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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
Florida.

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida









EVG 12
Interviewee: Ernie Barnett
Interviewer: Brian Gridley
Date: February 1, 2002


G: This is Brian Gridley interviewing Ernie Barnett at the Department of
Environmental Protection in Tallahassee, Florida. The date is Friday, February
1, 2002. Mr. Barnett, briefly tell me a little bit about your professional
background, including career positions and education.

B: I am currently the director of ecosystems projects at the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection. I've been with the agency for eighteen years and I
have held a variety of positions, starting out as a field biologist, an environmental
specialist working in shellfish management. [I've] been an aquatic preserve
manager at Rookery Bay. I've been in the Secretary's office of this agency
since 1989 and handled water policy, ecosystem management, ecosystem
projects, and other various and sundry positions like that. [I have] been working
on Everglades restoration off and on since 1990. I was [in] the former
Department of Environmental Protection which is a predecessor agency of this
one. [I] was manager of the Surface Water Improvement Management [SWIM]
program that we participated in with the other water management districts and
the former Department of Environmental Regulation which merged into DNR
[Department of Natural Resources] to create the agency I'm in now. My
educational background is a bachelors degree in environmental resource
management from the University of West Florida and I have a master's degree in
biology also from the University of West Florida. [I] graduated in 1983 with my
master's and I've been with this agency ever since.

G: What led you to get involved with Everglades related issues? You mentioned the
SWIM plan. How did you become involved with that?

B: The position I had at the time was environmental administrator, it was the rain
resource planning unit within the agency. It was one of the responsibilities. In
my early days, when I was first starting my college education, I was very
interested in water resource issues, marine resource issues. Back in the late
1970s and early 1980s when I was in college, those were sort of the emerging
issues in the environmental front. I really always had a keen interest in wetland
resource management, water resource allocation issues, marine resource issues.
I felt very fortunate to work myself into a position where I could contribute and
participate in, not just Everglades restoration, but all of the restoration projects
around the state of Florida, particularly wetland restoration and coastal and
stream restoration projects. The Everglades being the biggest one, is the one
people all really want to be able to have a part in. At the time in the late 1980s,
early 1990s, there was no real framework to handle some of the restoration
problems that the Everglades and others were facing. The SWIM program was









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brand-new. It had been passed, I think, in 1986, or in [the] early, mid-1980s. It
was the only framework out there to handle some of these issues. A lot of things
have happened since then, with federal lawsuits and congressional
authorizations and state appropriations and all those things along the way. At
the time, the SWIM program was the only game in town to do ecosystem
restoration and it was definitely my interest.

G: Based upon your experiences, what do you see as the two or three most
important contributing factors that have led to the present problem in the
Everglades?

G: I think probably the number-one cause of the perturbations in the Everglades
dates back to what was public policy at the turn of the century, leading all the
way up to the middle and even probably third, fourth quarters of the last century.
[That] was the public policy of viewing wetlands as waste lands and that they
needed to be reclaimed and used for more beneficial purposes. I think [that]
dat[es] back to the turn of the century with Hamilton Disston [wealthy
businessman who purchased land for the state of Florida in the 19th century],
Napoleon Bonaparte Broward [Florida governor, 1905-1909], and all those
things. It was actually well-accepted and very well-supported public policy at the
time, to ditch and drain these lands. These were essentially viewed as 4,000,000
acres of wetlands that were not of any value to society; they were mosquito- and
alligator-infested wastelands. The Corps of Engineers, and even prior to that the
State of Florida, some of the efforts that were put forward to reclaim these lands
created the Central and Southern Flood Control Project which has formed very,
very well in allowing large portions, about 2,000,000 of the original 4,000,000
acres of wetlands, to be developed for agriculture and other urban needs in the
region. The downside of that was a lack of an appreciation for the other
functions the wetlands perform: aquifer recharge, water supply, aesthetic,
recreational opportunities, a lot of things that people who aren't necessarily
environmentalists still value. We spent the first part of the century ditching,
draining, and reclaiming these wetlands for other purposes. I think now, we
finally understand the natural system values that they have, not just for people
who like the environment, but also for other water-related needs in the region.
We had this flood control project that worked very, very well. What it did though,
was take vast amounts of natural systems and turn them into developed areas.
That's probably the number-one cause.
Probably the second cause is [that] it is a very sensitive ecosystem, a very
delicate, balanced ecosystem that has some unique characteristics. Probably
the most obvious one is its vast size and physical expanse, spatial expanse.
That makes it very unique. There's only really another wetlands system in [the
Americas] that's comparable and actually is even bigger. That's the Pantanal in
South America. For the North America continent, the Everglades are very unique
just by their size. There also unique in that they're oligotrophic marshes, which









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means they're very nutrient limited. Historically, very little nutrients would enter.
The water was very clear and pristine because of that. Because it was an
oligotrophic system and it evolved that way, any introduction of nutrients causes
an imbalance. That's probably the second major problem that it's faced, the
introduction of nutrients in the form of run-off from the land uses that are north
and east of the Everglades, the remnant Everglades. That has caused cattail
invasions, the disruption of the native flora and fauna. That's the type of issue
that we've been working on for about the last ten or fifteen years B to clean up
the water back to a very low level of nutrients that enter into the system.
Probably third, I think are the fragmentation of the system, the highways
and roads that crisscross the area. [This has] caused natural barriers to the sheet
flow of water that was probably another defining characteristic of the pre-drained
Everglades. It was a slow-moving river of grass. Alligator Alley and Tamiami
Trail have caused disruptions to that flow. The myriad of canals that have been
dug to drain the Everglades also block the sheet flow. That's another major
perturbation. Once again, those roads were built as a response to what was, at
the time, public policy and the public perception of what should be done. Once
again, we have a higher level of understanding of the function of the system now
and those are the types of issues we're trying to fix.

G: John DeGrove [Secretary, Florida Department of Community Affairs, 1983-1985]
once characterized the problems in the Everglades as the product of innocent
ignorance. Would you agree with that characterization?

B: Yes, I think it's a more eloquent way of saying what I just stated. The only thing I
would add is [that] the ignorance was not uninformed at the time. I think the
types of activities that went on were well-accepted, they reflected the attitudes of
the public at the time, and they were not by any means uninformed. As science
has evolved and understanding has evolved, people's perceptions have changed
accordingly. Ignorance is probably a good word, but not uninformed. I think
these were, clearly, well-accepted practices not only in the U.S., but across the
globe and certainly across the nation. The ecological understanding of the value
of wetlands was not well understood. It's been folks like [Howard] Odum
[professor emeritus, ecology, University of Florida] and others who have done a
lot of research [and] elevated the importance of wetlands as they relate to [the]
overall environmental health of an area.

G: Should we have expected some of the negative consequences that have
happened? Is it just that we didn't put enough value on environmental or
ecological values?

B: I think that's fair. I think a lot of [the] negative environmental consequences that
happened were the exact outcome of what people who were doing the activity









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expected. They wanted to drain the wetlands, they wanted to remove the water
from the surface of the area. They knew when they did that, that it would no
longer be a wetland, it would be something else, something that you could farm
or [that] you could build a neighborhood on. The consequences, at a very
general level, were well-understood. I think the overall, big-picture impact of
what it did to aquifer recharge, what it did to fish and wildlife resources, what it
did to wading birds, what it did to recreational opportunities and aesthetic values
in the area were not predicted and maybe couldn't have been at the time.

G: To what extent does the current restoration initiative, embodied in the
Comprehensive Restoration Plan and related projects, represent a change from
earlier management efforts?

B: The largest overarching restoration effort, the Comprehensive Everglades
Restoration Plan, is a dramatic departure from what the past practices were and
[what] the goals and objectives of operating a large public works project were
intended to do. The most obvious departure is the overlying purpose of the
project. The Central and Southern Flood Control Project, which is what is being
modified by the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, was intended to
predominately provide flood protection, enhance water supply, and also provide
for public safety and health and those types of things, with a minor goal of
environmental enhancement and protection. It was a stated purpose of the
project, but in fact, its mere construction probably caused a lot more
environmental harm than it did good. The Everglades Restoration Plan, as we
now know it, [which] was authorized by Congress and developed during the
1990s and authorized by Board of 2000, [has] a more elevated purpose of
meeting the needs of the natural system and restoring the natural system as an
authorized purpose of the project. Its overarching goal is to restore the
Everglades, to undo the harm that the existing project had caused. You've
probably gotten a lot of discussion about what the plan essentially does. In a
nutshell, it captures [a] large percent of the water that's been drained, roughly 1.7
billion gallons a day, [which] is being discarded out to the coastal areas at the
wrong time, and keep[s] it in the system and allows] [it] to be reintroduced into
the Everglades at the right time, the right place, [with] the right quantity and the
right quality, and the right distribution to mimic what the natural system did prior
to being drained and altered.
It's also a mirror of the perceptions and the understanding of the society we
have, dating back to the 1960s with the ecology movement and people's
heightened awareness of how important the natural areas are and how important
it is to not alter them too dramatically for the health of the earth. It's better
understood now. It has received wide support. Another important restoration
project that's often overlooked is the Everglades Forever Act [which] passed in
1994. While the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan predominantly









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deals with the quantity issues and the distribution issues of water, the Everglades
Forever Act deals with the quality, cleaning the water up to address the needs of
the very nutrient-sensitive system. It is a subset of the overall restoration plan,
but it's dealing with pollution issues. If the flood control system weren't in place,
the pollution issues wouldn't be in place. The same system that drained the area
to allow farming [and] urban development to move in, is the same system that
transports the water from those areas into the sensitive Everglades. It essentially
creates a series of large storm water treatment areas, some 40,000 acres in total
expanse. [It] also implements best management practices in the agriculture and
urban areas to remove their nutrients. It will [use] additional technologies to
ultimately get the water entering the Everglades down to about ten parts-per-
billion of phosphorus, which is a very, very low level. That project is probably
going to go down in history as one of the single-most important or successful
restoration projects ever undertakenn on that scale.
The early indications are [that] we're taking phosphorus levels from around
[170-]200 parts -per-billion that comes out of Lake Okeechobee and we're
lowering that, through best management practices on the farms, down to about
100-120 parts-per-billion. We're running them through these storm water
treatment areas and we're getting consistent levels between 20-25 parts-per-
billion. It's hard for most people to fathom what a part-per-billion is. Most
pollutants are measured in parts-per-million, which is an order of magnitude
higher. We are down in the parts-per-billion range already, which is just an
amazing thing that I don't think many people would have expected at the time the
act was implemented. The technology is continuing to evolve and I'm very
confident we will ultimately get down to around 10 parts-per-billion. Just for a
point of reference to the layperson, a 10 part-per-billion level of phosphorous is
equivalent to what's in pure rainwater. We are really doing a remarkable job
cleaning up the water that enters the system, but that's what the system needs.
The system historically only received rainwater. It only received overflows from
Lake Okeechobee periodically. It was a very, very low nutrient system and that's
what we're putting back in place.

G: Are there any specific turning points or watershed events you would point to in
promoting the type of change that you just described?

B: I think the public support dates back to Marjorie Stoneman-Douglas [Florida
environmental activist; author of The EvergladesBRiver of Grass]. I think she
was very much a visionary. [It's] hard to imagine somebody in the 1940s and
1950s understanding and seeing what was going on, and having the vision to
understand that the activities that were very well-accepted by society at the time
were going to cause these types of environmental problems. She seemed to see
that. Her book River of Grass is a very keystone moment in the history.
In more recent events, I think Dexter Lehtinen [U.S. Attorney, Dade









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County, 1988-1992; Florida state senator, 1987-1988; Florida state
representative, 1981-1987], his action to sue the state of Florida in the 1980s for
violating water quality standards in the state was probably a watershed moment.
It's kind of an interesting chain of events. The state of Florida was just a partner
in operating a federal project. The federal project was the one that was
delivering the polluted water, yet the federal government sued the state. That
was really an ironic turn of events. If not for that, though, many of the wonderful
things that have been set into motion would not have occurred. That legal battle
persisted for several years.
I think the election of Lawton Chiles [Florida governor 1991-1998 (died in
office); U.S. Senator from Florida, 1971-1989] was yet another turning point,
because he had a very pragmatic approach to things and wanted to stop all the
bickering. In front of the federal judge B you've probably been told, [and] it's not
just a legend, it's true B he stated before the judge [that] he was going to
surrender his sword and stop fighting. We just want to do whatever we need to
do to clean up the Everglades. I think that was a very bold move on his part and
a turning point in the whole effort to finally get action to clean the water up. Then
the Everglades Forever Act got passed to implement the settlement of that
lawsuit and was a monumental [piece of] legislation.
Then, we moved forward to the Corps of Engineers, their recognition that
their project was causing environmental harm, and needing to restudy it. The
launching of the restudy in 1992 [was] then accelerated in 1996 by Congress. I
think those were turning points in the recognition that the operation of this large
public works project was causing environmental harm and needed to be
restudied and modified to minimize those harmful impacts. It was very, very
important. It's probably appropriate to make sure certain people are
memorialized and remembered in their role. As visionary as I think the Corps
was at the time to start the restudy, I attribute a lot of that vision to Colonel [Rock]
Salt [Executive Director of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force].
I think Colonel [Terry] Rice's [former Jacksonville District Engineer, Army Corps
of Engineers] vision to accelerate it and to engage a very open and transparent
public process, by using the Governor's Commission for a Sustainable South
Florida, allowed a lot of these issues to be elevated to a level of importance, to
understand what the stakeholders wanted and needed, and for compromises and
common ground to be found in how the restoration plan goes forward. That was
from about 1997-1999. Of course, the process to develop a comprehensive plan,
those were watershed moments.
Leading all the way up to the state of Florida's commitment, Governor
[Jeb] Bush [Florida governor, 1999-present] comes on board. He could have
very easily said that was a Lawton Chiles' effort. My political capital, I'm going to
spend somewhere else. Instead of trying to carve out his own identity for the
effort, he embraced what had been done. [He] not only embraced it, but brought
it forward with commitment to fully fund [it with] hundreds of millions of dollars per









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year, billions of dollars, of state resources, to actually implement the plan that
had been developed under a previous administration, which is a remarkable
political commitment on his part. We're now in the third year of getting
$100,000,000 a year from the state of Florida to implement the restoration plan,
which is very remarkable. I think there's been a chain of events, all
interconnected and intertwined. Those are just skimming across the highlights of
the watershed or turning-point moments in the effort. It is an effort that has
consistently and continually received strong political support. I think that's an
indication of the strength of the plan, as well as the will of the people. A lot of
public participation, a lot of public support for the effort. That makes the political
decisions a lot easier, or a lot more apparent what the right decisions are when
the people speak.

