South Florida Engineers, Scientists Take Another Swipe at Report Underpinning Negron’s Water Bill

by | Jan 26, 2017

In another pointed shot aimed squarely at Senator Joe Negron‘s Lake Okeechobee water storage bill (filed earlier today by Senator Rob Bradley as SB10), scientists and engineers from the South Florida Water Management District released another statement this week debunking the report that underpins the legislation.

South Florida Water Management District’s Hydrology and Hydraulics Bureau Chief Akintunde Owosina, and his team of engineers and scientists, say their sole objective is “to offer the public and decision-makers with objective, dependable science to help make informed public policy.”

Owosina and his team have taken issue with a report paid for and published by the Everglades Foundation, which relied on outdated modeling data and failed to consider a wide range of key factors, before recommending that the state should invest billions of dollars on a controversial plan to buy farmland south fo Lake Okeechobee. Senator Negron’s plan was based, in part, on those recommendations. But Owosina and his team say the author of the report, Tom Van Lent, represents a special interest group driving a private agenda.

From the statement published on the SFWMD’s media page yesterday:

“Owosina’s team of engineers and scientists examined the modeling study highlighted during today’s testimony and found the claim that the benefit of southern storage is superior to northern storage in minimizing estuary discharges is misleading, the product of an agenda-driven academic exercise.

“For a contradiction of today’s claims and an objective account of Everglades storage issues, please see the January 11, 2017 testimony to the same Subcommittee by the University of Florida Water Institute’s Director Wendy Graham. On the topic of benefits of both northern and southern water storage in the Everglades, she stated at the 31:45 mark of her testimony:

“If you want to protect the estuaries, it’s pretty equal north or south of the Lake.”

Here’s a link to the full statement, with links and supporting documentation contradicting the Everglades Foundation’s report.


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