The South Florida Water Management District is a regional governmental agency that oversees water resources from Orlando to the Florida Keys. The mission of the SFWMD is to manage and protect water resources by balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply, covering 16 counties in Central and Southern Florida. It is the largest water management district in the state, managing water needs for 7.7 million residents. A key initiative is the restoration of America's Everglades – the largest environmental restoration project in the nation's history. The District is also working to improve the Kissimmee River and its floodplain, Lake Okeechobee and South Florida's coastal estuaries.The Governing Board consists of Daniel O’Keefe, Chair; Kevin Powers, Vice Chair; Rick Barber, Sandy Batchelor, Mitch Hutchcraft, James Moran, Juan Portuondo, Timothy Sargent and Glenn Waldman.The Executive Director of the agency is Blake C. Guillory. Wikipedia.
News Article | May 22, 2017
The site is shovel ready and the existing permits reflect a 22-unit building type, totaling 550 units. Permits include a Lee County Development Order, South Florida Water Management District Environmental Resource Permit (SFWMD ERP), SFWMD Water Use Permit, Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Nationwide Permit, and others. Jeff Azuse, Senior Vice President for Hilco Real Estate stated, "Rarely is a fully entitled development property like this available with permits in place to start moving dirt right away. The Fort Myers and North Fort Myers markets are very attractive and the demand for residences should continue to grow into the near future. The prime location gives future resident's easy access to shopping, golf courses, and all the amenities that south Florida offers." The qualifying bid deadline is July 13, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. EST. To participate in this offering, interested parties should review the extensive due diligence information located on the web page (link below), and submit by July 13, 2017 your qualifying bid. You will be notified within three business days if your bid qualified to be considered for the next round of offers, where Hilco and the Seller will work with the best qualified offers to structure a mutually acceptable sale. For more due diligence information and to view the terms of sale, please visit www.HilcoRealEstate.com/FortMyers or contact a member of our transactional team at 855-755-2300. About Hilco Real Estate, LLC: Hilco Real Estate, LLC ("HRE"), a Hilco Global company, is headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois (USA). HRE is a national provider of strategic real estate disposition services. Acting as an agent or principal, HRE uses its experience to advise and execute strategies to assist clients in deriving the maximum value from their real estate assets. By leveraging multi-faceted sales strategies and techniques, extensive repositioning and restructuring experience, a vast and motivated network of buyers and sellers, and substantial access to capital, HRE consistently exceeds expectations. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/hilco-real-estate-announces-july-13th-bid-deadline---sloanes-gate-fully-entitled-100-acres-in-north-fort-myers-fl-approved-for-550-multi-family-units-300461602.html
News Article | February 15, 2017
CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EnPro Industries, Inc. (NYSE: NPO) today announced its financial results for the three and twelve month periods ended December 31, 2016. Consolidated and Pro Forma Financial Highlights (Amounts in millions except per share data and percentages) 1 Consolidated results for the fourth quarters and full years of 2016 and 2015 reflect the deconsolidation of Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC (GST) and its subsidiaries, effective June 5, 2010, when GST filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to begin a process (the Asbestos Claims Resolutions Process, or ACRP) in pursuit of an efficient and permanent resolution to all current and future asbestos claims against it. 2 See attached schedules for adjustments and reconciliations to GAAP numbers. 3 Pro forma financial information in these tables and throughout this press release is presented as if GST were reconsolidated with EnPro based on confirmation and consummation of the joint plan of reorganization filed pursuant to the comprehensive settlement announced on March 17, 2016. See attached unaudited condensed consolidated pro forma statements of operations. “Despite the market headwinds that continue to be quite challenging, I am very much energized about EnPro’s future,” said Steve Macadam, EnPro Industries’ President and CEO. “Over the past year, we have taken a variety of actions to resolve our asbestos burden, strengthen our core business and create new growth opportunities. In the fourth quarter, we completed several major milestones in our plan to finalize the ACRP, and we remain on track for the confirmation and ultimate consummation of the joint plan of reorganization filed pursuant to the consensual comprehensive settlement announced on March 17, 2016. Assuming receipt of necessary court approvals, we expect consummation and the reconsolidation of GST into EnPro to occur in the third quarter of this year. Our efforts to reduce costs and exit underperforming businesses have resulted in a leaner and more agile organization, and our ongoing investments in innovation are showing promise in many of our businesses. Power Systems’ sales focus has resulted in a series of program wins, including the U.S. Navy’s Tanker Oiler program, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter, the U.S. Navy’s LHA-8 Amphibious Assault Ship and South Florida Water Management District’s engine diesel to dual fuel conversion program. We also remain committed to disciplined growth through acquisitions, as evidenced by Garlock’s acquisition of Rubber Fab in the second quarter of 2016, which is proving to be an excellent fit with our food and pharma strategy. I believe that all of these activities are driving shareholder value despite the market conditions, and I am looking forward to additional benefits when our primary markets begin to recover.” Mr. Macadam continued, “We remain committed to our strategy to create shareholder value through earnings growth and balanced capital allocation, including disciplined investments for organic growth and innovation, strategic bolt-on acquisitions, and