G: Would you describe your involvement with the Department of Environmental
Protection's 1993 Ecosystem Management Initiative?

B: We started Ecosystem Management as a result of the merging of two agencies
that were dramatically different. We had a regulatory agency, the Department of
Environmental Regulation and a natural resource management agency, the
Department of Natural Resources [that were] merged together. One of the
visionary [ideas of] Governor Chiles [was that], at the time, he recognized that we
had a lot of common missions in protecting the environment. The agencies just
did it in different ways. One agency did it through regulation, the other agency
did it through more active resource management efforts like buying land,
managing lands, controlling exotics, protecting endangered species, those kind of
things. Those are different cultures. Secretary [Virginia] Wetherell [former
Secretary, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 199?-1998]
understood that the common thread was not what we did or how we did our
business, but was what our final objective was, and that was to protect
ecosystems. Either protect it by protecting the air, the land, the water, through
regulation or you protect it through more proactive resource management
approaches. That spawned the Ecosystem Management Initiative. How could
we get all of our programs within the agency and the [interaction] with other
agencies more focused on the ecosystem? We set up a framework, which was
ecosystem management. I think the Everglades restoration is probably the
largest example of how that can be done. By no means does the Department of
Environmental Protection take credit for Everglades restoration. I think we've
played a critical role in it. We brought forward our philosophies on ecosystem
management in the early days of developing the Governor's Commission for a
Sustainable South Florida, as well as the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration
Plan. We participated at a high level in all those events as things have moved
forward. The philosophy of ecosystem management was brought forward by that
initiative. It caught the attention of folks at the Corps of Engineers. It caught the









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attention of other state and federal agencies. A lot of the concepts and
philosophies that we were trying to promote have been embraced through this
effort.
I think the biggest testimony for the success of ecosystem management in
Florida is that it's become [part] of how we do business. We have things like the
Everglades, the Apalachicola, ACF B the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River
Compact where we're looking at the entire ecosystem as we address water
needs. We have things like the Governor's Springs Initiative where we're looking
at the entire watershed and ground watershed of our springs in Florida and are
trying to partner with other agencies and stakeholders to develop comprehensive
protection strategies. We have all these different types of ecosystem
approaches that fifteen years ago, even ten years ago, we weren't doing as an
agency, that are just institutionalized in how we do business. We don't have to
call it ecosystem management anymore. It's just the way we do business. The
biggest testimony to ecosystem management is it's been embraced within our
ranks as a way to do business and others have begun doing it through their own
evolution and thought processes. Looking beyond a single agency, [with a]
single focus, to how we [can] do our jobs better across a larger landscape with a
larger group of stakeholders and other agencies. [We need] to bring all the tools
to the table to develop more comprehensive solutions to environmental problems
than we did in the past.

G: What does ecosystem management mean to you and how is it different from the
way natural resources were being managed before that time?

B: Ecosystem management is really just the ability to look at an environmental
condition on an ecosystem level. You wouldn't just look at water quality, for
example, [in] the Everglades. You look at what's happening in the watershed.
Where is the water quality problem originating [and] how can you take care of
those sources? You look at other problems that the ecosystem faces, like
hydrology, the timing and the introduction of when water enters and moves in.
You look at other things in the ecosystem, like mercury contamination and air
borne pollutants. You look at a whole wide range of issues across a larger scale
than we did in the past. In the past, things were much more stovepipe. You had
an air program, a water program, a land buying program, a land management
program. These [programs] were often disjointed and [the people] didn't even
talk to each other. A great example [from] the old days, we used to always be
amazed, at the Department of Natural Resources, [which] managed the Florida
State Parks System, that the local government was proposing to build a landfill
right next to our property. Those kind of things, with an ecosystem management
approach, don't happen. You look at the ecosystem. You look at the least
environmentally sensitive area to site a landfill. You look at the most
environmentally sensitive areas to be protected and buffered. Everything in this









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world we live in is connected. Things that happen upstream affect the
downstream areas, things that happen in an air shed affect other air quality
issues in that air shed. [There came a] recognition that these aren't isolated
approaches; they needed to be integrated across with a commonality. The
commonality is the ecosystem. In Florida, we're very unique. Most of our
ecosystems evolved based on the watershed. We do have ecosystems that are
unique because of their geographic location or their terrain, like a sand hill or
pine flat woods. By and large, the thing that connects our areas together is the
watershed. We get sixty to seventy inches of rain every year. We have a very
low topography, so there are not dramatic changes in relief. You don't have
mountains, you don't have canyons. Our real ecosystems that we can focus our
efforts around are watersheds. That lends itself very well to an ecosystem
approach, especially when you want to integrate activities that are connected and
interrelate with one another. The kind of approach we've taken, in Florida, is to
focus on watersheds. The largest watershed we deal with is the Everglades.

G: Are there any specific individuals that you would point to that were primarily
responsible for bringing this change to the new Department of Environmental
Protection?

B: I think, at the onset, the most inspirational leader was Secretary Wetherell.
When we did literature searches and looked around the country at folks who had
done ecosystem management approaches, one thing they all said was, if you
don't have support from the top and support from leadership, it will never happen
because this is truly a change in the mind set. It's a cultural change within an
agency and it's a cultural change in how outsiders view the way government
does business. Secretary Wetherell understood that. She supported it and it
was really her vision. From a day-in, day-out [perspective on] developing the
philosophy and how it could be implemented, I think Pam McVeedy, a long term
servant of the state of Florida and the environment of Florida, [was a leader].
She spearheaded the effort along with myself. Some of the original thoughts, [a
person who had] the ability to capture those was Jeremy Craft, who worked
closely with Pam, and me, and the Secretary in developing the overall
philosophies. Those three individuals, from an agency perspective, were most
instrumental. There are hundreds of people we worked with, actually thousands
of people, involved in the formulation. Some outside folks were very supportive
and recognized what we were trying to do with ecosystem management and
brought their own ideas, thoughts, agendas and abilities to [bring] things to the
table from the private sector. Folks like Tom Dyer who worked with the Thomas
family at Three Rivers Ranch in Hillsborough County. He was very
instrumental in validating what the agencies were doing because he represented
large landowners. Large landowners wanted things to be different because they
even recognized the old system was broken. People who did conservation









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efforts on private lands were penalized for it. He was very effective in helping us
carry that forward. Jake Varns, a former secretary of the Department of
Environmental Regulation, was very instrumental in helping formulate changes in
the regulatory programs that would change the culture from a command-and-
control, police-power approach to implementing environmental law, to more of a
problem-solving [approach], [with a] focus on what the outcome [of fixing] the
environmental problem. [He did] not necessarily [aim] to punish somebody and
put them in jail. He was very visionary in that respect. Steve Fox, an
environmental consultant here in Florida, was very, very helpful. The list goes on
and on, but I think it was a culture that at the time, was definitely needed, and
actually produced some interesting results.

G: One part of the ecosystem management initiative was a program called team
permitting. What was team permitting designed to accomplish?

B: Team permitting was the framework [used] to integrate all of these single
command-and control-regulatory programs into focusing on environmental
outcomes instead. We were able to get some language in the Florida statutes to
give us broader flexibility to implement this team permitting approach. In the
instances where we've applied it, we've seen some pretty phenomenal results.
Essentially, we offer to an applicant, someone who wants to permit a large-scale
project that crosses many program areas, some flexibility in expediting the
process, some flexibility in how they meet the final standards that the permits will
require. In exchange for that increased flexibility and shortened time periods, we
also bring in other regulatory programs from other agencies, like local
government comprehensive planning, development of regional impact approvals,
and even federal agency approvals, like EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]
and Corps of Engineers wetland permitting. We'll bring that into a single
process, which saves the applicant a lot of consultant fees, time and money
because they can do everything concurrently and do it with one set of people. In
exchange for that, they have to give us a better environmental outcome. They
have to produce a project that is more stringent and more protective than what
the cumulative totals of the existing regulatory programs would require.
For example, if you have to mitigate two acres of wetland for every one
acre that you impact, in an ecosystem management approach, you would have to
[mitigate] maybe three acres of wetlands, or preserve more buffer lands. If you
had a discharge limit of ten micrograms-per-liter of some pollutant, you would
maybe have to get it down to five micrograms-per-liter. In exchange for this
flexibility and expedited permitting, we need a net ecosystem benefit. It's
amazing. Time is money to industry. Time is money to developers. Time is
money to the business world. It was a government recognition of, if time is of
value, then let's capture and share that savings and let the environment benefit
as well. It is a very labor intensive process. It takes a commitment not only from









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the agency but other agencies, as well as the landowner or the business,
whoever is applying for it. We haven't done that many of them. We certainly
have had great success where we do.
The one business sector in the state of Florida who has used this process
most effectively has been the phosphate mining industry. Some of the
environmental results they have come up with have been pretty phenomenal.
[We now have] protected areas we never thought we could get protected,
connected adjacent land uses, reclamation plans. When they restore a lake or a
stream or a water body, it's connected to the adjacent land owners in a way it
wouldn't have been under the current regulatory programs. We've had quite a bit
of success there.
It sounds very simple, [but] a lot of programs [that] evolve in government,
evolve in isolation. Folks who deal with phosphate mining may not deal with air
emissions very much, but you may end up building a plant that processes the
phosphate and emits pollutants in the air. Team permitting is a nice way to have
those program areas understand each other and how they relate to each other
and how their permitting decisions affect another program's permitting decisions.
It really is a nice umbrella approach to pull in conservation and regulatory
programs to focus on the outcomes of the decisions they make.

G: To what extent, if any, were you involved in the process of negotiation with the
litigation on water quality in the Everglades that began with Dexter Lehtinen's
lawsuit in 1988 against the Department of Environmental Regulations and South
Florida Water Management District?

B: At that time, I was working in a different program area, the shellfish program.
[My involvement dates] way back when I was more of an interested observer.
My deep involvement in the litigation came about 1994. After the lawsuit had
passed and the Everglades Forever Act passed, I headed up the agency's
implementation of the Everglades Forever Act and represented the Secretary
and [have] continued to do so for the past seven or eight years as her, now his,
principal to the settlement agreement. [I] wasn't involved in the negotiations of
the settlement agreement, but have been deeply involved in the last seven, eight
years as the [person] responsible for the agency fulfilling commitments that it
made under the settlement agreement in front of the federal court. We have had
periods where we have worked through some tough issues and have met
frequently with the other principal agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
the Army Corps of Engineers, the South Florida Water Management District, and
Everglades National Park. Those are the principals to the settlement agreement.
We have worked through tough issues and found common ground and been
able to work things out to Judge [William] Hoeveler's [U.S. District Court]
satisfaction. I'm hopeful that we're getting close to a point where the settlement
agreement has been fulfilled. The success of the storm water treatment areas,









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the success of the BMP's [best management practices?], the success of the
Everglades Forever Act, is coming to fruition. I think we are at our best when
we're not in a litigious sort of relationship with our partners. We're at our best
when we're in a full partnership. That's one of the most refreshing and exciting
things about the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. It was not born
out of litigation, it was born out of a true partnership. We're hopeful that
someday the consent order and settlement agreement will be fulfilled and our
relationship with our partners will be truly a partnership like we do have with the
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.
G: You mentioned earlier that you had been involved in the development of the
SWIM plans. Did the process of ongoing litigation impact in any way what you
were trying to accomplish with SWIM?

B: It was very much a constraining, dampening affect on the SWIM program. It
made it very difficult with litigation pending and lawsuits, to take a comprehensive
approach because you were constrained by what the courts were doing. It
actually went so far that the state passed a law that invalidated, or made the
SWIM plan illegal. I don't know the right term, but one of the lawsuits and one of
the acts that the legislature passed about 1990 or 1992, undid the SWIM plan.
Everything the SWIM plan was trying to do, build storm water treatment areas,
clean up water, look at the watershed, was ultimately accomplished through the
Everglades Forever Act. The end justifies the means, then everything, in the
end, turned out well. We had some tremendous success in cleaning the water
up, what the SWIM plan was trying to do. It was a little painful and awkward at
times because we constantly [had] to be aware and be restrained by the
litigation. Also when you're in litigation, it's very difficult for agencies to talk to
one another. Certain information is attorney-client privileged and not public
record, and federal government couldn't really participate, [which] would have
[created] the absolute best SWIM plan. It doesn't mean we did not develop and
implement some pretty successful SWIM plans all over the state of Florida. The
Everglades were very difficult.

G: Do you think the effort that went into developing the Everglades SWIM plan paid
off in the long run, that it was useful?

B: I think so. I think many elements of the SWIM plan, the use of storm water
treatment areas [and] BMP's, the source control activities that the SWIM plan
identified, a lot of the design and planning that went into developing the SWIM
plan, ended up in the settlement agreement and [was] codified through the
Everglades Forever Act. It certainly laid a strong groundwork for what needed to
be done. I think the settlement agreement and the Everglades Forever Act
provided a way for it to be done.









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G: Was there a sense that the DER [Department of Environmental Regulation], later
[the] DEP, was being unfairly targeted in the litigation? They were one of the
original people named in Dexter Lehtinen's lawsuit.

