Lawsuits a new tactic against those seeking public records

From The Daily Commercial: A fierce fight in Martin County is alarming many government watchdogs. Maggy Hurchalla, a former Martin County commissioner and sister of late U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, is appealing a $4.4 million judgment by a jury earlier this year, which found she used her influence as a conservationist to disparage a mining company’s project. The verdict capped a five-year struggle and also led to an $18M settlement for the mining company, … Click here to read more

Scientists grade the Everglades Reservoir Plan: ‘F’

From bullsugar.org: “It doesn’t work. The Everglades Foundation’s science team–one of only two organizations outside the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) with the expertise and technology to model the reservoir plan–spelled it out clearly. The state’s design can’t clean enough water … Click here to read more

USA Today: Michael Jordan-owned golf course pollutes St. Lucie River in violation of Florida rules

“A golf course near Hobe Sound partially owned by basketball legend Michael Jordan is dirtying the South Fork of the St. Lucie River, a state official said Friday. Construction at the golf course being built on 226 acres east of Interstate 95 and north of Bridge Road is putting unacceptable levels of sediment in the upper reaches of the river … Click here to read more

All Aboard Florida wins again in water district dispute: permit cleared

“All Aboard Florida’s efforts to clear a needed environmental permit from challenges won another victory Thursday as the South Florida Water Management District rejected final challenges brought by the private passenger train developer’s critics along the Treasure Coast,” reports Florida Politics. “The water district denied 17 exceptions filed by Martin and St. Lucie counties … Click here to read more

Treasure Coast loses another bid to stop extension of Brightline to Orlando

From The Real Deal: “An administrative law judge Friday denied a challenge to the South Florida Water Management District’s decision to issue a permit needed to extend the planned Brightline passenger rail service from South Florida to Orlando. The judge tossed out the challenge brought by Martin County … Click here to read more

PBPost: Everglades specialist Ernie Marks of Palm City is new SFWMD director

Everglades restoration coordinator Ernie Marks was the unanimous choice of South Florida Water Management District board members Monday to take over as executive director of the 1,475-employee, $759 million agency … Click here to read more

BREAKING: ‘Significant’ algae bloom on Lake Okeechobee

The Palm Beach Post reports that “The South Florida Water Management District and Florida Department of Environmental Protection are monitoring an algae bloom on Lake Okeechobee that has been growing since at least last week. ‘We would consider it a significant algal bloom,’ … Click here to read more

Point of View: ‘Fixing Everglades, reducing lake discharges not the same’

From Melissa Meeker, the former executive director and governing board member of the South Florida Water Management District, in The Palm Beach Post: “To say that the reservoir will save the Everglades and prevent coastal discharges is wishful thinking that can’t be backed by science … Click here to read more

Water managers issue water shortage warning

From WPBF: “Falling water levels and extremely dry conditions that are expected to linger led South Florida Water Management District Governing Board to issue a water shortage warning … Click here to read more

Dry conditions continue: South Florida Water Management District urges conservation

Following three months of dry conditions, including a record-dry November, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is urging South Florida families to boost water conservation efforts. A total of 1.49 inches of rain fell District-wide in January, representing 76 percent of average, or 0.47 inches below average for the month. … Click here to read more

Proposed SFWMD environmental permit for AAF in question after Martin County files petition

From the Martin County BOCC: “On Wednesday, September 14, Martin and St. Lucie counties filed a Petition with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) seeking a hearing on the proposed issuance of an environmental permit for the All Aboard Florida (AAF a.k.a Brightline) high-speed passenger rail project. SFWMD proposed granting AAF the permit for construction of railway facilities in Palm Beach, Martin and … Click here to read more