
settlement was [that] we, the federal government, were going to act as partners
with the state. Of course, the sugar-growers turned around and file an
administrative suit. That put the federal government in the [position to] help
defend. I think the settlement happened in 1991-1992. The administrative
challenge [was] probably filed in 1992. I know this went on for a few years.
[When] the [Bill] Clinton [U.S. President, 1993-2001] administration got in office,
getting some closure on that litigation, the administrative hearings was in high
gear. There were all kinds of negotiations going on at pretty high levels. That's
when the authorization to do the restudy of the Central and Southern Florida
Project was kicking in. We were affected, I know I personally was affected,
because we had the lawyers from the sugar-growers camp out here for a week,
going through every file. That's when they were going through discovery, which
is a chilling thing. Essentially, they come in with a discovery order and [they
want] every file, everything you [have]. They actually had a team. I'm only one
office [of] many offices. They had a complete team working through my office for
a week, going through every document, figuring out what they needed to tag and
get copies of. It's pretty extensive. They were also sending stenographers to
every meeting we had when we had a public meeting.
I think the most bizarre moment was [at] the Everglades coalition meeting
in January of 1994, in Miami. The litigation, the sugar challenge, was still going
on. Rock Salt [Executive Director of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration
Task Force] was the speaker at the reception. [It was] a cocktail party, [with] a
little podium set up [for] a speaker. The stenographer showed up to this cocktail
party and set up her machinery. She's off on the side [at] a little round table.
You have a hundred people mingling, having drinks, there's Rock, the guest
speaker. That's how absurd the litigation was. Any time any official was
speaking publically, they were going to take down a transcript and file it away or
use it. That's how tense things were in that time frame.
G: What was your evaluation of the Everglades Forever Act, which settled this
A: [When] the Everglades Forever Act was passed, the message we got was [that]
all the parties had gotten together and finally settled this through legislation.
Everybody was saying things were looking good. We looked at the legislation.
The STAs [Stormwater Treatment Areas], per se, didn't affect what we were
doing at the time. I thought it was interesting that it was more than just water-
quality improvements, but there are flow aspects to the Everglades Forever Act.
I was concerned about what [the] potential impacts would be on the Everglades
work. We had started the restudy in the summer of 1993 and the Everglades
Forever Act was passed in the spring of 1994. We were in the midst of things
and the concern was whether we were getting into the water-quantity aspect in
flow and what impact there would be on the work we were doing. That was
probably my biggest concern at the time. We had just started the restudy. We
were in the midst of what we called the reconnaissance study, which was an
eighteen-month effort. Magical team working on this, great bunch of people,
really good group. There was [an] interview with Secretary [Bruce] Babbitt
[Secretary of the Interior, 1993-2001] about the Everglades Forever Act and [he
talked about] what his thoughts [were]. He said he thought it was a good thing.
It was a little bit like, this is a peace in our time, kind of thing. This is all very
good. There's this restudy going on by the Corps of Engineers. When that
comes out, all bets are off. We could have a major calamity again. There's a
peaceful solution now on water-quality. We support it, it's great. But when this
Corps of Engineers restudy gets done, when they come out with the
reconnaissance report in the fall of 1994, God only knows what's going to
happen. I used that clipping to [show] the team [and] say, here we are. You
signed up to work for the federal government, you just thought you were going to
be a bureaucrat. Here you all are, you've got a cabinet official wondering what it
is this group is going to put out and how that's going to affect the United States.
You ought to relish this moment. Most people can work their [entire] careers and
never have that kind of impact. This is what this effort is about, this is why it's so
important. Here we are, sitting as a bunch of bureaucrats, [and this is the impact
we] have on the whole United States. It was this magical moment. I used the
team meeting to try to [to do] some team-building. That was the feeling when the
Everglades Forever Act came out.
G: Does the Corps have any role in the implementation of the Everglades Forever
A: We do have a role in the C-51 project. Much of the Everglades Forever Act
deals with something called the Everglades Construction Project. That's a series
of six stormwater treatment areas that will improve the quality of flows going into
the water conservation areas, in other words, the Everglades. Five of those
stormwater treatment areas are to be constructed by the South Florida Water
Management District. They've been going gang-busters since 1994 in
constructing. A lot of them are coming on line and they're right on schedule.
One of them, called STA-1 East, is part of the Corps C-51 project. It's a project
that had been hanging around since the early 1960s. The plan was to make
improvements to the West Palm Beach Canal. The West Palm Beach Canal
goes from Lake Okeechobee, enters into Loxahatchee and continues on out to
the ocean. The plan that was developed originally was [for] drainage right to the
east coast. In the late 1960s, they modified the plan to have a split, put a divide
structure in the part east of the divide structure, [and] continue to go out to the
ocean. The part to the west would be back-pumped into Loxahatchee. That
never went anywhere, because that was going to cause water-quality problems.
To complete the C-51 project, they sublimated that into the stormwater treatment
area concept. The bottom line was, to complete the uncompleted C-51 project,
we're going to incorporate STA-1 East, one of the stormwater treatment areas,
as part of the solution. The completion of this project has been on the books, not
dormant, but unable to get completed. [We] fit it together with the Everglades
Forever Act project, and lo and behold, now have solved the flood-protection and
the water-quality issues in one swoop. So there is a federal contribution to this
through that one project. That's the one piece the federal government is doing
on the Everglades Forever Act.
G: How did you become involved with the comprehensive review and the restudy
A: I think I have Rock Salt to thank or blame for that. When Rock got here in 1991, I
was chief of the flood control-flood plain management group in planning. The
name is a little bit misleading. We were the group that was doing the Kissimmee
when Rock got here. The last act that Colonel Malson did before he left office
was to transmit our draft report on the Kissimmee. That was on his watch. To
meet our schedule, that was the intensive management I talked about. [We had]
management meetings once a week. He was going to personally transmit the
draft report to higher headquarters on his last day here and we did that. We
signed out. The next day, Rock Salt began his tenure as district engineer. That
was a Friday, so you have a nice change-of-command ceremony, a little party.
Monday morning, you get to work. Monday morning, I get a call from Rock Salt,
[saying], I want to see you at 4:00, talk about Kissimmee, get up to speed. The
finalization of the Kissimmee happened on Rock Salt's watch. We're talking
about August 1991 through April 1992. Rock was intrinsically involved in all the
policy discussions and processing [of] that report. I spent a lot of time with Rock
and saw Rock in action.
In August of 1992, we had Hurricane Andrew. We sent a tremendous
number of people, including Rock and all the senior staff, for a long period of
time, down to south Florida. Horrendous disaster. [We had] about 600-700
people from the Corps of Engineers doing their missions down there. Amazing
effort. Rock personally called me in, because debris disposal was a major issue.
They had all this debris, the question was, what are [they] going to do with it?
The landfills, the places they could dump it were filling up, they needed an
environmental solution. Burning was getting to be pretty unpopular. I flew down
at the time, [and] as you're flying down the pilot says, there is haze. That's
because of the burning of debris that's going on. That's the kind of impact it's
having. Clearly, they needed a debris-disposal plan, because within the next
week or ten days, [Rock said,] the way we were going, we were going to run out
of space to put debris. Once that happens, the debris-removal operation is shut
down and you have debris in the streets. You're trying to clean the debris up so
people can begin to reconstruct. If that gets shut down, we have a terrible
situation. We've got seven more days of being able to stockpile debris. If we
don't have a solution, we're out of time. I need you to come down, put a team
together, come up with a plan. You're a great planner, I want you to come up
with a solution. I want the [plan] down there within a five-day period. I had a
seventy-page report on his desk with a plan for disposal of debris, a multifaceted
plan. By that point, having done the Kissimmee for Rock, having done the debris
work, I [had a] reputation as being a guy that can solve problems. As we began
the Clinton administration in 1993 [with] this rumination [that] it's time to look at
the C&SF project, I think he had in mind [that] Stu's the right guy to be heading
The Everglades Coalition always meets every January. January of 1992
we had completed the final report of Kissimmee, it's now up at the Washington
level for processing. There's all kinds of policy [issues], the policy folks are
involved. Nancy Dorn is the assistant secretary. She wants to see the
Kissimmee. She's invited to be a speaker at the Everglades Coalition. We have
this field trip. [The state] wants to brief her first-hand about the right cautionary
formula. Senator Graham is getting involved because this is his pet project.