B: Hindsight is twenty-twenty. A different agency's perspective, we were not
named, the Department of Natural Resources. Interestingly enough, our lands
that we managed were being targeted as part of the solution. They wanted to
use state lands to build the stormwater treatment areas, which we found very
unacceptable at the time and are glad we did, because we've protected
additional acres of wetlands by not allowing the stormwater treatment areas to be
built on them.
I look back and think that the state of Florida was improperly targeted. I
don't think that the state of Florida singularly, solely, wholly, was responsible for
the situation. It dated all the way back to the federal project that was built that
allowed agriculture to move in, promoted agriculture to move in, for the express
purpose of draining water off the lands. The EAA [Everglades Agricultural Area]
was a federal government commitment to provide flood protection to these areas
and to allow development. The very same water that was causing the pollutants
to be transported into the Everglades was being delivered there through federal
structures. The Army Corps of Engineers, [who built] S-10 structures, were
unaware the water that was entering the Everglades was causing the pollutants.
As far as culpability goes, the state of Florida wasn't doing it. It was being
operated by the Corps of Engineers sanctioned by Congress.
Who would have known what the ultimate outcome of the lawsuit would
have been, because we weren't disputing the fact that polluted water was ruining
the Everglades. The real dispute is who was primarily responsible. It was
probably, [to] a large part, the operation of the Central and Southern Flood
Control Project. In the court of law, we probably had a pretty good case. Would
that have gotten the Everglades restored? Probably not. [We needed] to
recognize that if you really want to move forward, let's stop fighting over who is
responsible and all agree to fix it. I think it's unfortunate, with that backdrop, that
there are even times now where the Department of Justice and others view the
state as the responsible party, when all we did was make a very concerted
decision, to stop fighting over this and just agree to fix this. To answer your
question, I think unfairly targeted is probably not the right word. [There was] a
lack of full appreciation of how the system operates and [that] ultimately who was
responsible was no one. We all are operating, in a continuum, at a point in time
where public policy evolved and things that were promoted, accepted, and
encouraged several decades ago, are now problematic and we need to fix them.
It becomes very easy for agencies or sectors or private interests or non-profits or
interest groups to villainize each other. In fact, none of these decisions have
ever been [made] with malice intended. It's always just been the unintended
consequence hasn't always been environmentally sound. [End of side 1, Tape A]









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G: When the Everglades Forever Act was adopted, Marjorie Stoneman-Douglas
refused to have her name put on the bill. Why were so many environmental
groups, including the Miccosukee Tribe, so critical of this agreement?

B: At the time, there was already an existing settlement agreement and consent
decree issued in the federal court to resolve the dispute. The interesting thing
about the consent degree and the settlement agreement was that although it laid
forth a bunch of things that the agencies would do, the South Florida Water
Management District and the Department of Environmental Regulation, it wasn't
self-executing. Although we committed to do these things, there was no funding
source, there was no state legislative commitment. There was no ability to do
any of it outside the piecemeal cobbling together of agency budgets. It needed
to have the legislative blessing. The way laws are passed in Florida is a very
open and transparent process, but it's also one that is not bound by litigation or
consent decrees. You can't tell the legislature they have to do something. That's
why we have separation of powers in the constitution.
The legislature decides how it's best going to handle something and it did
with the Everglades Forever Act. In order to do that, they looked at the needs of
all the affected parties, environmental groups, the environment, federal
government, as well as the stakeholders in the local governments and others in
the region. They came up with what they felt was the best solution. It was a
really good solution and it has proven to be a very effective solution. The only
difficulty was [that] it didn't match up exactly with the Everglades consent order.
The primary difference was the timing and the dates. The legislature does have
to take into account funding levels, the ability to pay, and the timetables and
schedules that can reasonably and realistically be met, that a judge or consent
order may not be constrained by. When they applied that filter of we're going to
accomplish the same ends, but here's the schedule, the timing, and so forth,
some dates in the consent order had already passed. There's no way they could
build something in a date that had already passed. Something was supposed to
be built by 1992, and here it was 1993. That, I think, was the biggest criticism by
the environmental community. Not that it didn't go far enough, but it didn't do it
fast enough. Now that time has passed and the things that were supposed to be
done have been done, it's probably viewed as much more of a success, even by
the environmental community. Marjorie would probably have been proud to have
her name on it. She was just responding, and rightly so, to the criticism of time,
that it wasn't fast enough.
The other thing, for some reason I've yet to figure out, and I will probably
spend the rest of my career not fully understanding, is the funding of it. The
agricultural interests were required to clean up their lands, which they have done
a remarkable job of. They were also required to pay an additional agricultural
privilege tax, which comes out to roughly $280,000,000 to help fund the









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construction of these large areas. I think another criticism the environmental
community had at the time was that [it] wasn't enough money, they should pay
more. I don't ever fully understand that argument because to me a dollar is a
dollar, and if something gets built and gets done, I don't get caught up in the
principle of who pays, as much as it gets done. It has gotten done and the
legislature did provide a really good framework for that to happen. With all that
said, I think a lot of it was timing and funding and those types of things. It's hard
for people to go back and say, we had no idea it would turn out this good. We
probably would have supported it. Probably won't get anybody to ever really
admit that. Truth be known, I think it will go down as a landmark piece of
legislation that has done more environmental good that probably any other single
piece of environmental legislation of its kind in the country.
The only thing I think parallels the magnitude of success of the
Everglades Forever Act as far as an environmental success story has been the
CARL program, the Conservation and Recreational Lands program, the
subsequent funding by Preservation 2000 and, now, the Forever Florida program
that actually buys land and protects it. That's a different approach to
environmental protection. From a regulatory public works, let's-clean-this-up kind
of approach, I don't think you can go anywhere in the country and find something
that's been as successful as the Everglades Forever Act. At the time, by
listening to some folks talk, it was a terrible piece of legislation. It has been a
very wonderful success story and you don't hear people complaining about it
anymore. We've made great success, all the way up until this year when we
proposed our phosphorus standard of ten parts-per-billion, which we are now
taking through the Environmental Regulatory Commission process. Once again,
[that is] yet another outcome of that legislation.

G: The DEP just decided to endorse the ten parts-per-billion standard. Talk about
the process that went into that decision.

B: We have spent a great deal of effort in throughly researching what the levels
should be. One of the remarkable things about standard setting is that it's not
altruistic, as most people would think. The whole water quality standard program
recognizes that there is some level of pollution that will take place all over the
world, as long as it doesn't cause harm to the environment. One would
immediately think, if the background level is a certain amount, then that's what
the standard should be. That's not what a standard is. A standard is, at what
level you can introduce a pollutant, to which it doesn't cause any significant
harm? Rarely, is the standard the exact same as what's background. Usually
it's a little bit more because there's assimilative capacity, dilution, dispersion, the
ability of a natural system to pick up a little bit of pollutant, naturally, without it
causing any harm. That needed to be studied. We knew the background was
ten, but what was the assimilative capacity of the Everglades? Could it take any









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more?
A lot of research was done at several different levels by several different
agencies and universities, from Duke University to the University of Florida,
Florida International. All types of resources. Water Management Districts did
research. We were faced with needing enough time to let the research be done,
and different types of research were done. There was research done in the field
where they were dosing studies. We dosed small flumed areas of the
Everglades to see what the reaction was, and then we did controlled dosing
studies and experiments in the laboratory. Essentially, what we've been able to
determine, through all that research, is just the very nature of the Everglades and
the fact that it doesn't have a lot of assimilative capacity. The standard needs to
be ten. We looked at a wide range [of research]. The standard is supposed to
say at what level pollutants [can] be introduced where it does not impact the
natural flora and fauna.
[We then] had to define what an impact was. If you change a small algal
community, is that an impact when everything else is fine? Does it have to be a
larger macrophyte, like an emergent plant, a cattail, present where you're
supposed to have sawgrass? Those are all very difficult and technical, scientific
threshold questions. Layered on top of that is you have, for the past fifty years,
caused, in some cases, what might be irreversible harm to the natural system by
the introduction of much higher levels of pollutants from Lake Okeechobee and
farming practices to the north. What effect does that have? Do those areas
have the same standard as the areas that are unimpacted? The legislation talks
a lot about the difference between impacted and unimpacted areas. There were
some threshold legal questions that had to be answered. With all that said, we
were able to stick to the science, stick to the facts. Look at different species of
periphyte, algal communities, macrophytes, invertebrates, and vertebrates, and
decide where in fact the change occurred]. [We tried to distinguish] what is
Everglades [from] something that is impacted Everglades. We were able to
determine that would be ten parts-per-billion, which coincidentally is the default
standard, which is coincidentally the background level of the Everglades.
It is a very protective standard that we have proposed. We felt like if [we]
were going to propose a standard, it should be the correct one. We also felt very
strongly, if [we] were going to propose something as controversial as a very, very
protective standard like that, [we'd] better be able to defend it when it's litigated.
These types of issues, when you deal with the Everglades, are going to be
litigated. Stakeholders that feel they have to look out for their best interests. We
have proposed a very protective standard that is legally defensible because the
science and the data is there. We had until 2003 to set the standard under the
act and we proposed the rule at the end of this past year. We're now in the
process of promulgating it in the state rule-making process. With all that said,
when you look at an ecosystem that has been impacted for a hundred years,
taking an extra year or so to throughly research, to throughly study, to be able to









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defend your very protective approach, in the scheme of things, is just a blip in
time. We will save a lot of pain, a lot of time and move restoration forward a lot
faster by having been very diligent in our approach.

G: If the ten parts-per-billion standard is eventually adopted by the environmental
regulatory commission, how confident are you that the technology will be
available to meet that standard by the 2006 deadline imposed by the Everglades
Forever Act?

B: I think the standard will certainly be met. It's important to understand that there's
a big difference between a standard and the compliance with that standard. We
have areas in the Everglades that, whether we allow a drop of water to enter into
or not, [even] if we just put distilled water into it, are still not going to meet the
standard. The reason they're not going to meet the standard is because of the
past historical discharging of phosphorus-laden waters and it's built up in the soil.
The soils have accumulated large quantities of phosphorus B six hundred
micrograms-per-liter. It's a pretty broad expanse of area and that's not
something that you can just undo. Over time, we're going to have it reflux out of
the soil and it will eventually reach equilibrium and that will no longer be a source.
The point I'm trying to make is that the source of phosphorus is not only going to
be external, anthropogenic, it's going to be internal to the Everglades for a long
period of time. Even after the standard is set, there will be a period of time where
parts of the Everglades do not meet the standard and do not meet their
designated use. The good news is that's exactly what we're supposed to be able
to identify. That's why we set the standard at what it is. To delineate the areas
that aren't meeting it and develop recovery strategies to get them back down to
ten. The other very good news is if you look at the overall 2,000,000 remaining
acres of the Everglades, roughly 5 percent won't meet its designated use of ten,
but 95 percent will. That's an A where I come from. It's easy to magnify a
problem, but you've got to keep it in perspective. We'll have a whole series of
remedies and things in place.
From the technology perspective, technology can take you as far as
technology can take you. At some point in time, you can spend a billion, trillion,
gazillion dollars and no technology in the world is going to work. Technology can
only go as far as it does at that point in time. I think the technology is in place to
get us below twenty parts-per-billion. We're going to refine the technologies we
have, we're going to continue to do that. There's only one technology that can
get you down to ten parts-per-billion, and that would be chemical treatment of the
water. The caveat or concern there is, do you spend the additional money to do
chemical treatment when, in fact, you're probably causing additional
environmental harm far greater than those low, low levels of nutrients you're
already achieving through the more natural technologies of filter marshes and
periphyte and algal communities and things like that, that we're going to use.









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Algal scrubbers and polishing ponds are more natural in removing phosphorus
than introducing chemicals. You inadvertently create a lot of chemical residues,
when you add chemical treatment at this scale. This is million and billions of
gallons of water that would be treated, which means tons and tons of chemicals
would have to be added. The addition of chemicals into the system to take out a
natural pollutant makes no sense. The unintended consequence of using
chemicals means that the chemicals strip everything out of the water. In
removing the unwanted small levels of nutrients of phosphorus, do you remove
other micronutrients that the marsh needs? A lot of research we're doing now [is]
to determine if the unintended consequences [is] causing a problem worse than
we have.
We'll end up having a very iterative process where we keep pushing the
green technologies, the natural, green technologies, get them more and more
refined, more and more efficient, more and more effective and ultimately, I think
the standard will definitely be achievable. In 2006, it's hard to predict. We put a
man on the moon in a short period of time, I think we'll advance our green
technology in a short period of time. To give you an example of why I have this
kind of confidence, we're using technologies now that, when designed to be built,
were at best hoping to achieve a fifty parts-per-billion reduction. Here we are,
with full scale implementation with STA's, some operating for seven [or] eight
years now, in the case of the Everglades Nutrient Removal project, which is now
part of STA-1 West. They have been routinely performing 100 percent better
than that. Twenty-five parts-per-billion or less. We have made giant strides in
short periods of time, using green technologies.
I think it's only a matter of time to get down to the standard. We don't
want to rush to a judgment, to a conclusion and a technology that causes more
harm, environmentally, than it does good. You also end up with the ability to
provide for or require continual improvement in the technologies through the
regulatory permitting process. We have the ability to require the water
management district, who operates this large-scale restoration project, to provide
us [with] their road map for meeting the final standard and the technologies
they're going to use and the action steps they're going to take to achieve that
continual improvement until we get down to ten. I'm confident we'll get there.
We'll get there and we will demand the use of the best technology to get us
there, that causes the least environmental harm, that provides the best
environmental benefit as we go on.

G: Do you see any obstacles, other than technical challenges, to achieving the ten
parts-per-billion standard?