returning capital to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. We continued to execute on this strategy in the fourth quarter through our cost reduction activities, R&D investments in Power Systems and Sealing Products, integration of our recent Rubber Fab acquisition, a $3.9 million repurchase of shares and a $0.21 per share dividend.” The quarterly sales decline was driven primarily by weak demand across many markets, including oil & gas, nuclear, gas turbine equipment, heavy-duty trucking, and general industrial. A planned exit from unprofitable customers in the heavy-duty trucking air springs product line, and restructuring activities over the past year in the Engineered Products segment, further contributed to the decline. Semiconductor and food & pharma sales continued to be strong, although the associated sales growth was more than offset by the declines in the other markets. Acquisitions contributed 1.4% sales growth on a consolidated basis and 1.3% sales growth on a pro forma basis while foreign exchange had a negative impact of 1.0% on both a consolidated and pro forma basis. GST, which is the deconsolidated entity included in the pro forma results, was impacted by weak demand in the refining, steel and mining markets. Segment profit in the fourth quarter was down year-over-year as a result of weaker demand across nearly all markets other than semiconductor and food & pharma and a $5.9 million charge related to the EDF engine contract, partially offset by both cost reduction initiatives and contributions from acquisitions. The EDF charge was primarily driven by strengthening of the U.S. Dollar relative to the Euro. Excluding the impact of acquisition results, restructuring, foreign exchange translation and the impact of reflecting the total projected loss on the long-term EDF contract in proportion to the percentage of completion of the contract, as is the accounting practice for positive gross margin long-term contracts, consolidated segment profit was 29.3% lower and pro forma segment profit was 26.9% lower compared to the fourth quarter of 2015. Focused actions to improve profitability through manufacturing labor efficiencies, supply chain initiatives, savings from the company-wide cost reduction effort, and savings from the restructurings in the Engineered Products and Sealing Products segments launched in late 2015 limited the impact of strong market headwinds. The organization-wide cost reduction plan announced at the end of the second quarter was completed during the fourth quarter. The plan is expected to reduce the company’s annualized first half of the year run-rate operating costs by approximately $18 million on a consolidated basis and $20 million on a pro forma basis, including savings from deconsolidated GST. Excluding restructuring costs, the SG&A cost acquired with Rubber Fab and a $0.5 million positive net impact related to unusual items, SG&A in the fourth quarter was $5.4 million lower on a consolidated basis and $6.3 million lower on a pro forma basis versus the same period of 2015. This improvement was due to the company-wide cost reduction effort and the previously announced restructuring in the Sealing Products and Engineered Products segments completed in the past year. Restructuring charges for the quarter were $4.2 million on a consolidated basis and $4.5 million on a pro forma basis. For the full year, restructuring charges were $13.4 million on a consolidated basis and $14.1 million on a pro forma basis. The company’s average diluted share count in the fourth quarter of 2016 decreased by 0.8 million shares to 21.4 million shares, down 3.6% from the same period a year ago. If the company had generated positive net income, then 0.3 million shares related to stock compensation would have been additionally dilutive, thus resulting in a comparable year-over-year average diluted share count reduction of 0.5 million shares, or 2.3%. The decrease in the fourth quarter was driven by share repurchases in connection with the $50 million repurchase program authorized in October 2015. The cost of the shares repurchased in the fourth quarter was $3.9 million. Through the end of the fourth quarter, 727,157 shares were purchased under this program for a total investment of $35.7 million. Corporate expenses were $8.1 million in the fourth quarter and $8.7 million in the same period last year. The year-over-year decrease was driven primarily by employee costs, which were $0.5 million lower in the current quarter versus the same period last year, as a result of headcount reductions implemented earlier in the year. Restructuring costs of $2.2 million in the current quarter were offset by a reduction in incentive compensation of $2.3 million. “Demand in nearly all of our markets continued to be soft in the fourth quarter, with semiconductor and food & pharma once again being notable exceptions. Aside from those markets, the macroeconomic drivers that affect our businesses continue to suggest sluggish demand or a weak recovery over the next year. Our pace of growth could improve if our primary markets strengthen as the year progresses. We are managing costs consistent with a low growth economy, which we believe to be prudent given our experience over the last two years,” said Mr. Macadam. To aid comparisons of year-over-year data, the company has included information in this press release showing key operating measures for EnPro and GST on a pro forma reconsolidated basis. These measures are derived from tables attached to this press release that illustrate, on a pro forma basis, total financial results for the fourth quarters and full years of 2016 and 2015 as if GST were reconsolidated with EnPro based on confirmation and consummation of the joint plan of reorganization filed pursuant to the consensual comprehensive settlement announced on March 17, 2016. The narrative preceding those tables includes an important discussion of the risks and uncertainties applicable to confirmation and consummation of the joint plan of reorganization. In response to requests from investors, we are providing the pro forma financial information in this release as supplemental information as it reflects the performance of all of our subsidiaries. EnPro will hold a conference call tomorrow, February 16, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss fourth quarter and year end 2016 results. Investors who wish to participate in the call should dial 1-800-851-4704 approximately 10 minutes