Title: Dick Ring
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00005385/00001
 Material Information
Title: Dick Ring
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Gridley, Brian ( Interviewer )
Ring, Dick ( Interviewee )
Publisher: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: May 17, 2002
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00005385
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


This item has the following downloads:


Full Text


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be

For all other permissions and requests, contact the
the University of Florida

EVG 16
Interviewee: Dick Ring
Interviewer: Brian Gridley
Date: May 17, 2002

G: This is Brian Gridley interviewing Dick Ring at the Department of Interior in
Washington D.C. The date is May 17, 2002. Mr. Ring, briefly tell me a little bit
about your professional background, including education and career positions.

R: I've been with the Park Service now about thirty years this next month and until
September 2001, all that time had been in positions in field areas in parks. I
started as a seasonal recreation aide and went through a series of positions,
both in administrative and site management, and in 1981 I became a
superintendent of a park for the first time at Gates of the Arctic National Park and
Preserve, up in Arctic Alaska. In fact, I was the first superintendent there and set
up the operation, took it through its first planning after the Alaska Lands Act
passed. Then [I] was reassigned as superintendent at the Delaware Water Gap
National Recreation Area. I actually served there as assistant superintendent for
a couple of years and then superintendent for four years. From there I went to
Everglades [National Park] as superintendent in the Spring of 1992. So of the
thirty years, nineteen of them have been as a park superintendent. My
educational background is an undergraduate degree in political science from
Penn State University and I've done master's work in political science at the
University of Rhode Island and public administration at the George Washington
University here in Washington and I spent a couple of years in the Army, where I
was in the combat engineer unit. That's a little bit of my background.

G: What led you to join the Park Service?

R: I actually came down during a summer, to Washington, to work in a summer job
that a friend of mine got me involved in and that was as seasonal recreation aide.
I'd gotten out of the Army and gone back to a graduate program at the University
of Rhode Island and came down here to work for the summer and determined
that I liked that better than going to school, so when offered a job to continue in
the fall, I did. It really married both my upbringing, background, and interests
together, so it may make more sense than it seems. My educational background
in political science and public administration, this was an opportunity to marry
that up with my lifelong interest in the outdoors. My families are from upstate
New York and I grew up hiking, camping, and roaming around the Adirondack
Mountains and spent a lot of time canoeing and winter camping and just enjoying
myself. So the Park Service is a way to marry both my interests and my
professional training in the public sector and I did that and I've never looked

G: During your time as the superintendent of Everglades National Park, what were

EVG 16
Page 2

your most important goals and objectives?

R: Fundamentally, I saw that the future of the Everglades National Park was linked
not to what I was able to do with the park operation, but was linked to what could
happen with achieving sustainability in the ecosystem of which that large natural
area was dependent. That was initially tied to the confrontation over water
quality when I arrived there in the Spring of 1992, and right in the middle of the
second stage of the water quality litigation between the federal government and
the state of Florida over water quality pollution emanating from the Everglades
Agricultural Area [EAA], south of Lake Okeechobee down into the Everglades
proper. It evolved into more of an issue on how to, I don't want to say counteract
the effects, but reclaim the function that had been disrupted by fifty years of
efforts to provide drainage and provide for development in South Florida. Half of
the original footprint of the Everglades had been drained and developed and the
natural flows of water through the rest of the Everglades had been significantly
altered due to the major drainage system that was put in place largely in the
fifties, as a system that had been developing ever since the turn of the last
century in South Florida.

G: In a 1997 Miami Herald article you were talking about your role as superintendent
of Everglades National Park. You stated, AIn many places a manager of a
national park worries only about what happens in your borders. Not here. This is
the most threatened park in the country. Here you worry about development
moving right up to your doorstep.@ Could you expand on these comments more
and talk about how the job of being superintendent of Everglades National Park
may have been similar to or different from what you experienced with other
national parks that you were involved with?

R: I would say it is not entirely different from the other parks that I've been involved
in, but it was probably more pronounced in that with all the money in the world
and with all the authority in the world inside the boundary of the park, I couldn't
assure the future of that park. Decisions would be made in the region
surrounding the park by other agencies and other levels of government and other
communities. The future of Everglades was almost completely dependent as a
viable national natural resource on decisions and actions that others took.

G: How did that shape how you defined the job of being superintendent?

R: For me, it meant that almost all of my time, personally, had to be focused on the
away game and that was to be a part of a process that recognized those
interconnections and built a commitment to regional resource management and
regional public decisions that had a place for a sustained Everglades system.

G: John DeGrove [Governor's Commission for a Sustainable South Florida, 1993-

EVG 16
Page 3

present; secretary, Florida Department of Community Affairs, 1983-1985;
member of the board, South Florida Water Management District, 1972-1978]
once characterized the ecological problems in South Florida as being the product
of Ainnocent ignorance.@ Would you agree with that characterization?

R: I suspect there were a lot of actions taken on the basis of very little information or
the lack of sophisticated understanding of the ecological interconnections that
occurred in the natural system. Equally, I suspect a lot of the decisions were
driven by folks who had some other objective in mind and were less concerned
about those other consequences.

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

R: I assume you're talking about the CERP [Comprehensive Everglades
Restoration] Plan of the Corps of Engineers.

G: From the restudy and forward.

R: The restudy and the plan that's been laid out, authorized by Congress, and is
underway now, is the best attempt by the agencies to balance all of the interests
in South Florida for at least a fifty-year time frame. There is no guarantee
beyond that fifty years, as growth in Florida reaches a point where more
demands on water and for dry property are placed on the South Florida
ecosystem. For a fifty-year time-line, it's a conceptually reasonable approach to
try and accommodate the growth that's occurring down there as well as retain
and, to some degree, bring back the natural function of what's left.

G: Do you believe it balances those competing interests better than some of the
management efforts prior to the restudy process?

R: Oh, sure. Principally because all of the efforts that preceded that restudy effort
were not comprehensive. They were plans done by individual agencies or
individual levels of government, each of which focused on a piece of the action,
and none of those, by definition, could accomplish what had to be done down
there, which is balance across an entire watershed.

G: To the extent that change has occurred and is reflected in the current South
Florida project, are there any specific turning points or watershed events that
have been critical for promoting this change?

R: There are probably several that occurred before I arrived down there, so my time

EVG 16
Page 4

there, from 1992 through 2000, really is one period in a long process. There were
watershed events that were occurring. For instance, in the 1930s when the need
to preserve the Everglades, or a portion of the Everglades, in an Everglades
National Park was recognized and acted on. There were two watershed events
that happened within a couple of years of each other. When all the different
individual drainage projects that had been occurring in Florida in the late 1940s, it
was [recognized] that somebody had to tie them together into a system, and the
Corps of Engineers Central and South Florida Project was conceived, authorized
and set in motion. At the same time, the state of Florida had an incredibly
visionary idea [in] the way they organized to do business by creating a South
Florida Water Management District on a [watershed] scale that encompasses
what we now consider to be the ecosystem. They were thinking in those terms
back then and knew they had to manage water that way. There was recognition
by the late 1960s [or] early 1970s that what was being done in the drainage
system was not working, as far as the natural environment went. I wouldn't call
that a watershed event, that's probably an awareness that grew over twenty
years. The system, as it was conceived, had implications in terms of the ecology
that nobody had understood. There were commitments by the state of Florida in
the early 1980s, with then Governor [Bob] Graham [U.S. Senator from Florida,
1987-present; Florida governor, 1979-1987], to make commitments to public land
acquisition that were absolutely watersheds in terms of the state's not only
awareness, but acting on it and making a commitment in South Florida and
elsewhere in the state to publicly preserve all the lands necessary, not just the
national park. It was a watershed even when, for whatever reason and however
it happened, the United States sued the state of Florida for not enforcing their
own water-quality regulations with regard to the Everglades.
It was a watershed event when we sat down and settled that lawsuit, when
Governor [Lawton] Chiles [Florida governor 1991-1998 (died in office); U.S.
Senator from Florida, 1971-1989] walked in and said, I'm here to surrender my
sword; who do I give it to? From my time, the major events really were around
meeting with all the players and my awareness of it [is] associated with the
January 1993 Everglades Coalition meeting. Secretary [Bruce] Babbitt
[Secretary of the Interior, 1993-2001] came to Florida for the first time and he
basically said things that I think people were ready to hear, because the
awareness has grown to the point where I think they intuitively understood it.
One, this is an ecosystem [and] we have to think of it that way. Two, nobody has
control over it, so we can't do this separately, it has to be done together. And his
message was that and he said to then-Lieutenant Governor Buddy MacKay
[Florida Lieutenant Governor 1991-1998; acting Florida governor 12/98-1/99;
U.S. Representative, 1983-1989], who met with him, I'll go organize the feds, you
get everybody else under the same roof. Out of that came the first meeting of all
the federal agencies that were involved somehow in some kind of natural system
management in South Florida. Initially, it was a show-and-tell, at the end of

EVG 16
Page 5

which everybody realized that there was an enormous amount already going on
that represented a federal commitment to the system down there, only nobody
had ever looked at it together before. Coming out of that was a commitment to
organize a task force, the federal task force. A few months later, which I think
was a watershed event, there was commitment to organize a Governor's
Commission on a Sustainable South Florida. Those two bodies really became
the two forums, and they ultimately coordinated with each other, around which
the whole Everglades plan was built.

G: What led to your being appointed superintendent of Everglades National Park?
How did that happen?

R: I'm a glutton for punishment. I'd been involved in the establishment of the parks
in Alaska after the Alaska Lands Act. It was an absolutely unprecedented time
that forty million acres had been put into the National Park System in an
absolutely pristine area. Nothing like that had happened before, and the policy
issues associated with how they should be managed, the initial decisions and
setting up the initial operations were something that I had been lucky enough to
be a part of. When the opportunity at Everglades came open, I talked to a
number of my friends, some of whom said, because of the growth and
development that's been down there, it's down the tubes, it's beyond salvage.
But I also understood that there was something going on there, there was an
opportunity there that might or might not succeed, but it was unprecedented and
if it didn't succeed, it shouldn't be for lack of trying. My interest was to get
involved in something that was completely unique, very hard. I tend to be a
workaholic and I tend to love challenges. I've not shrunk from confrontation over
issues in the past. All of that piqued my interest and I put my hat in the ring and I
was lucky enough to be considered and selected.

G: By the time you became superintendent, an agreement had been reached
between the federal and state parties over the water-quality litigation, the so-
called federal-state agreement and accompanying judicial consent decree. What
was your opinion of that agreement and that consent decree?

R: The consent decree was actually negotiated the summer before I came down to
Everglades. My selection was announced in February 1992 and I arrived in April.
The consent decree was signed by the court in March and at [that] point I was
coming down and being briefed in on a number of the issues. I arrived at a point
where the consent decree was essentially a done deal. My responsibility then
was to act as one of the principals for the oversight of the implementation of the
consent decree. I was doing a fast study on all of the events that led up to it, and
to the deal that was cut [that was] associated with it. My sense is that it was like
any agreement to settle or compromise, probably not a bad one, but enormously

EVG 16
Page 6

difficult to work with, because it left a tremendous amount of ambiguity and
issues to be resolved [as to] what the provisions of the consent decree actually
meant. It was a good step forward, but as events proved over the next couple of
years, there was a lot of devil-in-the-details and nobody stopped working as hard
as they could to protect their own interests among the settling parties. There
were plenty of affected and interested parties who were ready to throw bombs or
throw roadblocks in from the outside.

G: Talk a little more specifically about your efforts in trying to implement the consent
decree. What were the issues there and what were the things that you were
involved in doing to try to bring that about?

R: The consent decree was basically a deal whereby the state agreed to a program
that would effectively enforce its own water-quality rules and accomplish a
cleanup of the phosphorous nutrients that were being put into the Everglades
and causing unnatural effects. It consisted of three things. One, there was a
narrative standard for water quality, which is difficult to enforce. There was a
commitment to work to convert that to a numeric standard, in terms of what that
water-quality standard meant on the ground, at any given location, in terms of
specific amounts of phosphorous being released or discharged into the
Everglades. The second was that there would be a regulatory program put in
place that would require best management practices of the agricultural industry
and as a result, achieve a reduction in runoff and phosphorous coming into the
discharge water by practices that occurred right on the farmlands. The third was
a large public works project that would take that runoff and treat it in basically
large filter marshes. While some [of that] had been done before, nothing had
been done to treat water in filter marshes at this scale before, anywhere around.
So the engineering issues and the design issues and the cost issues associated
with putting something like that in place were enormous. Just the last component
was estimated to cost not quite $750 million. Actually, there was a fourth
element that was left unspecified because the first three I mentioned, setting the
numeric standard, the best management practices treatment, and the public
works treatment would get the water down to about fifty parts-per-billion. Then
the standard, once it was set, would still have to be met by phase two of
treatment, which was unknown. It wasn't specified as to how that would happen,
but a date certain for having it happen was provided for. It was going to be three-
quarters of one billion dollars worth of public works project that had to be
financed, designed, and built. It would have to meet a performance requirement
that nobody had ever done before and even that wasn't going to get us to the
final condition, which was whatever the final standard would be. That would
require some additional effort of unspecified terms.
My role was to represent one of the three federal parties working with the
Justice Department. We were the clients, along with the Fish and Wildlife

EVG 16
Page 7

Service and the Corps of Engineers, representing the United States' interest in
overseeing the settlement agreement, the implementation of it. We had to put
teams of people together to work [with] the state and look at what they were
beginning to design and engineer and the processes that they were beginning to
put in place to reach a numeric standard, and also begin to anticipate what
additional efforts might have to happen in order to reach a final standard. We
would have routine and regular meetings amongst the federal parties to review
what the state was doing. We had numerous meetings with the state players, the
Department of Environmental Protection for the state and the South Florida
Water Management District as the regional water manager. Literally trying to
understand from them what their project path was, what the steps were, what the
deliverables were, what the dates were on that, so that we could track progress.
We had, I think, a legitimate reason to want to know that progress was being
made towards the goals and the ultimate deadlines that were in the agreement.
Otherwise we'd sit back and wait for those dates to arrive and not have any
ability, until then, to be able to assess whether or not they'd perform according to
the commitments that had been made in that agreement. [There was] a lot of
tension there, because we were felt to be looking over the shoulder of the state
and the Water Management District. [There was] a lot of mistrust coming out of
years of rancorous litigation, so it didn't start with the best climate. [There was] a
lot of irritation from having the feds look over the shoulder of the Water
Management District and the state wanting to see everything that was being
done and wanting to be in there and just say, we don't think you're on a path
that's going to solve this problem, or we don't think you have the financing right,
or we need assurance from you that you're going to take the steps that you need
to take soon enough, so that we can see you on a path to achieving the ultimate
performance by the ultimate dates that were in the consent decree. That went
through a period of time where we were having numerous meetings amongst the
parties with the interested players, like the sugar industry, who would have to do
many of the best management practices that the regulatory program laid out, and
pay for, through taxation, many of the costs of the initial cleanup. There was an
unknown out there about how much of the remaining phase two cleanup that
they'd have to pay for. There were folks who weren't settling parties, who were
trying to throw obstacles and questions and legal challenges in the way of the
Water Management District and the State as well, and some of the those players
were on the environmental side, saying that they weren't doing well enough. It
led to a series of increasingly difficult sessions amongst the settling parties with
challenges and cross-challenges, and ultimately there was an attempt to say,
there are players here that could lock this up forever. Let's just bring them all to
the table and see if we can't mediate a settlement agreement that would provide
all the assurances in enough detail to all the settling parties, but also was
agreeable to all the main affected parties that move forward to accomplish
something that was outlined in sufficient detail that people were comfortable with

EVG 16
Page 8

their role and responsibility.

G: You're now talking about the Statement of Principles agreement that came later.
Were you surprised at all when the sugar companies challenged the original
settlement agreement between the federal interests and the state and the
consent decree? What was your reaction to those lawsuits?

R: Was I surprised? No, I have not been surprised all that much in a lot of years in
the Park Service. When I arrived, there were thirty-six different active lawsuits
that were associated with this initial lawsuit, this water-quality issue. There were
filings and cross-filings and challenges and appeals by different parties on
aspects of everything involved. Thirty-six different legal actions were in play.
Was I surprised by the sugar industry's or the agricultural industry's involvement
there? No. I was curious when I saw it because there was so much of it. I was
a little bit stunned by how rancorous it was and the industry was very much
playing hardball. Some of what they were doing was going after people
individually, personally, as opposed to just staying focused on the issues. It was
all over the map. So [was I] surprised? No. Curious as to what was driving it?
Yes. I think I just came to understand that there was a tremendous amount of
money involved and at stake.

G: Were you actually involved in the negotiations that led to the Statement of
Principles agreement in July 1993?

R: Yes.

G: Talk about that process and negotiation, including what the main issues of
contention were and who some of the key individual players involved with those
negotiations were.