B: No. It's a technologically limited dilemma and the technology is continuing to
evolve. We'll have the regulatory authority in place, we'll have the standard in
place, we'll have the ability to seek continual improvement. The existing natural









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conditions, the in situ conditions that are in the marsh themselves, those areas
that have been impacted will continue to be impacted for years and years to
come. Our theory is that, as we introduce lower and lower levels of phosphorus
in the water column, those areas will begin to shrink in what I like to call an
ambulatory line. They'll march backward, away from the marsh, towards the
outfall structures, so we will have a shrinking of impacted areas over time, which
is precisely what the settlement agreement in the Everglades Forever Act
intended. Existing conditions, I think, are the other limiting factor. It's an issue of
fairness and equity. Those conditions exist because of activities that were legal
at the time, that were fully authorized by the federal government, and were the
standard practice.
In the 1960s we had rivers in Ohio that were on fire, the Cuyahoga River
was on fire. A lot of those activities you would never, ever allow today, but they
did discharge raw sewage and raw pollutants into natural systems for years and
years. When laws passed, people came into compliance. Everyone in the
Everglades area is in compliance with the laws. They're doing what was asked
of them and they're performing. Do you punish today's businessmen for what
businessmen of the past did? You just don't do that anywhere else. I don't know
how we can keep punishing ourselves for things that were done thirty, forty, fifty
years ago with the full blessing of, not just the state of Florida, but the federal
government. Times have changed, laws are better, rules are better,
requirements are better. That all leads to what we're doing, which is using
existing laws and authorities to clean things up and to get continual improvement.

G: Has the issue of funding been resolved in terms of fully funding the entire
implementation of the Everglades Forever Act?

B: There's a provision in the act that the additional technologies, beyond what the
storm water treatment areas and the BMP's require, has yet to be determined.
There was also a constitutional amendment passed, Amendment 5, you'll hear it
called the polluter pay amendment. Those would have to take some additional
act by the legislature if they were going to charge any single sector of the south
Florida area to pay for any additional technologies. Those are still unresolved.
To be honest, the exact cost and need has not been determined until the
standard is set and the designs are put in place to work towards those standards.
I think it's going to be a very interesting public policy debate when we start
talking about the polluter pay [amendment]. There's a case pending in front of
the Supreme Court that's addressing that very issue. Those are all yet to be
determined, though.

G: How would you compare the management styles of Governors Lawton Chiles
and Jeb Bush, particularly in relation to Everglades related issues?









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B: I think the common ground is [that] both believed restoring the Everglades was
the right thing to do. Both wanted it done smartly and efficiently and effectively. I
think there was a lot of commonality there. Governor Chiles, I think, was very
dedicated to [the] Everglades. His style was dramatically different. He was more
of an old-Florida kind of politician. Certainly, [he] backed the Everglades. [He]
always used his political will to get things done and was very supportive to the
point where he would even jump start things. Governor Bush, on the other hand,
has been a very pleasant surprise in his approach to it. He approaches the
Everglades as non-negotiable. It's not something that we can discuss whether
we do or not. We have to restore the Everglades. He recognizes, not only the
value of the natural system, but he recognizes what the resources of the
Everglades in a natural state means to the region and the economy of south
Florida. He has steadfastly supported the Everglades Forever Act, the
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, the Water Resources
Development Act that authorized the restoration, and has been a strong, strong
supporter of making sure the financial resources are in place to implement this
very large-scale restoration plan. He takes a much more business[-like]
approach, [with] much more accountability, [to] make sure that we're getting
every penny spent in the right place, at the right time, for the right benefit. Much
more hands on than Governor Chiles was.

Governor Bush, I think, understands the restoration plan at a much higher
level of detail, understanding the significance of restoring the hydrology,
understanding what it does to aquifer recharge, understanding what it does to
wading bird populations. I'm in my nineteenth year of state government,
probably my eleventh or twelfth year of working on Everglades restoration, and I
have never seen a politician who understands the mechanics of a restoration
project like this. He does, which is really quite a testimony to him. He is willing,
and has time and time again, invested a lot of his political capital in making sure
this continues to move forward, even when the decisions, to some of his
supporters, have not been what they wanted. He's done, time and time again,
what's right, which to me has been very impressive. Not that what his supporters
wanted to do was not right, but he's done what has been the best for the
Everglades. I really believe that, without any disrespect to Governor Chiles.
Keep in mind, I date back to Governor [Bob] Graham [U.S. Senator from Florida,
1987-present; Florida governor, 1979-1987] in my career. Governor Graham and
Governor [Bob] Martinez [Florida governor, 1987-1991] were both very
supportive of [the] Everglades [and] conservation programs. Governor Graham
deserves a lot of credit for the early years and the early focus on Everglades
restoration. He had the Save Our Everglades program and committed a lot of his
time as governor toward moving forward, not only [with] the Everglades
restoration, but [with] the Kissimmee River restoration, which is another
wonderful success story that we're completing in the upper part of the system.









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With all that said, in the last two years, I feel like the state has been able to do
more toward moving Everglades restoration further along than all the previous
administrations. That is a very pleasant surprise.

G: Did your role change at all as you moved from the Chiles into the Bush
administration?

B: Yes, I serve at the will of the Secretary, I'm in an appointed position and I was
here in a similar capacity under Secretary Wetherell and Governor Chiles. This
administration had to make a decision if they kept me or not to head up the
agency's role or provide support to the Secretary in his leading the agency and
implementing Everglades restoration. To my pleasure, because I love what I do
and I love working on these issues and I think I'm blessed to be able to work on
Everglades and other restoration projects in the state, they decided to keep me.
In some respects, my role is elevated. In other respects, some projects I've
worked on the past I have a different role. As far as [the] Everglades goes, I
have never ever felt more support for what we do from the leadership than we've
had under this administration. That's hopefully a testimony that we're doing the
right things. Hard for the types of restoration projects we've been working on not
to go forward.
I do have a very technical background. I also have the history dating all
the way back to the restudy and the initial development of the changes to the
CNSF [Central and Southern Florida] project that came out of the restudy and the
subsequent authorizations of WRDA [Water Resources Development Act]. Not
only understanding how the plan was developed, but being part of the
interagency team that developed the plan. I think the new administration
recognized that there was sort of an institutional and technical knowledge that I
could provide, as well as [the fact that] I was able to work with Secretary
Wetherell and Governor Bush in the negotiations of the Water Resources
Development Act. Actually, I did represent the state of Florida at the negotiating
table with [U.S.] Senate staffers from the EPW [Environment and Public Works]
committee that drafted the legislation that passed. The governor had a lot of faith
and confidence in all of us who worked on the Everglades team. That support
allowed us to get a plan authorized for the Everglades that is not only good for
the state of Florida, but good for the Everglades. I really feel blessed, personally,
to be able to continue to work on a project sort of from its inception, hopefully to
its completion. I won't be here thirty years from now when the final project is
built. I do intend, for the rest of my life, to stay involved in either an official
capacity or as a concerned stakeholder all the way through to its end, to my last
days. This is a project that engenders that kind of long-term support from those
who have had the ability to work on it.

G: When David Struhs [Secretary of Florida Department of Environmental









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Protection] was appointed by Governor Bush to head the DEP in 1999, you
stated, AJob one is to see what we can do to boost morale among the ranks of
the DEP.@ Was there need to bring change to the DEP at that time?

B: Looking back at the agency, I think any time you have an agency that's faced
with a great deal of uncertainty, any organization B a business, a church, a civic
club or government group B in the face of [that] uncertainty, morale always
fluctuates up and down. I think the worst part [is that] agencies respond to
rumors. He did inherit an agency that had undergone tremendous change. Not
necessarily turmoil, so much as change, in the fact that environmental laws were
changing, administrations had changed, leadership had changed, but more
importantly our organization changed. It changed in two ways. We had gone
through, in 1992 -1994, an extensive merger of two agencies with dramatically
different cultures. Not just cultures in the way we did business, in the way we
operated, but cultures in what our missions were. You have one agency [that] is
very protective, we actually go so far as to buy hundreds of millions of dollars
worth of land to protect it and you have another agency [that] is charged with
permitting activities on lands. It's an inherent kind of cultural difference. Not that
either one is right or wrong, it's just that their goals and missions aren't always
the same. That culture was difficult to live through. But we did, and the agency
had evolved from that.
Then a constitutional amendment passed on the creation of the Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission. Now, other parts that had historically been
part of the agency were being extracted and moved to a different agency, so you
had melded together and now you were being ripped back apart. I think there
were some morale issues with the uncertainty of futures and jobs and so forth.
Secretary Struhs is the third agency head that I've worked directly for. All of
them have faced similar budget crunches and uncertainties and having to
terminate programs and terminate people. The interesting thing is Secretary
Struhs and Virginia Wetherell and Tom Garnter, before her, all had many
unspoken, but clearly a compassionate approach toward the value of employees
during these uncertain times. If you look at what Secretary Struhs has done in
this incredibly tight budget situation where we had [a] $1.2 billion revenue
shortfall for the state government across the board, we have protected our
employees as valuable resources from those cuts. We have gotten more
efficient, more effective. Secretary Wetherell did the same thing. I think we had
some tight budget years through the 1990s. Budget projections, we had to do
cuts and so forth. I can't remember more than a handful of positions that have
had to adversely affect an individual. We've recognized the value of those
individuals. Morale is a symptom of change. Once people experience the
change and realize it's not so bad, and in many cases [it's] even better and in
some cases, the comforts are the same and the discomforts might be gone,
morale goes up and down. I think morale is pretty high. It has been low in the









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past [and] it's been high in the past. It's one of those things, it's a very
fascinating thing to watch. You always try to do your best to be sympathetic to
the morale of your workforce because they really are the most valuable asset
that any organization has.

G: There had been some criticism of the DEP under Secretary Wetherell, that she
gave too much preference to agricultural and development interests. How would
you respond to those criticisms?

B: I never really saw that at all. Usually, when you have a tough job, you're not
going to ever make everybody happy. I think you would find an equal amount of,
if not more, business and agricultural interests that would say Virginia Wetherell
was too hard on them. It's just the nature of a regulatory agency where you have
to make decisions day-in and day-out that affect people's livelihoods. Those are
tough decisions. When you make decisions about whether they can do a certain
land use or not, or they can do a certain activity on their property or not and
affect their ability to earn money, you're going to be unpopular. At the same
time, when you have a law that the legislature or Congress has passed and you
implement it and it's permissive and you're supposed to allow something, if they
do mitigation or protection or other measures that they have to do and you allow
it, you're going to make another group of folks unhappy. I had a saying about
Virginia, she didn't care about agriculture, and she didn't care about business,
she cared about Florida. I really believe that. She, day-in and day-out, had to
balance [those interests], as [does] Secretary Struhs and [as] Secretary Struhs's
successor [will have to]. All of us who work in this field have to balance many,
many competing needs and ideas and so forth, when you make these individual
regulatory decisions. One of the reasons why I stay so enthusiastic about what I
do is because we don't make as many regulatory decisions in the field of
restoration as we make public works decisions on how, for the benefit of all,
we're going to do these large-scale public works and restoration type projects.
That's a dramatically different work environment and a different culture than a
regulatory one. A regulatory one is constant dynamics of meeting the letter of
the law, being fair, yet being protective of the environment that the law is set up
to protect. I don't mean to sound defensive of her, I just have a wonderful
respect for her and what she did and how she handled it with grace and dignity
and tried to be fair. It's always ironic that maybe a measure of one's success is
how aggravated both sides are with you. I think that's the nature of the jobs we
do. Virginia was right where she needed to be day-in and day-out, which was
putting the environment first, protecting the environment, yet understanding the
law allows certain things. How do you always be true to the law and implement
what the legislature and Congress wants us to do? Everyone that [is] a public
figure, in public office, a public position, is going to be subject to criticism. I'm
always amazed at how uniformed some of those criticisms can be sometimes.









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G: How would you characterize the working relationship between the Department of
Environmental Protection and the South Florida Water Management District?

B: I think the working relationship is a very effective one, if not sometimes awkward.
The water management district is an agency unto it's own right, yet it is
accountable to the legislature and the governor. There is an interesting
relationship between the Department and the water management district
insomuch as we are required to provide general supervisory authority over the
district. Many of their funds that come from the state come through our agency.
We also have budget oversight and budget responsibility. As a matter of fact, the
Everglades restoration, the $100,000,000 a year, comes through our agency and
we're responsible to make sure, and [are] accountable to the legislature, that the
district uses it wisely, effectively, and efficiently, and for the right reasons B to
implement Everglades restoration. We have an oversight role which is very, very
important. It's an accountability role to make sure that they do what they're
supposed to do. We're accountable to the public and to the legislature and the
governor and others. But we also have a partnership role. We view all of these
things as a partnership, we are partners in the Everglades restoration. We're
partners in water supply development, we're partners in flood control, we're
partners in protecting and buying lands. Many, many program areas within the
agency are blurred.
At times, it's hard to say what the department is doing and what the
district is doing, so we do a lot of things together. A good example is [that] we
buy a lot of land together. We have projects that we're responsible for buying,
projects they're responsible for buying. They overlap and we buy them together.
We buy them and let them manage them or they buy them and let us manage
them. Those things are really refreshing because, at the staff level, they move
freely back and forth.
The governing board has an interesting role. They're appointed by the
governor, yet they have their own taxing authority. They essentially provide
direction to the agency. We are accountable to the people of the state of Florida
through the governor and to the governor and cabinet on our land acquisition
stuff. Sometimes people will say that the Corps of Engineers and the water
management district are a marriage and sometimes we are the in-laws. We're
responsible for what's going on, to a certain degree, but we have some painful
parenting we have to do at times. I know that's a funny analogy. By and large,
at the leadership level, the Secretary and the executive director have tremendous
respect and working relationship. Henry Dean [executive director, South Florida
Water Management District, 2001-present] and Secretary Struhs, when they are
meeting, discussion is one common goal and that's doing it right and doing it
together. At the staff level, I've been blessed with working with the water
management district for many years and developing strong relationships [with]









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their general council, their legislative lobbyists [and] their program administrators.
By and large, it's one of those things where probably 99 percent [of the time]
we're usually in agreement. There are times we disagree, but you do that with
any kind of relationship. It's an interesting one. We talked a lot about the DEP
situation, but you also have different agency cultures. The one strength that
binds us together is that our agency's missions are much closer aligned. Both
have broad responsibilities, we both have broad programs, and broad multi-
purpose decisions we have to make. I think that lends ourselves to having strong
[ties]. When we deal with an issue like implementing the modified water
deliveries project or implementing the Kissimmee River restoration or the
Everglades Forever Act, our missions are so closely aligned and our ends to the
outcomes are so balanced, that the decisions we usually come to are usually
identical. It's an interesting dynamic. I think to have us be separate agencies,
but with common missions, allows more things to get done. Also, for us to have
the supervisory authority, although there are those at the district who forget it or
those at the district who would like for us not to have it because we're another
level of accountability that they have to deal with. In the end, we also know the
level of support for what they do. We can go to Congress and say we want this
authorized and they do too. We can go to the legislature and say we want
$100,000,000 for Everglades restoration on their behalf because it is the lead
environmental agency of the state of Florida speaking on their behalf. The good
and the bad, all in all it's mostly good.

