Environmental Issues Committee
The LWV has long supported efforts to promote the conservation and sustainability of our natural resources. The Broward League’s Environmental Issues Committee studies these issues with a focus on South Florida, holds events to educate voters, and promotes advocacy to support or oppose legislation which follows League positions.
Please contact Stephanie Pearson for more information at email@example.com.
How water managers prepared for Hurricane Irma
The Water Advisory Board advises the Broward County Board of County Commissioners on matters related to water management. This is Stephanie Pearson’s report on the September meeting.
To understand water management in South Florida, one needs to know we have a three-tiered system. The primary canals are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District. The secondary canals are managed by our local governments and special districts; and the smaller tertiary canals are handled by home owner associations and private land owners.
Preparing for a big storm is a complex effort by government agencies responsible for our water system. The public may not think about these operations except maybe to notice the canals being lowered before a storm or the fact that power may be out after the storm or debris needs to be cleared.
Full house hears speaker at League forum on sea level rise
The library had to bring out extra chairs as more than 80 people gathered to hear what Broward County can expect from sea level rise at a forum co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Broward County and Women’s March on Oct. 11.
After a weekend when many people in Broward had experienced flooding due to king tides, climate scientests Keren Prize Bolter, Ph.D. and Michael Antinelli explained that such flooding will become more common and more widespread in the coming years and decades due to rising sea levels.
July update: Water Advisory Board Plans for Future Needs
By Stephanie Pearson, Environmental Chair
Stormwater Plan for Ft. Lauderdale
Here in South Florida we all experienced the deluge of June 7 which is considered a 100-year rain event. We’ve had four of those in the past 44 years so maybe we need to redefine it!
At the June 16 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting, we heard from Fort Lauderdale’s Public Works Department about the Stormwater Masterplan. The city has a longstanding program that is being improved to consider the future. It is taking into account tidal issues, storms and sea level rise. Civil and environmental engineering firms and academics are using a team approach to collecting data and using models to evaluate watersheds. Using LiDAR, which is an aerial detection survey of water, modeling software, and other tools, a digital elevation hydrologic model is being created. Seven key neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale have been identified and public input was collected to look at flooding.
There will be remedies for different areas including raising selected sea walls, installing backflow prevention devices, moving trunk lines and pumping water. It is expected that the preliminary design will be completed by the end of this year and construction started in 2019 on those seven areas.
The consensus of this group is that despite flooded parking lots and streets, homes were protected from flooding during this recent event. There is always something to learn and the county and cities will make adjustments; but it was felt that public education and reassurance is important. We live in South Florida where occasionally we will have these events but the water will clear.
It is interesting that this storm caught all the professionals by surprise. The large amount of rainfall was unexpected.
Rand Corporation Project
Dr. Jennifer Jurado, Director of Environmental Planning, reported on a project in collaboration with the Rand Corporation that uses a super-computer to put together hydrologic models, land use projections, and scenarios of rainfall, development, and sea level rise. This data will help plan development and redevelopment into the future. According to several members, few communities in the country have the data collection and modeling capabilities as South Florida. The Climate Change Compact among south Florida counties is a good model of regional cooperation.
The C-51 reservoir project, supported by Broward County and also by the League, is eligible for a $30 million low interest loan under Senator Negron’s SB10 bill passed by the legislature. More cities need to sign up to use this alternative water supply to reach the goal of Phase 1. Construction should start this fall.
League supports solar initiative
Residents of Broward County are forming solar co-ops to save money and make going solar easier. By going solar together as a group, the co-op gets a discount through its bulk purchasing power, saving an average of 20 percent. The League of Women Voters of Florida started the solar co-op program last year with co-ops formed in St. Petersburg and Orlando.
For more information, visit http://www.flsun.org/
Environmental Committee holds water forum
By Stephanie Pearson
On March 15, 2017 the League of Women Voters of Broward County sponsored a public forum on water titled Water, Water, Everywhere, But is There Enough? Politics, Water and What We Can Do. Jason Liechty of the Broward County Environmental Protection and Growth Management Division described our natural water system in South Florida, how humans have altered it, the problems we now face, and what Broward County is doing to try to ameliorate those issues. Barbara Ruge of Broward Sierra Club then discussed the need for Everglades restoration and the political impediments to progress.
This meeting helped us all better understand our natural system and the challenges we face in ensuring an adequate good quality water supply for South Florida. The potential dire consequences of doing nothing are frightening, the efforts Broward County is making on its own is encouraging, and the need to advocate to our Florida legislators is imperative.
The Environmental Issues Committee of the Broward County League is working with the Florida League on a Water Task Force and with the League lobbyist to analyze and track the bills proposed in the Florida legislature to better inform members and the public and to determine which bills to support or oppose.
We ask that everyone respond to Action Alerts by contacting their legislators. We welcome new members to our Environmental Issues Committee.
Water Advisory Board / Technical Advisory Committee
The Water Advisory Board advises the Broward County Board of County Commissioners on matters related to water management.
The Board has two committees – the Technical Advisory Committee, which provides technical guidance regarding water resource management issues and the Surface Water Coordinating Committee, a group of drainage and water control district and government water managers who meet quarterly.
League member Stephanie Pearson serves on the Technical Advisory Committee as At-Large Member. Her reports are listed here, beginning with 2016. She replaces Theresa Lianzi who served from 2014 through 2015.