R: It was an interesting time because I reported for work at Everglades in April of
1992. I brought my family down and moved into a house at the end of June in
1992 and seven weeks later we were blown away by Hurricane Andrew [August
24, 1992]. Our house was totaled, with us in it, along with about 104 other
employees from the Park. We were trying to rebuild from there and we were
trying to deal with pursuing the implementation of the settlement agreement
through all that time. It was a pretty hectic time. There was a decision reached
in the late fall early winter of 1992 [to] try and mediate these disputes to see if
there was a way we could work that out. I may get my timing a little screwed up
here, but there was an agreement to do that and to move forward with that and
actually, we set out to do this I think in the [beginning] of the following year. It
wasn't until after the administration changed that we really went for a negotiation.
That's my recollection, I need to check some dates on that. The principal

EVG 16
Page 9

players were George Frampton [chair, Council on Environmental Quality, 1998-
2001; assistant secretary of the Department of Interior for Fish and Wildlife and
Parks, 1993-1997] and Bonnie Cohen [assistant secretary of the Department of
Interior, 1993-1997] for the Interior Department and the principal attorneys for the
justice department were Tom Watts-FitzGerald [assistant U.S. Attorney,
Southern District of Florida] and Suzan Ponzoli [assistant U.S. Attorney,
Southern District of Florida]. Suzan was basically the lead assistant U.S.
attorney dealing with the case down in Florida. Another player who became
central to the mediation was Jim Pipkin, who was counselor to the Secretary of
Interior, so he also became involved. Those were all the principal players along
with Buddy MacKay, the Lieutenant Governor for the State of Florida, and then
the chair and the deputy executive director of the South Florida Water
Management District and the chair of the board. Valerie Boyd was the chair of
the governing board of the Water Management District and Tom MacVicar was
the deputy executive director who were the principal players for the Water
Management District. From the industry, there was counsel as well as principals.
Don Carson [executive vice president, Florida Crystals Corporation] from Flo-
Sun was one, [Malcolm] Bubba Wade [senior vice president, U.S. Sugar
Corporation], and the principal from U.S. Sugar, Nelson Fairbanks [president and
CEO U.S. Sugar Corporation], but Phil Parsons was an attorney representing
them, so he was very much involved in the negotiations. Also Bill Green, I
believe, was the representative of small agriculture, so there were some small
sugar and vegetable farmers associated with it. Those were some of the
principal players along with myself representing the National Park Service and
Burkett Nealy, who was the refuge manager of the Loxahatchee National Wildlife
Refuge, who was the Fish and Wild Services representative. The [U.S. Army]
Corps of Engineers was represented through Rock [Salt], who was the district
commander at the time for Jacksonville, but the Corps had less of a vested
interest in the outcome and, to a certain degree, felt caught in the middle. On the
one hand, their local sponsor was the Water Management District, for the
multiple-purpose Central and South Florida Project which, in some cases, was
attributed as delivering all this water, as opposed to the Interior Department,
which really was representing the affected or the injured national interest areas,
in terms of the natural Everglades, Loxahatchee, Everglades National Park, and
in a trust capacity the Miccosukee [and Seminole] tribes, although the
Miccosukee tribe was very much a presence in their own right in relationship to
these negotiations. Those were some of the main players. We attempted to work
on a game plan for implementation and it became frustrating. Everyone was
jockeying for their own interests. I think the industry was looking for some kind of
certainty. Above all things, they wanted to know what it was going to cost them
and have some certainty that [would be] the end of it. You could work out how
much it would cost for phase one, and they were concerned with how large that
share was in terms of its affect on their business, but they were looking for a

EVG 16
Page 10

guarantee that if they agreed to pay a particular amount, that they'd be off-the-
hook for phase two. There wouldn't be some unknown amount hanging out there
that they'd have to ante up. Well, it was difficult to provide that assurance to the
industry, so the industry was reluctant to come to the table and agree to pay for
the public works part of phase one.
The Water Management District wanted off-the-hook too. If they
engineered and built something, did due diligence in building something that had
never been tested on the ground, these filter marshes, and they didn't perform,
but they had spent their money and built them, they didn't want to have their feet
held to the fire by the federal government saying, nice try, but you still have to do
this by this date certain. The United States wanted some sense of certainty that
things would arrive on time. That means we were looking for enough oversight to
know step-by-step how it was going, so that if it didn't seem to be on a path to
get there, we could have some influence on the course of events. We [wanted to
be] sure that we would get to the commitments that were in the settlement
agreement by the dates that were in the settlement agreement. [There were] lots
of parties with just incredible interests and expectations coming out of the
discussions, and a lot of tension associated with how that would be framed and
how that would work out. And there were players around the outside. For
instance, some simply viewed the sugar industry as an evil empire and what they
were concerned with was not simply the implementation of the consent decree,
they wanted to take sugar out of the picture. They would just as soon reclaim the
entire Everglades Agricultural Area for the Everglades.

G: Who are you referring to here?

R: I think there are players within the environmental community who at one time or
another expressed that. In terms of the coalition or specific organizations, you'd
almost have to have checked in on them at a given point in time to find out how
they felt about that. George Barley [founder, Save Our Everglades foundation;
Orlando developer], used the Florida Keys and the disturbances at Florida Bay
and simply said the sugar industry was to blame, and this was a fight to the death
[with] the sugar industry. George led the charge amongst those folks. Different
individuals and different organizations at different times sort of waxed and waned
on whether they were simply about getting the settlement agreement
accomplished, or whether they had a further aim of taking out Big Sugar.
Equally, there were folks that would just as soon have paid lip-service to the
water-quality goals and said, we need to protect an industry that is important
economically and important for jobs in South Florida. Whether you take the
cynical view because they were saying it was important to their pocketbook
personally, or whether they were just concerned about economic development
for the region, they would just as soon say, let's just settle this thing. So there
are some cattails growing in the Everglades, who cares? Let's just get this

EVG 16
Page 11

settled and move on, it's no big deal.

G: At that time, was there a strong degree of unity among the federal parties?

R: When I arrived, there was a very, very tight team in place associated with the
federal parties. If anything, that probably led to, or laid some of the foundation
for, the follow-[up] on [the] federal task force, because over several years, the
Justice Department really was instrumental in pulling the federal parties together
and working as a team, through the litigation, to the point of the settlement
agreement. While we each had different expectations and specific interests,
there really was a sense of being part of a federal team when I arrived, principally
associated with that litigation. Steve Herman was the lead Justice attorney here
in Washington for that whole effort, so he really was the guy in charge for the
Justice Department. Then Suzan [Ponzoli] and Tom [FitzGerald] were the
principal litigators in Florida associated with the U. S. Attorney's office, but Steve
was with [the] main Justice [Department]. [End of Tape A: Side 1]

G: How actively involved was Bruce Babbitt in those negotiations?

R: He was not a direct party to those negotiations. Having said that, he paid very
close attention to what was going on and without a doubt provided strategic
[direction] to all of us, and particularly the two principal players for the
Department of Interior, George Frampton and Bonnie Cohen. There was no
question that he knew what was going on and no question that he had the big
picture in mind and guided it from that perspective. Was he an active player in
the negotiations? No. Bonnie and George and Jim Pipkin, his counselor, were
the folks you saw in the sessions, the folks dealing with Lieutenant Governor
[Buddy] MacKay and the other players that had interests there.

G: A lot of the environmental groups were very critical of the settlement agreement,
saying that they didn't have an opportunity to be a part of that process of
negotiation. Were there any representatives of the environmental community in
those discussions?

R: The simple answer to that is no, in that the settlement discussions were
discussions amongst the players who were a party to either the settlement
agreement or the litigation and cross-challenges that were associated with it.
There were some environmental parties to it, not many. Were they in the room
when a lot of the negotiations were going on? No, but there was no question that
they were talked to by different parties who were in the room as that process
went on. Were all of them talked to? No. There are a blizzard of environmental
organizations in South Florida who all felt interested and affected by the litigation
and settlement. Were they talked to often enough? Certainly not, from what we

EVG 16
Page 12

heard from many of them. Would they have wanted to be in the room at every
point in time? Yes. There were times when even those of us who were pretty
central to the whole effort were invited out of the room and it got down to just
principals. There were times when the discussions on the mediated agreement,
Statement of Principles, was going on that it got down to just Bonnie and George
and the Lieutenant Governor, and a couple of folks like that, where they tried to
bridge the distance on what had already been framed in discussions. It got down
to how far along that commitment would come, in dollars, to reach a level of
commitment. Were the environmentalists in the room the whole time? No, but
there were players that were probably closer to those discussions, both formally
and informally, within the environmental community.

G: At the time, what was your evaluation of the Statement of Principles agreement
that was reached in July 1993?

R: We said we would try mediation to see if we could settle some of the differences,
and we said we'd try it for sixty days. We walked into it and it was very, very
difficult to do. We reached a point coming up against the end of the first sixty
days where we said, do we want to just let it crash or have we made enough
progress that it's worth extending? I really don't think anybody wanted to see it
fail. Certainly nobody wanted to be blamed for having it fail. Of course you need
to understand too, that was a time when the administration was just changing.
The new folks hadn't come on board when [we started]. There was a new
president-elect when the decision was made to go ahead and start on mediation,
and at the end, I think of the first sixty days, we had a [new] Secretary of Interior
in place, we had a [new] assistant secretary [for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks]
nominated, but we didn't have an assistant secretary confirmed yet. I think there
was also a sense of wanting to keep it going until there was a clear sense of how
the new administration wanted to go. There was also a sense that if we didn't, if
we just went to court, there were risks. The risks were [that] legally folks could
run out the due process on their legal rights and we could reach the dates laid
out in the settlement agreement and still not have started the first filter marsh.
So there were risks associated with that. I think there was a fair desire to not
leave any stone unturned if there was a way to get to some kind of an agreement
that would move forward, that would get us where we needed to go. I actually
think all the parties felt that way. The vision of what a deal [would look like,]
varied dramatically and it tended to vary along the lines that I expressed earlier.
One side [was] looking for long-term assurances and the least amount of
commitment, and the other side [was] not wanting to ante up more than a certain
amount, because they'd have to take it back to the taxpayers. [They] wanted]
more time to get things done, the federal side wanted] to hold to the deal that we
had originally, which had some pretty strict performance targets and some pretty
strict dates in place. So it went.

EVG 16
Page 13

Everybody agreed to extend the negotiations. In some cases, I think we
felt there was progress being made, at other points in time we felt it was kind of a
polite fiction to say that any progress had been made, but nobody wanted to just
walk away from it and tank the process. That went on for a while. I think it
reached the May-June time frame and we were up against one more deadline.
People were beginning to realize that we'd about run out our rope, in terms of the
public perception of us trying to settle this through negotiation. Of course, there
was also a feeling on our part that it didn't serve the United States' interest to just
keep kicking the ball down the road, because all that did was add more time onto
what we were trying to do. Nobody was really moving on the fundamental issues
of how to pay for three-quarters of one billion dollars on the public works project,
which was really the principal issue, and nothing could get started until you
figured that out. It was one of the things that was missing in the original
settlement agreement that was key. Everybody said we'd do this, but nobody
said how it would be paid for. There was a sense that we were up against the
brink, that if we didn't solve it by a day around the end June, that was going to be
it. We'd just break off and go back to [litigating].

G: You're talking before the actual Statement of Principles agreement?

R: Yes. In fact, we had gotten a number of things solved and settled on, principally
the financing. The issue of how much the industry was going to pay, through
some a tax assessment versus how much was going to be raised by the Water
Management District through an ad valorem tax, or how much the state would
pay by commitments from state's offers, all of that was [unresolved]. We knew
how much it had to be, we even knew when it had to come. We had a sense of
that, but we weren't at closure over where all the money was going to come from
and we reached the deadline, as I recall, in late June, [and] didn't have a deal.
Nobody had said, we'll extend this. I think there were some meetings that
occurred within a day or two of the deadline, after the deadline, where everybody
just reached deep. There were some closed-door sessions amongst the very
few players who were the principals and a Statement of Principles was cut,
framed on what had been hammered out to-date, plus a final stretch of who
would commit what dollars and where the dollars would come from. A Statement
of Principles was basically cut and they finally reached it a few days after the last
deadline to keep the mediation open. I think it was a desire to just not want to
see this fall back into litigation and be tied up in years of litigation, as opposed to
[making] progress towards getting the work done.

G: Was that an agreement that you and Park service were Satisfied with?

R: I don't think we had a problem with that. Mostly, it was about the money. It was
[an issue of] where the money was going to come from to do this work. To be

EVG 16
Page 14

honest with you, what I recall being principally interested in was simply that [the]
question got answered. It wasn't about federal money, it was about how the
state and the Water Management District and the sugar industry parties were
going to come up with a stream of revenue that was going to get the job done,
which was to perform under the consent decree. The thing that probably caused
me the most concern was that, towards the end, there was an issue of how to
bridge that remaining gap that began to speak to putting federal money on the
table in order to pull the whole thing together. That troubled me some, because I
thought it broke the basic principle of the settlement agreement, which was [that]
nothing the federal government had done had caused this to happen. If we had
a settlement agreement that basically [stated that] the state accepts the
responsibility and agrees to cure the problem, for the federal government to
begin to put federal money into it, [it] starts to muddy the water a little bit about
who exactly is responsible for this problem and sets the stage, as you move
down the road, for a little bit of ambiguity over who's responsible for fixing it. So I
have trouble with that, on the one hand. On the other hand, if a credible case
could be made to do some things that we could do, that didn't leave us with the
responsibility to cure the basic problem that we'd sued over, I didn't have a
particular problem. It was mostly about getting the money lined up so we could
begin to move forward. I think the deal that was cut reasonably did that. It
stepped beyond just the cleanup from the EAA, which is what we sued over, and
it talked about recapturing water from the Palm Beach basin and bringing it back
and treating it and putting it into Loxahatchee. That hadn't been part of the
original lawsuit. It was an add-on feature to enhance benefits. As a result,
[using] federal dollars to recapture water that had heretofore not been flowing
into the Everglades, as opposed to just cleaning up the water that was moving
down through the system, you could make a credible case that the federal
government would see an additional benefit in terms of added water into the
Everglades system that we would want to help engineer and achieve and could
be a partner in accomplishing. We agreed to put, I think, fifty million dollars on
the table associated with the STA [stormwater treatment area] on the northeast
side of Loxahatchee. It was essentially beyond the scope of the original
settlement agreement. It was an added benefit.

G: Why did the Statement of Principles agreement fall apart during the subsequent
mediation that occurred in the fall of that year?

R: The devil is in the details. It was a Statement of Principles. It had reached a
watershed point where, conceptually, we had framed a deal, but there were a
whole lot of details that had to be worked out on how that would implement in
practice. In fact what that led to was marathon sessions. We thought the
mediation sessions had been frequent and lengthy just to try and get to the June
Statement of Principles, and they were. What followed was a series of meetings,

EVG 16
Page 15

mostly held over at the Crystal City Marriott, where we came up and darn near
lived in that hotel through the late summer and fall, trying to hammer out the
details on how that Statement of Principles was going to work. The jockeying
didn't stop with the Statement of Principles, if anything, it intensified. Once
again, the issues were federal oversight, [some] wanting to let the state, now that
we had a deal, go forward and just do it and there wouldn't be any federal
oversight. Just get out of our way, let [that state and agriculture] do it, we could
cut the deal now. [However], the federal government was still interested. We
needed to have some assurance that things were moving along the right path
and reaching benchmarks along the way, so that we had some certainty well
before the end date that we were either going to get there or not. We didn't want
to wait until 2006 to find out that we weren't going to get there. We wanted to
have the ability to anticipate, based on a phased set of actions, [whether] the
state would or would not get there on time. [We wanted] to be able to walk back
into court and say, there's a problem, so that we weren't waiting until 2006 to
have the ability to do that. There were cash-flow issues associated with this
engineering project. How many dollars had to be collected in which year? The
state, once again, resented the idea of oversight. So did the industry. It was just
hard bargaining that went all through that fall in and around these issues, with
consultation with different players who weren't immediate parties along the way.
It fell apart, as I recall, in early December and you may hear different
reasons from different folks about that. I recall a meeting in the Crystal City
Marriott in late November of 1993, at the end of a marathon set of sessions
through the fall, on these issues, when [the] EPA [Environmental Protection
Agency] came in. [They] said, you can sign anything you want in regard to
federal oversight on the settlement agreement but, there was a woman who
came in who was, [I believe] an assistant administrator, one of the top career
folks, [who] basically said, you guys are going to have to get an NPDES [National
Pollutant Discharge System] permit for discharge. Everybody's mouths dropped
[open] and said, what are you talking about? She said, in effect, we don't care
what you agree to or don't agree to, in terms of federal oversight. It's there
anyway, because you're going to have to get an NPDES permit to discharge
anything from these marshes. The feds are going to have an ability to hold your
feet to the fire through that to make sure you meet the discharge requirements
required by water-quality regulations. It stopped everybody. They said, how can
you say that? They started talking about how this really wasn't a discharge of a
pollutant or anything like that. She said, let me tell you something, we've been
sued about a dozen times over what requires an NPDES permit and what
doesn't. Let me tell you about just the last case where the Navy had a bombing
range off of Puerto Rico and they dropped bombs into the water. We got sued
for not requiring that they get an NPDES pollutant discharge permit and we lost.
That requires an NPDES permit, so don't even go there. If you think you can
explain to a court that this discharge of treated water with phosphorous in it

EVG 16
Page 16

wouldn't require a discharge permit from a constructed wetland, public works
treatment wash, you're dreaming. There was a big blow-up in December where
the industry walked away, claiming that the [Department of] Interior had been
guilty of bad faith in the negotiations. There was a lot of rhetoric in the air about
how those discussions ultimately crashed, but my own view is that the industry
reached a point where they had worn us down and worn us down on oversight
and the assurances that we were looking for, in terms of performance. The EPA
walked in and said, none of this matters, because you're going to have to get a
pollutant discharge permit anyway.

G: How did you get through that to get to the agreement that was reached between
the Interior and the Flo-Sun Corporation in early 1994, and then to move on with
the state passing the Everglades Forever Act?