G: What was the relationship like between the DEP and the Army Corps of
Engineers?

B: That is a really amazing evolution in the last ten or fifteen years. I think we
probably have, in the past, not had the best relationship. I think right now it's
probably at an all-time high. A lot of that is done at the highest level. We have a
lot of interaction between the Secretary and the District engineer. They meet
frequently, not only on Everglades, but [on] other issues. We have a lot of
programs that overlap, where we implement a lot of water resource protection
programs at the state level, they implement water resource protection at the
federal level. We work together and we partner and we use federal funds and
state funds and we bring them together, the Lower St. Johns, the Everglades, the
Kissimmee, the Apalachicola. All of them, we work on these large scale projects
together. We do beach re-nourishment projects together. To the contractor, they
don't even know if they're spending a federal dollar or a state dollar. They know
they're putting sand on the beach. Those things work pretty well.
At a regulatory level, where we have similar wetland protection or
mitigation, those types of things, we're usually lock-step with each other. Some
of our rules are different. What we call a wetland they may not, and what they
can a wetland we may not B some of those little program differences. But I think









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we work pretty well. Because of Governor Bush's high support and involvement
in Everglades restoration, in the Jacksonville districts, they're not allowed to
lobby Congress, but we are. When they see that we go to Congress in support
of what they're doing and actually do some of their lobbying for them because we
see how valuable it is to the state of Florida, what they're doing, that creates
tremendous respect and tremendous opportunities to work together. We've been
able to do that over and over again, not just on Everglades, but other projects.
When they see that they value what they do to the point where we're willing to go
fight for our share of funds, or our share of appropriations or authorizations on
their behalf, it builds a great relationship. Do we squabble over stuff at the
technical and staff level? Yes, all the time. I think that's how good public policy
is made and how good projects are built and implemented. You're constantly
pushing each other to do the best. We do a lot of that. My peers at the district,
at the Corps of Engineers, I may not agree with them all the time, but boy, I
respect them. Richard Bonner, Lloyd Pike, Stu Appelbaum, the past colonels
that I've had the pleasure to work with. There's a lot of respect there. They have
tough jobs and they do them very well. [End of side 2, Tape A]

G: What do you believe led to the change in the relationship between the DEP and
the Corps?

B: It's probably a number of things, but I think a lot of it is, on a national level, the
prominence of Florida. We are a growth state. If this last election didn't prove
anything, it proved that Florida is sort of pivotal in the national policies and
interests and decisions, all the way down to the presidential election. I think
there are so many people here now, politicians from other states look to Florida.
We're the [fourth] largest state in the Union now and we have a large
congressional delegation who affects their programs. They're going to help
Florida wherever they can. Not only that, [people from] other states come visit
Florida a lot. Florida is a prominent state, politically, in that what happens in
Florida has a lot of national significance. I think as Florida has grown in
population and grown in political importance, the Army Corps of Engineers has
paid more attention. The Jacksonville district, which covers all of Florida for their
regulatory programs and most of Florida for their public works programs, rose to
a very prominent position in the hierarchy of the Corps of Engineers. Rank and
file Corps officers want to go to Florida to be part of all the activities that go on in
Florida, in relation the Corps of Engineers activities. Florida has a tremendous
military presence. There's a lot of public works that have to happen here to
support the military bases that are in Florida. The Corps positions are very
important and the Jacksonville position is one that any Secretary of the Army
knows who his district engineer is in Jacksonville. He may not know who it is in
South Dakota, but they know who it is in Florida, because of Everglades,
because of Kissimmee, because of the St. Johns River, the cross-Florida barge









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canal, the public works that are here, the beaches, the inland navigational
systems that are maintained, intracoastal waterways. Florida has ports that are
very significant, very significant from a national defense perspective as well.
Florida is important and [with] Florida's elevation importance, we got blessed with
the cream of the crop, as far as district engineers. Those district engineers,
being very wise and understanding the politics of Florida and the will of the
people in Florida, started paying more and more attention to environmental
issues. It dates way back. As those environmental issues became more and
more important, their relationship to the agency grew more and more.
Also, call it what you want, I call it being responsive to changes in public
policy, the Corps has become a lot greener, at least our Corps that we work with.
I don't have a lot of experience with Corps of Engineers in other parts of the
country, except what I read about in the paper. Our Corps of Engineers is very
pro-environmental protection, very pro-environmental restoration. They're also
very balanced in how they do it. We help each other do our jobs. They work real
closely with us. I think it's just been an evolution of prominence of the growth of
the Jacksonville district and the Corps' scheme of things, combined with the
changes in the philosophy within the Corps of Engineers, to be more of an
environmental protector or steward. Those two things have led to a natural
progression of our relationship into something of a partnershipp. Us being able
to work together on getting their projects authorized, so they can continue to do
the good things that they do, has all led to what is a pretty good relationship.

G: Do you see any differences in the specific way in which the Corps goes about
carrying out its management duties?

B: I think the Corps has become a lot more sophisticated, in my time, to external
forces than they used to be. The old way of doing business with the Corps would
be a very federalized approach. We've got this federal mandate we've got to do,
we're just going to do it and y'all deal with it to a more cooperative, interagency
approach, recognizing that we all have a lot of common missions and goals. We
could probably best accomplish a lot of things, be more effective, more resource
efficient, [if we] do things together. More bang for our bucks. They've been
much more of a partner in recent years. I've actually seen that in the last ten
years, where they were receptive to those ideas, to now they just operate that
way and embrace those ideas.

G: How would you characterize the relationship between the DEP and the
Department of the Interior, particularly the National Park Service and the Fish
and Wildlife Service?

B: It's an interesting dynamic. Keep in mind what I'm about to say is out of
tremendous respect; one of the difficulties is [that] we have a broader mission to









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protect all the resources, the air, the water, the land, the state lands, the federal
lands, the listed species, and provide other needs for people in the region. The
park has a much more narrow, although equally important, mandated mission,
that is to protect the park. We overlap in [that] we both want to protect the park.
It's a high priority for both of us. It's just not our only priority. What ends up
happening, at times, when we have to be more balanced and more
comprehensive in the types of solutions that we want to see go forward, the park
is not bound by as comprehensive an approach. We, oftentimes, are not exactly
on the same page because although we want to do everything in the world to
protect the park, it's not the only thing we want to do. A good example would be
[that] although the park would never want to intentionally cause harm to other
natural areas, sometimes the best thing to protect resources of the park might be
to cause harm to the state lands to the north that are Everglades as well, by
holding water back and [by] backing it up on top of our land. [That] protects their
land, but in reality, it's all one system. What we've had to struggle with over the
years is how [to] find the common areas where we can protect both. That
happens more often than you would think. With all due respect to the park and
the [Department of the] Interior, we understand that's their mission. There is
tremendous respect because they're good at protecting the park. We want to
help them wherever we can. I will say the relationship with the park is pretty
good now and I think [has] always been strong. I've enjoyed working with
superintendent Dick Ring [superintendent of Everglades National Park]. We're
never 100 percent always in agreement on things because of the different
mandates. I certainly have tremendous respect for what he was trying to
accomplish. He was very, very firm in his commitment to back his staff up and
back up the needs of the park.
The water management district and the Corps are more closely aligned
with us because they have multiple purposes that extend beyond the park. Not
to say that the park doesn't care about things outside it's boundaries, they care
very much, it's just that they have to put the park first. Interestingly enough, Big
Cypress [Park], [has the] same management structure, [but] they have more of a
multi-purpose approach to their land management. Interestingly enough, we're
almost always in agreement with what Big Cypress wants to do. We've tried to
help them protect their resources from oil drilling, we try to protect their resources
from off-road vehicles, give them infrastructure to help restore their hydrology.
See, they have more of a multi-purpose mission at a preserve than you do at a
park. It's interesting sometimes I see how we do better. Now, at Loxahatchee
National Wildlife Refuge, I think [we have] a very interesting relationship, a very
good one. Great deal of cooperation between us and the manager there and the
management at the National Wildlife Refuge, which is also managed by the
Department of Interior. Interestingly enough, that's state land. It's state and
water management land we leased to them, so we have a different relationship
because we're their landlord and they're leasing that land from us. We have a









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little more control. Control is not always the answer, but we have more say-so in
how certain things are done. It's usually a more cooperative relationship.
All in all, there are decisions that Fish and Wildlife Service makes that we
don't always agree with 100 percent. Not that we don't agree that what they're
trying to do is best for what they're trying to accomplish, we just have the ability
to take a bigger picture approach in what's best for the overall ecosystem.
Sometimes, what's best for one small sector of an ecosystem is not best for the
entire ecosystem. That's usually where the disagreements occur. The nice part
about it is [that] those types of disagreements are very healthy and very
important to getting good policies established. You wouldn't want to have
decisions being made for one sector that don't benefit other sectors, but, vice
versa, you wouldn't want to have decisions made for the benefit of [one sector]
that causes harm to a very important piece. Those things are all [in] kind of a
delicate balance that we walk through. By and large, it's a pretty good
relationship. A lot of healthy respect amongst agencies, but with that respect has
to come an appreciation and an understanding that our missions are different.
Because of those differences, we're not always supposed to agree. When we
disagree, it's not personal, it's for a good cause. Both sides have valid reasons.
That leads to a refining of what we do and coming up, ultimately, with an overall
better decision.

G: With so many federal, state, and local actors involved in Everglades
management, has the challenge of defining responsibility been an obstacle to
moving forward with the restoration process?

B: The responsibilities are more clearly defined than one would think because most
of the responsibilities are born in laws and statutes and agency programs. We've
had the best success where we have had really clear, defined marching orders
and were able to move out, like the Kissimmee River restoration. We've had the
most difficulty where there are too many different agencies involved, like the Mod
Waters or C-111 project, a great example of how things can get stalled if you've
got too many cooks in the kitchen. Overall, there's been a lot of benefit from
having the task force where the agencies can get together and share ideas. I've
always been a strong advocate of individual agencies' responsibilities because I
don't think that by participating in an interagency effort you abdicate any of your
responsibilities or accountability. There's been certain [areas] where I don't think
a task force approach lends itself well to [the situation], and there are other areas
where a task force approach provides a wonderful umbrella to work together and
pull resources and do things in a unified way.
There are certain things that a specific agency is responsible for, like a
local government is responsible for their local government and comprehensive
planning. No task force in the world is going to do that for them. They have to,
day-in and day-out, make decisions on land use and comprehensive plans and









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those types of things. They are not accountable to a task force. They're
accountable to the legislature, they're accountable to the local government,
they're accountable to the populace and who elects them. Those are the kinds of
things I've always tried to make sure that these interagency approaches don't
take the place of. It's just an issue of governance. You don't establish some sort
of interagency task force and then pretend that it's some level of government that
it's not. They can't make decisions to tell an agency whether they'll permit
something or not.
An agency has its own authorities and responsibilities and it needs to do
its job, and if it doesn't do its job right, it needs to be accountable for it. Those
are [areas] where I think coordination is important, but it's not the end. It's not
the way to get the final decision. We watched these interagency task forces
evolve to see who's in charge and who's not. Ultimately, on Everglades
restoration, the local sponsor, through support from the governor, is in charge on
the state level and the Corps of Engineers is responsible on the federal level.
They're accountable to Congress. We're accountable to the [Florida] legislature
and to the governor. We think that there are clearly defined areas of
responsibility. How we do that job better is [to] make sure it's inclusive and the
decisions that are made are made will full input from all the stakeholders,
including the other agencies that have a vested interest and a stake in it. And
the third parties, environmental group, local governments, industry, agriculture,
and urban water supply authorities. We want all of them to provide input, but,
ultimately, somebody has to be accountable for the decisions that are made and
somebody has to make sure it gets implemented. That's the local sponsor and
the Corps on large scale projects.
On the big Everglades Forever Act, DEP is accountable, the water
management district is accountable. We either do it well or we don't. But if we
don't do it well, they need to find somebody else to do it better. That level of
accountability and responsibility, I don't think you ever want to take away from
the agencies that are implementing what the lawmakers want us to implement. If
we don't implement it in the way that the lawmakers want us to, then we're
accountable to them and they are accountable to their populace that votes them
into office. This all works. It's a civics lesson at a very high level. You read
about these things in civics books, but then when you actually have to implement
them, you learn a lot about government and the value of government and good
government, when it works right.

G: What do you think the contribution of the federal restoration task force has been?

