When Zinke Comes to Town

Park Fees Capped

Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke whisked into town on a meet and greet and regroup the troops tour last week post Irma. He visited the Herbert Hoover Dike, promising to fix it by allocating more money toward its repair. He allayed the frustrations of many a Park fishing guide by explaining that Park fees will be capped.

But the guides left with reservations about the success of the visit. Missing was a specific commitment for federal funds to support Everglades Restoration beyond the Dike. 

After a meeting between local fishing guides, Zinke, and Park Superintendent Pedro Ramos, Captain Xavier Figueredo with the Bay and Reef Company explained, "Zinke has a mandate from his boss, the President, to maximize revenue from public lands. We got the feeling that all options are on the table as he takes on this task. We are happy the Park fees will be capped, but will keep a close eye on other options he may find to increase park revenue."  

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Everglades National Park Superintendent Pedro Ramos meet with ENP stakeholders.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Everglades National Park Superintendent Pedro Ramos meet with ENP stakeholders.

 

Deep Injection Wells

And so while Zinke was making promises about the Herbert Hoover Dike, Lake Okeechobee was actually swelling to levels not seen in over a decade. Reaching the 17' mark instantly triggers discharges from the lake and instantly triggers offshoot conversations about  "new solutions" for water management. The South Florida Water Management District entertained a presentation at their monthly meeting about using deep injection wells as a solution to deal with too much water in the system. The SFWMD board generally agreed the wells made sense, despite the opposition of over 70 environmental groups. This is a conversation to watch.