R: If I talk about the environmental community or the agricultural community or the
state B the Water Management District and DEP [Department of Environmental
Protection] B and occasionally even the federal community as being a single
interest, that's far too simple. There were lots of times when there were roaring
disagreements amongst each of those major interest groups over whether to
settle and whether or not it was time to agree to terms or continue to try for more.
I think what happened was that, I don't want to say the bulk, but certainly some,
of the harder heads in the industry walked away from the table and got the whole
group to do that. Flo-Sun particularly was probably reluctant to do so, and they
realized they could sign a commitment that gave them certainty and they were
ready to do that. That ultimately got done in that January. Interestingly enough,
though, that whole agreement, and I'm not a lawyer, was an agreement amongst
parties [as to] what they would attempt to do, because the state legislature had to
take up and enact the Everglades Forever Act in order to make what was being
bargained in those sessions [into] a binding commitment. They had to put it into
state law. There was no guarantee or no certainty that would happen, except
that the major players associated with it said everyone would work in good faith
to try and get to that end. The chairman of the governing board of the Water
Management District couldn't sign a binding agreement saying, I'll tax our people
this amount. There would have to be proposals made to be publicly reviewed
and publicly heard and a vote made by the entire governing board on any
changes in the ad valorem taxes. All [an agreement] could say was that we
agree this is reasonable and we will agree to work in good faith to try and
accomplish it, but we still had to move it back in to the legal processes by which
those kinds of [public] decisions were made. If the state and federal government
and the Water Management District were all ready to work towards an end, and
they had some key members of the environmental community, some members of
the agricultural community [in agreement], then it was hoped there would be
enough public and political will to move through the state legislative processes

EVG 16
Page 17

and have the Water Management District governing board move through the
proposals and the hearings they needed to actually put those kinds of decisions
in place.

G: What was your evaluation of the Everglades Forever Act?

R: On the whole, it did the job. Like any legislation, there are issues you scratch
your head over and issues that you wish had been clearer in its implementation.
Folks have interpreted that in ways that are not necessarily consistent with what
we felt were the commitments under the consent decree. Remember, all of this
dealing, even the United States signature on the Statement of Principles and the
agreement that Flo-Sun signed, [meant] we had to go back and move as parties
in front of the court to amend the consent decree. The consent decree was still
on the books as it originally had been signed. Part of what the Statement of
Principles said [is], we're going to move the goal-line down the road a couple of
years from what that original decree said. In fact, when I left Florida in 2000, the
court still hadn't accepted it. Like the state and the Water Management District,
all we were signing was [that] we felt this was a reasonable way to amend the
deal and to make it work, make it doable, and that we would act in good faith to
get that to happen. Part of what we had to do was to all go in as settling parties
and say, we want to amend the deal. The judge could then hear from all the
interveners, and did, and [he] could have said, sorry, I ain't buying it. So it wasn't
just our deal to cut. Others had to look at it, and other processes, in full public
view and verify that [it] was an appropriate new deal and sign off on it before it
would all go into place and become legal and enforceablee.

G: By the time you left Florida, were you satisfied with the progress that had made
in implementing that law?

R: The answer is yes and no. Let me just offer one other thing before getting into
that. I think coming out of the Everglades Forever Act, there was a view on the
part of the state that we now have a law that supersedes the consent decree.
This is the law that counts. The United States' view was the state has now
passed a law that enables them to meet the commitments that they made in front
of a federal court under the consent decree. There remained a tension in that
first year or two after the Everglades Forever Act about how the state versus the
federal parties saw the Everglades Forever Act. [The state] saw it as their law of
the land and therefore, the consent decree really didn't matter anymore. The
federal government said no, no, just because you have a state law that enables
you to perform the commitments outlined in the consent decree doesn't mean the
consent decree isn't still the binding agreement that it is. There was some
tension in terms of how that went forward.
In terms of how things were going when I left, I would say the rules on

EVG 16
Page 18

best management practices went into place and the farms outperformed the
regulatory requirements, so that went very well. That happened very quickly.
The phase one public works, the filter marshes, had a lot of issues associated
with their design, had a lot of issues associated with getting the land acquisition,
had a lot of issues associated with the financing. But by the time I left, they had
largely been worked through, those marshes were well under way, and the
performance that we were seeing on the ones that had been initially built was
outperforming the design expectations. We were targeting for fifty ppb [parts per
billion] and we were seeing twenty, twenty-one parts per billion. When I left,
there were issues associated, though, with whether or not the state process for
setting the final numeric standard was going to get to what we felt was the
scientifically supportable answer. The Miccosukees had stepped into the
process and gone to EPA and said, we want to set a standard for our lands as a
tribe. They took the science that we'd all been working on and said, it's ten [parts
per billion], which we felt was a very supportable number. I think, at that point,
we weren't sure how the state process was going to come out. I think, since I've
left, that it's basically arrived at that decision.
There were issues also associated with how that standard was set, at
what point do you measure it? Do you measure it right at the point of discharge
or, as folks in the state were arguing for at that point, [do] you measure it about
100 yards downstream after there's a mixing zone? In our view, you measured it
at the point of discharge. [We believed] any mixing zone would continue to add a
cumulative load of phosphorous into the Everglades which would settle out, pick
up, and continue the dissemination of that plume of phosphorous-laden soil into
the Everglades. It wasn't just about where the numeric standard was set, it was
also where and how you measure that standard once you set it. Those things
were very much up in the air with parties pushing and shoving in every direction,
at the point I left. The other thing that was up in the air was, say [the standard]
was ten, how you engineer, how you come out [with] a concept of a new or
revised public works program that [reaches] that standard. We thought there
was value in looking at a filter marsh system that was basically an oligotrophic
one, it was on lime rock instead of peat, and it could move from the twenty down
to the ten [parts per billion] or less. A combination of filter marshes [that] were
designed and functioned in two different ways could get there, but the question
was whether or not we wanted to redesign before we finished the first set of filter
marshes. [There was a question as to] whether or not it was better to stop, not
finish implementing those, redesign them to go straight to the final standard
instead of just going to fifty parts per billion and figure it had to start all over again
with some additional component. And it had to do with how much it would all
cost at the end. There were folks that said, try as we might, once again the
science isn't showing that these combinations of treatment will actually get us to
the final standard, somewhere in the ten parts per billion range. Those issues
were very, very much up in the air when I left.

EVG 16
Page 19

In terms of making it happen, we were still concerned that the final
numeric standard and the way it was measured would not arrive at a good place
that was scientifically supported. We were concerned that there wasn't a design
in place and a project timetable and financing scheme laid out to get to phase
two. Of course arguments were being made [about] how [to] design a final
[project] until we know what that actual standard is? We said, if you wait that
long, there's no possible way you then can design, finance, and build this thing
by the 2006 time-frame, you just won't be able to do it. [There was] a lot of
tension over [going] ahead and [putting] your design together on a presumptive
standard, on the default standard that the Everglades Forever Act laid out, which
was ten parts per billion. You back off in size and scale, in your design, if it goes
to a higher number. There was a lot of tension about making those kinds of
commitments [with] the kind of money that was needed before knowing what the
final answer was. Then there was a lot of concern that no design was going to
be able to perform that well. The science wasn't in the bank to show that each of
these different ideas would actually perform on the ground, as hoped.

G: In the early 1990s, problems in Florida Bay began to manifest themselves in the
forms of massive sea grass die-offs and large algae blooms. How did you
respond to these problems in Florida Bay as they began to emerge?

R: Florida Bay was the canary-in-the-mine for the collapse of the Everglades
ecosystem. We pointed to a number of things indicating the decline in the
system, but nowhere was it as apparent and nowhere were the affects as
abruptly felt as in Florida Bay in the late 1980s and early 1990s. We went into a
drought cycle and Florida Bay, instead of getting its already cut-down flows of
fresh water out of the Everglades, got dramatically less. Florida Bay is a
300,000-acre area that's three to six feet deep. It's basically an evaporating pan
and, without constant refreshing of fresh water coming into it from the
Everglades, can go hyper-saline very fast, and that's exactly what happened.
Prior to that, as we learned, Florida Bay, over a fifty-year period as the Central
and South Florida Project went into effect, had been slowly reduced in terms of
both the amount of fresh water that got to it, compared to what historically got to
it, as well as the variability of that happening. It became almost a steady state
because of the managed water system. That meant that it went from an estuary
that went through significant changes in salinity, but on a fairly regular cycle, and
as a result was able to support a pretty diverse culture of marine plants and
organisms [and] became more of a steady state marine lagoon. It became very
lush, but it was a monoculture that instead of [having] a wide range of different
sea grasses, it had sea grasses that would thrive in saltwater, which is about
thirty-five parts per thousand.
In the late 1980s, that monoculture got shocked because with the drought
and the dramatic cut-off even of the [reduced] flows that had been getting to the

EVG 16
Page 20

Florida Bay, it went hyper-saline in a lot of areas. In a number of places, it went
to seventy parts per thousand, twice the salinity of sea water. Even the marine
organisms that were in Florida Bay at that time couldn't handle that kind of hyper-
saline condition [and] they died. The sea grasses died and the rhizomes from
those sea grasses held a lot of the sediments together that were full of nutrients.
As they died off, the tidal effects started to re-circulate those nutrients up into the
water column [and] algae blooms began to expand and linger for a long period of
time. Essentially, what was the ecology in Florida Bay collapsed as we knew it
and certainly as people in the area were used to it. Did we know all this at the
outset? No. Did we know there was a big problem down there? Yes. Was it
intuitive to us that what was happening in Florida Bay was linked to the
disruptions in the water system from the Everglades? Yes. Could we
scientifically prove it? Not at that time.
What we did do was pull together scientists and start a program in Florida
Bay that dramatically increased the amount of research that was going on down
there. At one point I think we had nine different agencies and seventy-two
different projects with millions of dollars going into it, that were all looking at a
variety of different issues in Florida Bay to try and track down what was going on
down there and the causes of it. We kept that going and brought the scientists
back together every year for a conference that discussed what they were
learning, and talked about where we needed to go from there. I thought it was an
excellent way to cooperatively work on a problem to try and get at the real
knowledge. It took us a number of years, but as we learned, it really did make
the connections for the lower end of the system. That told us that what was
going on in the bay was directly linked to what was going on with water in the
Everglades system. I think it helped galvanize a lot of public support. George
Barley at the time [was] one of the leaders in the Keys and in the environmental
community. Before the proof was in hand, he made all kinds of accusations
about how this was all linked to the quality of the water coming down through the
Everglades from the Everglades Agricultural Area, and therefore the sugar
industry was the devil here. What we found out was that it wasn't the quality of
the water coming from the Everglades Agricultural Area, but it was the quantity.
[That was the principal culprit. The reduction in freshwater flows and the
alteration in its timing and distribution were the problem.] [End of Tape A: Side

G: Can you talk a little bit about your involvement with the C-111 project and the
importance of that in dealing with the problems in the Florida Bay?

R: Sure. We understood all along that more than water quality was of critical
importance to us. The main issues related to Everglades health were related to
water, but it was what we called QQTD: quantity, quality, timing, and distribution.
You could get three of them right and still have a collapsed system because you

EVG 16
Page 21

didn't get all four exactly the way they needed to be. We recognized that the
deliveries, both the amount, timing and distribution of those deliveries of fresh
water down through Everglades National Park had been significantly altered from
what the historical natural pattern had been. We knew that played an important
role on effects that we were seeing in the park. We were trying to pin down
scientifically the direct linkages between them, so that was work that we were
doing, but we knew enough about those to know that east Everglades addition to
the park was critical, and I think there was general understanding about that. We
knew that the modified water deliveries, which were attempting to deliver more
water to the east Everglades and to redistribute the water that was being
funneled off to the west, to the historical park up on Tamiami Trail, were critical to
the future of the park. We also began to understand that the eastern side of the
park, along where the Frog Pond is, west of Homestead, what the Corps calls the
C-111 basin, was also critical to a very important part of the park, the Taylor
Slough, which is the slough going down through the eastern portion of the park.
[It] also fed the eastern part of Florida Bay, the Panhandle area of the park,
which fed the very eastern end of Florida Bay, and it was even critical to Barnes
Sound, which moved water in and out of Biscayne Bay over on the Atlantic side.
The C-111 project had been authorized to be reevaluated, unlike the
modified water deliveries, which was a project whose purpose was purely to
reestablish flows to Everglades National Park. The C-111 project was part of the
Central and South Florida Project and therefore had multiple purposes: water
supply for a developed area, flood protection, as well as protection of the
environment. The Corps was trying to re-engineer that in a way that met all three
of those purposes. Our greatest concern was that it not be re-engineered in a
way that first met flood control, then met water supply for urban areas, and after it
got those other things done, did what it could for the environment. We were
concerned with making sure the C-111 design fully met the environmental
restoration objectives. Colonel Salt, and subsequently Colonel [Terry] Rice
[former Jacksonville District Engineers, Corps of Engineers], began to
understand what we were saying about how that east side of the park operated
hydrologically. The revision of the C-111 project ultimately really did go a long
way to try and restore. It was a design that could restore the hydrologic flows to
Taylor Slough in the eastern Panhandle back to, to the best of our knowledge,
what had historically occurred in the area. It was all predicated on the fact that
water flowed there through porous lime rock. The C-111 operation before had,
whenever we said we weren't getting enough water in Taylor Slough, pumped
more water out of C-111 canal into Taylor Slough. They pumped like the
dickens. They put more water into Taylor Slough and claimed that they were
putting all the water that we were asking for into Taylor Slough. The problem
was they were keeping the level of the C-111 canal down in order to keep the
water table underneath the farmlands to the east down so that it didn't get into
the root zone of either the seasonal crops or the groves that were over there.

EVG 16
Page 22

G: Is that Frog Pond area?

R: Frog Pond was a part of it, but it also related to the areas to the east of that as
well. When you lower the levels in the canals, you basically lower the water
table, because the lime rock that [the] whole area is made up of is porous as a
sponge. When they lowered the canal level, the groundwater level in the park
would drop just like the groundwater level underneath the farmland to the east
would drop. When you pump a lot of water out of the canal and into the park, all
it does is just go straight down into the ground and flow back into the canal. Our
analysis was the 85 percent of what they were pumping over the boundary out of
the canal was [draining] right back into the canal. We felt what was happening
was just a recirculating game. Nothing, or very little, was moving down Taylor
Slough and in order to get any water to move down Taylor Slough, you had to
have the groundwater up at the surface so the water you pumped in would lay on
top of the surface and then move south and slowly slide into Florida Bay. If the
groundwater is down well below the surface, all you're doing is pumping water in
to get the water back up to the ground surface, none of it is moving south into
Florida Bay or down Taylor Slough. If the water in the canal is significantly below
what you've got in the ground, in the park, all that happens with that water in the
ground is that it wants to move back into the canal. It goes to where there's the
least resistance, it goes to where the groundwater level is lower. Major problem.
It took us awhile, but finally we did convince the Corps [of Engineers] what
was going on and that we had to increase the groundwater level in the
headwaters of Taylor Slough in order to have a viable C-111 project, so that the
water coming into the park would remain surface water and would flow down into
Florida Bay and restore the flows there. Rock Salt was very instrumental in
hearing that and crafting a design that would do that. That design raised a lot of
concerns in the South Dade community because it meant creating a system of
catchments that would try and separate, instead of managing groundwater level
with one canal, where you have the park on one side and farmland on the other.
It recognized the fact that you couldn't do it with one canal, so it called for the
acquisition of the Frog Pond and land between the C-111 canal and the park [to]
create a buffer zone and that buffer zone could be set up as impoundments,
holding ponds. Instead of pumping into the park, you could recirculate and
basically pump into those holding ponds, which would keep groundwater levels
high in the park, because you'd keep water stacked up next to the park. You put
it onto the surface where it could sit in a marsh and clean itself up if there were
any water-quality issues. Then you could pump out of there into the park on the
timing basis that was commensurate with what the natural flows down Taylor
Slough would require. Very sound conceptual design to solve the problem.
[The] concern on the part of the farmers in the community in South [Dade]
was that we were going to raise the canal levels on the canal next to them to a

EVG 16
Page 23

point where there was no margin. If there was a heavy rain, the water that
previously had been kept well below the root zone now would be kept closer to
the root zone, which would be okay, unless there was a twenty-five-year or fifty-
year rain event, at which point it would come up into the root zone and could kill
their crops or their groves. Well, the issue for flood protection in South Florida is
[that] people don't understand what it means. Everybody talks about it and
everybody has their own expectation of what it means. To the Corps, it means
providing protection for a one-in-ten-year event. It's not practical nor do they
design for events that are larger in scale, which means the C&SF [Central and
South Florida Project] system is designed not to keep everybody's feet dry all the
time, just most of the time. You can have a twenty-five-year event or a fifty-year
event, and you can have three of them in a row over three years. And in fact,
Florida tends to go through cycles [of] seven to ten years of inordinately wet
weather and then it goes through a dry period and then it gets into a wet period
again. There tends not to be a normal year in Florida, it's either too dry or too
wet. The system, which is designed only to prevent the normal fluctuations,
when subjected to a greater drought or a greater flood year, can't handle it, which
means there will be years when people's land floods and when the crops will
flood. Well, that's not an economically acceptable situation for people who own
homes or people who have crops. To them, flood protection means that if we're
starting to get wet B the Corps and the Water Management District B need to
operate the system to get [their] feet dry, for all it's worth. Well, if you do that,
one of two things happens. You drain the canal levels low, which draws the
groundwater down in the park [and] when it should be sending a good slug of
water down to Florida Bay, it isn't. Or you keep the water levels high and you're
just pumping the dickens out of the area to the east and stacking water that may
have been a foot deep in that kind of an event in the Everglades, which is more
than adequate for forage for wading birds. You could be making it two feet deep
or three feet deep, which may be unnaturally deep. All of a sudden the habitat is
cut off for a lot of the species that would normally live there and the production of
the natural system drops through the floor.
When you operate the system to make it perform for one purpose or
another, beyond what it was designed to do and to the exclusion of the other
purposes, you can unbalance the benefits. There were two issues with C-111.
One, could you design it in a way so that structurally it had the capability of
balancing things better? The other issue is, no matter how you designed it, could
you operate it on a day-to-day basis when those events occurred and withstand
the pressure to forget the rules and just operate it for one purpose when people
start screaming because you had a fifty-year event, a hundred-year event? We
felt the design on C-111 was a very, very good one. It needed to be connected
with the Modified Water Deliveries Project, because while they were in different
basins, the two were integrally related. The two designs had been done
independently, so there was a need to link the two up. But we were equally

EVG 16
Page 24

concerned with what the operating rules were going to be on the C-111 system.
Even if the design was the greatest, the issue is how [to] get operational
guarantees that says the Corps or the Water Management District won't just
throw the operating rule book out the window because there's a fifty-year storm
down there and it's time to get everybody's feet dry and try to do it in three days
instead of three weeks, even though the system wasn't designed to do it that

G: Did you get those guarantees? I believe there was some flooding later in the
1990s, did the system work as a design or as intended during that flood?