B: I think that task force has been very, very valuable. Particularly when they agree
that there's a mutual task they need to accomplish together. I'll give you a great
example. When the Water Resource Development Act of 1996 passed,
$200,000,000 were appropriated in the Farm Bill. The task force was an









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unprecedented forum to get interagency agreement and stakeholder buy-in to
what the priority purchases are. [The Department of the] Interior could have
made a list, could have bought whatever [land] they wanted, but would they have
been the key pieces of land needed for restoration or not? [Because] the Interior
asked the task force to develop a priority list, we ended up buying the Talisman
property in the Everglades Agricultural Area, lands in the east coast buffer area,
and also Southern Golden Gate Estates on the western side for restoration
purposes. That provided a forum to do really good identification of priorities and
to move them out. Congress authorized the critical projects. What are the
critical restoration projects that need to move ahead? Then the Army Corps of
Engineers went to the task force and asked them to do that. Those were
important in establishing the priorities for which critical projects to do. When
they're given a discreet task that needs some sort of high level interagency buy-
in, it's a great forum because you have the right people there, you have the
assistant secretaries of the federal government, you have the agency head from
DEP, representatives from the governing board of the water management district.
The tribes are represented. They're key players in all this. You have local
governments represented.
But [these groups] don't substitute for any of the agencies'
responsibilities. It was still, ultimately, the Secretary of the Army's decision [as
to] whether he accepted those recommendations. It was still the Secretary of
Interior's decision if they accepted the recommendations, but they did. I think
task forces are a little out-of-place when they take on responsibilities that they
think might be an issue, but [are] not their area of responsibility. For example, I
got nervous a few years back, when the working group started making
recommendations to local governments about land use planning. To me, it flirted
with this concept of a shadow government. You get a letter from the chairman of
the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration working group, [saying whether] you
should [pass] this land use amendment or not. Each agency is responsible for
telling that local government what their thoughts are and what the ramifications of
their decision [are]. Not a collegial body of people that aren't accountable to an
elected group or an elected official. I've always wanted to make sure that we
were very careful in where we worked in a task force setting and where we didn't.
To use the local government land use planning as an example, the DEP, under
its responsibilities as a state agency, needs to tell local governments where we
think there's an environmental problem, but that's our responsibility. We need to
do that, and if we don't do it, then that's our fault and our shortcoming. The task
force doesn't need to do that. The Interior needs to comment if it affects their
lands or property, but they don't need to do it through the task force, they need to
do it themselves. Right on down the line. I don't ever want a task force situation
to take the place of an agency's responsibilities.

G: Do you believe the agencies should deal directly with one another, rather than









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trying to go through a task force?

B: There are certain [times] that you can use the task force as an advanced dispute
resolution forum where they could get together and talk about some of these
things. I don't think they can make any arbitration or any final decision that would
be binding. Typically, it's been my experience, when you have disputes of a
magnitude that are important enough to be resolved, you ultimately bump it up
the chain of command in the respective agencies [so] that it ultimately reaches a
level that it's resolved. When we [have a dispute with] the water management
district, if it gets elevated to the Secretary and the executive director, it gets
resolved. There's no longer a dispute and it gets resolved in the right way and
the right decision is made. Interestingly enough, state agencies tend to not have
those kind of disputes. We typically resolve them at the appropriate levels within
the organizations, or if it gets elevated up, the governor weighs in and we get
clear direction, or the legislature weighs in and gives clear direction. It gets
resolved pretty quickly and it rarely ever elevates to that level. You rarely see
large scale disputes between areas that you might think inherently would be at
odds with each other, like the Department of Transportation and the Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission. They rarely ever [have disputes that] don't
get resolved because the Department of Transportation is respectful of the needs
and wishes of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, as the
Commission is of the Department of Transportation. They know they have jobs
to do and they have to do them in a way that's compatible with each other. We
have mechanisms, structures and opportunities to work things out.
You don't often see that on the federal side and you do have conflicts and
disputes that persist and go on for years and years in the federal government.
Being a long-term state employee, I don't understand the federal system as well.
I'm always amazed at how can we can resolve something so quickly at the state
level [and] you have fights going on between federal agencies that persist for
years and years. How come the president doesn't weigh in? I'm not being
critical of any particular president. How come the Congress doesn't weigh in?
It's just a different kind of organization [and] way [to] operate. If you had a
dispute between the Department of Transportation and the Department of
Interior, for example, why wouldn't it ultimately bump up to the two secretaries of
those respective federal agencies? It works on the state side, it just doesn't
always seem to work on the federal side.
[In] the issues between the state and federal government, a lot of
constitutional issues ultimately weigh in. For example, you have Article 11 of the
[U.S.] Constitution on state sovereignty. Where is the federal government
allowed, how far do you federalize a state activity? Things that are clearly the
responsibility of the state are not the responsibility of the federal government,
and things that are clearly the responsibility of the federal government are not the
responsibility of the state. Those are things that we, as agency folks, are always









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very respectful of. We try to understand sovereignty issues. If it's a federal piece
of land, the sovereignty is pretty clear. If it's a state-owned piece of land, the
sovereignty is pretty clear. We give deference to those things. We don't really
have many state and federal conflicts. We get caught in the middle of federal
conflicts. We often get caught in the crossfire. A good example is the
Homestead Air Force Base redevelopment. That's clearly a federal decision, but
you had several agencies fighting over it. Every time the state would interject,
we would get shot at on all sides. The governor was very wise, in that particular
dispute, to let the federal process run as far as it could before we interjected too
strongly. We let our wishes be known. They had to work things out and they
ultimately did and we ended up with a good outcome. Those are the dynamics of
working with many levels of governments. I'm sure the local governments would
say the same kinds of things about the state side. Our bottom line, for all of us,
is the Everglades. [The Everglades] is a wonderful focal point that we all can
focus on B a common goal. Whenever we have a common goal, the interagency
cooperation, the different jurisdictions and authorities get a lot easier.

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

B: The Governor's Commission was a once in a lifetime experience, for me anyway,
where you had commitment from leadership in government, state and federal, to
work some of these things out. We were able to get very divergent interest
groups together in a common forum. I think the agriculture] guys were able to
realize that the environmental groups weren't all nuts and looneys. The
environmental groups were able to recognize that the ag guys weren't evil people
out to do the environment in. It was a good forum to work through some things.
A lot of trust was made. It was very instrumental in getting the comprehensive
plan for the Everglades developed with broad support. The tough disputes were
worked out in that commission setting and agreement was reached before the
Corps took the plan forward. It was a very monumental time. It also benefitted
[from] the fact that the court, at the same time, was reviewing and restudying the
situation in the Everglades. Without that large mission to have public input and
third-party consensus, if you tried to form a group like that today, they [would] not
have a rallying point. The tough nuts have been cracked. There would really not
be value added. At that time, there was a need, and in a time in the future, there
will be a need again. That was a good instance where the need, the right people,
the right political will, and the right amount of leadership all came together. The
success of the Governor's Commission was probably due to the people who
participated in it and their commitment to it. Certainly, the chairman, [Dick
Pettigrew], was instrumental. He was a phenomenal chairman with a great vision
and a great ability to get consensus. It was also beneficial that it was the right
place at the right time and the right need was all lined up together. They did









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some truly remarkable work that I'm proud to have been part of.

G: Did it surprise you that they were able to achieve consensus on the conceptual
plan that was approved in 1996?

B: It was, at the time, not recognized as monumental, as it truly ended up being. I
was surprised. Every now and then, things would happen that I would recognize
at that time [as] monumental. One of the commissioners, Roy Rogers [senior
vice president for governmental relations and planning, Arvida Realty], would
often stop and say, let's just take a moment, because we just did something
really important. I thought that was kind of neat that he would do that. Once we
got to 1996, and keep in mind I had been there since the very first commission
meeting, where people where people were looking at each other very
suspiciously. There was a lot of discomfort in the room during the first series of
meetings. By the end, it was a group of friends, people who had bloodied each
other up quite a bit, yet didn't hold grudges. I wasn't surprised that they reached
consensus when they did. Had you told me in 1994 they would have reached
consensus, I wouldn't have believed you. I wasn't surprised, at the time.
It's fun to look back on. I did notice, at the time, for example, you had an
environmental community and an agriculture community that were not only at
odds with each other, they were fighting a very public fight with literally millions of
dollars being spent, on both sides, on ad campaigns attacking each other. That
very same leadership from the environmental and ag community actually came
together at the Governor's Commission and came to agreement on issues that I
don't think you ever would have gotten them to agree upon outside that forum.
They began to better understand each other's positions. For example, the
conceptual plan needed] up to 50,000-60,000 acres of lands to come out of
production in the Everglades Agricultural Area. Several things happened [that] I
don't want to give too much credit to the commission for, [such as], having a
willing seller. The Talisman St. Joe Paper Company, the Talisman sugar
growers, came forward and said we want to sell our land, which took the
pressure off the other growers. Nevertheless, they still agreed to that.
Something that the environmental community very much wanted was additional
lands for water storage, and the industry folks were very much opposed to,
because it disrupted the amount of sugarcane that would be going to the mills for
refinement. With all that said, they still agreed unanimously that was needed and
that's what should be done. If you and those who read this transcript in the
future [saw] the venomous ad campaigns that were going on leading up to that,
[you would know that] it really was remarkable to get agreement on that high of a
level on something that monumental. It was a very unique set of circumstances.
You don't want to lionize anybody who participated, or the process, other than
that there should be a tremendous amount of respect given to those who were
really instrumental in making [it] happen.









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The untold story is [that] I have never in my career seen as much behind-
the-scenes staff work [as then, which] made that happen. The commissioners
themselves expended at lot of energy and thought power and effort to come up
with good solutions, but the staff worked incredibly long, hard hours. The staffs,
from all the agencies who participated, provided manpower. Those who did
work, worked well into the night, every night. Long days leading up to
commission meetings, through the night, on nights of commission meetings.
Then long, long hours for days and days afterwards. Literally, [they] were
probably working on average, during that two [or] three year period, seventy
hours a week. I'm not exaggerating. Frank Duke [and] Angus McQueen [were
with] the water management district. April Gromaneki was on the Governor's
Commission, [and] now is with Audubon. Bonnie Cranser, John Outland, from
my staff, Paul Warner from the water management district. The list goes on and
on. There was a phenomenal amount of hard work done behind the scenes that
nobody ever saw, except those of us who were working with them. The outcome
was not without effort, at many levels. The political will for those to support it
who had the politics in mind. The stakeholders in the third parties who were
willing to work toward a consensus opinion, and the staff folks who worked
behind-the-scenes.

G: How much of that trust and goodwill extended beyond the commission itself?

B: I think relationships changed and there's a little more trust. [As to whether]
there's the same level of goodwill among stakeholders as there was at that time,
there's probably not. It's still much higher than it was, going in. I think a lot of
respect was born from that and a lot of willingness to know that we may not
agree with this guy, but we can sit down and talk to him. The agencies were big
players in it and strong relationships were formed. I don't think there's been
much change in the amount of cooperation amongst agencies. The stakeholders
probably had better feelings about agencies, at the time, because they were very
much forming what the agencies were doing. They probably don't have that
opportunity as much now, just because there's nothing to really work on together.
We're implementing Everglades projects, there's ample opportunity and we're
following that same kind of model when we do that. There's still suspicion and
distrust, at a certain level. It's probably not nearly as high as it was [before],
among stakeholders and certainly between agencies.

G: How did the conceptual plan impact what the Corps of Engineers did with the
restudy process?

B: The conceptual plan laid a framework and gave a good starting point. By and
large, the conceptual plan was translated very effectively into a more refined plan
that came out of the restudy, so it was a good foundation and framework. The









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other thing it did was [that] the process used in developing the conceptual plan,
this very open, transparent process, was carried forward. Although it's a higher
level of detail in the comprehensive plan than was in the conceptual plan, they're
very compatible and consistent because they used one as a starting point. The
process that went forward [is similar]. I think it laid a really good framework. It
[also] gave the technical folks, the modelers and the planners, and the design
and engineering folks, and the biologists and geologists, and everybody, a level
of expectation. This is what we're working toward, these kinds of outcomes.
That's what the conceptual plan did, it gave a lot of the end-point [goals]. The
commission kept meeting as the restudy was being designed, for a little while.
They gave some refinements on assurances and other things [that] were very
helpful. All in all, the comprehensive plan is very consistent and compatible with
what was laid out as a conceptual plan.
Also, having gone through all that, you ended up with a much easier time
getting the authorization through Congress. They could, over and over again, be
told of the broad stakeholder support. As a matter of fact, [in] the last waning
days of the Congressional authorization, we were trying to get the bill out. The
third parties, the stakeholders, were not only going around lobbying
congressional members for their support, they were doing it together. You had
the sugar industry and the environmental groups going door-to-door together.
That was really dramatic and I think that probably grew out of the whole process
dating all the way back to the governor's commission. They had gotten used to
working together for something as opposed to [being] at odds.

G: How would you evaluate the restudy process that led to the development of the
Comprehensive Restoration Plan?

B: The restudy process was a very effective way to make sure that all of the
technical capabilities of the agencies were put to good use. At the same time, it
allowed for more buy-in from a broader base of agency support than it would
have gotten [otherwise]. They [used] an interagency process that relied on the
interior, the state, the water management district, the Corps, state Fish and
Wildlife conservation agencies. All of them worked together in actually
developing the plan, as opposed to the old traditional Corps of Engineers project
development, where they would design something and bring it to us and we
would have to respond to it. We actually got a lot of ownership in the plan
because we were part of the formulation of the plan. We were on the design
teams and evaluation teams that developed the different iterations that ultimately
ended up in what was brought forward in the report to Congress in July, 1999. I
think you got a better plan because you didn't have a single agency designing it.
You had multiple agencies with competing, and yet, common interests working
toward it. All in all, I think that's a great model to do large-scale restoration
planning. Especially on a restoration plan that is going to be implemented by









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many, many agencies over many, many years, with several different sources of
revenue to pay for it. I have very strong support for what they did and how they
did it.
The real testimony there is [to the fact that] it was done through essentially
four different district engineers. The fact that all four of them kept bringing the
ideas and the process forward and evolving it from Colonel Salt to Colonel Rice
to Colonel Joe Miller [former Jacksonville District Engineer, Army Corps of
Engineers] now to Colonel James May [Commander and District Engineer,
Jacksonville District, Army Corps of Engineers]. Every one of them has seen
where they were in that slice of time and really made the most of bringing the
effort forward, whereas typically you would expect one strong leader to take you
from beginning to end. They've kept the momentum through changes in
leadership. That's a testimony to the process, but it's also a testimony to the
staff at the district. A tremendous testimony to each of the district engineers to
recognize the importance and what could be done. Especially the ones who
were doing it prior to any authorization. They had no idea what Congress would
do and how they would respond, yet, it got done.

