The following public comments were made at the April 8, 2021 South Florida Water Management District Governing Board:
“Emma Haydocy, Florida Bay Forever. Good Morning Mr. Chairman and Governing Board. Thank you again for continuing with the hybrid meeting format to allow for folks like myself in the Florida Keys to participate in meaningful ways in these meetings.
I was looking back at the comments we made at the April 2020 governing board meeting and I have to say, what a difference a year makes for Florida Bay. This time last year, we were incredibly concerned over the salinity levels, which were well above the healthy range and headed for hypersalinity and collapse on our precious bay. We were praying for rain, for flow, for any way that water could be moved into Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. We came to the SFWMD meeting calling upon each of you to find ways to eliminate barriers to flow south.
Now, a year later, Florida Bay is thriving with historic flow and salinity levels. We recognize that much of that came with the late-wet season rains, but we know that more water IS flowing south because of the efforts of this board and staff. We are grateful to all of you for working every day in an effort to move clean water south to Florida Bay.
While Florida Bay is momentarily healthy, we are anxious for our neighbors and friends to the north who are in dire straits with more discharges and a public health and environmental crisis looming for the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee. I think we all know the solution to their anxiety and pending catastrophe on the horizon: sending water south. I want to ask the governing board today to continue to do what you have been doing since this time last year; identify and to eliminate the barriers to flow south and to prioritize the health and safety of the communities and ecosystems of all of the estuaries.