There's a set of briefings that go on in the Kissimmee overflight. We end up in
Key Largo, it's January 1992, she's invited to be a speaker at the Everglades
Coalition meeting. She speaks at a breakfast meeting. The Everglades Coalition
has its annual press conference that Saturday where they announce whatever
their message for the year is. I'm at the Sheraton Key Largo, it's an open-air
[place]. I'm up on the third floor looking over the rail as these enviro-groups are
having the press conference. They're announcing that their priority for this
coming year, 1992, is to re-plumb south Florida. We've got to do something
about the Central and Southern Florida Project to begin to restore the
Everglades. The fundamental thing is to get the water right. This project has
caused the problems, we've got to get it retooled. We'll be devoting our efforts to
getting some legislative fix, to get the Corps of Engineers to fix this. I'm not
thinking twice. That's interesting. At the end of 1992, they actually get the
legislation through. They get the Water Resources Development Act of 1992 to
[include] a section on a review of the Corps of Engineers C&SF project. They get
two House resolutions in September of 1992, so the legislation comes and the
Clinton administration takes over in January 1993. The administration says we
have two environmental priorities. The Columbia River basin [and] the salmon,
and the Everglades. We're going to get the Everglades going on our watch.
Recognizing that, beginning in the spring of 1993, we're getting these
ruminations that the review study was going to happen. It begins to get to [the]
March-April time frame. I'm getting ruminations from my boss [that] this restudy
could be coming any day now. I think they're tapping you to [head] this. You
ought to start thinking about how you're going to do this. Interesting enough,
when the legislation passed at the end of 1992, it's the review of the entire
Central and Southern Florida Project. I'm sitting down [with] Lewis Hornung, who
is a project manager for C&SF. I'm chatting, I [say,] this review study that was
authorized is pretty cool. He [says], yeah, we need to do this, this is great. I
said, that would be a pretty cool study. If I ran that study, I would do some pretty
interesting things. I would do things that had never been done. I would [not]
treat it [as] business as usual. [I'd] do different things. Here we come, three, four,
five months later. Hey, you're going to head this up. At least I had a little bit of
lead time to think about the effort, think how I wanted to handle it. We wound up
not starting officially until July. I really had a three-month process of [thinking]
how am I going to get this done, what the basis [was]. The things that started
jelling for me was [that] I wanted to do this as an interdisciplinary team. I don't
think that was unique or novel for the Corps. I wanted to elevate [what] at the
time we were calling public involvement. Essentially, I felt that given the politics
and the sensitivity of all the things going on, we had to do things more holistically,
with public involvement. The traditional Corps [attitude] was always, we're
getting ready to put a report out, I guess we better have a public meeting so we
can communicate with the public what it is we've decided we're going to do.
That's always been the traditional formal public meeting, and I'm just as guilty of
that as anybody else. I knew we were going to have to do it differently. What I
wanted to do was integrate public involvement, outreach, into the whole study-
process, just like the hydrology and hydraulics of the engineering design. It was
an intrinsic piece of what we're doing, as opposed to [the attitude that] we don't
[have] public involvement until we get to a certain point and then either we do it
as an add-on duty for a project manager to say, I better go communicate with the
public or give it to somebody else. It was always kind of an afterthought. This
idea was [that] we were going to do it holistically, as a part of what we're doing. I
wanted [to do this] interagency; we couldn't go it alone. We need to involve, in
fact, we ought to co-locate people.
They had sent me off to school for a couple of weeks for organizational
leadership for executives. I came back with all kinds of wild ideas about how you
lead people and do things differently. We were going to do things differently.
We're going to physically [co-]locate people. The team needs to be together, not
working in different locations. We're going to put the hydrologists in the same
room as the ecologists. We're going to let them talk to each other. We're going
to do things as a team. We're going to communicate. I kind of modeled it on the
Skunkworks operation that you hear of [at] Lockheed [aviation engineering
company of which Skunkworks was an internal component], who developed a lot
of the fighter planes. They had this concept of Skunkworks where you put the
right people in a room. You give them their own status off on the side, they are
no longer working for the same organization, but they're kind of a unique, stand-
alone organization, you let them go solve tough problems. That was a model I
wanted to use. Rock was extremely supportive of that. That's what Rock wanted
to do. It was perfect. They gave me that mission, [in] July of 1993, to put this
group together. We went off and running.
G: Why did you think it was necessary to do things differently, in terms of including
the public and building interdisciplinary teams?
A: I thought there was no way we were going to be successful unless we did things
differently. The Corps was perceived as the bad guys. We had screwed up the
system in the first place. This clearly had to be done very differently. If it went
off as traditional Corps of Engineers, almost arrogant, then I think we're going to
be unsuccessful. I was colored by the Kissimmee experience and what was
working. I had come to the conclusion that what we were all guilty of as
agencies, is [a lack of] coordination. We do something ourselves and then we
coordinate with other agencies. We say, here's what we're going to do, what do
you think? The other agency official says, [that's] horrible. We go, oh my God,
we have to go back and do it again. Given the time-frame, we didn't have the
luxury of do[ing] this over and over again. I wanted to go to collaboration, more
to integration than coordination, [to] get all the same players in the room. I
started pitching this co-location of people. What I would pitch to the agencies is
[that] we want you to send your people to work with us, be physically located with
us. That person has three roles. Number one, that person is there to bring the
perspective of your agency to our table. We're not coordinating anymore, but we
don't have to guess what Fish and Wildlife Services or EPA [Environmental
Protection Agency] wants. You're part of the team; we've got you in the room. It
doesn't take the place of formal coordination later on. Obviously, anybody that
comes to the table brings their perspective of the agency, their culture, with them
and we want that. We're not going to have them there as an official
spokesperson or official representative of the agency. Number two is, you want
that person to be communicating regularly back to the home office. You then
have an insight of what the Corps is doing. It's not a surprise anymore, they're
communicating regularly. We know what you guys are up to and what you want,
[and] you know what we're up to. There's a better communication flow. The third
thing is, you bring a technical expertise to the table. That person is a specialist
and we want that extra pair of hands to help us. I always viewed getting inter-
agency people as kind of a triple-header. One, we get the culture and
perspective of the agency; two, they report back what we're doing so it's not a
surprise; three, they've got good technical expertise. I put the team together, we
pitched this mantra of, leave your agency hat at the door. One of my guys came
in one day and because I had [said], leave your agency hat at the door, he
literally brought these "agency" hats that he had created with the logo of "agency"
on it. You could literally leave your hat at the door. The message started taking
hold. We really put a very special group together.
There were about twelve of us working in 1993, really trying to do things
differently. I used the [phrase], "something tells me we're not in Kansas anymore,
Toto," [from the Wizard of Oz] [and] put a big banner up. The whole idea was to
have the look and feel of what we were doing, be like a Skunkworks. The notion
is [that] we were different. Probably that caused some rivalry. My group was
self-contained. We were a very high-functioning, successful team. Probably
caused some consternation in the organization because it comes off as elitist.
There's this group getting all the attention, all the resources it needs, gets direct
access to the district engineer. Rock comes in every once in a while. We had
white boards set up in the big open-area conference. Anytime somebody had an
issue, problem, [or] concern, you get the group together and work it out as a
group. A lot of group time, lot of group thinking, as opposed to individualistic, sit-
at-your-desk [or] cubicle [kind of work]. [We] had to train people. People have this
tendency to think of meetings as non-productive and real work gets done when
you go back to your desk. When we started this restudy group, because it was
new, different, we didn't know. We had a lot of things to work out, technically.
We would meet probably five hours a day, five days a week. This went on for a
few weeks, months. Folks are starting [to say], you got to cut down on the
meetings Stu, we're not getting any work done because all we are [doing] is
meeting. A few months later, when we saw the interaction among people and
how the hydrologists understood where the ecologists were coming from, they
understood the value of what I was trying to [do], which was to foster more of an
interdisciplinary group-think as opposed to people just figuring [they] have to go it
alone or solve the problem [alone]. We were all learning together. It was a pretty
good microcosm of the process of how you grow as a group and solve things. I
know the image outside the group was elitist, they [thought we] got all the
resources. In fact, I had this thing going with Lewis because he put a memo out.
