The Council of Civic Associations, Inc.

24910 Goldcrest Drive

Bonita Springs, Florida 34134

 

November 19, 2007

 

Dear Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee:

 

Enclosed is a response to the October 18, 2007 testimony by the Honorable John Woodley, Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Committee. The subject Mr. Woodley addressed was the 35th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act: Successes and Future Challenges.

 

Our comments focus on concern about the State of Florida and for good reason. Nowhere in the United States does there appear to be greater political interference that has contributed to the Corps of Engineers and other federal regulatory agencies inability to fulfill their statutory mandates, consequently endangering valuable and irreplaceable national resources. Significant public trust lands in South Florida include Picayune Strand State Forest, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Panther NWR, Ten Thousand Islands NWR, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, J.N. Ding Darling NWR, Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve (part of the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program) and lands purchased with federal funds, e.g., Southern Golden Gate Estates and Fakahatchee Strand. 

 

The wetlands type found in South Florida is geographically limited with high biodiversity that supports 31 mammal, 139 bird, 40 reptile, 17 amphibian and 22 fish species including 10 federally listed species. Of the two hundred and seventy-four migratory bird species in South Florida, 175 of these are found in aquatic habitats. Of the 992 plants species found in hydric pine flatwoods, 98 species are state listed [threatened].  Wetlands and water quality are interconnected. 711 of the 5,217 bodies of water in the State have been identified as impaired (2000 305 (b) report).

 

The Council of Civic Associations (CCA) March 8, 2007 letter to the Honorable Nick J. Rahall, Chairman of the Houses Committee on Natural Resources and the March 13, 2007 letter to the Honorable Barbara Boxer, Chairman of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee documented the massive destruction of natural resources and proactive marginalization or outright silencing of governmental employees who conscientiously attempt to live up to the responsibilities of their positions. This should come as no surprise to anyone.  

 

It remains to be seen whether this current Congress will address these problems any differently than previous sessions. We hope so.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Ann Hauck, Secretary

tel and fax: 239-495-7379

e-mail: rphauck@inxpress.net