A Board with No Respect Deserves No Respect

Around 9 pm on the night after polls closed and Floridians focused on election results, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) inserted into their agenda a lease agreement for New Hope Sugar Co., a subsidiary of Florida Crystals, on land that was earmarked for the EAA reservoir. The existing lease was not to expire until March of 2019, yet the board unanimously approved it in their meeting the next day.

On the same day, the SFWMD voted to vacate the Federal Decree requiring minimum water quality levels on waters being sent to the Miccosukee lands and Everglades National Park.

At worst, they broke state law, requiring published notices of “intention to lease.” At best, they showed a total lack of transparency. Either way, their actions were another example of a breach of public trust as the SFWMD continues to manage South Florida’s Waters as an irrigation system for the sugar industry at the expense of Floridians.

Please let the SFWMD board members know they have once again broken your trust to benefit the sugar industry at the expense of the will of the people of Florida.

Click to Email the SFWMD Board NOW!


Prefer to call the board members? Here are their direct lines:

J. Timothy Beirnes, Inspector General (561) 682-6398
Federico Fernandez, Chairman (561) 682-6262
Melanie Peterson, Vice-Chair (561) 682-6262
Sam Accursio (561) 682-6262
Rick Barber (561) 682-6262
Carlos Diaz (561) 682-6262
James J. Moran (561) 682-6262
Dan O’Keefe (561) 682-6262
Brandon Tucker (561) 682-6262
Jaime Weisinger (561) 682-6262

Take Action! Call Your State Representative Today.

We are so very close to getting the most important part of Everglades restoration in place – a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to store, clean and properly convey freshwater south to the Everglades and Florida Bay and reducing toxic discharges out the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie Estuaries.

Thanks to your efforts, Florida Senators received thousands of phone calls urging them to vote yes on the bill, and our Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of it.

At this critical time, we turn our efforts to the Florida House of Representatives, asking them simply to pass the bill intact – no more amendments! No more complex, unrelated pork barrel political trading. We ask them to just do the right thing for the future of Florida’s quality of life, health, economy and environment.

Please take two minutes TODAY to make these important calls to the committee chair, vice-chair and your representatives.

It will make a world of difference for Everglades restoration. They need to hear from you before the committee meets on Monday!

Below are phone numbers for Rep. Matt Caldwell (Chair) and Rep. Charlie Stone (Vice-Chair). Please call them. Your county Representative’s number is also listed. Please call them as well.

It’s truly Now or Neverglades for all of us.


Contact your representatives TODAY and tell them to pass Senator Negron’s water bill with no amendments!

Representative Matt Caldwell, Chair, (R)- part of Lee County
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5079

Representative Charlie Stone, Vice-Chair, (R)- Levy and part of Marion County
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5022

Committee Members By County

Alachua County – Representative Clovis Watson, Jr. (D)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5020

Bay County – Representative Brad Drake (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5005

Broward County – Representative Kristin Jacobs (D)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5096

Collier County – Representative Bob Rommel (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5106

DeSoto County – Representative Ben Albritton (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5056

Duval County – Representative Jay Fant (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5015

Glades County – Representative Cary Pigman (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5055

Hardee County – Representative Ben Albritton (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5056

Highlands County – Representative Cary Pigman (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5055

Hillsborough County – Representative Wengay M. “Newt” Newton, Sr.(D)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5070

Representative Dan Raulerson (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5058

Holmes County – Representative Brad Drake (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5005

Jackson County – Representative Brad Drake (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5005

Manatee County – Representative Wengay M. “Newt” Newton, Sr. (D)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5070

Marion County – Representative Clovis Watson, Jr.
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5020

Miami-Dade County – Representative Barbara Watson, Democratic Ranking Member, (D)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5107

Representative Holly Raschein (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5120

Monroe County – Representative Holly Raschein (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5120

Okaloosa County – Representative Jayer Williamson (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5003

Okeechobee County – Representative Cary Pigman (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5055

Orange County – Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith (D)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5049

Palm Beach County – Representative Joseph Abruzzo (D)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5081

Representative Matt Willhite (D)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5086

Pasco County – Representative Amber Mariano (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5036

Pinellas County – Representative Chris Latvala (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5067

Representative Wengay M. “Newt” Newton, Sr. (D)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5070

Polk County – Representative Ben Albritton (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5056

Representative Colleen Burton (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5040

Representative Neil Combee (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5039

Santa Rosa County – Representative Jayer Williamson (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5003

Sarasota County – Representative Wengay M. “Newt” Newton, Sr. (D)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5070

Seminole County – Representative Scott Plakon (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5029

St. Lucie County – Representative Cary Pigman (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5055

Volusia County – Representative Patrick Henry (D)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5026

Representative David Santiago (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5027

Walton and Washington Counties – Representative Brad Drake (R)
Tallahassee office: (850) 717-5005

NowOrNeverglades Sportfishing Day TOMORROW

Last week, fishing guides gathered in Islamorada on a windy day, spelling out the word “HELP” with flats skiffs, yet another plea for change from some of those most affected by the ongoing water crisis in South Florida. I recently wrote a piece about how much I’ve seen the South Florida fishery change since I started fishing down here in the 1970s. For those who are on the water daily making a living, the changes are profound and heartbreaking.

Tomorrow, many captains and anglers from around Florida are taking days off of work to travel to Tallahassee to make their voices heard, imploring lawmakers to follow what was outlined by the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan in 2000 and build the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to help store, clean and properly convey fresh water, sending more water south to Florida Bay.

Whether or not you are able to attend tomorrow’s event, I thank you for your support of the Now or Neverglades movement. We have come a long way in our fight for Everglades restoration, and it is the grassroots effort of people like you that is making an indelible impact.


Tomorrow at 4 pm at the Edison Restaurant in Tallahassee, hundreds will gather to make our collective voices heard. Together we will meet with legislators from our districts and from all parts of Florida. We will also hear from Senator Negron and other legislators regarding the importance of southern storage to reduce the discharges and bring water south to the Everglades & Florida Bay. We hope to see you there!

Register Now

If you can’t join us in Tallahassee, TEXT the word WATER to 52886 and help us make a difference!

NowOrNeverglades Sportfishing Day

On April 11, hundreds of us will gather in Tallahassee to make our collective voices heard. Together we will meet with legislators from our districts and from all parts of Florida to help make history.

Our lives and our livelihoods are at risk and lawmakers need to hear from ALL of us – Captains, Fishing Guides, Anglers, and Floridians. They must be reminded that Florida’s Everglades and Estuaries are essential to our businesses and quality of life.

You signed the declaration, you emailed your support of Senate Bill 10 and at each juncture you asked what more you could do to help. Joining us in Tallahassee for this event would be an enormous contribution for all of Florida. We’ll have exciting giveaways from Simms, Costa and other sponsors who will be on hand for our evening celebration at the Edison restaurant!

There is too much at stake and we can’t do this without you. Meeting with your Representatives and Senators sends a very powerful message – this is personal. Please join us on April 11!

Tickets are FREE – RSVP Today!

Register Now

We are coordinating transportation to Tallahassee from several areas across the state. Please RSVP online to receive updates about the event, transportation and exciting corporate sponsors, as the date gets closer.