G: Were you personally involved in the restudy process?

B: Yes, I was the department lead in the restudy for the agency. I coordinated
which staff members participated on which teams. Folks under my supervision
were actually on the design teams and the evaluation teams. I was very
intimately involved.

G: What were the primary concerns that you and other members of the DEP had
during that process?

B: We just wanted to make sure, and we continue to make sure, that projects that
are designed address not just the quantity of water distribution issues, but water
quality issues. We didn't want them to design something that was fundamentally
un-permitable or technically infeasible. We didn't really have concerns [about]
the process. We were much more appreciative of the opportunity to be part of
the process, and not having to have a knee-jerk response at the end, such as
somebody [coming] to us asking us for permits and we have to tell them, you
didn't design it right or you didn't take in these factors, therefore you can't do it.
To be able to address those concerns, through the process, was very helpful for
us.
The other thing I think is important [is that] the restudy is something that
was very hard for us, as an agency, to get a look of buy-in, internally. It was so
conceptual and so big and so hard to imagine that it would ever happen. People
had jobs to do day-in and day-out. The very same folks that we would need to
be involved in some of the design and engineering questions about the de-









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compartmentalization of the water conservation areas were the exact same
people who were doing the permitting and the design and study on the storm
water treatment areas in the Everglades Forever Act. To them, the Everglades
Forever Act was so important, it was hard to get them to focus. It is important,
still is, and very monumental, but it was hard to get them to treat this as real. I
think the Corps had a similar situation, where you had people trying to implement
the C-51 project, or the Kissimmee project, or the C-111 project, to view this
other thing as real. It was very conceptual, especially early on. Not until it was
submitted to Congress did it begin to have some reality attached to it. Not until
the governor weighed in, and Secretary Struhs, and the folks in Washington, did
the bill ever have any chance of getting authorized, even with this broad support.
Internally, we struggled with that.
Occasionally I have chuckled when, now, the governor talks about the
Everglades, he doesn't talk about the Everglades Forever Act, it's the
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. I do have a lot of personal pride in
knowing that there were those of us who saw what was happening, who chose to
devote a lot of time, energy, and effort to make it real, and it became real. I'm
just a small part of a multitude of people who had that vision and did it. I still
receive great satisfaction. I believed from the beginning this was real, that it
could happen, and that we could fix the real big problems facing the Everglades
B the plumbing systems that are flawed. With all that said, the Department has
certainly grown in its attitudes, overall, from top to bottom. I think the secretaries
have always been supportive of this. Of course, Secretary Struhs has been
unwavering in his support of it. When he came along, it was a little more real
than when Secretary Wetherell was supporting it. It's been a fun kind of learning
experience to watch something grow, from a very conceptual stage, to a very real
stage. Here in the next year or so, we'll actually start building structures and
turning dirt and rerouting water. It's really exciting. [End of side 1, Tape B]

G: Would you describe the effort undertaken by yourself and others involved with
the restoration to get congressional approval for the comprehensive plan and
funding for the first phase of implementation?

B: The authorization came along at an interesting time in Florida because we had a
brand-new governor. With a brand-new governor, we had a brand-new
Secretary. We also had a new executive director at the water management
district. There was definitely an opportunity for someone to drop the baton. It's
refreshing to look back [and see] that they all seemed to understand the
importance of this, environmentally, economically, politically. I think that's a
reflection on the strength of the plan and the process that the plan had gone
through, that it was able to keep momentum. New governors come in and we
have transition teams. Transition teams come in and look at the agencies and try
to identify areas they want to focus on, areas they want to change. They don't









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only just interview the agency folks, they interview the third parties and
stakeholders. It's a very elaborate process, but it's also a very fast-paced
process. The Everglades could have easily moved aside, pushed to the back
burner. The transition folks, the governor, and others, fully understood and
probably many of them had even participated in the effort, so they had a value for
it [and] kept it.
One of the dramatically different things in this administration than the
previous one is the interaction with Congress. In past water resource
development acts, the governor tended to defer to the water management district
and let them sort of be the lead on the development of an approach to get
authorization. The governor's office was active and even formulated a lot of the
policies, but it really extended into the agency, into DEP. It was mostly done by
governor's environmental advisor and the water management, district which was
a pretty effective combination in the past. Estus Whitfield [policy coordinator,
Office of Planning and Budgeting in Executive Office of Governor Jeb Bush] was
very successful in working with the water management districts and getting lots
of public works projects funded, appropriated and authorized. Kissimmee River
being probably the biggest example of that. The upper St. Johns [is also] good
example. [The] new governor really wanted his agency and his secretary to
[take] the lead and be accountable. Which, I guess, is kind of risky. We had
always provided more of a support role and I participated in the past, dating back
to 1992, but not at the level that we ended up taking the lead on this one.
Leading up to the authorization, dramatic differences were in who the players
were, who would be interfacing with Congress, with members, and with staff.
With that change in style and in procedure that the governor implemented, he
also did something else that previous governors hadn't done, and [that] is, his
personal involvement went way up. Not only was his secretary accountable, he
weighed in. He engaged members and he made phone calls. He even went up
and testified before the committee and expressed his strong support and that
was monumental in getting it passed.
I was there in the Senate gallery when the final bill passed and WRDA
became a reality. I'd been there at all the negotiations, all the meetings: the
meeting with Senator Graham who was instrumental, Senator [Connie] Mack
[U.S. Senator, 1989-2001 ;U.S. Representative, 1983-1989], who was
instrumental, Congressman [Clay] Shaw [U.S. Representative from Florida,
1981-present]. [I] met with them, met with the Secretary, met with the governor,
[we] rolled up our sleeves with the staffers and wrote language, negotiated, and
fine-tooth combed the bill. I take a lot of personal pride in it passing, but I know
and I don't kid myself in knowing, if not for the politicians and the governor in
particular, and senators and congressmen from the state of Florida, this never
would have made the light of day. It was passed during a time when Congress,
especially the Senate side, was going through a transition and leadership was
struggling on what they would allow to happen and not happen. It was by no









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means a certainty that this would pass. It went through committee after
committee and was heard on the floor and I think there was only one negative
vote out of hundreds and hundreds of votes that were cast in support of this.
That is the political will. They're willing to support it.
Procedurally, the state DEP and the water management district worked
arm-in-arm, hand-in-hand. We worked very closely with the [EPW] Committee
staff, the staff of the Environment and Public Works Committee. The EPW
Committee on the Senate side were really the ones who framed up and crafted
the legislation that we worked with to amend to where we were comfortable with
[it]. [We worked with] the transportation infrastructure committee on the House
side. Then of course, [we worked with] the Florida delegation; that process to get
the bill passed was key. I still think the politicians really showed a lot of courage.
To me, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved with something at
that high level.
We did something at the state of Florida that was very calculated by the
governor, it was very amazing to look back at. We, in 1999, before Congress
had even met, passed the Everglades bill and funded the first $100,000,000. We
not only were able to go to Congress saying we support this, we had state
legislation endorsing it and $100,000,000 a year of state funds dedicated to it, for
the next ten years, which is a billion dollars. I don't think any other state in the
Union has ever gone to Congress with a blank check of a billion dollars and
commitment from their legislature and their governor. I, the same year, had been
the state's lead in crafting that legislation and working with the sponsors and the
governor and the secretary, of course. I was intimately involved in the passage
of that. It was quite a year for us, as far as Everglades goes, in getting the
legislative and congressional commitment to make the process go forward. It's
often unknown and unspoken, but if the state and the governor and the
legislature [had not been] willing to commit to a project that wasn't even
authorized, and to begin spending money on things there was no guarantee
Congress would ever approve, was dramatic. We had even bought hundreds of
millions of dollars of lands in anticipation of this getting authorized before we
even had an authorized project. As a matter of fact, we continue to do that
today. We're purchasing lands needed for the restoration effort on project
components that aren't even authorized yet. The state's commitment to this is
far beyond words and rhetoric. It's actions and movement of resources to focus
on this as the highest priority. That doesn't happen very often. It certainly is a
wonderful piece of evidence that you can take to Congress when you're trying to
get congressional support, when you have a state that is putting it's resources
where it's mouth is, which is what we're doing.

G: Some critics argue that the comprehensive plan is overly dependent on unproven
technologies, like aquifer storage and recovery. How do you respond to those
criticisms?









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B: I think their criticisms are good to have because it makes you re-evaluate what
the plan is and refine it. I often strongly believe that those who are critical don't
fully understand the planning process and how it works. A cornerstone of the
planning effort is the use of adaptive assessment. When you have adaptive
assessment built in, what you're essentially saying is, we will learn as we go, and
we will improve, and we will not be so rigid that we're locked into a technique or a
technology that can be proven unreliable, without having alternative, separate
and better refined approaches that we can try.
My personal feelings about ASR [aquifer storage and recovery] is that
those who say it's an unproven technology don't understand ASR. We have
numerous operations of ASR wells around the state of Florida that not only are
proven technologies, they're reliable and dependable and they work day-in and
day-out. The people who drink water in Sarasota get it from an ASR well that
they take for granted. There's seven large-scale ASR operations where public
water supplies are dependent upon the function of ASR and it works. A more
appropriate criticism, I think would be, will it work to the same level that you think
it needs to work to get this level of performance out of the plan. We've shown
around the state of Florida where we have ASR in operation, it tends to work at
about 90 to 95 percent efficient recovery rates which is a very, very high level of
performance. [This] means that 95 percent of the water we put down, we get
back up right when we need it. What we modeled in the plan was 70 percent
efficiency. I think ASR may work even better than we've predicted. To me, the
real issue is how well will it operate. Keep in mind, we're open-minded and have
adaptive assessment. If we need other capabilities for storage other than ASR,
that whole process to do that, evaluate it, identify it, build it into the plan, is there.
The other thing I think is really important [is that] the plan is multifaceted
where it deals with ASR, surface water storage, in-ground storage, dynamic
storage, seepage management, de-compartmentalization, wetland enhancement
and restoration, operational changes. We have such a multifaceted and
integrated plan that if one component of it fails, the whole plan doesn't fall.
Instead of hitting 99 percent of your targets, maybe you hit 90 or 88 percent, but
you're still causing an 88 percent improvement in the Everglades. It's not like the
plan is built on a deck of cards that will collapse if you pull one card away. It's
really a very firm foundation of a plan that actually tells you as you're building it
and you get better technologies, incorporate them and move forward. In fifty
years or thirty years when the plan is built out, will it look exactly like what is in
the conceptual plan and was put forward in the comprehensive plan that was
authorized as a framework? It better not. It's not supposed to. It's supposed to
adapt and evolve and improve as we go along. You can take that same sort of
process and look at what was authorized in the 1949 authorization of the CNSF
project and there are projects that were authorized that were never built. There
were projects that were authorized that just didn't make sense when you looked









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at it better. Did that project do what it was supposed to do? It sure did. It
drained the Everglades and allowed for $2,000,000 acres of land to be put in
sugarcane production and urban development. You could question, was that the
right thing to do? That was the public policy decision. But did it do what it was
supposed to? It did, because it adapted as it went along. That's what the
comprehensive plan will do now. It will adapt, grow and shrink, and refine, as we
move forward.

G: As you move forward with the comprehensive plan, how will you know if you're
successful?

B: One of the key elements in what Congress authorized is the adaptive
assessment and monitoring component. We want very much to have this full
accountability. We have very clearly defined targets and performance measures
to measure our success as we go along. One of the charges that we have given
the teams that are working on developing the comprehensive plan is the
development of performance measures and targets. Sort of a report card, if you
will, of success. Focusing on interim goals, as well as long term end points that
we want to have. We want to have performance measures that look at things like
[the] number of wading birds, the salinity in the estuaries, tree island health in the
water conservation areas, the amount of water that's being delivered to
Everglades National Park, lake levels in Lake Okeechobee, the real meaningful
environmental measures, we're identifying those and developing them. We're
going to continue to report our progress on them. The other side of that is the
performance measures for the other water-related needs of the region. Have we
maintained the level of flood protection and improved it where we could? Have
we improved the availability of water supply for other needs in the region? It is a
multi-purpose project. This whole suite of performance measures are very
important and the accountability, that we can be accountable to Congress, to be
accountable to the state legislature and the governor, that we are achieving the
things that the plan said it would do, is integral to moving forward. That's the way
we're operating.

G: Right now, how much agreement is there on which performance measures
should be looked at?

B: There's a pretty good level of support for the need [of those measures]. There's
a pretty strong level of support for what they should be, the types of measures.
The science is developing the actual refinement of the targets and goals. We've
got the right minds and the right people from the multiple agencies, [such as]
Interior, DEP, the water management district, the Corps and others, working on
those. If there's any dispute at all, it's probably on who are you accountable to
and how [to make the targets] enforceable. I don't think there's ever been any









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disagreement in the need and the want. We're accountable, we think, to
Congress, the legislature, and the governor. We want those measurements
there and we want to be measured by them. What we've been very careful not to
do, is to allow good water law and things that are important to the state of Florida
to be compromised by establishing, in federal law, certain targets that get into
sovereignty issues. Other than that, the need to have them, the agreement on
what they should be, I don't think are very contentious at all.

