Segment: Improvements with the Water Management District

Source: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas: a tale of two women / produced by Florida International University Learning Resources for FIU/FAU Joint Center. Videotaped at the Douglas House in Coconut Grove, June 15, 1983.

Link to Audio: SPC950B_4

Length of Segment: 00:03:49

Is this a matter, once again, of not enforcing the laws that are on the books, or is this another matter?

Well, some of them.  The pollution is a matter of not enforcing the laws on the books, but the matter of changing or improving the whole system, the laws are not on the books about that.  There again, John Jones of the Wildlife Federation and I for the Friends of the Everglades, and Arthur Marshall, who knows more about it than anybody, who’s been our great environmental leader, went to the Legislature and got them to put a resolution to Congress for the committee that controls the Corps, to tell the Corps to study the restoration of the Kissimmee River from the canal.  And the Congress appropriated $60,000 for them to do it.  Well, they’ve been studying it ever since.  Last Spring, Mrs. Tschinkel, for the Governor, called in the corps said, “Now what, let us have the reports you’ve been studying?”  They didn’t have any.

…When this plane came over…

We were talking about the Corps and the Water Management District and not understanding the system.

Yes.  But I don’t know exactly where I was.

You said they seemed to be catching on…

Oh yes! Oh yes!  And I think I said the Water Management District is really doing better because they had cooperated with the Everglades National Park, and both of them together had decided on seven points that needed to be improved in the true Everglades, that is south of Lake Okeechobee.  To regulate properly the water going into the Park and the rest of it.  Well, the Corps, they had a hearing with the Corps, discussing the seven points, and the Corps said they could only go along with the first point.  And Colonel Devereaux said the rest of it he couldn’t go along with at all.  That’s very difficult, because these are things that the Water Management District and the Everglades Park people know, and I don’t have that confidence in the Corps as against those two other people.  I think they know much more what they’re talking about.  So the great problem is we had Alice Wainwright with the Audubon Society called a meeting several weeks ago down at Audubon House at which Jean Bellamy, who is on the Water Management District, spoke, and they asked us all to write to the senatorial committee that controlled the Corps.  So everybody’s been writing letters to that committee saying, “tell the Corps they’ve got to agree with those other points,” but so far, nothing has happened because of it.  Maybe they need everybody to write more letters to that Senate committee to get the Corps to do it.  You see, the Corps is pretty well run by the War department, or whatever it’s called now, the Department of Defense something, and they don’t have to listen, and it makes it very difficult indeed.  They’re outrageous, I think.  I’ve been happy to tell that to their faces several times.