before the call begins and provide conference ID number 53479820. A live audio webcast of the call and accompanying slide presentation will be accessible from the company’s website, http://www.enproindustries.com. To access the presentation, log on to the webcast by clicking the link on the company’s home page. This press release contains financial measures that have not been prepared in accordance with GAAP. They include adjusted net income, adjusted diluted earnings per share, pro forma adjusted net income, adjusted EBITDA, pro forma adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA margin and pro forma adjusted EBITDA margin, as well as segment adjusted EBITDA, segment adjusted EBITDA margin, pro forma segment adjusted EBITDA and pro forma segment adjusted EBITDA margin. Tables showing the effect of these non-GAAP financial measures for the fourth quarters and full years of 2016 and 2015 are attached to the release. Statements in this press release that express a belief, expectation or intention, as well as those that are not historical fact, are forward-looking statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. They involve a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual events and results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: general economic conditions in the markets served by our businesses, some of which are cyclical and experience periodic downturns; prices and availability of raw materials; and the amount of any payments required to satisfy contingent liabilities related to discontinued operations of our predecessors, including liabilities for certain products, environmental matters, employee benefit obligations and other matters. In addition, there are risks and uncertainties that may affect matters involving the voluntary petitions filed by certain of our subsidiaries in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to establish a trust that would resolve all current and future asbestos claims, which risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to the risk that the joint plan of reorganization may not obtain necessary court approval, uncertainties related to pending and potential future objections to the joint plan, including any changes implemented in the resolutions of such objections, the actions and decisions of creditors, insurers and other third parties that have an interest in the bankruptcy proceedings, the terms and conditions of any reorganization plan that is ultimately approved by the Bankruptcy Court, including any changes implemented in the resolutions of objections, delays in the confirmation or consummation of the joint plan, and risks and uncertainties affecting the ability to fund anticipated contributions under the joint plan as a result of adverse changes in results of operations, financial condition and capital resources, including as a result of economic factors beyond EnPro’s control. Our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015 and our Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2016, describe these and other risks and uncertainties in more detail. We do not undertake to update any forward-looking statement made in this press release to reflect any change in management's expectations or any change in the assumptions or circumstances on which such statements are based. EnPro Industries, Inc. is a leader in sealing products, metal polymer and filament wound bearings, components and service for reciprocating compressors, diesel and dual-fuel engines and other engineered products for use in critical applications by industries worldwide. For more information about EnPro, visit the company’s website at http://www.enproindustries.com. The historical business operations of Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC (“GST LLC”) and The Anchor Packing Company (“Anchor”) resulted in a substantial volume of asbestos litigation in which plaintiffs alleged personal injury or death as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers. Those subsidiaries manufactured and/or sold industrial sealing products, predominately gaskets and packing, that contained encapsulated asbestos fibers. Anchor is an inactive and insolvent indirect subsidiary of EnPro. EnPro’s subsidiaries’ exposure to asbestos litigation and their relationships with insurance carriers have been managed through another subsidiary, Garrison Litigation Management Group, Ltd. (“Garrison”). GST LLC, Anchor and Garrison are collectively referred to as “GST.” On June 5, 2010 (the “Petition Date”), GST filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina in Charlotte (the “Bankruptcy Court”). The filings were the initial step in an asbestos claims resolution process, which is ongoing. The financial results of GST and its subsidiaries are included in our consolidated results through June 4, 2010, the day prior to the Petition Date. However, U.S. generally accepted accounting principles require an entity that files for protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, whether solvent or insolvent, whose financial statements were previously consolidated with those of its parent, as GST’s and its subsidiaries’ were with EnPro’s, generally must be prospectively deconsolidated from the parent and the investment accounted for using the cost method. Accordingly, the financial results of GST and its subsidiaries are not included in EnPro’s consolidated results after June 4, 2010. On March 17, 2016, EnPro announced that it had reached a comprehensive settlement to resolve current and future asbestos claims. The settlement was reached with the court-appointed committee representing current asbestos claimants (the “GST Committee”) and the court-appointed legal representative of future asbestos claimants (the “GST FCR”) in GST’s Chapter 11 case pending before the Bankruptcy Court. Representatives for current and future asbestos claimants (the “Coltec Representatives”) against Coltec Industries Inc (“Coltec”) (another subsidiary of EnPro and, at that time, GST’s direct parent) also joined in the settlement. The terms of the settlement are set forth in the Term Sheet for Permanent Resolution of All Present and Future GST Asbestos Claims and Coltec Asbestos Claims dated March 17, 2016 among EnPro, Coltec, GST, the GST Committee, the GST FCR and the Coltec Representatives included as Exhibit 99.2 to EnPro’s Form 8-K filed on March 18, 2016. Under the settlement, the GST Committee, the GST FCR and the Coltec Representatives agreed to join