R: There was and there probably will be some of the greatest tension about that
because we got assurances from the Corps and from the Water Management
District that they would take care of those things. What that amounted to was
their interpretation of what took care of us, what took care of the National Park.
There were some roaring disagreements amongst the hydrologists over what
would happen when you held the canal level at a particular point or when you
pumped certain volumes of water here or there and the Water Management
District and the Corps of Engineers particularly were, without a doubt, concerned
about the Everglades. But they were also trying to balance benefits between
three different interests, principally flood control and the environment, but there
was a water supply issue there, as well. In our view at the time, there was a lot
of, don't worry, we'll take care of you kind of language, as opposed to us saying,
we'd like to have concurrence. We'll agree to the operating rules that you say
we'll put in place, but if you're going to vary, we'd like to have a rule or an
agreement in place where you call us and say, will you agree to go off that?
That's what we said we wanted, because we wanted some assurance that the
system would not be operated to the detriment of the park, in a way it wasn't
conceived [to]. [There was] a great deal of reluctance on either the Corps or the
Water Management District to give up that discretion they felt they had to retain
on how to administer the benefits of the system. A long history of experience
had been that no matter, what it was designed to do, as soon as you got into an
extreme event, all bets were off, because people voted, the alligators didn't.

G: Did you ever get the assurance that you asked for, or did that not happen?

R: Hasn't happened yet. Let me say that the assurances we were looking for were
binding agreements. The Department of Interior would have to concur if the
Water Managers wanted to operate in a way that reduced the envisioned benefits
to the park. We weren't looking for total control over the operating regime, but
the C-111 operating rules that went in place with the environmental impact
statement and the design said, this project is now going to produce these
benefits [because] it's designed to produce these benefits for the park. We

EVG 16
Page 25

wanted those quantified and we wanted some guarantee that before those
benefits could be reduced, we had to concur. The Corps and the Water
Management District [would] then have] all the flexibility they wanted, without
talking to us, to manage the benefits as long as the benefits of the park didn't fall
below a certain level. There's precedent for it in the minimum delivery schedule
that Congress enacted, although that schedule was not well-informed, it wasn't
the right amount of water at the right time, but there's precedent for that kind of
statutory guarantee. The water managers did not want to provide those
guarantees. They absolutely provided us assurances that they, in their discretion
and judgment, would make sure that we got taken care of, but it tended to be
taken care of in their judgment, not necessarily ours.

G: During the periods of flooding in the 1990s and in the period of drought, did the
Water Management District and the Corps live up to the promises they made
you? Were you happy with the way in which the C-111 was managed during
those periods?

R: Absolutely not. Prior to the 1994-1995 time frame, there was just a litany of
occasions where we felt the operations weren't occurring the way we felt they
ought to occur. I refer you to Bob Johnson, who is the head of the Natural
Resource Center at Everglades [National Park], who goes back through most of
the 1980s and can tell you about that. There was, in statute, an experimental
water deliveries program which says that they could vary the operating regime
from what was on the books with the EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] for
the C-111 system or, for that matter, even the water system, if they got three-
party concurrence [between] the Corps, the Water Management District, and the
park. If we all concurred, they could vary [from] their publicly established
schedule. There were times when they convinced the park that it would work
and there were times when we went back to them and said, no it wouldn't.
Ultimately, the Water Management District and I think the Corps of Engineers
both became exceedingly frustrated with trying to work with a three-party
agreement on how the operating schedules would set up. Part of that was
because there was distinct disagreement amongst the hydrologists over what the
effects would be. I told you about the canal levels, with concern about the
amount of water going into Taylor Slough, where you lower the canal level to
keep the groundwater down and then you pump large volumes over into Taylor
Slough. That was how we were told by the Water Management District, at one
point, that they were taking care of Taylor Slough. We said, no you're not. That
was one of the kinds of disagreements we talked about. Ultimately, through that
period of time, we got to a point where both the Corps of Engineers and the
Water Management District realized that what we were saying was correct and
that led to a redesign of the C-111 project to address that concern. You can put
the best plumbing system in the world in place and not deliver the water that it

EVG 16
Page 26

was designed to deliver. Even with the new C-111 project designed to do the
things that it was envisioned to do, how you put the operating schedule in place
can make all the difference on whether or not it fulfills its design expectations.
Even if you put the operating rules in place, if you don't stick to them when you're
under pressure, you don't continue to meet the design expectations that were in
place. There will always be operational pressure placed on the lower end of that
system to balance the benefits, and there will always be a concern on the part of
the park about whether or not the water managers B the Water Management
District and the Corps of Engineers B have put an operating schedule in place
that's good for the park and whether they continue to operate it the way it was
designed when that system comes under pressure.

G: Could you talk a little bit about the Frog Pond area, its importance, and your
efforts to acquire that territory?

R: The Frog Pond is a very low-lying area that Taylor Slough actually comes into at
one point, just below the headwaters of Taylor Slough. It wanders a little bit to
the east, comes into the west side of the Frog Pond and then moves down
through the park to Florida Bay. It's relatively low-lying and it's west of the canal
and levee system that was set up to provide flood protection and water supply
benefits to the lands to the east, to the developed lands in South Dade. There's
more to the history there. I think you can talk to folks in the Corps, [and] Bob
Johnson. [at the park] particularly can give you chapter-and-verse on [the fact]
that the C-111 project wasn't even put in place originally for flood protection. [In]
the Frog Pond, we came to address the issue of how [to] keep the water table
high in the park and low in the agricultural lands to the east. It became land in
the middle. It was recognized [that] you couldn't do it, with one canal, to the land
on either side of that one canal. So the C-111 canal, as it came down by the
park, had the Frog Pond to the west and then the park, but it had agricultural land
immediately to the east. The Frog Pond and actually the Rocky Glades area and
the Eight-And-A-Half-Square-Mile-Area were all privately-owned lands that
existed west of the main canal and levee system, but between there and the
park. Those private lands had no flood protection authorized. The Corps was
not authorized to build a system that provided them flood protection. But they
were being developed as private properties for residential purposes and for
agricultural purposes, and, of course, they did not like getting wet. The Frog
Pond historically had been used for seasonal agriculture and sometimes it got
dry at the end of November and stayed dry until May or June, sometimes it didn't
get dry until January and it got wet again in April, and sometimes it never got dry
in the dry season. That's just the normal fluctuations year-to-year on the
variability of rainfall that occurs naturally in South Florida. We go through these
wet and dry cycles. What happened traditionally in the Frog Pond was that
people would plant when it got dry and they wouldn't plant until it got dry, and

EVG 16
Page 27

sometimes they'd lose a crop and sometimes they'd have a short season and
sometimes they'd have a long season. These [were] just risks associated with
[farming these lands].
With the sale of the land and the advent of South Dade [as] a winter
vegetable market for the eastern seaboard, there was stronger and stronger
pressure on the water managers to give them certainty that by November 15th
every year, they'd be dry, and that they'd have a dry season through May. Well,
you can manage that to achieve that just by keeping the canal level low and if
you accommodate that demand, you're basically giving them flood protection.
No one was ever authorized to do that, but the Water Management District and
the Corps of Engineers did it over a period of time. They acceded to the
pressure to do that. You can imagine that the effects on the park were
significant, because when you lower the water table west of the canal C-111
canal, it lowers the water table in the park, in Taylor Slough. It became a major
bone of contention with folks in the Frog Pond and the Eight-And-A-Half-Square-
Mile-Area and the Rocky Glades, to a certainly lesser degree. [They were] ready
to sue because the Water Management District was not giving them the
protection that they needed and was damaging them economically or letting their
homes flood. The park was saying, wait a minute, you never did an
environmental impact statement that says that's what you were going to do,
number one. And number two, you were never authorized to provide them flood
protection, but that's the way you're operating the system and you won't bring it
back up. At the same time, we learned that to try and put a design in place that
would protect the lands (not the Frog Pond, but the lands to the east that were
supposed to be receiving flood protection) we recognize that the only kind of
design that we could all figure out [that] would be capable of accomplishing that
was one that had a buffer zone of retention ponds that you could pump water
[into] to keep the C-111 canal low, but keep the water table in the park high. You
pump like hell out of the C-111 canal into these retention ponds, but that would
stack the groundwater up high next to the park while you kept the water low in
the C-111 canal. There's an inefficiency there, because it would tend to drain
back in, but you had to just keep these pumps going to keep the water table
down on that side. Then you'd have water there that you could either release
back into that canal for water supply or pump it over into the park once it had sat
in a marsh like that for a while and cleaned itself up to move down Taylor Slough.

Well, the only land that was around that you could do that with was the
land between the C-111 canal and the park, it was the Frog Pond. The pressure
was on with the C-111 design to acquire those lands, and the Water
Management District stepped up to the plate. The Water Management District
and the Corps both reached a decision and stuck to it through a lot of
controversy. We [the NPS] did not acquire the Frog Pond. We pressed them
[Corps and South Florida Water Management District] hard to come up with a

EVG 16
Page 28

design that would work and move forward to implement it, and they did. I have
probably come off sounding as though we had nothing but problems with the
Corps of Engineers and the Water Management District. We certainly had our
issues, but I also want to say that the Water Management District and the Corps
both were trying to understand and meet their responsibilities. To the degree we
all came to understand what the needs were, the Water Management District,
particularly under Sam Poole's leadership as the executive director, truly stepped
up to the plate and walked into some pretty heavy weather and controversy
associated with securing the Frog Pond and the lands necessary to do the C-111
project. Rock Salt stepped up to the plate in terms of understanding the issue
and moving forward to approving a design that could get the job done. Terry
Rice, when he first came in after Rock was there, had to affirm that decision and
he came down and looked into it and stood by it as well. The Water
Management District and the Corps, on the C-111 project, came up with a damn
good design and went through a hell of a lot of controversy to secure the land
base and to begin to put it in place.

G: How much progress have we made today in dealing with the problems with
Florida Bay? How would you evaluate its current status?

R: I'd offer several things. One is [that] we know what's going on in Florida Bay [as]
the result of a very focused scientific effort to get at the causal relationships of
what was going on down there, rather than just speculation that you hear from
every individual. We know what the perturbations have been, we know how
extensive, we know what their duration has been. We have created a knowledge
base that does point to the causal links and also eliminates a number of
allegations about what's going on down there and what's caused it. The science
is incredible and that's the result of a cooperative effort between nine different
agencies over a sustained period of time. Tough thing to do, but the knowledge
base there is good and it's continuing, to the best of my knowledge. The second
thing is, we've created the linkage so that we know, ecologically, we've pinned
down that it's the water. It's the quantity, the timing, and the distribution of fresh
water that comes into Florida Bay and circulates around it, principally out of the
Everglades. We also know there's an effect that's occurred over the years,
because the cuts have been filled in between the Keys, so that the circulation
that historically occurred between the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Bay has been
significantly cut off.
We know the relationship, we know the ecological effect, we know what
the effect is on fishery spawning when it's all saltwater well up into the Glades
versus when it's all fresh versus when it's brackish. We know what happens to
the snook [fish]. The production of a variety of fish in there is directly related to
the flows of freshwater through the Glades. We really understand that it's about
the water. Knowing that, even before we had confirmed it, we believed it enough

EVG 16
Page 29

to be working hard on the C-111 issues and the east Everglades addition and the
modified water deliveries [project]. It simply helped build a fire under those
projects to say how important it was to get them done. It also helped inform their
design as we learned, so that they became better designed as a result. The C-
111 project was redesigned to accomplish some things and we are learning more
about how to operate it better in terms of the operating rules that are being
placed with it. We learned that the Modified Water Deliveries Project had to be
redesigned, particularly around the east side, around the Eight-And-A-Half-
Square-Mile-Area. There are issues associated with the Tamiami Trail, [water
flows] from the trail, that we know are necessary in order to make it possible not
just to restore the ecological function of the east Everglades, the Rocky Glades
area, [and] to be capable of moving the water down through the system. That
gives Florida Bay, and the estuarial functions there along the edge of it, the water
it needs to return to a good estuary; not a marine lagoon with a steady state
seawater condition, but an estuary that fluctuates [gradually] through freshwater
and hyper-saline conditions, but none so severe or so long that a diverse plant
and marine-life culture can't survive in it.

G: Talk about your involvement with the Modified Water Deliveries Project.

R: The Modified Water Deliveries Project was authorized by the 1989 Everglades
Expansion Act, [which] added 109,000 acres or so to the Everglades National
Park in the northeastern part of Shark Slough, below Tamiami Trail. We had a
major land acquisition issue to pursue. Because of subdivisions that occurred out
there on real estate development speculation, that land had been divided into
7,000 or more parcels, some of which were just open standing marsh that were
subdivided into quarter-acre lots. We had to move forward to acquire all those,
which [was] the National Park Services' responsibility. Getting the money and
getting the work done was a continuing struggle. But just acquiring the land
didn't get the job done and the law recognized that, so it authorized the Modified
Water Deliveries Project and asked the Secretary of the Army to modify the
Central and South Florida Project with this Modified Water Deliveries Project
[Mod Water Project] that would restore water to the park. That was the only
purpose of that project, and that's important to remember, because it is not a
multiple-purpose project like the rest of the Central and South Florida Project,
which has purposes for water supply and flood protection. It's only purpose was,
and is, to restore water to the Everglades National Park. Initially there was a
design done for it and I will tell you that the Corps looked at it and said, here's
what we need you to do. The park looked at it and said, here's what we need
you to do. Everybody seemed to think it was workable. The summer I arrived, in
1992, the EIS was out for public comment and I didn't know much [about the]
hydrology [of the Everglades], let alone the modified water deliveries at that
point, and just as I was beginning to learn, my attention was diverted by

EVG 16
Page 30

Hurricane Andrew. I learned more about wind that summer than I did about
anything else.
Within a year, it became apparent to me that we had a [problem with] part
of the solution related to how you treat the Eight-And-A-Half-Square-Mile-Area.
The Corps, in the law, was directed to provide a flood protection system for the
Eight-And-A-Half-Square-Mile-Area. Well, they took that to mean that they
should look at it and it wasn't an absolute, you will provide them a one-in-ten-
year flood protection; flood protection to them meant you went in and did a cost-
benefit analysis to see what it made sense to do. They found that it was absurdly
expensive to go in and try and provide them one-in-ten-year flood protection from
a cost-benefit standpoint. So they simply said, they don't have flood protection
now or this is how they flood in terms of current conditions, so there is no cost-
benefit to provide them any enhanced flood protection, but what we will do is
design a project that doesn't add any adverse effect to them. As we stack more
water into Shark Slough, we're not going to make it better for the Eight-And-A-
Half-Square-Mile-Area, because they don't come anywhere near to a cost-benefit
relationship that we need in order to enhance their flood protection. But we will
design a Mod Water project that doesn't make it any worse. That's what they did,
and the design they came up with was exactly that. It was one that would not
make it any worse. It was flood mitigation, not flood protection. It would mitigate
any worsening effects that would occur as a result of implementing the rest of the
Mod Water project, which would put more water into northeast Shark Slough.
After a couple of meetings on the subject with the Corps and people in
the area, it occurred to me that people were using the term flood protection and
flood mitigation interchangeably and nobody was explaining or understanding
what that really meant. It became apparent to me that [people] in the Eight-And-
A-Half-Square-Mile-Area either [did not] understand that things were not going to
get better as a result of Mod Water, or if they did understand, they didn't accept
it. These people had agricultural lots and home sites out there and they wanted
what everybody east of the canal had, flood protection. They wanted their feet
dry just like everybody else. The problem was, they flood routinely and regularly
out there, and that's not acceptable to them. They either didn't understand that
Mod Waters wasn't going to change that, or if they understood it, they didn't
accept it. What I told the Corps was, your design, this Mod Water design, needs
to be redone because it doesn't work. They said, of course it works. If you're an
engineer, there's truth in that statement, because it will do exactly what it is
designed to do. I said, it won't work in practice, in operation, because as that
area develops and becomes more densely developed, you're just going to have
an increasing irritant in your side that says, we're being flooded out. Lower the
canal to the east. Pump this water out of here. If you did that, you can't put the
water back into northeast Shark Slough, or whatever you do put in to northeast
Shark Slough will be sucked right out again, instead of moving down Shark
Slough towards Florida Bay. I said, it won't work in [practice]. [End of Tape B:

EVG 16
Page 31

Side 3] We had some roaring disagreements with the Corps, because the Corps
believed, and to some degree the Water Management District for a while said,
that's just tough. In their deeds it says they [the Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile
land owners] don't have flood protection. I said, you don't understand; point to
me, anywhere in the state of Florida or anywhere else where there's been a
residential community developed in an area that has no flood protection, where
you've been able to make that stick in practice; you point it out to me and my
comfort level will start to go up that this thing will Awork@ in practice. And
nobody ever brought that to me. Once again, I think Sam Poole, the leader of
the Water Management District at the time, [stepped] up to the plate. He
understood that. The Corps felt that we could never work through an issue that
would resolve that area, so we should just stick with the original plan and go
forward with it.
Ultimately, the Water Management District attempted to just take it on and
say to the Corps, we want to acquire that land because we agree it won't work,
and acquiring it takes away the need to provide any flood mitigation there. We
[National Park Service] got authority to help participate in that from a standpoint
of contributions for land acquisition in exchange for guarantees with regard to
how water management would occur up there. The Water Management District
made the decision, they were sued for procedurally having violated the Sunshine
Law and not going through all the necessary hoops. The Corps had to take what
the Water Management District said to them, as a recommendation of the local
sponsor, and walk back through a modification to the environmental impact
statement for the Modified Water Deliveries Project. They did that, and by that
time, Colonel [Joe] Miller [former commander and district engineer, Jacksonville
District, Army Corps of Engineers] was in place and they went through a process
and reached a decision that wasn't ideal. My own view is [that] nobody should
live out west of the levee there, it's just not the right thing to do. What ended up
was a design that acquired the western half, which was the lower-lying part of the
area, and provided an internal drainage system as well as a western levee, so
that we had what was essentially a flow-away zone and a bit of a buffer zone
there. If designed and built the way that new decision was signed, I think in
October of 2000, the month after I left, they finally signed it. If it's designed and
built that way, and operated the way they designed it, it'll work. The people who
still live out there will be dry to the same degree that the folks east of the canal
will. To the degree that is done, it won't cause water to be drained out of the
Everglades. The performance, in terms of modified water delivery, goes up from
the original design dramatically in terms of how close you can get to the natural
system model, targets for what historically occurred out there.
There's one other piece to Mod Water that is still in play and that has to do
with Tamiami Trail. About ten miles of [Tamiami Trail] between Dade Corner
there and Thirty-Mile Bend, is about two feet lower than the road is from Thirty-
Mile to Forty-Mile Bend, in front of the Miccosukee to the western side of the

EVG 16
Page 32

Everglades there. To move the kind of water that the natural- system model says
should be moving down through the Everglades, you've got to create a head
difference in order to have that water pushed south in the volumes that it's
needed. In order to do that B and again this became apparent as we were really
looking into the modeling and had developed a lot more sophistication in our
hydrologic modeling capability associated with the C&SF restudy B we found that
in order to create the head in Water Conservation Area 3-B and in the canal
immediately south of 3-B, principally the canal there, you had to raise that canal
level to a point where it would routinely overtop [that section of Tamiami] in order
to get the head pressure they needed to move water south and through the
Everglades to a degree that was close to what the natural-system model said
historically moved through there. The amount of water you could move through,
based on the design of the original Modified Water Deliveries Project, wouldn't
move anywhere near what [was] needed down through there. The Corps said,
well, if we need to move the water level up, we'll just do that. Even if you don't
overtop the road, you saturate the base of the highway to the point where any
heavy trucks going over it will start hydraulic pumping action and you'll get a
wave action start to form and deform the road surface, because the base for the
road is saturated with water. No one sat down with the Florida Department of
Transportation and said, is it okay if we do that? Well, the Florida Department of
Transportation reasonably said, [if] you do it, you pay for it. That wasn't pinned
down the way it needed to be, so the assumption related to how things could
work up in the area of Tamiami Trail just weren't sound in the original Modified
Water Deliveries Project. The performance that we wanted to get out of it wasn't
as sound as our later modeling showed us it needed to be; it wasn't as close to
the targets as our later modeling showed it to be. Between fixing the design
problem of the original Mod Water design and enhancing the capacity to be as
close to something that the Central and South Florida restudy needed, that road
needs to be addressed.
One of the modifications that is in play and was in play when I left was,
what do you do about that road? Do you simply elevate ten miles of it? Do you
rip it out and bridge ten miles of it? Do you do some combination so you have
the capacity to move [water past] it? How much of it is apportionable to the
Modified Water Deliveries Project and how much of it is apportionable to the
C&SF restudy? That led to other issues. If you move [the amount of] water
through that the restudy talks about, do you stack water too deep in Water
Conservation Area 3-B? The water [would be] at the elevation it historically was,
but it's far deeper than it historically was because the peat there, the soil, in 3-B
has [subsided]. You have an elevation that works for the downstream system to
get the head to move the water down through the southern Everglades, but you
have a water depth that is far too deep for what historically occurred in Water
Conservation Area 3-B. You have ecological dysfunction there in order to move
the water volumes that you need farther down to the south. How do you

EVG 16
Page 33

reconcile that with the Florida [Department of] Fish and Game and the folks that
are interested in seeing Water Conservation Area 3-B ecologically restored?

G: Which of those alternatives were you advocating while you were with Everglades
National Park?

R: When I left, we were still looking at the range of choices. I don't think we'd come
to a final conclusion on it, but I think we were leaning, at that point, to a
significant amount of bridging. Not necessarily 100 percent, but it was a
significant amount of bridging and then [maybe] elevation of the remaining [trail].

G: What has been the park's position on dealing with the Cape Sable sparrow,
which also ties into this issue?

R: Oh, yes. Florida Bay was an action-forcing event for projects that had already
been conceived that said, get off your ass and deal with them, get them done
quicker, get them done now. It put pressure on to move them to the front burner
and get them done. It also put pressure on as we learned more about their
function, to design them better so that they would perform better. It put two
extraordinary amounts of pressure on the system. What we learned about the
Cape Sable sparrow in the last several years of the decade put pressure on not
just to do that; it added to pressure to get these new systems in place, but it put
even more extreme pressure on to operate the existing system in a different way
because we were about to lose this species. Principles in the biological opinion
were that we had to keep two viable, distinct populations, and while there were
some sub-populations over on the east side, they all were close enough that they
could intermix and one could restore itself from the other. The one on the west
side of Shark Slough was a completely independent population, these birds don't
move more than a couple of miles. So there's no intermixing. If you lose that
separate, distinct population, then you're all at risk on one side. That's a crude
way of laying out the biological risk there. Basically, we were being told if we
didn't get the water redistributed back over to the east, because the water was
coming down into Shark Slough and it was all being stacked up to the west, it
was inundating the habitat for the western Shark Slough population of the Cape
Sable sparrow. It was doing two things: it was preventing them from nesting and
getting the nesting season they needed to maintain their population. Over time, it
was also destroying the habitat, the habitat was just getting smaller. Both of
those things had to stop.
The western population got so small that it could blink out in a year. The
pressure [came] under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, when the Fish
and Wildlife Service came on. We worked hand-in-glove with them to say, it's
not just [that] we have to get it done, Mod Water and C-111, in the next five to
seven years. We not only have to do that, we have to do emergency measures

EVG 16
Page 34

right now, in terms of the way we operate the existing system and maybe putting
in some temporary features in order to work that better. That caused an
enormous meltdown, because it was pressing the Corps and Water Management
District to do something that they were obligated to do under the Endangered
Species Act or risk a significant exposure, [it was] asking them to manage the
system for the benefits of the sparrow as part of the natural environment, [with a]
system [that] was [principally designed to] provide benefits for flood protection
and water supply that the project was designed to provide. At the same time, the
Miccosukee right on the pathway along Tamiami Trail, were concerned about
how water was being held, back up in the water conservation areas, instead of
being released down into western Shark Slough. One of the operating ways you
can address [the sparrow's needs in Western Shark Slough] is to not release the
water south from the water conservation areas. It can stack up there and have
ecological effects there, in order to keep the area dry for nesting in the western
Shark Slough population. When you're having a wet year and you're in a wet
cycle over several years, it all stacks up to be almost an impossible situation to
deal with. It was extreme confrontation over the issues, but because we were
about to lose one of the species we were trying to save, we were being told that if
we didn't act on an emergency basis, the species wouldn't be around five years
from now. I'm not being exact on the glide path that the biological opinion laid
out, but it basically said that if we lost that western population, then the
predictions for keeping a viable sparrow population were pretty grim. It was a

G: There have been times when the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife
Service have been in disagreement with one another, the case of the snail kite
[hawk] would be an example. How did you deal with cases where essentially you
had two Interior Department agencies in disagreement? How did you handle
those disagreements?

R: First, the snail kite issue occurred before I arrived, so I heard all the horror stories
about it. I encourage you to talk [to] someone from the park about that particular
instance. I'd refer you to Bob Johnson. What I understood was that there were
these kinds of issues that came up and while we do have different missions and
objectives, we are sister agencies within the same department and in fact, sister
agencies under the same assistant secretary. I had learned elsewhere that the
best approach is to sit down and find a way to link arms. With two of the state
directors over there, first Craig Johnson [former supervisor, South Florida
Ecosystem Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service], who has since left the Fish
and Wildlife Service, and then with Steve Forsythe [former supervisor, state of
Florida and South Florida Ecosystem Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service], who
retired and works for the Nature Conservancy out in the Midwest right now. [We]
sat down and said, look, we're both trying to go to the same place. We may have

EVG 16
Page 35

different opinions about what biologically works, but we're both trying to go to the
same place, number one. Number two, we've got hydrologic capability and
analytical capability that you guys need, and you have capabilities that we
desperately need. So let's agree to do this together. If we have disagreements,
let's sit down, have them out in the open, broker [and resolve] them, but agree
that when we step out, there'll be no daylight between us. We are sister
agencies that are going to work out our views together, and then we're going to
go sit at the table and deal as more of a department with the other players that
are here in South Florida, for a couple of reasons. There should be no reason
that we should have disagreements. If they're factual disagreements, they're
ones that we ought to be able to find a way to get peer review or third parties in
there to resolve for us. If they're policy disagreements, we shouldn't be seen out
there coming from different places, not when we're part of essentially the same
department. When we walk in there together, talking with the same voice, we
have a lot greater likelihood of prevailing in terms of our position than if we walk
in there alone, particularly if we're squabbling. Both Craig and Steve and their
staffs responded to that, were committed to that, and in the time I was down
there, we had an outstanding relationship. We certainly did have our concerns
and issues and frustrations with each other, but we picked up the phone, called
each other and said, let's sit down and settle them. We need to get to a point
where we can go on the record with the Corps, the state, the Water Management
District or someone else and I'm committed that we will be singing the same
song when we do. It worked and I thought it was incredibly important to getting
recognition and a serious response to a number of issues that we worked
through down there.

G: End part one.

G: This is Brian Gridley conducting part two of an interview with Dick Ring in his
office in Washington D.C. The date is July 25, 2002. Mr. Ring, would you
describe your involvement in the process of setting up the Federal South Border
Restoration Task Force?

R: I arrived in Florida to take on the job at Everglades in the late Spring of 1992 and
I was immediately immersed in the sugar lawsuit which had built a very solid
team amongst the federal agencies that were involved including the justice
department, EPA, the Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, the Park
Service, and the U.S. Attorney's Office. That really had begun to bring many
federal players together working on issues that related to the functioning of the

EVG 16
Page 36

ecosystem, although it was focused on the water quality and the litigation. After
a dramatic interlude by being blown away by Hurricane Andrew, in January in the
subsequent presidential election and the shift in administration in the Fall of
1992, in January of 1992, the newly appointed secretary of interior Bruce Babbitt
came to the Everglades Coalition meeting in Tallahassee. He spoke to the group
at lunch and I recall sitting next to Rock Salt, who was then the Colonel
commanding the Jacksonville district of the Corps of Engineers. Jim Webb, who
was with the wilderness society at that time, cornered me and said Dick, I'll grab
Babbitt and you grab Rock and let's get them at the same table next to each
other because these two folks we've got to arrange a colloquy with. So we did
and Jim fended off everybody coming to Babbitt and I fended off everybody
coming at Rock and we got them to sit at the same table at lunch. Rock basically
was asked by Babbitt, what's the story with the restudy? He says well it's been
authorized, but nobody's funded it yet. Babbitt said I'm going to write to the
secretary of the army and tell him to get off his stick and put some money into
this. Then he got up and talked to the group as a whole working off of the back
of an envelope and said look, I've never been to Florida before, but I'm
fascinated by this place and it seems to me you've got a situation here that's
bigger than any single program or issue. You're dealing with a watershed scale
situation. It's basically an entire ecosystem. You need to think of it in those
terms, you need to organize to deal with it in those terms. I'm telling you right
now, I'm going to organize the federal community. Buddy MacKay who was the
lieutenant governor, later that day spoke to the group, of course he and Babbitt
had met as a sidebar meeting, and Buddy picked up the gauntlet and said
Secretary Babbitt, you're going to organize the federal community, I'm going to
organize everybody else.
Coming out of that when George Frampton was nominated as the
assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, basically was the Park Service
and the Fish and Wildlife Service, we were brought up to brief I think Brooks
Yager who was one of the new political appointees with the office of policy, and
George who had not been confirmed, so it was a briefing for him. In April, we
briefed them on the status of the sugar lawsuit. Then, we briefed them on the
status of the whole water situation there and they asked that we put together
quickly by early June a meeting that we invited all of the federal parties to, and
we did. The Everglades National Park organized it in Key Largo, Florida and we
met with I think it was eleven different federal agencies representing five different
departments. There was a meeting where it was basically show and tell,
everybody went around the room saying here's what I'm doing in Florida. By the
time we were done, everybody was sort of stunned because we'd outlined
something close to $2 billion of authorized or approved programs and projects
that were somehow related to the environment within the South Florida
watershed. It sort of dawned on everybody after the show and tell that we didn't
need to organize an ecosystem scale program, there was already one going on,

EVG 16
Page 37

we just didn't recognize it and we weren't working it that way. There was a
consensus among the group that we ought to think about coordinating this on a
regular basis. We were charged within a month to call the players that were the
field managers in Florida for these agencies together, and to craft a charter for
how to do that. On the first and second of July that same year in 1993, we came
together in Orlando and went through a facilitated process that we helped set up
where we had each of the agencies present not only what they were doing, but
we had to present their basic mission and layout what their objectives were
without getting into the project listings. We went through a facilitated exercise
that a couple of our Park Service people came to help with and that was to come
up with a single statement on what our vision was and what our common
objectives were. Then we crafted a charter that called for a two-tier organization
amongst the federal community, which was the Ecosystem Task Force, and that
was made up of the assistant secretary level representatives of the different
departments involved and then a working group level which was made up of the
senior managers in Florida of all the agencies within those departments. It
started out as five and it went to six departments, and it started out I think as
eleven different agencies. There was a five member task force at the assistant
secretary level proposed, and then an eleven member working group at the field
level in Florida to think about and start to work on all the South Florida federal
effort on an ecosystem basis and on a coordinated basis. So we did that. It was
brought up to Washington and the Department of Interior was asked to lead the
effort, of course, and George Frampton was asked to lead it for the secretary of
interior. We basically presented it to him and pulled the group together later I
think in September, and signed a charter and set the group up.

G: As these discussions were going on, how receptive were some of the other
agencies you were working with to having this interagency group?

R: Very receptive. We already had, of necessity, a good, tight working team that
had to deal with the water quality lawsuit and the consent decree and settlement
agreement that came out of it. Already, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Park
Service, the Corps of Engineers, the EPA, as well as the Department of Justice
and the U.S. Attorneys, were meeting routinely and regularly to oversee the
implementation of that. There was still litigation going on challenging the consent
decree, so we were still very, very heavily engaged. We were routinely and
regularly meeting and coordinating our actions so that there was one federal
voice on that issue. Those players understood it and were more than interested
in seeing the same kind of an approach to a broader range of issues related to
the restoration. The NOA, the National Marine Sanctuary folks, were trying to
establish the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, enormously interested in
having things happen there. We brought in BIA to the table on behalf of the two
tribes, and they did not have a Florida based representative, they brought

EVG 16
Page 38

somebody in from Washington there. There were USGS, which has a very large
presence down there, was very much interested in helping to support looking at
and thinking and studying about things on a larger scale than they were already
engaged in. The National Marine Fisheries Service, so NOA had a couple of
different representatives there. Brad Brown and his folks saw the ecological
effects in the near shore water from what was happening on shore as being just
an integral part of the ecosystem and needing to be dealt with that way. So a lot
of enthusiasm, not really much in the way of resistance or folks who didn't get it,
particularly at the field level. We met and consulted closely with the state
representatives as we were organizing it so they didn't have a sense that we
were trying to leave them out. In fact, what we said was in order to deal with the
Federal Advisory Commission or to get a legislative authority for something
broader than just the federal community, it would take some time and we wanted
to get a coordination up and running as quickly as we could. So it was easy for
us to sign an agreement amongst the federal agencies to coordinate our actions.
They said that's fine, if that's the case then what we'll do is, the state determined
to set up a Governor's Commission on a Sustainable South Florida where they
would bring the state agencies and the various interest groups together to advise
the governor on a consolidated basis. They appointed several ex officio
members to the governor's commission from amongst the federal players. The
Corps of Engineers was represented there, the Department of Interior was
represented there, and I served as the Interior representative through the first
governor's commission. The executive director of the ecosystem task force also
served as well, and the head of the National Marine Sanctuary served, Billy
Causy. They had some federal representation there, we did not vote, we were
not voting ex officio members. As part of our office, we were on the governor's
commission and we fully participated there.
By the Fall of 1993, we were getting ourselves organized at both levels
and that's how it really got started. I helped convene the first working group
meeting in October of 1993, and we worked on both organizing ourselves as a
working group, as well as taking on a first work effort, which was to describe what
we thought the problems of the systems were and what were the main things we
needed to focus on in order to deal with the system as a whole. So we created a
science subgroup of the working group, and in, I'm trying to think, we had a
couple of meetings that fall, the first organizing one I think was in downtown
Miami with the justice department's office. The second one was down in Key
Largo where we had literally a working session where all the working group
members, the managers, along with the science subgroup where we brought our
scientists together, and in a matter of a couple of days produced a report, the
science subgroup report, that characterized what we thought the basic problem
was or problems were, what success would look like and what might be some
alternatives to achieve that as a way to really set the mark on what we were
trying to do, and brought that [out] I think by the end of November. I don't know if

EVG 16
Page 39

you've ever seen that document, but I encourage you to take a look at it because
for something that was produced that quickly, it was enormously accurate and it
got it. You can read it today and it's just as true now in terms of what the
problem was and what we had to do. The last part of it, which started to get into
some different scenario solutions, was probably the least important part of the
document, [yet] it's the one that ended up causing it to draw a fair amount of fire
from the sugar industry and others.