He had this weekly meeting, he called it a team-of-teams. He said, what do you
call your group? I said, if you have the team-of-teams, I've got the dream team.
[They thought we were] elitist, the dream team. We don't hear that anymore, but
certainly at that time it was a strange group. [People thought], they're kind of out
of control. I think now [if] you look at the culture of the organization, it's adopted
a lot of what we were doing. It really was a special time, a special group of
Interagency [cooperation] was the thing I clearly wanted. I think the
primary drive was to show the public that it wasn't your father's Corps of
Engineers anymore. It was really going to be a different effort, we were open to
fresh ideas. I think there was a lot of fear when the restudy started. They'd
given this mission to Corps of Engineers, they won't care about the Everglades.
They'll turn it into a water-supply plan or what-have-you. [There was] a lot of
trepidation about the efforts. We used a lot of humor in the group. I think it's an
effective tool for cutting through tension, hostile scenes. You can kind of diffuse
things. Not [to] be cut-up about it, but just to use humor as a diffusing weapon.
That was pretty effective. Rock liked the group. I used to conduct what he called
hot-washes, which is some term he's invented where [there] is not a lot of prep.
Somebody comes in and you get a five- or ten-minute briefing and then we chat
about it. We go to the white boards and we work out ideas. A lot of creativity, a
very creative group. I think we kind of caught on after awhile and got a little more
I think there was an acceptance that the restudy was the last, best hope
for solving these big issues in the Everglades. The Corps had to be involved,
we're talking about massive investments. You've got to change the water
management system. I think we slowly began to get a lot of respect. I think
associated with that, critical to that, was all the work that was going on
institutionally at the working group, the task force, and the governor's
Commission for a Sustainable South Florida. I can't say enough about the
leadership of Dick Pettigrew [speaker, Florida House of Representatives, 1971-
1972] and the jelling of that group and solving a lot of stuff. When I go out and
lecture, I talk about, how do you get an implementable plan? You've got a
technical feasibility piece, you have political acceptability. Where the two circles
intersect is the zone you want to be in. The Corps of Engineers historically focus
on the technical feasibility. We're a bunch of good technical professionals and
we think like engineers. [We think], if you don't agree with me, it's simply
because I haven't explained the stuff technically correctly to you. Once you
understand the same problem-solving that I've gone through, then you'll agree
with me. We're amazed when people don't agree with us. We had this
arrogance that we're good technical people and we go out and figure technical
solutions. We take it and say, what do you think? Everybody goes, terrible.
We're shocked and offended. We've got to go back and do it a second, third,
and fourth time. We've been guilty of thinking everything was technical. It is
sometimes partly technical, although there are different viewpoints about [what
is] technical. Then there's political acceptability. It's not partisan politics. You
work in a society where you have politics and decision-making groups intrinsically
involved in the governmental process. You've got to recognize and respect that.
The trick here is to work with them in tandem. Not that you're prostituting yourself
technically, but you are working [on] solutions that have a chance of being
adopted. When you can't go with what the political process tells you or what
groups like the governor's commission want to do, you can explain technically
why this won't work and you'll have respect for that. You've got to marry the two
together. We were very successful in marrying the two together. The technical
work, which I think we do so well, and the institutional work, which historically we
haven't done well. This was all part of this outreach effort that we were
integrating from day one, holistically. A lot of things came together for us,
particularly with the governor's commission.
G: What was the purpose of the original reconnaissance setting that took place
between 1993 and 1994?
A: I think the goal was to figure out the problem with the Everglades, what should be
done about it, [and] the Corps of Engineers' role. It was an eighteen-month
effort. It started June of 1993, although it didn't officially kick off until July of 1993
[and] went through November of 1994. We put out this massive report on it. We
spent about twelve of the months working on problem identification and then we
did some plan formulation. In retrospect, I probably should have spent the entire
eighteen months in problem identification. When we started looking at plans in
the recon, there was tremendous pressure on us. As we're going through
problem identification, people understood we needed to do that. [They] began to
get impatient. When are you going to get on with [it]? Everybody wants to jump
to what the problem is [and] what's your solution? Everybody is convinced they
know what the problem is. There was a lot of impatience after about six to eight
months into the restudy of the recon. When are you going to start formulating
some plans? You're spending a lot of time on problem identification. Where's the
plan? In retrospect, [we] probably should have said, we're not going to look at
plans at all. This is strictly about making sure we have warm, fuzzy feelings
about what the problems are. The twelve months that we spent, I think, paid off.
[If] you look at the legwork we did, the way we involved the public in problem
identification, the way we went at it technically, through the working group, using
the science-coordination team, was the way to go. The whole technical strength
of the restudy effort was those first twelve months [spent] identifying the problem.
A lot of good stuff came out of that.
G: Whatever happened to the six alternatives that came out at the end of that
A: Our message at the end of that process was [that] it was too early to select a
plan. There were a lot of good ideas there, but it was real early. People started
voting on plans. The environmental movement wrote letters [saying], plan six is
it. In early January 1994, [at the] Everglades Coalition meeting, the briefing on
this, [they would] say, how many here think plan six is the right plan? Ninety
percent of the hands shoot up. I go, wrong. Man, the place deflates. It's too
early to pick a plan, [and] I went on to talk. That's why, in retrospect, I probably
never should have gotten to plans. If you look at the plan today, there are
certainly some elements in there that were in plans one through six. I really think
we didn't have a good enough handle back then. There were some good ideas,
but we probably shouldn't have bundled it up as plans one through six. Probably
should have bundled it up as concepts or components, instead of going the next
step of taking one of these and one of those and call that plan three. That was
the problem, it was a little too definitive. The restudy effort that was completed in
July 1999 was much more comprehensive, much better, [and] much more
defendable in terms of the technical analysis as it regards plan-formulation.
G: What individuals were part of your team and what agencies did they represent?
A: We're talking about the reconnaissance study. I brought in Ken Orth, who, at the
time, was with our Institute for Water Resources. Ken and I go back a long time.
Ken is a free-thinker, but a great plan-formulator, has a lot of good ideas. I
needed him and said, I've got to have you on this reconnaissance effort. I want
you to be the guy that's going to give me a lot of wild ideas, kick me in the ass,
and make me think about stuff. I may not always agree with you, it may not go
your way, but at least I want to be thinking of stuff. I brought in Carol Sanders,
who was in public affairs at the headquarters office. Carol, I want intrinsic public
involvement, outreach. [I] got a lot of resistance, organizationally. That was a
hard sell. Rock was very supportive of that, my boss wasn't. It was like, we don't
need that position, what we need is another engineer. I [said] no, I got to have
guidance in public involvement. Thank God we won on that, because I think that
was critical to success. [We needed to] make it look different, [and] it is a
different Corps of Engineers because now we're integrating people, we're
involving people. Richard Punnett, we brought it from the Huntington district.
Richard would come to us as the water-quality expert. We thought we needed a
water-quality expert. Richard got on board, went through a lot of heartburn,
released from his Huntington district. [We] got him here, he spent a couple of
months working with water-quality. He came to me and said, Stu, there's not
much I can do about water-quality. There's litigation going on, there's not a lot of
good models and I'm a modeler. I don't think I can help you a whole lot. What I
can help you with is developing a model that is object-oriented. We can play
games of what happens if I take this canal out. I can build a model of the entire
system that will be useful as a screening tool. We let him go with that. All the
modeling for the reconnaissance was done by Richard. Richard was like one of
those unexpected finds, because you thought you were bringing somebody in to
deal with one aspect. What we wound up using him for was something much
different, much better. Richard was a good find. We eventually got Bill Hunt, the
economist. Russ Reed, who used to work for me here in ecosystem restoration,
had worked for me since he began his Corps career in 1990. He had done
Kissimmee for me. Hard-charging, get-it-done kind of guy. When it comes time
to put a report out, there's nobody better. You've got to have that kind of guy.
There was no question, you had to have Russ Reed working on this study, [to] be
a part of that team, get that reconnaissance report out for us. Whatever it takes
to get it done, Russ is going to get it done. He's a smart guy, works [well] with
people. I think [that was] the nucleus of Corps people. We had Dave Unsell
from the Water Management District, [he] was their guy spending some time here
in Jacksonville. Cheryl Buckingham, who at the time worked for the Fish and
Wildlife Service, now works for us in the Corps of Engineers. John Ogden, at the
time, was with Everglades Park, then he moved over to the Water Management
District. John is the grandfather of a lot of Everglades restoration. Joan Browder
[was] from National Marine Fisheries Service. I'm undoubtedly missing people.