GST and Coltec in proposing a joint plan of reorganization that incorporates the settlement and to ask asbestos claimants and the court to approve the plan. The joint plan of reorganization was filed with the Bankruptcy Court on May 20, 2016 and technical amendments to the joint plan of reorganization were filed with the Bankruptcy Court on June 21, 2016, July 29, 2016 and December 2, 2016. The joint plan of reorganization supersedes all prior plans of reorganization filed by GST with the Bankruptcy Court. The joint plan of reorganization was subject to approval by a vote in favor of the plan by asbestos claimants. The solicitation process to obtain approval of the asbestos claimants was completed successfully on December 9, 2016, with 95.85% in number and 95.80% in amount of claims held by asbestos claimants casting valid ballots voting in favor of approval of the joint plan of reorganization. The joint plan of reorganization remains subject to approval by the Bankruptcy Court and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina (the “District Court”) and, if so approved and consummated, would permanently resolve all current and future asbestos claims against GST and Coltec/OldCo, and would protect all of EnPro and its subsidiaries from those claims, under Section 524(g) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The hearing on objections to the joint plan of reorganization and to determine whether the Bankruptcy Court will confirm the joint plan of reorganization is scheduled to commence on May 15, 2017. As contemplated by the comprehensive settlement, following the approval of the joint plan of reorganization by asbestos claimants, Coltec engaged in a series of corporate restructuring transactions in which all of its significant operating assets and subsidiaries, which included each of EnPro’s major business units, were distributed to a new direct EnPro subsidiary (“EnPro Holdings”). OldCo, as the successor by merger to Coltec in those transactions, retained responsibility for all asbestos claims and rights to certain insurance assets. The restructuring was completed on December 31, 2016 and, as contemplated by the joint plan of reorganization and the comprehensive settlement, OldCo filed a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition with the Bankruptcy Court on January 30, 2017. The joint plan of reorganization provides for the establishment of a trust (the “Trust”) to be fully funded within a year of consummation of the joint plan of reorganization. The Trust is to be funded with aggregate cash contributions by GST LLC and Garrison of $370 million made at the effective date of the joint plan of reorganization and by the contribution made by OldCo at the effective date of the joint plan of reorganization of $30 million in cash and an option, exercisable one-year after the effective date of the joint plan of reorganization, permitting the Trust to purchase for $1 shares of EnPro common stock having a value of $20 million and the obligation of OldCo to make a deferred contribution of $60 million in cash no later than one year after the effective date of the joint plan of reorganization. This deferred contribution is to be guaranteed by EnPro and secured by a pledge of 50.1% of the outstanding voting equity interests of GST LLC and Garrison. Under the joint plan of reorganization, the Trust will assume responsibility for all present and future asbestos claims arising from the conduct, operations or products of GST or Coltec/OldCo. Under the joint plan of reorganization, all non-asbestos creditors will be paid in full and EnPro will retain ownership of OldCo, GST LLC and Garrison. The consensual settlement includes as a condition to EnPro’s obligations to proceed with the settlement that EnPro, Coltec, GST LLC and Garlock of Canada Ltd (an indirect subsidiary of GST LLC) enter into a written agreement, to be consummated concurrently with the effective date of consummation of the joint plan of reorganization, with the Canadian provincial workers’ compensation boards (the “Provincial Boards”) resolving remedies the Provincial Boards may possess against Garlock of Canada Ltd, GST, Coltec or any of their affiliates, including releases and covenants not to sue, for any present or future asbestos-related claim, and that the agreement is either approved by the Bankruptcy Court following notice to interested parties or the Bankruptcy Court concludes that its approval is not required. On November 11, 2016, EnPro and such subsidiaries entered into such an agreement (the “Canadian Settlement”) with the Provincial Boards to resolve current and future claims against EnPro, GST, Garrison, Coltec, and Garlock of Canada Ltd. for recovery of a portion of amounts the Provincial Boards have paid and will pay in the future under asbestos-injury recovery statutes in Canada for claims relating to asbestos-containing products. The Canadian Settlement provides for an aggregate cash settlement payment to the Provincial Boards of $(U.S.) 20 million, payable on the fourth anniversary of the effective date of the joint plan of reorganization. Under the Canadian Settlement, after the effective date of the joint plan of reorganization, the Provincial Boards will have the option of accelerating the payment, in which case the amount payable would be discounted from the fourth anniversary of the effective date of the joint plan of reorganization to the payment date at a discount rate of 4.5% per annum. On February 3, 2017, the Bankruptcy Court issued an order approving the Canadian Settlement. If the joint plan of reorganization is approved by the Bankruptcy Court and the District Court and is consummated, GST will be reconsolidated with EnPro’s results for financial reporting purposes. EnPro cannot assure you that necessary approvals of the joint plan of reorganization will be obtained and that the joint plan of reorganization will be consummated. Confirmation and consummation of the joint plan of reorganization are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, certain of which are summarized above in the paragraph following the caption, “Forward-Looking Statements.” EnPro is providing the unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated financial information which assumes, with respect to GST, the confirmation and consummation of the joint plan of reorganization for illustrative purposes only, in light of specific requests for such pro forma information by investors. The unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated financial information presented below has been prepared to illustrate the effects of the reconsolidation of GST and its subsidiaries with EnPro assuming the confirmation and consummation of the joint plan of reorganization and the consummation of the Canadian Settlement and is based upon the historical balance sheet of EnPro as of December 31, 2016, the estimated fair value of assets and liabilities of GST as of December 31, 2016 and the historical results of GST operations after consideration of the adjustments to the fair value of assets and liabilities. The unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2016 gives effect to the reconsolidation as if it occurred on December 31, 2016. The unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated statements of operations for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015 give effect to the reconsolidation as if it had occurred on January 1, 2015. Under generally accepted accounting principles, the reconsolidation of GST requires that the tangible and intangible assets and liabilities of GST be reflected at their estimated fair values. The preliminary fair value amounts used in the unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated financial information reflects management’s best estimates of fair value. Upon completion of detailed valuation studies and the final determination of fair value, EnPro may make additional adjustments to the fair value allocation, which may differ significantly from the valuations set forth in the unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated financial information. The unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated statements of operations are based on estimates and assumptions, which have been made solely for the purposes of developing such pro forma information. The unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated statements of operations also include certain adjustments such as increased depreciation and amortization expense on tangible and intangible assets, increased interest expense on the debt incurred to complete the reconsolidation as well as the tax impacts related to these adjustments. The pro forma adjustments are based upon available information and certain assumptions that EnPro believes are reasonable. The unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated financial information has been presented for information purposes only and is not necessarily indicative of what the consolidated company’s financial position or results of operations actually would have been had the reconsolidation been completed as of the dates indicated, nor is it necessarily indicative of the future operating results or financial position of the consolidated company. Therefore, the actual amounts recorded at the date the reconsolidation occurs may differ from the information presented herein.
News Article | December 15, 2016
WASHINGTON - To ensure the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is responsive to changing environmental conditions like climate change and sea-level rise, as well as to changes in water management, a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine calls for a re-examination of the program's original restoration goals and recommends a forward-looking, systemwide analysis of Everglades restoration outcomes across a range of scenarios. This report is the sixth biennial assessment of the CERP, a multibillion-dollar effort between the state of Florida and federal government launched in 2000 to reverse the decline of the Everglades. A large and diverse aquatic ecosystem, the Everglades has been dramatically transformed over the past century owing to the diversion of its waters for urban and agricultural uses. The resulting large-scale changes to the landscape have diminished the natural resources and impacted vegetation and wildlife populations. The broad goals of the CERP are to re-establish the natural hydrologic characteristics of the Everglades, where feasible, and to create a water system that serves both the ecological needs of South Florida and the needs of its residents. Since the goals of this program were established, the scientific community has gained substantial new knowledge on pre-drainage hydrology, climate change, and sea-level rise that have important implications for the restoration plan. For example, climate change analyses highlight a need for increased water storage under scenarios of increased or decreased future precipitation. Additionally, based on new understanding of project feasibility and changes to Lake Okeechobee's water management rules, surface water storage capacity could be reduced by over 1 million acre feet. Reduced water storage could have serious ecological consequences in both the northern estuaries and the Everglades ecosystem if this shortfall is not addressed. Furthermore, estimated feasible underground storage has been reduced by approximately 60 percent of the storage originally envisioned in the CERP, reducing the benefits provided by the CERP in multiyear droughts. Forward-looking analysis should consider various scenarios for environmental changes and water storage, and study the implications on the ecosystem, the report says. Establishing the alternative future scenarios will better inform decision makers and stakeholders of the effects of short- and long-term decisions. The report states that such analyses should not slow the pace of restoration progress and that implementation of authorized projects should continue. "Despite important progress on CERP implementation, there has been insufficient attention on refining long-term systemwide goals and objectives and on the need to adapt CERP to radically changing system and planning constraints," said David B. Ashley, professor of engineering practice at the University of Southern California and chair of the committee that conducted the study and wrote the report. "Forward-looking analysis, in conjunction with adaptive management, will ensure that the CERP is based on the latest scientific and engineering knowledge and is robust enough to handle changing conditions." Since the CERP was launched, a scientific consensus has developed that the Everglades ecosystem contained much more water historically than previously thought, which means recreating that level of hydrology will require more new water and have different ecological outcomes than first anticipated in the planning. The committee highlighted this