G: That particularly proposal, didn't it propose flow-waves through the Everglades
Agricultural Area?

R: Yeah. It didn't propose the solution as I recall it so much as to say here's a way
you can do it. Here's one way of thinking about solving the problem as opposed
to saying this is what you have to do.

G: You think we're fixated too much on that solution section and ignored the
importance of the document?

R: Yes.

G: How would you characterize in general the working relationship between the
working group and the task force? What was the division of labor there?

R: It was interesting because through those early years, there was not a sense of
command and control coming out of Washington. What we heard from George
Frampton and from Secretary Babbitt, and certainly that was my experience
dealing with it from the Department of Interior, was they knew this was important,
they were committing to a major initiative to help it happen, and then they acted
on that by sitting us down and saying what do you need us to do. They very
much were looking for a bottom-up kind of formulation of what the issues were
and what steps needed to be taken. They didn't abrogate their responsibility to
look at that critically and to assess the policy implications of it and to make
decisions associated with it. They basically wanted to know, and through those
years repeatedly said what do you think? What have we got here? How do you
assess the problem? What do you think ought to be done? It was very much
framed and worked as a bottom-up type of a process. They kept to a policy level
oversight. They tasked us to do things and then left it to us to coordinate and
accomplish, coordinate the federal mission. They relied on us to be the principle
interface with our state counterparts, and they were very receptive B this is the
assistant secretary level in the task force B were quit receptive to us initiating
issues and discussions and bringing them proposals and recommendations.

G: How much input did you have into the selection of Colonel Rock Salt as the

EVG 16
Page 40

executive director?

R: Some. By default, I served as the lead person on this effort for the department in
the field because I was probably the senior field person for not only the Park
Service, but also in the department down there because they made the
Everglades job a senior executive position, and I had the biggest capacity in
terms of an organization to get stuff done on the ground down there, and was
very much one of the vested client interests with the department and represented
Everglades National Park which is sort of an icon for the whole Everglades. I
spent a lot of time working with the assistant secretary's office, with George
Frampton and his staff, taking a lead on helping to get some of these steps done
for him, which was fine, very enthusiastic about doing it and very enthusiastic
about the effort. But, it also reached a point, and I think it was after we'd been at
it for about a year, and I need to scratch my memory as to whether it was
January of 1994 or January of 1995 as we moved through that. George said this
is becoming a full time effort, we need somebody who can work this and
coordinate it and support the efforts of the task force here in Washington and a
working group as well. It needs staff support. It can't just happen by contributed
time on the part of different folks. He asked my thoughts about it and actually
asked if I was interested in stepping over and doing this full time, and I said I'll
help any way I can and I'm pleased to do it, but I've worked for the Park Service
my whole career and I've got a full time job doing Everglades as well, so I prefer
staying there doing that. The discussion began and George was looking for
someone to head that up, and there were a number of folks that expressed
interest and a number of folks that were talked about and I was fortunate enough
to be consulted in some of those conversations. At one point, the discussion was
Colonel Salt has had his three years and he's either going to be moved or face
the choice of retiring. I had a huge regard for Rock. As a colonel in the Corps of
Engineers, he was unlike any thing I ever expected from a senior military person
as I could think of. He was wide open to ideas and just wanted to focus in, loved
the examination and the discussion of them and the debate around what was the
right think to do.
There were just no walls with Rock, no barriers went up. It was how do
you honestly understand the problem and solve it, so there wasn't any kind of a
predisposition. He'd bring the case that he had learned but in a way to try to get
you to give your perspective on it and he'd honestly just pick up what made
sense. He was just a joy to work with. His name got thrown into the mix as a
possibility and, as I recall, George came down and he talked to Rock about it at
the Everglades Coalition meeting that happened in Miami, and that may have
been January of 1994, I think that's when it was. Rock, who was going to be
leaving later that year said that he had some interest in it and so that went along
for awhile until George finally settled and made that announcement later that
spring, and then Rock made the transition a little bit later that year with the

EVG 16
Page 41

change of command ceremony to Terry Rice. He stayed as a serving Colonel,
he did not retire. In the first year or so, he was simply seconded over to the
Department of Interior to work on George's staff as a serving officer with the
Corps of Engineers. After he retired, they transitioned him to a civilian
appointment which he remains in. It was an interesting process and I think they
got the right guy.

G: What was the impact of expanding the task force in 1996 to include state, local,
and the tribal representatives?

R: All along, since there had been discussion on organizing a task force, the thought
that all the players in government should be at the table, it shouldn't simply be a
federal ecosystem task force. It wasn't just a federal ecosystem effort. It was an
effort that should cut across all levels of government. There was an objective
that was expressed from the outset that that's the way it ought to ultimately be
organized and framed. It wasn't possible to do that at the outset if we wanted to
get moving quickly. There was a value to organizing the federal community so
that we could coordinate our efforts and sort out our own issues so that the
federal community could end up speaking with one voice or developing a single
position for one sovereign level of government. Then the Governor's
Commission pulled together all the other levels of government, but then also
other interests in trying to get the governor, the state of Florida to represent what
it's position was as a sovereign, and that's what we could put in place first and
that's what was done. We recognized the need to have that work be as closely
connected as possible so we actually said, we're going to have the working group
meetings occur at the same location that the Governor's Commission met on
succeeding dates so that we would make the nature of what was going on as
seemless as it could possibly be so that there wasn't competition, we weren't
meeting in separate rooms at the same time, but if the Governor's Commission
met on a Monday and Tuesday, then the working group met on Wednesday and
Thursday or vice versa, we reversed the sequence, but we would all be in the
same hotel at the same location. I think the working group met probably more
frequently than the Governor's Commission, but whenever the Governor's
Commission met, we were there. That was something that I helped frame so that
all the people that were involved in the ecosystem effort were all wandering
around the same hotel for a three to four day period whenever we met. Issues
got raised, stuff got done, discussions happened, coordinations happened,
debate occurred both publicly in the forms of the two, and on the side at dinner,
breakfast, and twenty-four hours a day.
In my view, it tended to achieve the spirit that we had said we wanted from
the outset which is to have everybody involved. We were able to adapt the
federal task force with the passage of the Unfunded Mandates Act because it
provided for federal advisory commissions to appoint representatives of elected

EVG 16
Page 42

officials from other governments without viling the federal advisory committee
act. At that point, we extended the invitation to have state, local, and I believe
tribal members come to the table as part of the working group, not officially as
members of the working group, but as advisors to the working group. They were
there at the table in our formal sessions hearing public comment, rolling up their
sleeves, right involved in the debate and the discussion. If it came to a vote on
what the federal community was going to do, it had to be just the federal agency
representatives, so there was still that distinction, but for all intensive purposes, it
became one that functioned that way. Then with the passage of the WRDA act
in 1996 I think it was, we had an opportunity legislatively to create what we had
always wanted which was a true task force that was represented by all three or
four sovereigns B the federal government, the state government, and the two
tribes B in a seemless way. We did some negotiation on the drafting of that with
the committees over exemptions to the federal advisory committee act that kept
the spirit of that act, but gave us some procedural exemptions in terms of how
the task force worked. So I think it shifted in the end of 1996, beginning of 1997,
it shifted into the task force that it is now.

G: How would you compare the leadership styles within the task force of George
Frampton to Patricia Beneke?

R: They were different without a doubt. George had a very easy way. He was very
concerned with and very knowledgeable about the policy issues involved and
very easy with managing confrontation. He didn't seem to have any anxiety
about it, wasn't all that concerned with walking into a room where lots of
problems were going to be raised, he just waded through it. He said let's just
deal with what do we got, okay now what do we do? There was sort of a comfort
about or confidence that whoever came up everybody would sort of have their
say and we'd figure out where we could go and move on from there. In a very
engaging again hoping and wanting to hear from others what the issues and
problems were. Intellectually, my own opinion is that he is that bright. He got
what he was hearing sometimes quicker than the rest of us, a lot of times quicker
than the rest of us. He just had a wonderful sense of what the goals were and an
openness about learning and crafting the direction based on what appeared. It
just seemed to work. Patty was drawn into it I think because of her role of
Secretary for Water and Science, so the position moved out of the part of interior
that represented the client interest of the department, which was Fish, Wildlife,
and Parks where the national parks and the wildlife refugees, really the land base
where the Interior had a vested interest in the outcome of all these issues over to
the Secretary for Water and Science, which was more understanding the water
policy issues on a nation wide basis and dealing with the science, but there
wasn't an advocacy of client orientation. It's more of a step back and an
objective and more of a dispassionate perspective from the standpoint of USGS.

EVG 16
Page 43

Really, like if you're a reclamation, none of the major water projects of the
Department of Interior are in South Florida.
While the policy issues are understood, there is no on the ground
presence on the part of the water side of that, assistant secretary. The science
side was routinely represented by USGS in South Florida from the perspective of
we don't have a policy position in anyway, shape, or form, we'll do the science for
everybody just to make sure that the facts are right. That's important, but the
ecosystem effort and the restoration effort with the best science in the world
ultimately gets down to policy choices so judgements have to be made and
advocated and debated, and that was less present from Water and Science. I
think Patty also did not have the benefit George had of being there to help form
the thing from the outset. There's an inherent understanding and comfort level
with the players and the process and the like that comes from being there at the
outset, that if you come in once it's up and running and gotten fairly complicated
and developed it's own cultures and attitudes and ways of doing business, you're
walking in and you're getting to a degree a bucket of cold water thrown on you
and you're scrambling trying to catch up and figure out what the state of play is
on issue after issue after issue, and I think Patty had to deal with that as well.
She brought I think both a different perspective and style, but she walked into the
middle and for a period of time was trying to learn a lot about what was going on
as opposed to having helped craft it and put it in place at the outset.

G: You think that made the task force less effective during her leadership period?

R: She came in right at the turn when it became the state-federal-tribal task force,
as opposed to the, as I recall... I think it made it more difficult for her yes, but
there was something else that made it more difficult and that was that it became
officially this federal-state-tribal task force. That raised issues that I'm not sure
we had all thought through as well as we should have that made and, I believe,
probably continues to make the task force function difficult, extremely difficult,
and that is that as a federal task force, you can coordinate and you ultimately are
responsible to the president through oversight from CEQ. If there are debates
and differences... and they seldom become irreconcilable differences because it
can work up through the process through CEQ and to the White House and
somebody makes a call for the administration to balance out the interests of the
United States and you can move forward. When you have a task force made up
of four different sovereigns, even though it's in federal law that it will be done like
that, the state hasn't given up any sovereignty to the United States because this
thing was enacted in federal law. The tribes haven't given up anything.
Ultimately then, there's not a similar kind of a structure where if the
sovereigns disagree, there's anybody presiding over it all who can say okay,
that's fine, but we're going to make this choice and move on. There's more
potential for an impass to occur because there's no generally acknowledged and

EVG 16
Page 44

legally sound way that you can resolve those impasses unless you go to litigation
and ultimately reach the courts and ultimately the Supreme Court, you can
resolve things that way, but no one has given up their sovereignty. None of the
major players have given up their sovereignty. The next is that the task force...
before the United States was represented by the senior field managers in Florida,
the working group. We worked individually and collectively with the leaders of
the other sovereigns, the principle representatives of the other sovereigns who
are local, the state and then the two tribes. With the legislation on the task force,
those cross-over points all shifted because a commissioner for the state of
Florida where a field manager for the United States on an agency would normally
be the spokesperson in dealing with that individual. Now in the ecosystem effort,
that person is dealing with an assistant secretary out of Washington. The
working group because less effective. The people that came on to the working
group from the state and the tribes were not the senior decision makers that we
had previously been working with. They were staff or subordinate folks that may
have had some delegated authority to make decisions and to agree for the their
agency to coordinate agents and actions, whereas with the task force right now,
that lineup has shifted so that instead of a working group basically that principle
entity that identified issues and resolved them, this nature of the structure right
now tends to drive all that to the task force. Between those two things, you've
got a much more difficult circumstance to have an efficient and coordination effort
going on, and also a way to resolve difference amongst sovereigns versus
amongst the federal family where there's somebody who presides over it who
can say okay, enough, this is the decision.

G: Do you think it was a mistake to have expanded the task force include the non-
federal players?

R: At the time, I was very much an advocate for it. Looking back, I would say that
the federal task force and the Governor's Commission working the way they did
was far more effective.

G: How much direct involvement did Secretary Babbitt have with the task force?

R: He had a lot of involvement in Florida. He kept himself closely apprised of what
was going on in terms of the major issues. He visited frequently and learned
about the range of issues that the working group and the task force were dealing
with so I would say he was very involved. On occasion he was there for task
force meetings. His first two years running he was at the Everglades Coalition
meeting speaking to folks. He played a very involved role. [End of Tape C, side

G: What would you identify as being the primary contribution of the task force to the

EVG 16
Page 45

overall restoration effort?

R: First, it pulled the federal family together so that the United States was able to
look at it's interests as a sovereign, not as a series of different agencies all
pulling in for their own mission. It helped, and I only say helped because I think
the Governor's Commission was equally if not more so responsible for getting
everybody to agree on some fundamentals. One, things were very, very broke
and not sustainable, and that the only way to solve them is with a whole solution,
not pieces and parts, so I think it helped facilitate that. The other think I think, at
least with the federal task force and my role in the working group, it through out
into the open B and actually the Governor's Commission had a different way of
doing it, but did in its own way too B it lent a sense of excitement and a sense of
accomplishment to all the players that have been trying to deal with different
parts of the problems in South Florida and gave them a single place to come and
present them.
Frankly, it was an interesting dynamic because a number of times folks
said B we had roaring disagreements between agencies and we'd come to a
meeting ready to air them, and of course the meeting was open to the public B
and some agencies would say that shows us disagreeing and you're saying that
we're wrong and we can't have that out in public. I think that those things came
out in public and there were vehement disagreements that were publicly aired at
those meetings, was startling to the public that my gosh they'd actually publicly
disagree with each other, they must be getting ready to melt down. What I think
the public saw, and it actually helped them gain trust in the working group task
force process and the Governor's Commission was that my gosh, these people
are just like us, they don't always agree, and when they don't agree, they tell it
like it is and at the end of the day, they have somehow worked out a compromise
or worked out a way to proceed to go off and examine the problem or bring more
facts to the table or what have you, so there was something real about that that
the people tended to trust the outcome because it was the way you normally, I
don't know about you, but it's the way life occurs. There was a sense that the
real work was going on in this form as opposed to behind the scenes, and there
was a sense that these folks are honestly airing their differences, but they're all
trying to find their way through to a right answer. They're not stonewalling each
other or playing the games, they're having roaring debates over whether the
water should be four feet high or three feet high, or whether the following effects
would occur, and when they'd get to that point, they'd say how do we resolve
this, and somebody would say we need to have a team go off and get this
additional study done or we need to bring somebody who has the expertise that
can come in and tell us what they know or we need to hear from people about
they think. They saw us grappling with this stuff and working it through in a way
that seemed to have it's eye on a star, on the goal. I think it created a sense that
things were going to get done because there was movement and there was a

EVG 16
Page 46

place where they could see and hear all the real issues and all the real concerns
being weighed and discuss.

G: You've mentioned the Governor's Commission a couple of times now. How
would you characterize the contribution of the Governor's Commission
established by Lawton Chiles?

R: Enormous, absolutely enormous. The federal ecosystem task force was
important because it brought the United States interest into focus and helped
create a forum for coordination and issue resolution on a huge federal interest
down there, but by itself, even when all that was done, that could only really bring
one part of the picture into focus. The Governor's Commission is the forum that
brought all the rest of it together and Dick Pettigrew is the chair, did a masterful
job of presiding over the debate and the forum there. There was some pretty
lively debate and discussion that ultimately ended up in a concept that was an
agreement on major, major principles in questions, and ultimately a consensus
on a concept of how to go about solving. So it was fundamentally important.

G: Could you tell me a little bit more of a process that went into developing, I believe
you're referring to the Conceptual Plan here?

R: Certainly the consensus around some of the principles related to it. In other
words, if the Governor's Commission formed a concept that the Corps then took
and developed into the CERP.

G: How is that done? How did you get unanimous consent among all the different
players here in order to reach agreement on that Conceptual Plan? What were
some of the big issues that had to be overcome to get there?