G: You talked about the relationships you were able to build with this group. Was
there carryover from the reconnaissance phase as you went into the restudy
phase later on?
A: Absolutely. Liz Manners was the ecologist the Corps had on the
reconnaissance. It was kind of a seamless morphing from the reconnaissance
study. The reconnaissance study was the charge of the C&SF study session.
We put this temporary organization together, moved people in temporarily,
including me, to be a part of this eighteen-month effort. As we were getting
closure on that effort, Rock went ahead and made a permanent organization
change creating the Ecosystem Restoration section. He made permanent what
had started as a temporary group. A lot of people stayed involved in the group.
We just [went] from completing the reconnaissance study into developing the
cautionary agreement, because we had a cautionary agreement to go into the
feasibility study. [We] then continued on the restudy as a feasibility study. The
group started expanding and we started getting more people involved in this
G: What did the Governor's Commission for Sustainable Development do and how
did it contribute to the restudy process?
A: That group started in March of 1994. At the time, the federal side had created
the ecosystem restoration task force. Bruce Babbitt created that. It was [made
up of] the seven federal agencies. In 1994, we couldn't have non-federal
[agencies involved]. There were all kinds of restrictions on having non-federal
[agencies involved]. The idea of the original task force was [to get the] federal
government's act together. We need to have agencies pulling on the same sheet
of music. It was a good concept. [There was] a long history of fussing and
fighting [among] federal agencies, so let's get the federal agencies at least to be
on the same sheet of music. Unfortunately, the state and local governments,
other entities, couldn't participate in that. That was a problem. I think Lawton
Chiles's solution was [to] create this advisory body, the Governor's Commission
for a Sustainable South Florida. He put a good leader in there, Dick Pettigrew,
[who had a] long history as Speaker of the House. Well-respected, a good
leader. [He] put five federal agencies in as ex officio, non-voting members so
they can play [a role]. We can have one arena where the federal [and] non-
federal stakeholders can all play. We avoid all the Federal Advisory Committee
Act problems and all the restrictions that the federal government had when it had
its task force. That was a way to bypass restrictions. This restudy is starting up
during the reconnaissance phase, there are some significant things going on
here. We need to have a place where stakeholders play.
[It] is kind of hard because even though [the federal government is] doing
wonderful outreach, there are still restrictions on how much [they] can do through
the Federal Advisory Committee Act. I think the Governor's Commission was an
attempt to do that. The Governor's Commission was a very broad group with a
very broad mission: sustainability. They spent probably six months just trying to
come together as a group, get a lot of briefings, including briefings on the C&SF
project and other things, [the] restudy, [and] trying to sort out their mission. It
was much broader than the restudy, [the goal of] sustainability. Dick was a
consensus-building master, [good at] listening. He is very much an
environmentalist. He is well-respected by the other interests, the sugar guys, the
utility guys, because he's fair. He has true allegiance to the process. If you
honor the process and the fact that you're fair, it really doesn't become that
important what your personal views are or what camp you're in, because you're
running the organization [in a way that is] scrupulously fair. Everybody gets a
say, we're not just going to take votes willy-nilly. We're going to work this thing
through until we get it solved. The way he set the stage was real important.
After about six months, they began to break into committees and work on
things. Obviously, the water committee was most engaged in the restudy. There
were a whole lot of issues of sustainability. We put out a report in October of
1995 on sustainability. They had 110 recommendations. It was a massive
volume. They adopted it by consensus. It was a very painstaking, methodical
approach. They used the Florida conflict-resolution consortium of Bob Jones and
some of those folks. [That is a] wonderful group, amazing how they operate. [It
is] painful going through the process, but then you have the luxury of stepping
back and thinking about how they did what they did, it's just amazing that they
got that report. Once they got the 110-recommendation sustainability report
through, they turned to the restudy. Water was the most critical piece. They
spent a lot of time [on that]. I want to say 75 percent of their effort, subsequent
to October 1995, was related to the restudy.
One of those 110 recommendations was [that] no later than January 1, or
[around] that [time], the Governor's Commission should give the Corps of
Engineers and the Water Management District its preferred alternatives for the
restudy. As soon as they were done with that report, they immediately turned
toward the restudy. [Colonel] Terry Rice was the district engineer at that time.
Terry turns to me, and [asks], what do you want to do here? [End of side 2, tape
A] Colonel Rice got together with me and said, what do we need to do with the
Governor's Commission? I told him that I could put a process together that was
going to basically turn the Governor's Commission into a bunch of planners. We
would work through workshops, [and] get them engaged in developing preferred
alternatives. We actually did that over a three- or four-month period with the
Governor's Commission, where we had a workshop to do problem identification,
develop objectives, then [did] plan formulation to develop what became the top-
40 list. They had a list of forty measures or options for projects that would solve
the restudy. Essentially, we were helping shape [their direction] by providing
them [with a] technical background and giving them Planning 101. It was a real
interesting process that went on in late 1995.
At the last workshop, they adopted this top-40 list. I thought, wow, we're
done with the Governor's Commission. Rock [Salt] raises his hand and says,
what are we doing next with this? We need more information. So we go back, I
talked again with Terry Rice and [asked], what do we do now? Somehow this
notion of a conceptual plan came up. I said, Colonel, I think what we can do is
go through some more workshops with them. I'm concerned that they're going
too far, too fast. They've got this top-40 list and [what] Rock wants, as a member
of the group, is [for] you to go out and do feasibility studies, level engineering and
design work on these forty options. I said, I think it's premature to have a plan.
Why don't we take them back a step? You've got concepts, why don't we figure
out what the themes are with the concepts. Somehow our group, it was probably
a group solution, me and Russ and others, got this notion of a conceptual plan.
Let's take them back a step and develop a conceptual plan. That's what we think
is useful. Otherwise, they're going to begin to interfere with the restudy, because
we're going through a very deliberative process of trying to develop our study. If
these guys jump to a solution too quick, we may be going down the wrong path.
We have to take them back a step. They think they've got the forty [measures]
and now we're going to develop the project. I said, Colonel, I got a process and
a plan to do now. I'm a little concerned that it's not exactly what they asked for.
They thought we were going to take the forty [measures] and give them more
detail. Now, we're taking them a step back. We're going to have to sell that. [He
said, it] shouldn't be a problem. I go talk to Dick [Pettigrew, who said, it]
shouldn't be a problem. So we go ahead and I get the staff together, we go off-
site. We begin to develop a conceptual plan, which is to [use] the forty
[measures]. What is it we have here? We [have] eight or ten themes that are the
creme-de-la-creme. So we begin to develop this concept of the conceptual plan
and these themes. Let's put a first draft together. I go to present this to the
Governor's Commission and, just as I suspected, I get [questions from them like],
what the hell is this? Who asked for this? This is not what we asked for. Of
course, I'm absolutely getting creamed. [They asked,] who empowered you
guys? March of 1996, we go through a process [under] Dick Pettigrew's
leadership. [We] begin to work with them and by June we were beginning to
really shape these concepts. There are no longer ten, there are about thirteen.
As [it] typically goes in the Governor's Commission, language is going back and
forth. They're getting down to the gut issues. I'm spending most of June and
July working in small groups. They had sub-committees and I would go there
[for] the day. They'd try to work through the issues. This went on for a period of
about a month. The way the Governor's Commission will operate, that Dick
[Pettigrew] wanted it to operate, is [that if there was] a problem, [we'd] figure out
what the issue is, have the right cross-section of people go off, work on the
solution, bring it back. Work on a consensus. That's the charge. [It] worked
beautifully. It's painful. It is really tough stuff, until you finally get people to solve
the problem. They do that, and bring it back.
By August of 1996, they were able to adopt, unanimously, the conceptual
plan. Our approach in negotiating [meant that] every word becomes important.
An interest may say, this word offends me. You have [about] 120 amendments
that you have to work through over a three-day meeting. Bob Jones [was] at the
conflict-resolution consortium, [it is a] wonderful job how they get people to
figure out what the issues are, figure out where you need to have people spend
their time, articulating or working on a solution and bringing it back. It's just a
great solution process. The final report looked a whole lot like what we
presented to them in March. I kind of joked that the attitude people were giving
me was, had you given us the report this way in the first place, we wouldn't have
given you a hard time. Of course, what they adopted was pretty similar. A better
product, clearly they had done some things [differently], added things. The
concepts were not a whole lot different from what we had. We were able to
adopt that. I sure got my head handed to me early on in that.
G: What did it mean to have that kind of consensus over the conceptual plan for
what you were trying to do?
A: I think it was one of the key things making the restudy successful at the end.
There's a lot of heavy-lifting that happened on that conceptual plan. First, you
had these concepts, water storage and EAA [Everglades Agricultural Area], [that
were] pretty controversial. The map that's in the back of the conceptual plan is
the map that was created by Tommy Strowd. I use it, I say it's the best non-map
map ever created. Maps are highly personal. [If] you show a feature
somewhere, you're impacting somebody's property, [whether that's] good or bad
[for them]. It gets real personal. The map in the back of the conceptual plan is
this concept thing. It's not anybody's property, but it's just our vision. It's a vision
document. He created that map. We didn't ask him to do it. He'd been listening
in. [It shows] how these thirteen concepts of the conceptual plan were linked
together. As soon as [we] saw that first map, we said, that's it. Everybody went,
whoa! We started getting [it] dressed up and we presented it at the Governor's
Commission. We just knew we had it, at that moment. That conceptual plan was
so important because of the heavy lifting, the politics, technical feasibility, [and]
political acceptability. Political acceptability really was worked out in those
thirteen concepts. We want water-quality, so we're going to have to start water
treatment areas. We need to have water storage, we're going to have reservoirs.
Here's what we need to do about the EAA. Here's what to do about water
supply. All the pieces of the puzzle were there. The Corps and the Water
Management District staff played a very intense role with that. Obviously, to
some degree, we helped shape that conceptual plan, so it's not surprising that as
the restudy proceeded along and we looked at solutions, they looked a whole lot
like what the Governor's Commission had gone through. In fact, by the time we
put the draft restudy document out, they went through a review process and
could send a letter to the governor saying, we've reviewed the report and it's
consistent with the conceptual plan. I had that seal of approval. I think that was
important. I don't think we would have been successful without having the
conceptual plan. In fact, the 1996 legislation said, we like the way the restudy is
going, now get it done quicker, by July 1, 1999, [and] by the way, use the
Governor's Commission conceptual plan. Consider that in the development of
your comprehensive plan. There was clear guidance at the political level [that]
this looks pretty good. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into that conceptual
plan and that ought to be something you take seriously in developing the restudy.
G: Would you lead me through the process by which the restudy plan was
A: We talked about the reconnaissance study. We went into the cautionary
feasibility study that started in the summer of 1995. I think it was July or August
of 1995 when we signed the cautionary agreements. That's when we kicked it
off. At the same time, the Governor's Commission's initial report was being
completed. They began to focus on the restudy. Whether we realized it at the
time or whether it was expected to be that way, the first year of the restudy effort
was really devoted toward supporting the Governor's Commission. In fact, there
were a lot of team members that were unhappy that we were so focused on that.
A lot of staff support was going to that, but we weren't doing the restudy. [They
wanted to] go off and do technical work [and] not get involved in the political
processes. I had some team reluctance to be involved. [They] felt it was
siphoning the effort away. I knew if we got the political solution, it was going to
make life easier for us.
From summer of 1995 through summer of 1996, the focus was on
supporting the Governor's Commission, the conceptual plan. Once that was
done, the next step was what we called screening. We began to focus on a lot of
good ideas. There's 112 different kinds of components out there. How do we
start figuring out what it is we do? We got to put a comprehensive plan together.
We used this screening process, from late 1996 to summer 1997, to take these
112 ideas, put them through some of Richard Punnett's models, Russ Reed's
cost-effectiveness analysis, incremental-cost analysis, and figure out what ideas
made the most sense. It gave us an insight into these 112 components and
enabled us to prioritize those. That was step two in the process. We completed
that in summer 1997. We then went, from September 1997 through April 1998,
[to] an intense plan-formulation where we set up an alternative-evaluation team,
an alternative-development team, [with] roughly six-week cycles of developing a
plan, modeling it, [and] posting it on the website. [The] alternative-evaluation
team [would] figure out how it was doing. [We then] put out a little team report,
having an alternative-development team formulate the next alternatives. These
work in cycles. Some really fortuitous things were going on at the same time. We
realized that we were going to base these analyses on performance measures.
An effort that had been going on for about a year, but culminated over the late
summer of 1997, developed] what's called conceptual models. These fall along
the lines of what EPA does on risk-based analysis and so on. You have
conceptual models that lay out cause-and-effect: here's what's going on in this
ecosystem, here are the stressors, the implications of the stressors, what it
results in, here are the things you should be measuring. They're not
deterministic models, they're more models in the sense of how things are wired
together conceptually. That's the beginning of developing performance
measures. The bottom line is [that] we're going to fix the water system. What is
it we're supposed to do about water that will lead to ecological success? If you're
an engineer, what do you want me to do about the water? Tell me how you want
me to change something, tell me what you need me to do to achieve your
ecological goals and I'll do the best I can. Translate your ecology, bottm- line,
back to something I've got to do about water. Change the time and distribution,
the quality, the quantity. That's how this was developed.
This was all coming into play, culminating in the middle of 1997 with
performance measures. [At the] same time, we knew we were going to be on
this very strict deadline. You have team members all over the place,
geographically. How are we going to communicate with each other? The
models are going to turn out reams of paper on these short cycles, are we going
to reproduce this and mail it? If we do that, we'll never get done. Maybe the
Web's the way to go. Yes, but the files are too big. There are PDF [portable
document format] files, [using] [Adobe] Acrobat [Web-based document reader
software program], where you can reduce the size. So all of a sudden, [we had]
this technical solution. Let's use the Web. Let's post all the modeling data out
on the Web, [using] PDF files. You download them instantaneously. Every team
member is responsible for getting on the website. You download, you analyze it.
You come to the meeting the next day, bingo, we're going to be productive. A
couple fortuitous things were going on that supported this nine-month effort to
basically formulate six basic plans. We then went through a plan-refinement, a
plan-selection process, culminating in June of 1998 [with] an initial draft plan, a
first plan. [We then got] some comments back and then [began] the process of
putting the report together, which was released in October 1998. [A] 4,000-page
report doesn't happen overnight. There's a really intense amount of effort that
went in over a long period of time.
Once the plan had been selected in June, [we were] basically done with a
lot of the analysis. You [have] to [then] turn to documenting what you're doing. A
lot of the report-writing happened over the summer. I remember the dedication
that people [had]. I remember coming in on Labor Day weekend. Labor Day
weekend, [on] Sunday. I come in at 9:00 in the morning. Lights are on, place is
full. Every cubicle is occupied. There's either a Corps person or somebody from
the Water Management District there, because we had them just using the
space. There's coffee cups everywhere. You go to the common area, there's
doughnuts and there's bagels, tons of food. Everybody's just working. One of
the staffers, Liz [Manners], her daughter is sitting in the conference room. The
TV is on, she's wrapped in a blanket. Tom Teets from the Water Management
District is waiting for his wife to show up and take [his] child [and Liz's] child to
the zoo. It's the kind of camaraderie of people just pitching in, working ungodly
hours. We get a call from West Palm Beach, and people are down there
working. This is Labor Day weekend and people are just humming along,
because we've got this deadline [to get] a report out in October and people will
do whatever it takes to get it done. That's the kind of dedication that this group
had. It's just amazing to sit back and take this all in and realize what's going on.
People are [doing] whatever it takes. We put the draft report out in October of
1998, had the unique privilege of having the Vice President do that release. We
showed up at the West Palm Beach airport, he had other events going on that
day, [so he] made a tarmac stop. Had a little speech, announcement. It was a
pretty cool event. [There was] that kind of high-level interest in the administration.
We had public meetings in November of 1998. We went through a
process over the next few months trying to work out some pretty significant
issues we had, particularly with the Department of the Interior. We put out the
final report in April 1999. [It] goes through the Washington-level processing and
[on] July 1, 1999 it was presented by the Vice President to the Congress. There
was a nice little ceremony, the Capitol, [it was a] pretty neat scene. The Vice
President essentially hand-delivered the report to the Congress. Pretty cool.
G: What were some of the groups and organizations that were represented in the
restudy process on the two teams that you mentioned?
A: By the time the culmination of the restudy, [we] had about 150 people working on
it. These were all agency people. You can't have non-agency people working,
[that is] a FACA [Federal Advisory Committee Act] violation. There's about 150
agency people from about thirty different agencies, federal, state, tribal, local.
The whole alphabet soup of agencies, from all levels of government, working on
this. It's pretty neat, pretty fascinating. The stakeholders were divided into three
major groups: the agricultural community, environmental community, and the
urban interests or utilities. It's all about water and you have three groups in
contention for that water. If you look at the water pie, it's divided in these three
segments: the environment, agriculture, and urban interests. Obviously, the
environment has gotten the short end of the stick, historically. We've short-
changed the environment, so we need more water for the environment. [The]
urban sector is continuing to grow so we need some more water. [The]
agriculture sector [is] not really growing, but at least wants to hold on to what it
has. Essential thing is, if the water pie is fixed, the only way you can get a bigger
slice is to take it away from somebody else. That's what all the conflict has been
about, all the litigation, the cottage industry of lawyers and consultants and so on.
[It] has been either to try to get a bigger slice of the pie or to hold on to what you
got. I think the restudy changed the paradigm in that we enlarged the pie.
Enlarge the pie, everybody can get a bigger slice and you avoid the conflict.
There are a lot of people interested in what the trade-offs were going to be on the
restudy. You get into trade-offs, that's when life is going to get interesting. We
just avoided that because our mantra was [to] enlarge the pie and then you're not
fighting over the same water. I think that's why we're successful. Those
stakeholder groups were all at the table, they were all playing a major role.
Everybody was trying to jockey to pull you their way. I think the beauty of the
Governor's Commission is that you got everybody sitting at the same table. You
solve a lot of conflict because there's a certain amount of trust that's built up.
When that group started in March of 1994, you had people that could barely
stand to be in the same room with each other. With time, they developed a
camaraderie. Pettigrew was good at social things at night. Over a period of
time, [if] you work that close to people, you start building a camaraderie up. That
doesn't mean you always agree with everything everybody says. You began to
respect [them]. What is it you guys need? Here's what I need, let's see what we
can work out. You're just able to cut to the chase and get down to dealing with
issues. I always hold the Governor's Commission up as the reason why we have
been successful in south Florida.
G: When the initial draft of the restudy plan was released in October 1998, it did
receive some significant criticism from the Park Service and from some
environmental groups. What was your reaction and the reaction within the Corps
to that criticism?
A: They were kind of stunned by the criticism. We felt that some of the technical
aspects that they were concerned about were misrepresentations of what we had
or didn't have. I guess our biggest disappointment was [that] we always thought
we wanted to work it out at the team level and at least from our perspective, we
were trying to be very inclusive in the process. We always felt that the Interior
Department, for whatever reason, didn't know how to work in the circle with
everybody else. They would rather pass judgment later on. We were very
disappointed when they came out with that. It caused a lot of consternation, it
was a mess. We had to work some issues out. I think we did some additional
modeling, made some commitments, and I think salvaged the day. It was a
pretty tense time for a few months. I felt it didn't have to come to that at that
point. We could have understood and worked this out earlier, had they been
more effective in their involvement on the team, particularly Everglades Park.
That's the major entity. That's just a lesson learned. Still, today I prefer an
inclusive process. I think that's the only way to do this kind of thing. I think we're
working harder trying to get to some level of trust with the Department of the
G: The changes that the Corps tried to make in response to that, were those actual
changes to the restudy proposal itself or were those incorporated in what
became known as the Chief's report?
A: We did more modeling. That's the D-13-R-4 scenario that had been modeled.
We included the model in the report. We did not feel comfortable recommending
that. There certainly were some positive aspects of that proposal. It was more
water for Everglades Park which obviously they were very concerned about.
More water for the WCA, also. It was a mixed bag. It did some good things, it
did some bad things. It actually messed up the water conservation areas. We're
trying to balance. It gets to what your notion of what restoration is. Is it restoring
Everglades Park or certain federal areas or is it a more holistic approach? [If] you
take the more holistic approach, sometimes it's hard to reconcile the needs of
one area with another area. You're balancing a lot of things. I think the most
significant trade-offs to me in the whole restudy process were not the trade-offs
between the human and natural system, which is what I would have bet money
on back in 1993, when we started. They were going to have some real
irreconcilable conflicts. The trade-offs were within the natural system. Do you
restore 100 percent of the flow in Everglades National Park at the expense of the
water conservation area? Do you restore Lake Okeechobee and then not have
enough water elsewhere? Those kinds of issues, I think, were the most
significant, technically. Much more so than the trade-offs between the human
system and the natural system. That's where a lot of the discussion went. We
incorporated the results of the modeling, the analysis, in the restudy report. We
said it was premature to include that in the plan because of the issues that had
not been worked out. We pledged to continue working it and improve the plan.
There are statements and language that say that in the report. It was premature
to totally incorporate it because of the issue. A lot of issues from the state [were]
about the impacts and the water conservation areas and other users. There's a
lot of people that felt that the Chief's report was a violation of the trust that had
been built up among the different entities.
G: Can you tell me what the Chief's report was proposed to do and why it was
viewed as so controversial?
A: Any time a Corps of Engineers report goes to Congress, there is a Chief of
Engineer's report. In most cases, it simply endorses. It's a two-page report that
endorses what the district engineer has found. The Chief makes the last call
before it goes to the Assistant Secretary's office. In this case, the Chief's report
was a much longer document. A lot of it was just a recap. We knew a lot of
people [wouldn't] read the 4,000 page restudy, but [would] read the chief's report,
the decision the Washington-level people made was to recap the restudy.
Although it is a voluminous document, much of it is just a recap, a succinct
summary of 4,000 pages. I thought [the Chief's report made] clear that we were
going to pursue the promises that we made to DOI [Department of the Interior]
and others, [that we'd] pursue a study to look at delivering additional water.
Some of the stakeholders viewed it as a commitment to deliver the water through
the D-13-R-4. [There] was a lot of consternation about the Chief's report and
what it would cause. That's why, if you look at the legislation, we're in 2000,
there's no mention of the Chief's report. In fact, it very pointedly describes and
references the Corp's April 1999 report, not the Chief's report. Most Corps
authorizations say, in accordance with the Chief's report on so-and-so date. That
was a deliberate message from stakeholders, through Congress. They clearly
legislated that. They also clearly legislated this additional water and how that
was going to work. You're going to have to do a feasibility study. You couldn't
just adopt that. What they were so concerned about in the Chief's report, they in
effect voided through legislation.
G: Are there any specific individuals you would identify as having played a
particularly critical role in getting the comprehensive plan approved by Congress?
A: Yes, I would say Michael Davis, who was formerly at the Pentagon, [in the]
Secretary of the Army's office, played an absolutely key role. The federal team
for the administration was Michael Davis, Mary Doyle, Bill Leary. The state's
team, I believe, included Ernie Barnett from DEP [Department of Environmental
Protection], Kathy Copeland of the Water Management District. I don't know if
there were others involved. I really wasn't that intrinsically involved in the
legislation. From the federal side, I credit Michael Davis with the heavy lifting.
This was not easy to get through, legislatively. Senator Graham championed a
lot there. I think a lot of stakeholders were very concerned when Senator [Bob]
Smith [U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, 1990-present] took over for Senator
[John Hubbard] Chafee [U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, 1976-1999] as the
head of the [Senate Environment and Public Works] Committee. He chose
Everglades Coalition. The field hearing we held in Naples, the Everglades
Coalition meeting in January 2000, was a defining moment. [Smith] got up, it was
his first hearing as chairman of the public works committee. [He] made a speech;
states there was no daylight between him and Senator Chafee. He said he was
going to champion Everglades legislation for sure and by God, he delivered.