G: What is the significance of the Federal-State Water Compact recently signed by
Governor Jeb Bush and President George W. Bush?

B: That is a very monumental document that allows Congress to move forward in
appropriating funds for the construction of the project components.
Substantively, it essentially says that the water that these projects are going to
produce, that is identified in the planning process or is needed for the natural
system, will be protected and reserved for that purpose and no water, for any
other purpose, will be allocated until all of that water is reserved and protected.
Essentially, it's an assurance to the federal government that we're going to use
our sovereignty and our water law to allocate water in such a way that
guarantees the water that these projects are supposed to deliver to the natural
system will be there. I don't think there's ever been that type of agreement
executed, by a state, with a president, before.

G: Does it provide for specific numerical water quantities?

B: No. It essentially says all of the water that the implementation reports identify for
the natural system, all the water identified project-by-project, that needs to go to
the natural system, will be reserved. It would be inappropriate to quantify that
until the planning process goes through and the projects are developed. What
we all know is that we're going to have more water than the natural system
needs. Whatever is in excess of the natural system needs would then be under
state law, available to allocate, but only when those projects were up and running
and operating and there was a surplus of water. One of the things that is often
misunderstood, that's very important to this discussion, is that [just] as not
enough water is harmful to the environment, too much water is [also] harmful to
the environment. Since we have shrunk the size of the Everglades by roughly 50
percent, from 4,000,000 acres to about 2,000,000 acres, we're capturing almost
all of the water that used to go into the Everglades. You wouldn't want to put all
the water back into the Everglades. Too high of water levels will drown the
natural system and harm the tree islands at the wrong time, [with] the wrong
volume and the wrong duration. We're confident there's going to be plenty of
water for the needs of the region and all the water needed for the natural system
will be there. This is a good plan that does provide for both of those things. We









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say, in this agreement, that the water for the natural system comes first and we
will reserve it in accordance to the project implementation reports for its
protection.

G: Is there a specific group or organization that is responsible for defining what the
needs of the natural system are going to be?

B: That will be the project implementation report teams, they're called PDTs, project
delivery teams. They're interagency teams that have all of the appropriate
agencies participating: the state, the water management district, the Corps, the
Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Services, Game and Freshwater Fish
Commission. They all jointly have to agree, in that process, what the needs are.
That's the strength of the plan. That's exactly what we did at a grosser level
scale through the development of the comprehensive plan. We've developed the
targets for the natural system. A lot of it is going to be very science-driven, very
technically-driven, by looking at things like the natural system model, the targets
for each geographic area, flood duration, those types of things, hydroperiods.
Essentially, I envision we'll end up having some sort of rainfall driven system that
will try to go back to pre-drainage conditions throughout the entire Everglades.
What were water levels at when it rained this much? What were they when it
rained that much? When you had this kind of drought, when you had this kind of
flood? Then we will deliver water into the natural system to reestablish those
hydroperiods.

G: Is there some form of recourse or way of settling the disputes between the actors
on the project delivery teams,?

B: Yes. If you can't get the agreement on the project implementation report, there's
a dispute resolution mechanism that the project cooperation agreements for
those projects will have. There's formal dispute resolution, but more importantly,
since this is a technical process and not a political process, these are going to be
decisions based on fact and science. That's why we wanted it done at the
technical level, the identification, not at the policy and political level. [To make a]
long story short, the stakes are high and the stakes are if you don't reach
agreement and the state does not do the reservation of the water, then you don't
build the project. You can not build a project that doesn't meet the purposes of
the project, which is to get water to the natural system. There are congressional
checks and balances, there are executive branch checks and balances. The
consequences of not doing this right are high, which means you don't get to build
it and you don't get any of the benefits. I don't see a lot of potential roadblocks
there because of the strong support of the plan, the components that are in the
plan and a strong level of up-front agreement of what each project component is
supposed to do. We have all sixty-eight projects. The intended environmental









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benefits are quantified and enumerated in the plan itself. We're not going to go
in saying we're doing this project for one purpose and then design it to do
something else. There's no way [it] could work that way.

G: Could you tell me a little bit about the process of negotiating the Federal-State
Water Compact and how that proceeded?

B: If you read the law, one of the things that was very clear on what was expected
was the state committing to not allocate this water. It was also unusual that it was
in a Water Resource Development Act legislation, which is usually implemented
by the Corps, but it was directed only to the president and the governor. The
negotiations were very much between the office of the President and the office of
the Governor and the Secretary of DEP working closely with OMB [Office of
Management and the Budget], and the president's office, and the Council for
Environmental Quality, and the office of the president. We took a very simple,
straightforward approach on what should be in the agreement. We said that
Congress was pretty clear [on] what they wanted us to do, so we'll just agree,
word-for-word, verbatim, [to] what's in the law. Therefore, there's no room to say
we tried to lessen our responsibility or make a lesser commitment. As a matter
of fact, we added additional conditions that go beyond what was required. We
added eight more additional conditions to effectuate implementing the
agreement: four for the federal government, four for the state of Florida. It went
beyond what was minimally required. [It] is unusual in those types of agreements
that you would commit to even more than what Congress had asked for. We felt
really confident [that] the way we approached it was straightforward. We were
not going to renegotiate this. Congress wants this, we're going to agree to it
word-for-word. If you read the agreement, the primary condition of the
agreement, and you read the language in WRDA, it is verbatim. We're
committed to everything Congress wants us to do and more. The governor
showed a lot of courage in not wanting to renegotiate that. We agreed to it when
the bill passed and we agreed to it now. It was really a wonderful, monumental
moment that it actually ended up being two brothers that signed the agreement.
When WRDA was contemplated, the election wasn't resolved yet. We were not
agreeing to things because we knew it would be between brothers, we were
agreeing to things because we knew it was the right thing to do.

G: What, if any, relationship is there between the Federal-State Water Compact and
the programmatic regulations currently being developed by the Corps of
Engineers?

B: They're both assurances but they're different kinds of assurances. There's
nothing in the programmatic reg[ulation]s that will affect [those assurances?].
We still have that responsibility to implement what's in the agreement and vice









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versa. Other than [the fact that] they both are different cornerstones in an overall
assurances package, there's no relationship. The fact that the agreement is in
place means you wouldn't want to do anything in the programmatic regs that
were contrary to the agreement. I don't see how you could. Congress was clear
[in saying] they want the state to protect the water under Florida water law and
protect its sovereignty. That's what the agreement does and that's what the
programmatic regs should do.

G: What exactly are the programmatic regulations designed to do?

B: Programmatic regs essentially lay out the process on how well developed the
different steps of implementation [are]. There are procedural regs that Congress
called for. They are supposed to be the rules of engagement on how the
processes will go through to develop the project implementation reports, the
project cooperation agreements, and the operating manuals for each of these
project components. They also are supposed to let out the procedures on how
we'll develop goals and measures and those types of things and the procedures
on how we will do adaptive assessment. When you're entering into a partnership,
it's nice to have a roadmap on the process and procedures you'll follow as you
go forward over the next thirty years. We think the programmatic regs are very
important and needed to do that. [It] is kind of interesting [that] some of the
stakeholders have wanted the programmatic regs to be much more substantive
and controlling and we're a little baffled by that because it's not what Congress
contemplated. Even more importantly, this is a multibillion dollar project that is a
full partnership. We just feel very strongly that you don't regulate a partnership.
These regulations aren't supposed to be how the federal government regulates
the state water management district's participation. They're supposed to be how
we have a process together. A regulatory relationship is not a partnership.
That's the bottom line on what we've felt real strongly about and what we agreed
to in WRDA. We only agreed to those regulations if they would be procedural.
Congress concurred with us and said, these are process regs. I think there's
been a lot of unfortunate expectations on [the part of] some of the stakeholders,
particularly the environmental community, that these regulations would be
something that they're not. With all that said, I don't see anything in the
agreement that's incompatible with that approach, or anything that we'll concur
with in the regulations, that are incompatible. Ultimately these should be a very
good roadmap on how we'll develop the projects as we go forward.

G: On the issue of funding for the restoration, former executive director of the South
Florida Water Management District, Frank Finch, recently stated that Athere's
not enough money there to be doing what we're supposed to be doing. To go
around saying we've got $200,000,000 a year is disingenuous.@ How confident
are you that both the state and the water management district will be able to









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meet their yearly financial obligations over the life of the comprehensive plan?

B: I'm very confident because there's $100,000,000 of hard cash coming from the
state of Florida, as authorized by statute. We've got another $100,000,000 in
this year's budget. The $200,000,000 is a little bit of a misleading number. If you
take the 7.8 billion [dollars] and you divide it in half, and then you divide that by
the number of years of the project you get roughly $200,000,000 a year. It was
never contemplated in the implementation schedule that you would have exactly
$200,000,000 in any given year. But, that said, we know we have $100,000,000.
We also have another $68,000,000 in the water management district's ad
valorem budget. That's $168,000,000. Plus, we have a lot of other commitments
from local governments to contribute. Then we have the existing credits that we
are authorized, under WRDA, to get for the lands that we've already purchased.
When you add all that up, we're well in excess of $200,000,000 in cash and
credits that are needed, on average, to meet our needs. Some years we need
more, some years we need less. We [have] a sound funding plan. We have
resources to back it up. I think the part about his quote where he says it's
disingenuous to say we have $200,000,000, is probably true, because we have
more than $200,000,000, in given years, and in some years the cash needs
might be less from the state, more from the federal government. Right now,
we're far outspending the rate that was anticipated in the plan when it was taken
to Congress for implementation.

G: So the $100,000,000 on the part of the state is guaranteed, in law, for ten years?

B: Right. It's subject to annual appropriations by the legislature, but even last year,
when there was a 1.2 billion dollar shortfall, the Everglades still got its
$100,000,000. In this next ten year cycle, we won't experience a year as bad as
this year on the budget. We have another $100,000,000 in this year's budget.
You can poll anybody down at the legislature [and] the question is not, will they
fund the Everglades? The question is, what is the source and how do we do it?
That's a wonderful dilemma to be in. There's no wavering on the support for that
appropriation. We'll have another $100,000,000 this year and each of the next
ten years. We've run the numbers front [ways] and backwards. When you look
at the projects that are currently authorized [and] the projects that will be
authorized, we are ahead of schedule on funding.

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

B: Making sure we have the lands we need for restoration acquired in advance of
the construction. The refining of the procedures on how we do reservations [of
the waters] will be very, very important. The appreciation from stakeholders in









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the Corps and others that this is a partnership. A typical Corps project is usually
65 percent federal funded, 35 percent locally funded or 80 percent federal
funded, 20 percent local funded. They're not used to having a state that pays
half. With half, comes full partnership. This isn't us being the beneficiary of a
federal project. The federal government is benefitting equally from the state's
participation. Forming that proper balance of a true partnership is like a large
corporation with two CEO's. You have to be respectful of both sides. One side
is not controlling. That's what we have to have for this to be a partnership to go
forward. Those concerns have permeated in what we've fought for in WRDA and
we continue to require, in these programmatic regs and so forth, that this is a true
partnership. The Corps is not used to that, the federal government is not used to
that. No other state in the Union has ever committed, not only committed but
actually spent, these kind of financial resources on a project with the Corps. It's
a lot of culture they have to change. That will be a tough challenge but we're up
to it and the Corps is up to it. We'll get there. That's procedurally one of the
biggest hurdles.
The other things are growing pains by and large. We're doing things
we've never done before, we're learning things we haven't learned before. We're
going to have some growing pains as we go along, but they're really pretty minor,
in the scheme of things. The overall framework is there, the commitment is
there, the finances are there, the obligation is there, the responsibilities are there.
Progress is being made. We're buying lands every week that are needed for
project components. We're spending millions of dollars [for] the local sponsor's
responsibility of acquiring the lands. Congress is appropriating the funds that
they need to appropriate and the state legislature is appropriating their funds.
The water management district is continuing to commit resources to the effort. I
see a lot of positive [things] and probably more positive things have happened in
the past year-and-a-half for the Everglades than happened in the previous fifty
years.

G: Final question. What are the most important lessons that you have personally
learned from your experiences with the Everglades?

B: Personal reflections. I guess I've learned a lot about the value of facts and how
to negotiate effectively. I've also learned how to have emotion and passion for
what you're doing, but not be so emotionally attached to it that you have to win at
all costs. I think a lot of these types of efforts that are very noble and very
beneficial to the public are also very political. You have to be willing to accept
the ability to compromise and take direction and do what's needed to do to get
the right outcome. Knowing and having faith that those who you work for, those
who are in leadership, are never, ever going to ask you to compromise values or
make inappropriate decisions, but they are going to ask you to do certain things
in a way that is full of finesse and dignity and for the right reasons. You've got to









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have a lot of faith and confidence in who you work for. You also have to realize
that as much credit as one might receive for their role for something, some of
these things are bigger than all of us. A lot of it is [being in] the right place at the
right time and having the right skills to contribute. I've learned a lot about
reputation and trust and how important those things are. At some point you get
to a place where somebody will say, because Ernie said it, I believe it. Those are
the kind of rewards that are greater than any plaque you can have up on your
wall or any piece of paper a university can give you. [I] had all those opportunities
in an eighteen year career, but ten or twelve years in the Everglades is probably
a pretty short time to achieve some of the things some of us have been able to
achieve just because we were associated with the right people and the right
projects and the right place, at the right time. It's been a good experience and
it's been a lot of learning.
You learn a lot about yourself. I once worked for someone who was the
assistant secretary here and he told me that you can always find right things to
do, [and] when there's more than one right thing to do, find the one that's the
most fair. I think that's what Everglades restoration is all about, is finding the
right thing to do [and] that's the most fair. When you're guided by that, with
multiple, competing stakeholders who all really want you to do the right thing,
their right thing may not be the right thing for somebody else, [so] you find what's
most fair to all. That's how you get a good plan. That's how you get stuff done.
That's what I've learned.


G: End of interview.




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