R: Trust was probably the biggest issue that had to be overcome. Here were a lot
of parties that had either been beating each other up in court over different
issues, or beating each other up publicly, and tended to mistrust. The urban
areas were concerned that the environmentalists and the land management
conservation agencies just wanted to shut off their water supply so that they
could put it back in the Everglades. The agricultural interests were concerned
that the environmentalists wanted to just drive them out of business to prevent
pollution that really they weren't responsible for and acquire all their land and
recycle it back into the Everglades. Then folks were concerned that we wanted
to bring so much water back into the Everglades that it was going to do was just
take away the flood protection to a lot of the built areas. There was a lot of
mistrust associated with both and vested interests and perceived vested interests
that it built up over time. Working through that so that a consensus could be
reached on a number of issues was a long, deliberate process. It was predicated

EVG 16
Page 47

on a few thing and I would say if you haven't talked to Dick Pettigrew and got him
on tape you darn well should because he led that effort, he managed it, and I
would say he probably can give you the best perspective of how it was done and
hard it was too.
One issue was an agreement that if there was a problem, people would
bring it to the table and say it. It wouldn't be end runs, that people wouldn't
ignore that forum and just try to work to their own ends. If somebody was going
to break ranks, that was going to be the death of the process. Unless there was
a consensus building process that people committed to, we couldn't get there.
There was a sense among the representatives that that was an important thing
that people had to make a commitment to. There was a sense of getting to know
each other. The first year that the commission was in place, a lot of it was spent
hearing about B we'd sit together and we'd get presentations on what some of us
knew, but others didn't, and the next time it would be something that somebody
else knew and you didn't. The point is we had to walk through a learning process
together, so we were all working off the same body of knowledge. We had to get
the whole commission to a level of understanding. Equally important during that
time, we were spending days and days in a room together and drinking in the bar
after the meeting was over and going on field trips together and breaking bread,
so there was personally a sense of just getting to know each other. That all
these folks who represented all these other interests had kids growing up and
were dealing with the same kinds of issues, we got to know each other
personally through that time, and that was equally important to creating a climate
where people would trust each other, that they'd honestly represent their
position, not necessarily agree with each other, but they'd trust entering into a
debate in good faith with each other. So that was real important. I also think that
there was sense of all right, we're going to do this, but nobody gets left behind.
There was a sense of we need a sustainable South Florida, and I think there was
an agreement, one o the first things that was generally understood and agreed
upon was that if you solve it for the Everglades in a way that doesn't solve it for
urban water supply. You haven't created a sustainable South Florida because
what's going to happen is that very shortly, one part of the ecosystem is going to
act in a way to upset the needs and the solution in another part. You had to have
a solution that worked for all the major needs and all the major dynamics
functioning in that watershed whether it be the natural environment or the human
environment. There was a sense of okay, that's the challenge, how do you craft
something that does it all. I think those laid the foundations for then a working
process where we started to zero in on the major components that we had to
have. The Corps of Engineers said we're trying to come up with a range of
alternatives so we're just going to marry our process here to the Governor's
Commission process and the sherettes they helped support, the sherettes where
people were trying to lay out and come to an agreement on what a conceptual
design might look like that resulted I think in 1996 with the Governor's

EVG 16
Page 48

Commission report that basically framed here's kind of what we think a solution
might look like, and they mapped it out. It didn't say this much water could be
handled here and economically it would cost too much there, it didn't have a
feasibility assessment with it. The sense of the group was that yeah, we might
be able to do something like this. That followed also another set of
recommendations that simply had looked at sustainability in every aspect of
South Florida and had come out with 100 pages of recommendations saying
there are just a whole bunch of things that really ought to be done to help make
South Florida somewhat more sustainable, and there's just heavy negotiation
and debate over those recommendations. So a lot of engagement as that
process went on.

G: In 1996, the same time that the conceptual plan came out, that was the same
year that some environmental groups were pushing the penny per pound tax as a
constitutional amendment. To what extent, if at all, did that make it more difficult
to reach an agreement on the conceptual plan and undermine the trust that you
were describing?

R: It certainly made it more difficult, but let me say that there was a lot of pressure
coming from a variety of different sources that was continuing to go on that
tended to press people to action or to defense. The litigation and the challenges
associated with the water quality lawsuits were still going on. There were and
there are challenges galore over the lake levels in Okeechobee and water quality
going out to the estuaries from the lake, and Gees fisheries in the Florida Keys.
There were a myriad of pressure points that were being brought to bear legally,
publicly from the standpoint of the media, and politically in Tallahassee that we're
all trying to improve one position or another associated with all the problems. An
indication of the systemic nature of the failure that was going on down there.
When the federal task force formed, and when the Governor's Commission
formed, a lot of those things had been engaged. Nobody gave them up, nobody
said we declare and truce in everything because we think this is going to be the
best way to do it. Everybody came to the table and agreed that they would
engage in a debate and a forum, but it was one that didn't surrender any of their
interests or their opportunities to protect their interests, so a lot of that went on,
including the penny a pound. There were folks that absolutely believed that the
sugar industry was the source of all of the problems and George Barley routinely
publicly cried out that the systemic disruptions and ecological collapse in Florida
Bay was because nutrients from the Everglades Agricultural Area were getting
into the Florida Bay causing the algae blooms and the complete collapse of the
system there. Science never held up that point of view, never affirmed that point
of view, which is a polite way of saying he was dead wrong.
We, being caught in the middle of that, we said George why is it you think
this is the case? He'd tell us, and we'd say we don't have any evidence to that

EVG 16
Page 49

effect, and we focused on bringing together the science committee on Florida
Bay, nine agencies and a tremendous amount of scientific effort was brought to
bear down there that helped to try and figure out what was going on and I think
we finally got to the major drivers, but it wasn't that. Nonetheless, it was one of
the principle drivers behind going after the sugar industry and a penny a pound to
make them pay for everything. That's just one of a whole host of different B
albeit it was a high profile one B it was only one of a whole host of different
engagements that were going on through that time. It brought a lot of pressure to
bear on the federal task force and the Governor's Commission particularly on
working through things to find a solution that would get people to get behind
going forward as opposed to just trying to win against each other.
But around that Governor's Commission, and moreso than the federal task
force, but certainly around the task force too, there were a whole bunch of people
watching what was going on and trying to affect it and weren't necessarily seated
at the table even though there were representatives of their interests at the table.
The environmental community was not one voice. The environmental coalition,
Everglades Coalition, like thirty-five or forty different organizations and they
fractured and split and went different ways all the time on issues. The
agricultural industry was not one voice. There were folks that were wanting to sit
down and work things through and there were folks that were just going to fall on
their sword and burn the house down around them. The tribes, the Miccosukee
tribe and the Seminole tribe had completely different ways of approaching the
issues and the problems. Federal agencies were different and the constituents
associated were different. Even the local communities up and down the east
coast there, they didn't speak with one voice. There was I think a conscience
effort on the part of Governor Chiles and Lieutenant Governor MacKay.
Lieutenant Governor MacKay had the lead on this through the entire process.
He was the one that kept the connection with the task force, but I think they
sought membership and appointed people who were from all those interests,
those major interest areas, but were folks who were moderate and constructive in
terms of wanting to try and find solutions as opposed to just going to war. A lot of
those other interests continued to flare and work around this process as it went
on, and it actually brought a lot of pressure to bear on the Governor's
Commission process and the task force process to find a through to a solution
that would may ease some of these pressures.

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

R: How would I evaluate the restudy process?

G: The actual process that the Corps of Engineers used to create the
Comprehensive Plan?

EVG 16
Page 50

R: Massive. Overly weighted to a time frame. Actually, it was constructed in a way
that I fundamentally had problems with.

G: Did you have problems with the process that it was being developed, or just the
end product of the plan that was proposed?

R: I had less problems with the end product. I should qualify that, of course I had
problems with the end product, I wouldn't have signed that December
letter when they came out with the draft saying we don't know what this is, but it
isn't restoration.

G: Let's start with the process first. What was the problem with the process that you

R: First, it was an absolutely brutally punishing time frame to do something this
important. When you're trying to build consensus, you don't super glue the
release valve on the pressure cooker and expect to get good results. You need
to take time so that people get to where they need to go, and you need to give
them time to talk through these issues to come up with a creative way to address
them or solve them. You just can't say there will be consensus by June 30. Oh
yeah? Okay. Because that in many ways because more important than getting
to the right answer. It's getting to an answer by a date certain. That was a
monolithic cloud that hung over this process. I also know that the Corps was told
you will have it done by date certain, well the Corps, their culture is to salute and
follow orders, as opposed to turning around and saying that's nice, but you can't
get done that soon, not if you want something this good that everybody's going to
support. I'm used to an Interior culture that definitely tries to get things done
when expected, but if that's not realistic you go back and you say that isn't going
to work, we need this, we need to do this. The other is, they took it on on a
sequence that we had fundamental problems with. They built their alternatives
over a period of time for a NEPA. In an environmental impact statement, you're
supposed to come up with a range of motion alternatives. What I'm used to use
is you come up with a variety of scenarios that you can consider to address the
problems you're trying to solve, or the objectives you're trying to achieve.
In some cases, they highlight your choices like under scenario A, we get
everything done for the natural system, but we may not be able to get everything
done for flood control or urban water supply. Under scenario B, we get all the
water supply we need, but we may not be able to get everything done for flood
control or for the environment. Under scenario C, we're able to get everything
we want for flood control, but only if we're able to deal with more water
conservation or reverse osmosis or something like that on the water supply.
Then you say, what are the merits and impacts of those. Then you craft one that

EVG 16
Page 51

says what's the one that gets everything for everybody? The Corps came out it
in a sequence that says our first alternative is going to be how do we assure
water supply. Once we've got that done, our second scenario is how do we add
to that, stack on top of that? On the alternative that gets everything that needs to
happen for flood protection. They said now that we've got that, now let's add on
top of that everything we can get done for the environment. Each sequential
alternative had to keep everything that was in the previous alternative and add to
it, so it was an additive set of alternatives, not a range of choice. Guess what? If
you have a finite capacity to get everything done, and that capacity is less than
what the aggregate need is for all the interests you're trying to achieve, the last
interest you look at gets short changed, and that's what happened.
I believe, and you may hear vehement disagreement on this, but my
sense is the Corps was in a tough place, is in a tough place. Their interest is to
do for their local sponsor. None of these projects can go ahead without a local
sponsor that's the state. There has to be widespread political support. The built
environment is the one that's populated with people who vote and make a case
for whether or not local sponsorship and money is going to be put on the table. If
you're going to create a plan that has an opportunity of succeeding as opposed
to one that simply will get the job done on the basis of the objective or could get
the job done, you want to make sure that those interests are taking care of so
that there will be the political support to make it happen. Their approach in my
view was first things, let's lay the foundation on what benefits we're going to
achieve. We've got to make sure we have water supply for the next fifty years,
we have to make sure we have flood protection for the next fifty years and can
accommodate that growth. Then, on top of that, let's see how much we can do
for the environment. When you can't meet everything that everybody's asking for
for the environment, you've got a gap there, you've got a problem. You either
claim that you've done it off of the environment so you ignore that gap and simply
say we did a lot for the environment and it's enough and that's restoration
because restoration isn't putting back what was there 100 years ago, restoration
is getting back the same function, good function within that. There's all kinds of
room to work over what's enough there and what constitute restoration and the
scientists and the policy people can have a healthy debate and there's a lot of
room to obscure what the real result is. Or, you simply say we had a plan that
does a lot and it gets to a lot of benefits for these areas in the system, but if you
don't call it restoration, there's not a lot of chance of your getting federal money
because at a national level, there's not much interest in putting $4 billion into the
state of Florida for a flood protection project or an urban water supply project.
The national interest is to restore the Everglades, not just retard the deterioration
of it. When we looked at an end, you couple that with this Draconian deadline
where we were coming in at the end saying you've gone through several more
alternatives and you've tried to add benefits onto the stack here, but you're not
there. We were told I know, but we've got to go to print on this draft

EVG 16
Page 52

environmental impact statement so this is all we can do because we've run out of
time, and don't worry, we'll take care of you between the draft and the final. We'll
keep working on it and we'll take care of those things between the draft and the
final. When we did an analysis of the draft, we said well, if we finish the modified
water deliveries for Everglades National Park, we finish the modified water
deliveries and the C-111 project which were not part of the CERP but things that
had already been authorized and we were going to work through the designs.
We'd get at about 60 percent of the flows that we had under the national system
model that historically came down through that part of the system.
After spending $7.8 billion based on what the draft said, we'd have 70
percent of the flows. We said we don't know what that is but number one it isn't
restoration because you don't get an ecological function back until you get a lot
higher to the timing and the volumes that you need, that historically drove the
biological system. While it's an improvement, it's a 10 percent improvement for
$7.8 billion and it's being characterized as an Everglades restoration plan. We
said sorry, but our analysis of the draft of what you've got is what we told you the
preceding summer and fall when you said we've run out of time, we've got to
print this thing, we've got to tell you that it isn't good enough, and we did. There
were some very, very upset people. The Corps never wanted us to publicly
criticize the draft. They wanted to provide us behind the scenes assurances that
they would work things out for us between the draft and the final, and we said
that's great, but you need to understand, when you put it on the street, we have
to say what it is we understand it is and it will do. It caused a huge furor. This is
a long winded way of answering your question, but the approach to how the plan
was crafted was a cumulative one that if you combine that with a Draconian
deadline, you run out of time. The last interest you're trying to take care of
usually gets short changed in that kind of a scenario. That's what happened in
my view here. What happened after that is there were several weeks worth of
explosions going off as people were all over us for trying to destroy the whole
effort, bring it to its knees, including many in the environmental community.
Fortunately, the scientists that we had working on it had good analytical work
done and scientific work done to back up our evaluation. It began to dawn on
people that some things needed to change so a number of negotiations went on
between the draft and the final on how to move it forward to enhance the benefits
which ultimately I think brought it to a final plan which in my view, if it's
implemented, can restore the Everglades. I don't say it will, I said it has the
capacity to do it if it is implemented the way it was characterized in the plan. But
there's a lot of devils in the detail over a thirty year implementation that they'll
either keep faith with the original concept or compromise it back and only time of
thirty years will tell whether or not the concept that was put on the table is put in

G: Let me break down some of this and get you to comment a little further. Were

EVG 16
Page 53

you given opportunities to be part of the process as the restudy was unfolding
initially before the draft came out? Did you get a chance to have input into that

R: Sure.

G: So you weren't completely surprised when the back report came out?

R: No, I do not want to represent that at all. There were working groups and
sessions and discussions that went on over that time that we were very much a
part of. But I will also say that a number of our folks raised concerns in those
forums and what was reported out was the group met and decided this was the
way to go. In that group, somebody was raising their hand saying wait a minute,
that's a problem. Well, the group voted and decided that's the way it is. We had
a lot of frustration that this wasn't... We had raised concerns at every step along
the way. Folks will say no we did because you didn't have people in these
meetings and people didn't raise their hands in these meetings, but we raised
issues and concerns all along the way both in those sessions and in informal
meetings with the Corps. Frankly, there was progress being made as a result of
that. In the May-June time frame of [1997]... the draft came out in early
December of 1997 wasn't it?

G: The draft of the Comprehensive Plan came out in 1998 it would have been,
October of 1998 I believe.

R: It was that preceding May-June when all the different modeling scenarios on the
alternatives had to come to closure in order to get to that publication date on the
draft. Everything was backed off against that July 1, 1999 when it had to be up
to Congress. In order to do that, the Corps ran out of time to continue to try and
develop different modifications on the alternatives to get more benefits out of
them and then do the model runs on them to assess what the results would be in
like the May-June time frame. There was progress being made because there
were two or three different additional alternatives that were adding more features,
more adjustments on in order to get more environmental benefits out. There
were a couple more that went on like that, but then it ran out of time. So there
was progress being made. I don't want to imply that we were sitting there saying
hey, you need to pay attention to these things and everybody was just saying go
away, we're not going to do anything about it. It's the debate and discussion that
results in people learning more and when you say wait a minute, there's
something left off the table and you make sure that you continue to represent
that, that it may be quick, it may be gradual, but people begin to address it.
When you run out of time, you put a cap on that process, which prevents it from
getting to where it needs to go. It just says we know there are these things that

EVG 16
Page 54

still need to be done, but this is the best we can do. Why is that? Because we
ran out of time, we have to get it out. Wait a minute, then it's not necessarily the
best you can do, it's all you're going to do because what's more important is to
get it there on time than to get it where it needs to go. That was one of the
frustrating things to us about where it ended up and why we had to say the result
that you've got gets you here, but from a number of perspectives, that doesn't
constitute anything that's close enough to restoration in our view. Our concern
with the process, as I said, you can't put an additive process together that is
coupled with that time frame as just a shut off and have a lot of hope for meeting
all the needs. [End of Tape C, side 6]
G: Your primary concerns with the end product, that actual draft proposal that was
issued in late of 1998 was primarily an issue of water quantity and distribution for
the park? As I understood what you said earlier, is that a correct evaluation?

R: The water issue always comes down to four factors, QQTD, quantity, quality,
timing, and distribution. It was about all of those, but principally in the area of
Northeast Shark Slough which I referenced the 60, 70 percent characterization,
which is one result of our evaluation, it wasn't the only thing that we raised as
areas of concern, but that was mostly about quantity, timing, and distribution in
that area.

G: You're talking in that respect about what modified water deliveries would do.
Your concern with the actual draft plan is that it wouldn't do much more than that,
it would only increase another 10 percent?

R: Right.

G: Was that the essence of the Park Service's critique or were there other concerns
the Park Service had with the draft restudy plan?

R: I think we felt that there was a level of compartmentalization that was kept in
place that was not appropriate. I think we felt there wasn't enough water, that
more water needed to be recaptured that was going to tide. There wasn't
enough water being moved down through the system, as well as where it was
being delivered to and when it was being delivered. Those are very much linked
up through the system.

G: Can you talk to me a little bit about the process of negotiations that then took
place between you and the Corps and what type of issues were discussed and
who was involved and what were the end products in those discussions?

R: I'd add one other thing. I think we had significant concerns about the type and
the amount of water that was being provided to Biscayne Bay.