Everything he committed to. All the staff at the Senate EPW [Environment and
Public Works Committee], we worked real closely with, real hard. There's a lot of
heroes that influenced legislation. Getting the restudy done was hard, but it was
relatively easy. Once you get to Washington, you've got to craft legislation, [work
within] the political process and the fact that there's all this money that could be
flowing to Florida when it could be going elsewhere. The dynamics of the political
process were very interesting.
G: Some critics have suggested that the comprehensive plan is overly dependent on
unproven technologies, such as aquifer storage and recovery. How do you
respond to those criticisms?
A: I think the plan is balanced in terms of having a variety of different features. We
went through in the plan-formation process [with a] kind of hierarchy of storage.
We didn't just start with aquifer storage and recovery, we started with surface
storage. We used the results of the screening-process. We maximized the
surface storage as best we can. When we saw that clearly was not going to
provide all the water we needed, we then went to the next level of measure,
which was aquifer storage and recovery. Aquifer storage and recovery has
differences with surface storage in that you can get multi-year recovery. You put
that water underground, you can recover it next year, the year after that, the year
after that. You can't say that about surface storage. Although they're both
variations of storage, they're not exactly [comparing] apples to apples. There are
differences. There are some characteristics of aquifer storage and recovery that
are unique, so that's important. Aquifer storage and recovery has been done
nationwide. In fact it's been done fairly extensively in south Florida. It's never
been done on the scale we're talking about in the Everglades plan. We
recognize uncertainties of scale and so on, so we proposed a series of pilot
projects. There are six pilot projects in the plan, three of which are aquifer
storage and recovery. There's pilot projects for other measures as well.
Wherever we had technologies that had uncertainties or questions about it, we
have a pilot project. It's in the plan now, we think it's the right thing, we think it's
going to bear fruit, be the right thing to do. We do a pilot project, we get all the
information, all the questions answered. Then we're in a position to say, it's
going to work exactly like we said, full speed ahead, or no, it's not going to work
out; try something else; gee, it's not quite as good; we have to think of some
things. It's built into the process. I don't think we're overly relying on it. I think
we're going to be working over the next year on a contingency plan to lay out
options for aquifer storage and recovery. We get criticized for too much reliance
on engineered features. That's another issue. We have a system that's been so
fundamentally altered over the last 100-plus years that you can't put it back the
way it was. I guess you could, if you wanted to move six million people out of
south Florida, put the land-form back the way it was. I guess then it would
function like the Everglades did 120 years ago, but that's not realistic. Because
it's so fundamentally altered, we humans are going to be forced to manage it
forever. I think we can greatly improve the functioning of the natural system, but
we're going to be relying on water management to do that, because the system
has been changed forever. Right now, the water conservation areas of the lake
have a dual purpose. We're moving the water-storage function out of those
areas, moving it out to the margins. If you're standing in the middle of the
Everglades, the water conservation area, when we get done I think it will
replicate the functions that were there historically. It will look like, act like, the
Everglades. You go out in the margins, and you're going to have these wholly
unnatural things out there. But they're just a function of the fact that the system
has been altered.
G: Could you discuss the importance of adaptive management to the
implementation of the comprehensive plan?
A: I think adaptive-management is critical. I think it was critical in getting the
legislation passed. I think there are clear statements in the Senate report about
how impressed the committee was with the notion. It would be almost arrogant
to get up and say we've got a plan, we're just going to go down this track for the
next thirty-plus years and we've got all the answers. I think we'd be kidding
ourselves, we'd be arrogant if we said that. We're fairly confident about what we
got, but we know there are a lot of uncertainties. The response of the
ecosystem, the ecologic response to what we do about water. That's a tenuous
relationship. There are linkages and there are theories. We have anecdotal
things, like the Kissimmee. To think that you have all the answers or you're not
going to get surprised would be naive. Adaptive-management is the only way
you can do this. We don't have 100 years of experience at restoring
ecosystems. In fact, nobody's ever done this before at this scale. The right thing
to do is to build an adaptive-management that [will] monitor the system before we
start, we're going to monitor along the way. We have hypotheses, we're going to
see how things happen out there as we build projects. If things aren't responding
the way we predict, we need to analyze what's going on. Either our predictions
were wrong, need to be modified, or the plan needs to be modified. We've got
that built into the process. I think it's terribly important for the whole way to build
this and to say up front [that] we don't have every answer. We have a good feel
for our direction and we're heading that way, but we've got this adaptive-
management to try to make sure that things respond the way it should.
G: Who [will] be responsible for monitoring and adjusting the plan as you go along?
A: The Corps and the Water Management District. The same agencies that are
implementing it are going to have that responsibility. We set up the infrastructure
to do that. It's called RECOVER, which is what my current position is. That
group is to continue to look at [it] system-wide. We put the restudy together. We
got the plan. Once you have the plan, the question is, how do you implement it?
We developed an implementation plan. The concern that we had was that you
get focused on individual projects, [which] you have to do because you obviously
build this a building-block at a time. Where is the place where you bring those
projects together into the holistic framework again? The whole key to what we're
doing is an ecosystem solution. RECOVER is the place to do that. I view the
sixty-eight components that make up the restudy plan, CERP [Comprehensive
Everglades Restoration Plan], to be like puzzle pieces that interlock. When you
put them all together, you get the goals and purposes of the plan. But you've got
to put them all together. What you don't want is, in engineering parlance, [to]
start a bridge on both sides of the river [that] doesn't meet in the middle. That
would not be successful. What adaptive-management and RECOVER is about is
making sure the pieces fit together, that we recognize that if we build an
individual project, it's part of a bigger system. There's a real fear we had that
people would want to optimize each and every component for localized benefit.
That may be a good thing. I want to know [that] when we get done, we haven't
built sixty-eight individual components that don't get Everglades restoration done
because they're not a holistic solution. The recover, the adaptive-management,
is an attempt to do that.
G: In 1999, Congress passed the Everglades Expansion Act that mandated
completion of a series of projects, including modified water deliveries. How much
progress has been made toward completing the requirements of that act?
A: I think things are moving along. There have obviously been some key technical
and policy issues that have slowed things up. The solution to the [eight-and-one-
half-mile-area has finally been adopted]. I think the log jam has been broken.
It's moving along. Congress, in WRDA 2000 [Water Resources Development
Act], put some stipulations in that you can't proceed with certain CERP projects
unless until modified water deliveries is done. There's a clear inducement to get
that done at the earliest possible date.
G: Has that been an impediment as you try to move forward with the comprehensive
A: It's not been an impediment, because we've been assuming that the modified
water deliveries piece was in place. In fact, what the restudy recommends is
some changes to that. Those are being incorporated. It's not been an
impediment. It had no effect I think on the restudy itself. As we now go into
implementation, if we're not successful getting that project done, which should be
relatively small-scale, it's legitimate for people to begin to question whether we
can build this entire Everglades ecosystem project. That's the concern I have.
G: President George W. Bush [U.S. President, 2001-present] and Governor Jeb
Bush [Florida governor, 1999-present] recently signed the first legally-binding
water deal between a president and governor. What is the significance of that
A: The agreement is a requirement of WRDA 2000. It's one of those important
boxes that have been checked. I'm glad they delivered on that. I think the state
[is] basically pledging that they're not going to give away the water before the
water that's needed for the natural system is reserved. The state is pledging that
they're not going to give away the water before they do the things that are
required. We do the project-planning, we identify that water that's got to go to
the natural system, it's then reserved under state law and then the remainder can
then go to consumptive use permits. They're complying with that requirement.
It's really about assurances and assuring that the water is going to be there for
the natural system.
G: The Corps of Engineers recently released a draft of the programmatic
regulations. What are these regulations designed to do?
A: The regulations are also a requirement of WRDA. It's all part of the assurances,
project benefits. There's four parts to that. The Presidential agreement we just
talked about is the first piece of that. Programmatic regs is the second.
Programmatic regs are designed to lay out the processes for ensuring that the
goals and purposes of the plan are achieved. They lay out the processes for
making sure we incorporate new information. This whole notion of adaptive-
assessment, adaptive-management and how we incorporate that new
information that's going to come up over the next thirty-plus years of
implementation are included in the process. They also mandate that we set up
interim goals for ensuring that we can measure success along the way. I look at
CERP, the yellow book, the restudy report, as being the roadmap. This is where
we want to get to and how we're going to get there. I would view the
programmatic regulations as the rules of the road. It's a heavy process
document. CERP is the roadmap, here is where I want the journey to end up
and how we're going to get there. [What are] the rules of the road? Am I going to
drive fifty-five miles an hour? Am I allowed to pass? Do I have to pull off?
Those kinds of issues. The programmatic regs is not the most exciting document
in the world to read through. It's important because it establishes the process,
the relationships. How are we going to build this? How are we going to make
sure that this thing is done in a holistic [way]? I talked a little bit before about
where adaptive-management fits in. How do we do that? When do we change
the plan? How do we know things aren't going well? What does that trigger us
to do? How do we guarantee, when we identify water that needs to be reserved,
that in fact the reservations are made? All these process-related questions of
how the pieces fit together. How do we maintain a system? Do you make sure
the projects fit together? These are the questions that the programmatic regs are
designed to answer.
G: There's been some criticism of the draft programmatic regulations by
environmental groups and others for being too vague or not being specific
enough. Representatives of sixteen environmental groups released a letter at
the recent Everglades Coalition meeting, stating that the rules are "so inadequate
as to threaten the future of the comprehensive Everglades restoration plan."
How do you respond to those criticisms?
A: Working with the groups, we purposely put out this pre-draft draft. We could
have not done that and just simply gone on to rule-making. We thought it was
better to put an initial draft out as a starting point. Get comments from them, get
comments from others. We're working now, based on all the meetings and
discussions, on improving the draft. I'm confident the next draft will be a vast
improvement over what we put out initially. I'm not sure I share all the hyperbole
about threatening Western civilization as we know it. There are concerns. They
have concerns of making sure the water gets where it's supposed to be and we
are, in fact, achieving restoration. We'll work on trying to fix the initial draft. I
think that's just part of the process here, so I'm comfortable that we'll get there.
G: I'd like you to comment on some specific groups and organizations and their
overall impact on the restoration effort, starting with the National Park Service.
A: They are the guardian, or the steward, of a vast tract of land including
Everglades Park, so they are an important player. We talked about a lot of the
concerns that they had. We need to work more effectively, work better, with the
National Parks Service, particularly Everglades National Park. They do have a
large research staff down at Everglades Park. A lot of times, we have an
agency mission that's pretty broad and it requires us to balance a lot of different
interests. They have a very different agency mission, they have a requirement
under the Organic Act to protect the resources. Part of this, to me, is a cultural
thing; them understanding our mission and vice versa. I think that's a lot of it.
They are an important player. It's hard to conceive of Everglades restoration
without having Everglades Park on board with Everglades restoration.
G: What about the South Florida Water Management District?
A: Extremely important role. We are partners. The requirements of federal law is
that everything is done by the Corps in a cost-sharing partnership role. I think
this partnership, at least [in] the modern era, began with Kissimmee. I think
during the restudy, you could not tell the Corps apart from the Water
Management District, [in terms of] the level of camaraderie and partnership. The
restudy was easy from the standpoint of one team, one effort, one product, one
date. Very easy. Now, you've got implementation where you have a plethora of
teams out there trying to keep that level of commitment, that partnership, going.
It's going to take a lot more work than it did during the restudy. [End of side 1,
tape B] The partnership with the Water Management District [has] been real
important. We are held up as role-models [in terms of] a lot of the institutional
frameworks for this Everglades restoration, the agencies and how they've worked
together [and] stakeholder things like the Governor's Commission. That is of
widespread interest nationwide. I get called in. Rock [Salt] gets called in. Dick
Pettigrew, others. People [ask], how did you all do Everglades? How have you
been successful? We're not able to be successful thus far in Louisiana or
California or other places. What did you guys do that was successful? We find
ourselves explaining this Everglades story because it's emblematic of how, when
the stars are aligned, you've got the right things, right processes working in a
bunch of different areas, things can go well.
G: What about the environmental community?
A: I think it's been a mixed bag. Clearly, they're very important, this is their passion,
Everglades restoration. They have a certain level of distrust of the Corps of
Engineers that makes it a little more difficult. The environmental community, just
like any other stakeholder group, [holds] a wide range of views. You have thirty,
forty different entities and they range from groups that have total dislike for the
Corps of Engineers to groups that know how to work [with] the Corps of
Engineers. More mainstream, more national focus. It's a wide variety, so it's
hard to lump them all together. I've been going to the Everglades Coalition over
the last ten years. What I've seen is a much more mature relationship. There
are people here that went to the first couple of Everglades Coalition meetings.
People didn't want us to be in the same room, barely. Now, we're asked to be
the major speakers at the meetings. We get fussed at [about] things like
programmatic regs that they're unhappy with. I think we can talk and explain
ourselves and try to begin to work out a dialogue and solution. The relationship
is getting more mature. I think we're still viewed with some scepticism. I think
part of it is because they recognize the Corps has a balanced mission and, of
course, their interest is one interest. You get conflicts when you're
compromising, trying to balance interests. Well, no group gets 100 percent of
what they want.
G: When Colonel Terry Rice's term as chief of the Jacksonville District ended in
1997, he gave the overall restoration effort, to that point, a C grade. What grade
would you give the restoration effort today?
A: I'd give it a B. I think when Terry left, the restudy hadn't been completed. We
got that done. We've got the WRDA 2000 legislation. A lot of people didn't think
that would be possible. We've got a design agreement with the Water
Management District for $712,000,000. Just the design work is bigger than most
construction projects the Corps is engaged in. The Everglades construction
project is nearing completion. There's a lot of stuff that's come about. There are
still some unsolved issues out there, so that's why I wouldn't give us an A. You
still have the sparrow issues out there, the Cape Sable seaside sparrow. The
problems we talked about on modified water delivery. I think generally things are
good, but it's not a perfect score.
G: Looking toward the future, what do you see as being the most important
obstacles to successful implementation of the comprehensive plan?
A: It is going to be a challenge to maintain the focus. The unity of effort that we
enjoyed in the restudy, one team, one plan, one effort, one date, [we] don't have
that luxury now. [We] have a much bigger set of people involved, hundreds of
people involved, a lot of new players, much more complicated issues to deal
with. It's just more complex. Keeping the focus, keeping the camaraderie, the
partnerships, is much more challenging. Sustaining interest over thirty-plus
years, trying to solve all those problems makes it kind of tough. Keeping the
focus in going to be a challenge, I think. Sustaining public interest over thirty
years. You're talking about generational [changes]. Kids in school today,
elementary school kids that were talking about Everglades restoration, are going
to be taxpayers. They'll be involved as this as adults. They may have children.
You're talking multi-generational. Making sure the money is there. We're talking
about some serious investments in money over a long period of time. The Corps
gets its money on an annual basis. Senator Graham talks about this like it's
open-heart surgery. You don't start surgery without the intent of finishing the job.
It's pretty dangerous. I think those are the challenges.
G: What are the most important lessons that you have personally learned from your
experiences with Everglades issues?
A: People can do amazing things. Deadlines aren't all that bad. I remember being
on a plane after a tough meeting, coming back from Miami, and I'm reading this
interview with Norm Augustine, who was chairman of Martin-Marietta at the time,
been involved in the aerospace industry. Kind of a funny guy, aerospace guy.
[He had] this quote that looking up at the guillotine sharpens the imagination. It's
this concept [that] people will do amazing things, solve problems, when you've
got life-and-death or deadlines staring at you. You can be very creative. If you
put your mind to something, you can do it. I think you can see how people
perform. I'm a big believer in the team approach, inclusiveness. [That]
management style has borne out to be successful. Integration instead of
coordination, clearly to me, is the way [to go]. You're seeing a lot of agencies co-
locating personnel. If you look at government in general, government's gotten
more complex. I think there's some real success stories about interagency
partnerships and so on. [We're] getting a little smarter, we're learning to kind of
work together, regardless of agency hat, instead of everybody having their own
turf. I think that's been a positive. Marrying the political process with the
technical process, something that we as an agency haven't done great at for a
long time, I think has been positive. It's just been a great personal ride for me.
People can work in government, go their whole lives pushing paper. Here we've
literally got the largest ecosystem restoration project in the world. We get film
crews in from Japan, France, and other places. It's amazing that we get that kind
of international attention. I think, for a lot of people working on this, it's really
been a privilege.
G: End of interview.