information as a pathway to explore new issues and opportunities that need to be considered in future CERP design options. Revised goals would also need to reflect the dynamic nature of the system and developing constraints imposed by climate change and sea-level rise. Although improved reporting of ecosystem restoration benefits is needed, several CERP projects are starting to show ecosystem benefits, especially in terms of water conditions that are increasingly similar to circumstances prior to building drainage systems. For example, there has been considerable progress in constructing the Picayune Strand Restoration Project, including canal plugging, road removal, and construction of pump stations. The Picayune Strand, the first CERP project under construction, is an area in Southwest Florida that was substantially disordered by a real estate development project, which disrupted the flow into the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, altered regional groundwater flows in surrounding natural areas, and drained a large expanse of wetland habitat. Overall, the documented hydrologic improvements from the CERP to date involve a small proportion of the overall CERP footprint and are located on the periphery of the remnant Everglades. However, the large-scale Central Everglades restoration project was recently authorized by Congress. Additionally, according to the report, three major non-CERP projects that are essential to CERP progress are nearing completion in the next five years and are anticipated to provide large-scale benefits. Even though the restoration funding outlook has improved modestly in the last two years, the report finds that the funding pace remains slower and the project costs are greater than originally envisioned by the CERP, which could delay the completion of the program. In the first 16 years of the restoration project, originally planned for approximately 40 years, only 16 percent to 18 percent of the estimated total CERP cost has been funded, suggesting that substantial additional investment is needed to complete the project as envisioned. The study was sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of the Interior, and South Florida Water Management District. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. They operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln. For more information, visit http://national-academies. . A roster follows. Riya V. Anandwala, Media Relations Officer Rebecca Ray, Media Relations Assistant Office of News and Public Information 202-334-2138; e-mail email@example.com national-academies.org/newsroom Follow us on Twitter @theNASEM Copies of Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades: The Sixth Biennial Review, 2016 are available at http://www. or by calling 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above). David B. Ashley (chair) Professor of Engineering Practice Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Viterbi School of Engineering University of Southern California Los Angeles Mary Jane Angelo Professor and Director Environmental and Land Use Law Program Levin College of Law University of Florida Gainesville M. Siobhan Fennessy Jordan Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Department of Biology Kenyon College Gambier, Ohio Karl E. Havens Professor School of Forest Resources and Conservation Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences University of Florida Gainesville Wayne C. Huber Professor Emeritus Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering Oregon State University Corvallis Fernando R. Miralles-Wilhelm Professor Department of Atmospheric and Ocean Science University of Maryland College Park David H. Moreau Professor Department of City and Regional Planning University of North Carolina Chapel Hill James Saiers Professor of Hydrology and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Yale University New Haven, Conn. Jeffrey R. Walters Harold Bailey Professor of Biology Department of Biology Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg
Salas J.D.,Colorado State University |
Obeysekera J.,South Florida Water Management District
Journal of Hydrologic Engineering | Year: 2014
Current practice using probabilistic methods applied for designing hydraulic structures generally assume that extreme events are stationary. However, many studies in the past decades have shown that hydrological records exhibit some type of nonstationarity such as trends and shifts. Human intervention in river basins (e.g., urbanization), the effect of low-frequency climatic variability (e.g., Pacific Decadal Oscillation), and climate change due to increased greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere have been suggested to be the leading causes of changes in the hydrologic cycle of river basins in addition to changes in the magnitude and frequency of extreme floods and extreme sea levels. To tackle nonstationarity in hydrologic extremes, several approaches have been proposed in the literature such as frequency analysis, in which the parameters of a given model vary in accordance with time. The aim of this paper is to show that some basic concepts and methods used in designing flood-related hydraulic structures assuming a stationary world can be extended into a nonstationary framework. In particular, the concepts of return period and risk are formulated by extending the geometric distribution to allow for changing exceeding probabilities over time. Building on previous developments suggested in the statistical and climate change literature, the writers present a simple and unified framework to estimate the return period and risk for nonstationary hydrologic events along with examples and applications so that it can be accessible to a broad audience in the field. The applications demonstrate that the return period and risk estimates for nonstationary situations can be quite different than those corresponding to stationary conditions. They also suggest that the nonstationary analysis can be helpful in making an appropriate assessment of the risk of a hydraulic structure during the planned project-life. © 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.
News Article | April 21, 2016
But now, seagrass is dying at a rate unseen since the late 1980s in the Florida Bay, off the southern tip of Florida between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. "It is like a desert," said fishing guide Xavier Figueredo, peering into the water, where only an occasional needle fish or ray could be seen scooting along a bottom clustered with matted, dead underwater grasses. Seagrass provides shelter for small fish, which are eaten by bigger fish, and serves as the foundation for the marine food chain. In Florida, where recreational saltwater fishing is a $7.6 billion industry, experts consider seagrass a key indicator of the ecosystem's health. "This has historically been a wonderful spotted seatrout fishery. This year it was non-existent, literally," said Figueredo, one of a group of fishing guides who cater to tourists visiting the string of islands known as the Florida Keys. Ecologists say the problem is mainly due to the way humans have for decades diverted the natural flow of fresh water from central Florida southward to the Everglades wetlands, protecting sugar cane farms and other property. A massive die-off that began in 1987 and lasted for years helped spark ambitious plans to protect the area, but fishermen say progress has been too slow. Now, they see the death cycle happening again, as increasingly warm and salty water smothers the underwater grass. First the grass detaches from the bottom. It floats to the surface during the day and sinks again at night, earning it the nickname "zombie grass," said Steve Davis, a wetland ecologist with the Everglades Foundation, as he inspected a once-popular fishing area called Whipray Basin. "It's dead, it just doesn't know it yet," he explained. Eventually, the grass bleaches, and the blades amass into smelly islands. The die-off makes an algae bloom quite likely, sucking oxygen out of the water and making it a hostile environment for marine life. "It is dramatic. It looks like a disaster area," said Davis. Heavy rain led to record freshwater inflows coming into the bay in January and February, Davis said, but it is not enough. The die-off is gathering steam. "We just have to now ride it out, and we know it is going to take years to recover," he said. State wildlife officials say the affected area covers about 25,000 acres (110,000 hectares) of dead sea grass—about the size of Paris. But Davis said fishermen who have seen it firsthand say it's twice that big—on the order of 50,000 acres. "It is a massive area in Florida Bay where the entire habitat has been decimated," said Davis. The crisis has prompted some fishing guides to press for government action. Some have formed advocacy groups like Captains for Clean Water, which has more than 9,000 followers on Facebook. The solution, they say, is to acquire a patch of land south of the state's largest freshwater lake, Lake Okeechobee, to act as a reservoir for fresh water that can flow south to the Everglades and the Florida Bay. But the land in that area belongs to sugar cane farms, a powerful industry known as "Big Sugar" that has resisted giving up any territory. "When times were tough, the industry was anxious to sell, and then times got better and the economics changed," Congressman Carlos Curbelo told a gathering of fishermen and concerned citizens in Islamorada this month. "We need to find a partner that is willing to engage." The lead government agencies involved—the US Department of the Interior and the South Florida Water Management District—did not respond to AFP requests for comment. The Everglades Foundation said money is not an issue, with some $200 million a year for the next 20 years earmarked to pay for the state's share of restoration, and federal funds to match. "The only other thing that is lacking is the political will to get the land that we need," said Davis. "Without that land, without that reservoir, we can't solve the problem in the Florida Bay." The Florida Bay did bounce back on its own after the 1987 die-off, but the rejuvenation process took nearly a decade. John Guastavino, who has been taking tourists out to fish from the Florida Keys for 26 years, remembers a time, not so long ago, when the catch was bountiful. "I've had days when I could go catch 65 redfish in a day, and days when I've caught 30 or 40 snook," he said. Now, "if you are having a good day, you might catch five or six snook," he added. "I can't remember the last time I had someone catch more than one or two redfish." He also has to travel farther than ever to find a good fishing spot. "It is probably one of the most frequently asked questions that I get," said Guastavino. "'Aren't there any fish back there, the 30 miles we just traveled?' It is sad to tell them, 'No, not really.'" Explore further: Restrictions on boaters proposed to protect Everglades seagrass
Toth L.A.,South Florida Water Management District
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2010
The ongoing restoration of the channelized Kissimmee River is expected to promote reestablishment of the prolonged, deep inundation regimes that sustained broadleaf marsh as the dominant wetland plant community on the historical floodplain. The success of the restoration was evaluated at locations on the remnant floodplain where broadleaf marsh had been replaced by a mesophytic shrub community, and on the lower portion of the reconstructed floodplain, which was recreated by backfilling of a flood control canal and degradation of associated spoil mounds. During the 8-year post-restoration period (2001-2008) mean annual hydroperiods and depths on the restored floodplain were not significantly different from pre-channelization hydrologic conditions at historical reference sites. Increased hydroperiods and depths eliminated the mesophytic shrub (primarily Myrica cerifera) and associated fern cover, and led to colonization of floating and mat-forming species, but did not result in the reestablishment of a broadleaf marsh community. Signature broadleaf marsh species, Sagittaria lancifolia and Pontederia cordata, were found in all remnant floodplain plots and colonized 8 of the 10 reconstructed floodplain plots, but had mean cover ranging from only 0.9 to 6.1%. Several factors may have contributed to unsuccessful reestablishment of broadleaf marsh, including unfavorable edaphic conditions, brief drawdown (low stage) periods for establishment of seedlings, flood induced mortality, and an invasion of the exotic shrub, Ludwigia peruviana, which had post-restoration mean cover of 17-19%. Study results indicate hydrologic restoration of floodplain plant communities can be influenced by more discrete aspects of the river flood pulse than average hydroperiods and depths. © 2010 Society for Ecological Restoration International.
Obeysekera J.,South Florida Water Management District
Regional Environmental Change | Year: 2013
A non-stationary climate requires a new paradigm in the current practice of using past observations for future planning. Next to precipitation, evapotranspiration is the most important variable in water budgets of regions such as Florida, the location of this study. Dynamical simulations using Regional Climate Models (RCMs) provide all the variables necessary to compute potential or reference crop evapotranspiration (RET) for hydrologic modeling under climate change scenarios. Data sets for the variables necessary to compute RET using the Penman-Monteith model were obtained from RCMs provided by the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program to evaluate their skills in estimating RET during the late twentieth century simulations. Comparison of RET values simulated from RCMs with those computed from a high-resolution weather-monitoring network and satellite data show significant biases in spatial patterns and seasonality. In particular, seasonal patterns of RET computed from RCMs show a phase shift with peak values occurring during mid-summer months, whereas observed data show earlier peaks in May and June. The phase shift reflects similar behavior in model predictions of incoming solar radiation. In addition, relative humidity values estimated from RCMs are significantly higher than observed values and the wind speed estimates from many RCMs have a significant bias during dry season months. Further improvements to RCMs may be needed before they can be used effectively for hydrologic modeling under future climate change scenarios. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Koebel J.W.,South Florida Water Management District |
Bousquin S.G.,South Florida Water Management District
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2014
Over the past decade, restoration of the Kissimmee River in central Florida has received considerable attention from local, state, national, and international media. In terms of areal extent, project cost, and ecological evaluation it is one of the largest and most comprehensive river restoration projects in the world. The goal of reestablishing ecological integrity involves restoring the physical attributes and the hydrologic processes that were lost after channelization of the river in the 1960s. The project is expected to restore over 80km2 of floodplain wetlands and reestablish over 70km of river channel. Restoration construction began in 1999; to date, three construction phases have been completed, with the final phase of construction slated for completion in 2019. Restoration evaluation is widely viewed as a critical component of any restoration project. Equally important is the dissemination of information gained from restoration evaluation programs. This introductory article presents a brief overview of project history and outlines the approach and logic of the Kissimmee River Restoration Evaluation Program. The following papers present the results of ecological studies conducted before and after completion of the first phase of restoration construction. This first phase reestablished flow through 23km of reconnected river channels and seasonally inundated a large portion (approximately 2,900ha) of the floodplain within the Phase I project area. Although these studies present interim responses prior to full hydrologic restoration, results suggest that the ecosystem is responding largely as predicted by performance measures developed prior to restoration construction. © 2014 Society for Ecological Restoration 22 3 May 2014 Published 2014.
Anderson D.H.,South Florida Water Management District
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2014
Channelization of the Kissimmee River eliminated flow through the river channel, which allowed the formation of a largely organic deposition layer (ODL) on the river channel bed and stopped active sand transport needed to maintain point bars on meander bends. In 2001, completion of the first phase of dechannelization for the Kissimmee River Restoration Project (KRRP) reestablished flow to the river channel in the Phase I area. This study evaluated changes in the ODL and the number of meander bends with active point bar development (MBPB) following Phase I of dechannelization. Evaluations involved comparing interim measurements made after flow was reestablished to the river channel in the Phase I area but before full completion of KRRP with (a) baseline measurements made before dechannelization and (b) predicted changes based on reference measurements representing the pre-channelization system. ODL thickness was measured in core samples on fixed transects perpendicular to the river channel. The ODL was thinner during the Interim Period than the Baseline Period and this decrease exceeded the expected change predicted from the reference condition. MBPB was assessed with aerial photography. MBPB increased from the baseline measurement of 0 bends to interim measurements of 27 bends in 2002 and 72 bends in 2009, approximating the increase predicted from the reference condition. The decrease in ODL thickness and the increase in MBPB to levels that meet or approximate the reference condition indicate that these aspects of the river channel are recovering following reestablishment of flow. © 2014 Society for Ecological Restoration 22 3 May 2014 Published 2014.
Nungesser M.K.,South Florida Water Management District
Wetlands Ecology and Management | Year: 2011
The Everglades of south Florida is a patterned peatland that has undergone major hydrologic modification over the last century, including both drainage and impoundment. The Everglades ridge and slough patterns were originally characterized by regularly spaced elevated ridges and tree islands oriented parallel to water flow through interconnected sloughs. Many areas of the remaining Everglades have lost this patterning over time. Historical aerial photography for the years 1940, 1953, 1972, 1984, and 2004 provides source data to measure these changes over six decades. Maps were created by digitizing the ridges, tree islands, and sloughs in fifteen 24 km2 study plots located in the remaining Everglades, and metrics were developed to quantify the extent and types of changes in the patterns. Pattern metrics of length/width ratios, number of ridges, and perimeter/area ratios were used to define the details and trajectories of pattern changes in the study plots from 1940 through 2004. These metrics characterized elongation, smoothness, and abundance of ridges and tree islands. Hierarchical agglomerative cluster analysis was used to categorize these 75 maps (15 plots by 5 years) into five categories based on a suite of metrics of pattern quality. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling, an ordination technique, confirmed that these categories were distinct with the primary axis distinguished primarily by the abundance of elongated ridges in each study plot. Strong patterns like those described historically were characterized by numerous, long ridges while degraded patterns contained few large, irregularly shaped patches. Pattern degradation usually occurred with ridges fusing into fewer, less linear patches of emergent vegetation. Patterning improved in some plots, probably through wetter conditions facilitating expression of the underlying microtopography. Trajectories showing responses of individual study plots over the six decades indicated that ridge and slough patterns can degrade or improve over time scales of a decade or less. Changes in ridge and slough patterns indicate that (1) patterns can be lost quickly following severe peat dryout, yet (2) patterns appear resilient at least over multi-decadal time periods; (3) patterns can be maintained and possibly strengthened with deeper water depths, and (4) the sub-decadal response time of pattern changes visible in aerial imagery is highly useful for change detection within the landscape. This analysis suggests that restoration of some aspects of these unique peatland patterns may be possible within relatively short planning time frames. Use of aerial photography in future Everglades restoration efforts can facilitate restoration and adaptive management by documenting sub-decadal pattern changes in response to altered hydrology and water management. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.