EVG 16
Page 55

G: When you say type, you're talking about water quality?

R: Yeah. It was basically effluent from waste water treatment was the concept.

G: Again I'll ask about the process that happened next. Can you tell me a little bit
about those discussions after the draft plan was issued and prior to the
submission of the final plan to Congress?

R: There were a lot of discussions with the Corps within the federal community and
with the water management district and the state that proceeded pretty rapidly
over a period of couple three months as the Corps was analyzing all the public
comment that came in and coming up with a final plan, discussions including
conversations in CEQ within the federal community over what if [any]
modifications to the draft should be made in order to put a final plan out.

G: How responsive did you find the Corps to the concerns you were expressing at
that time?

R: During that couple month period in March, I think it was March-April time frame, I
recall a number of meetings that where representatives from CEQ as well as the
senior leadership of the Corps and the Department of Interior and some of the
other federal agencies were there. At a policy level within the administration,
very receptive to getting to the bottom of some of the concerns that were raised
and trying to figure out if there are ways that they can be addressed in final

G: Who were some of the key people that you were working with during that time
period from the other agencies as you're discussing these issues?

R: The leading people were certainly Bill Leary over at CEQ and Michael Davis
certainly for the Corps were probably the two principal players and I recall being
there. Then of course, Colonel Miller from the Jacksonville district and I believe
we had folks there from EPA as well. There were a whole host of folks there,
staff from B not from the Water Management District, some of the sessions there
were folks from the Water Management District involved.

G: Earlier you said that the final plan that was submitted was a better plan that you
at least have hope that might bring about restoration. Why was the final plan
submitted to Congress, in your view, a better plan? What specific changes were
made from the draft that made it more acceptable in your view?

R: There was a commitment, as we understood it, a recognition of the need for the

EVG 16
Page 56

addition water in Northeast Shark Slough, and the need for that additional water
would be needed for Biscayne Bay as well. There was a commitment identified
as to where that water could be pulled from and added back into the system so
that aggregate amount of water would be enough to meet all those needs. While
there was concern about whether or not the science actually would uphold that
water was actually needed, there was a commitment to do a focus study on that
Northeast Shark Slough area to both the firm that the natural system model and
what it said needed to some down through there was accurate, and to try and
address what were legitimate concerns about how do you do that without having
adverse ecological effects up in water conversation area 3B because there's
been so much subsidence there that if you get the level of water right to push the
right flows down through Everglades National Park, you may have excessive
depth of water in 3B because the soil had subsided in 3B. You might get historic
levels, but greater depths in 3B than could sustain the natural vegetative
community and the ecology that existed there.

G: The commitments then were primarily commitments to do additional studies and
research and not specific commitments?

R: We understood them to be commitments to deliver that water subject to studies
that would confirm both the need and the method for doing it that did not cause
dysfunction somewhere else in the system.

G: Did those commitments get included in the WRDA 2000 legislation that
authorized the plan?

R: In my view, not well enough, but they were memorialized.

G: What I'm trying to understand here is the distinctions between what actually got
included in the plan and what got mentioned and what became known as the
Chief's Report. The commitments that you're talking about, were they actually in
the plan that got adopted by Congress, or were these in the Chief's Report that
accompanied the plan, but were not actually part of the legislation that was

R: The legislation basically referred to the final plan. I'd need to go back and
reexamine some documents, but my understanding is that the aggregate set of
documents that included the Chief's Report and all that was what the final plan
was, and that the legislation referred to it.

G: So you believe the commitments in the Chief's Report actually did get embraced
in the legislation?

EVG 16
Page 57

R: That's certainly what was represented to me at the time.

G: Why do you think the Chief's Report became so controversial?

R: There will be a number of people who probably can shed better light on that. We
were accused of never having raised the concerns that we put in writing in
commenting on the draft plan before and our belief we had routinely and
regularly, certainly with the poor. Then I believe that there was a concern that
somehow we had stepped around the other players in negotiating out changes
with the Corps between the draft and the final that was somehow not part of the
open public process.

G: How involved, if at all, were you in the process of developing the WRDA 2000
legislation and the effort to get congressional approval for that?

R: I was involved along with Steve Forsythe, my counterpart with the Fish and
Wildlife Service, and several members of my staff were involved with working
with solicitors and the policy leads here Mary Doyle, Don Jodgry principally over
in working through evaluating and discussing what options were and proposals
on language that were being floated and what the implications would be,
analyzing those and what the implications of those would be, and discussing
what language ought to be offered in return.

G: How did you evaluate the final product, that final comprehensive plan that got
enacted in the WRDA 2000 legislation?

R: I stood up and said I support it because my understanding is that the
commitments to cure, or at least if not completely cure, substantially cure the
issues that we had raised concerning [that] the draft had been memorialized in a
way that we're deemed part of the plan and the commitment to go forward, and
that adequate provision was made to have the allocation of water worked out in a
way that provided guarantees and that provided that a role within the federal
family could be a strong one on the part of the Department of Interior, that all of
that was possible. It was a plan that could deliver, that had the potential to
deliver restoration benefits and there was nothing in there that precluded that
from happening.

G: As the implementation of a plan begins to move forward, how should we evaluate
its success or failure?

R: My own view is that you put the intended benefits up on the wall as the marks
and you assess whether or not the features as they're brought online achieve or
exceed those intended benefits. It's real simple. And whether or not you stay on

EVG 16
Page 58

track with the timelines that were laid out to do that. And number three, whether
or not the process of getting into the details of the project designs and moving
the effort forward is truly an iterative process, not a compromising one. The
litmus test to that is whether or not the designs and the benefits coming from
each of the projects meets or exceeds what was intended in the conceptual plan
or alters or reduces those benefits.

G: Some of the flesh of that process of how that's going to be done is incorporated
into what the Corps is now designing that's called the Programmatic Regulations.
What's you evaluation of the initial draft of the Programmatic Regulations and do
you think it's going to help accomplish the goals?

R: The one that just came out?

G: There was a draft released last December and more recently just this past week,
you may not have had a chance to look at that one, a revised version of the
Programmatic Regulations.
R: I have not.

G: But as you know of them already, do you think that process is appropriate to
what you were just describing as necessary in meeting the goals of the
Comprehensive Plan?

R: I do not have a detailed knowledge of either the first draft or the second and I
haven't even read the second draft. I know what I've been told by others, but I'm
not sure it's fair to just pass along that kind of commentary.

G: Some critics have suggested that the Park Service has not always been a team
player and has put it's interests and the interests of the park above that of
broader restoration goals. How do you respond to that criticism?

R: I would say we have been a strong advocate for the interests of the park and
should be. We have been a strong an advocate as we could possibly be on
meeting those interests, but not at the expense of the other interests that are
trying to be met. We simply have said when the dust settles, all of our needs
must be met too. It's not all of our needs must be met and somebody else has to
give, we've been an advocate of a plan that gets the whole job done and we
have not accepted someone else's evaluation about whether or not Everglades
National Park's needs are met. The National Park Service will be the
determinant of that.

G: During your time as superintendent, how would you characterize the relationship
between the management level and the scientists within the park?

EVG 16
Page 59

R: During my time, I thought it was a very good relationship. They were an
enormously talented group of folks who beat themselves to death trying to
accomplish more than was humanly possible given the number and the funding
that was available to them with the time frames that were pressed upon them. I
only hope I kept faith with them and kept faith with what they found and didn't
compromise their findings in representing them on behalf of the park.

G: Is it possible to separate the politics from the science when it comes to

R: It's possible to keep a sense of which is which, but at some point, you have to
translate the knowledge into a public policy position. Science isn't worth a thing
unless you analyze what it means and apply to a public policy objective. You've
go to apply it, and you've got to have scientists who are capable of
understanding what the policy objectives are for the respective agencies and
provide council on how the science, what kinds of solutions or what kinds of
action will achieve those based on the scientific knowledge that either they've
developed or is available.
G: Do you think that recognition is there? Do you think the scientists understand the
fact that there's a connection between what they're doing and the politics of
some of these decisions?

R: I think they understand there's a connection. Some of them are even willing to
work in that connection, some don't want anything to do with it. They want to
gather the knowledge and hand it over to somebody else to do something with.

G: During your time as superintendent, you were also a fairly strong advocate of
including social science analysis and bringing that into the restoration process.

R: You bet.

G: Why did you think social science analysis was important and did you try to do to
bring this into the restoration discussion?

R: I think it's important because these are all decisions about an ecosystem that
includes 7 million people. The condition that those 7 million people are in and the
things that affect them are as important to understand if you're going to be
making public policy decisions about how the whole watershed should be
physically arrayed and how it should function. It's as important as understanding
the biology and the behavior of the Cape Sable sparrow or the Florida panther if
not more so. You've got to have facts. You've got to have equally as much
knowledge about the human circumstance, the physical, socioeconomic, cultural

EVG 16
Page 60

circumstance that they're in to be able to guide your decisions and to create your
range of choice, or you're flying blind with public policy discussions and decisions
that affect one of the most important elements of it. Of course you have to have
that. We are notoriously deficient in our commitment to developing that kind of
knowledge and understanding to inform these kinds of decision processes. It's a
sensitive topic, people are very sensitive about what knowledge you've
developed about them, but they're critically important to the comportent of the
ecosystem and understanding how they will be affected. You have to have a
scientifically developed knowledge base in order to do that. What do we do? I
was very much an advocate associated with the working group to do a research
plan for the South Florida ecosystem that identified the areas of knowledge and
questions that might help inform that process better. We brought together an
interagency effort to lay out a social science research plan for the South Florida
ecosystem which is a guide as to the kind of science that ought to be done there.
We advocated routinely to have a portion of the science budget that we got
allocated to do that some of that work and we were not always successful.

G: How well do you think that human dimension has been addressed by the
restoration effort, whether it's the comprehensive plan or some of the other
associated programs that are out there?

R: Nowhere near as well as some of the other physical and biological systems have
been addressed.

G: Since returning to Washington, how actively involved have you continued to be in
Everglades related issues?

R: Not much at all. I have a set of responsibilities that are far field and more
focused on the day to day operations of parks. Everything from law enforcement
to education programs to concessions management to overflights and wildfire
and all the facility management and programs, so it's a wide ranging set of issues
that I'm consumed with everyday. Occasionally, I'll get drawn into a discussion,
but I have no programmatic responsibility. That actually is a place here in
Washington with Mike Sukiff, the individual I mentioned to you earlier who's the
Natural Resource and Science associate director for the Park Service who used
to work for me as my chief of science at Everglades National Park. So he's very
knowledgeable about these issues as well.

G: The Park Service, like many other governmental agencies, has this policy of
rotating key personnel. What impact, if any, do you think this change in
personnel had on the restoration effort?

R: Actually we do not have a policy of rotation if you're likening it to the military, not

EVG 16
Page 61

at all. People apply for and are considered for jobs pretty much at their own
initiative, that's principally how the system works. Every job until I'm currently in
that I've ever had in the Park Service has been one where I've moved because
I've seen an opportunity for career advancement or growth and responsibilities in
a different and have thrown my hat in the ring for it. The job I'm in now I was
asked by the former director Stanton to come up and take on this responsibility

G: I stand corrected so let me rephrase the question. How much of a problem,
based on your experience, was the turnover. You mentioned the building of trust
and how difficult that was. As people began moving out of positions, how difficult
was it to maintain the momentum?

R: It places a significant burden on it as those players change. If too much of it
happens at one time, my view is you can lose the bubble on things. If not
enough happens, you can see people fall into fixed positions and relationships
that can stagnate and not bring any new information or new energy or creativity
to a situation that folks have just been back through for the hundredth time and
they've formed up their view on things. You've got to have some turnover,
you've got to have some new players coming in. If you have too much of it all at
once, you can really lose a lot of institutional knowledge and you can lose the
ability to move forward as too many have too B you lose the critical mass I guess
is the right way to phrase it. But if you don't have that turnover, the prospects
can go stale too and doesn't get the new perspective it needs on whether or not
it's maybe heading down a direction they should rethink.

G: I'd like to mention some specific groups and organizations and ask you to
comment on their overall impact on the Everglades restoration effort starting with
the Corps of Engineers. Overall, how would you evaluate the Corps of Engineers
contribution to the restoration process?

R: Enormous, fundamental. Can't happen without them. It's an engineered system
down there. It was ever since they put in the first ditch and started draining
things and it became truly a complex system with the authorization of the Central
and South Florida Project back in the late 1940s, same time the Everglades
National Park was established, and the water management district was
established. They are fundamentally important if there is going to be a federal
role in how water is managed in Florida and I think it's long been established that
there has to be.

G: The South Florida Water management District?

R: Again fundamental. Florida was enormously far seeing when it created a water

EVG 16
Page 62

management district along the watershed lines that included all of South Florida.
That it began to think and act in relationship to the management of water in that
way and with those boundaries was fundamentally important. They are critically
important players on behalf of the state.

G: The sugar industry.

R: The sugar industry itself, their presence or absence is probably not
fundamentally important to whether restoration occurs or can occur. I would
broaden it to say the agricultural industry because the Everglades Agricultural
Area is not at all just sugar. It's mostly sugar and there are significant agricultural
interests in South Dade and up along the St. Lucie and the Caloosahatchee
rivers there as well that aren't sugar interests. Agriculture, and I'll include within
that broad group the dairy interests in north Lake Okeechobee, their presence
there makes it absolutely critical that they play an important and proactive role in
restoration mostly related to water quality. They are an area that has water
needs both in terms of flood protection and water supply, those needs aren't
growing like the Everglades. Fifty years from now there probably won't be a lot
more water needed by the agricultural industry. If the footprint of the agricultural
industry doesn't expand, they'll need what they need today. The same with the
Everglades. The Everglades fifty years from now isn't going to need anymore
water than it needs today. Where the expansion need is occurring is in the
developed growth that occurs where there's water consumed by every new
resident that comes into Florida. As that growth goes from 6 or 7 million to 12 to
15 million over the next fifty years, that's where the growth and water demand
occurs. The agricultural interests, they have to be proactive in terms of best
management practices and their techniques of using water and their techniques
of using nutrients and fertilizers and how they run off and affect areas in the
Everglades, so they're a real important player there. If they weren't there, the
area would either go back to natural or go back to a natural-like condition, or it
would be converted to another use which is likely to accommodate development
in human populations which can bring a whole lot more complicated problems
than sugarcane and agriculture does.

G: The Seminole and Miccosukee tribes?

R: They are and will be important players. They are two other sovereigns that
somehow the relationships between the federal government, the state
government, and those two entities need to settle into a workable pattern and I
don't think that's entirely happened yet.

G: At times, you've had some run ins with the Miccosukee, particularly with the
issue of billing housing in the Everglades National Park. Could you talk in a little

EVG 16
Page 63

bit more detail about the challenge of working with the tribe, particularly the
Miccosukee tribe?

R: The Miccosukee tribe is very confrontational over their interests and don't feel
that they've been adequately considered or involved in decisions that affect their
lives and their future. Their culture is such that they have been all through their
history... That they are where they are is historically related to the fact that in the
Seminole wars they were hunted into...These were the folks that retreated into
the Everglades to escape the military during the Seminole wars. So there's not a
sense of trust or a sense of belonging and there is, it seems to me, a sense that
they have to stick up for their rights in ways that are as confrontational as they
need to be.

G: Looking toward the future, what should be the most important goals and priorities
of the restoration project?

R: First, the goals that were set out in the CERP plan need to be achieved, they
cannot be compromised. If the going gets tough, and it will repeatedly, it can't be
compromised as they're implemented and they can't be ignored or stepped
around. If it gets tough to accomplish, you can't just declare success when one
hasn't occurred. There's a litmus test of performance that needs to be real
clearly established and achieved with no compromise. It needs to deliver all the
benefits for all the interests, and not accept anything less than that. Beyond that,
they need to understand that for sustainable South Florida, water's only one of
the issues. Unless people focus on the built environment and manage the
growth and population in a way that is sustainable, none of the $8 billion, even if
it is an uncompromising success, is going to mean a thing fifty years from now.
That issue has not been engaged in a comprehensive way the way the water
issue has been engaged.

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

R: I've learned a lot of lessons. I was there for eight and a half years and I learned
so many things in so many different areas, it would be hard for me to even begin
to list them. I think some that would stand out are how difficult it is to manage a
science driven public policy effort, and to keep faith with that science when it's
telling you things that aren't necessarily where you're consistent with where
you're headed or with what's going to make it easy for you to successfully reach
an agreement with everyone on what a solution is. So I learned a lot about how
to focus on what work needed to be done and how to keep faith with the results.
I learned that it is about the people. With the federal task force as we came
together, it was about getting to know each other and personally committing to

EVG 16
Page 64

the goals of, not only your own agency, but each other's agency and agreeing
and committing to working in good faith with each other. It is personal and that's
okay. I described to you before, I learned and had affirmed to me that it is
absolutely okay as a government agency to do things in full public view. The
debate, the discussions, the disagreements aren't well served by keeping them
hidden under a lid. I learned that the public does not fault you for having those
disagreements, they fault you for hiding them. There's just so many, just a host
of things. I wouldn't trade those times for anything. I've been privileged to be
associated with two of the most important conservation projects I think of this
country in this country's history. The first one, I went up to Alaska in 1981 to set
up the operation Gates of the Arctic National Park as a result of the Alaska lands
act, and set up the operation there and take it through it's first planning. An eight
and a half million acre wilderness area and being part of that whole Alaska
conservation. Second, to have been privileged enough to have been in Florida at
the time the idea of approaching restoration and conservation holistically on an
ecosystem scale gelled and stepped out and started to move. Those are just two
rare privileges.

G: End interview.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs