|New commander to lead Jacksonville District
|Col. Alfred A. Pantano, Jr. became the 56th commander of the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District on July 28. He succeeds Col. Paul L.
Grosskruger who began his command in July 2006. The Corps changes district commanders
every three years.
As Jacksonville District commander, Pantano assumes responsibility for the federal development
of water resources projects in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Jacksonville
District has one of the largest civil works programs in the Corps of Engineers nationwide.
Pantano arrives at a very exciting time in the history of the Jacksonville District. The agency is
leading the federal efforts to restore America's Everglades through the Comprehensive Everglades
Restoration Plan (CERP), Kissimmee River Restoration and Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades
National Park. The Obama Administration has recently raised the level of federal
support for south Florida ecosystem restoration by providing a 2010 fiscal year budget proposal
of $214 million. This represents the largest amount of single-year fiscal funding for CERP since
the plan was approved by Congress in 2000.
Pantano most recently was a student at the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa. Prior
to this assignment, he served as chief of staff of the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard
Wood, Mo. Pantano commanded the 94th Engineer Combat Battalion in Germany, Iraq and at Fort Leonard
Wood. He has served in myriad staff positions including executive officer and chief of staff.
Pantano is a native of Milford, Mass. He has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Virginia
Military Institute and a master's degree in engineering technology from Murray State University in
Kentucky. He was commissioned into the Army in 1987.
Grosskruger retired from the U.S. Army after 26 years of service. Widely praised during his
tenure in Florida, he marshaled adoption of a new Lake Okeechobee regulation schedule, adopted an ambitious
construction schedule on the Herbert Hoover Dike, was awarded $250 million in American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act funds, and continued many projects and programs to restore the greater Everglades
Looking back on his three years in command of the district, Grosskruger recently spoke of the privilege
of being a public servant and of being in a position to facilitate one of the most important projects
to occur during his lifetime. "I was in the midst of a challenging, thought-provoking, complex and
dynamic environment, where I always knew that the stakes were high and that I needed to give my all,"
he said. "It's been an honor to be part of a special team of dedicated professionals," he said of the
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|Comments on Gladesmen study accepted
through Aug. 28
|The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District is accepting comments on a
unique cultural study related to Everglades restoration.
A Gladesmen is a member of a rural folk culture whose identity is
completely tied to the Everglades. Gladesmen have been living near or in the River
of Grass for more than a century. Decades ago, they used the rich resources of the
Everglades to make a living and for food. Today, most Gladesmen recreate in the Everglades,
support programs to protect the ecosystem, and pass on the traditions of their culture
to the next generation.
In 2000, Congress approved the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
(CERP) to restore the greater Everglades ecosystem, an area spanning 16 counties. As part
of this effort, the Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District
commissioned a study about recreation on CERP project lands, which collectively cover
During a series of stakeholder meetings, the Gladesman asked that CERP include a place
Gladesmen are men and women from many diverse backgrounds with one thing in common:
they can't imagine life without access to the Everglades.
Ronnie Bergeron, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commissioner,
calls the Everglades one of the seven wonders of the world. "It's the real Florida,"
Franklin Adams has a spiritual connection to the ecosystem. "That's my
church there, cypress cathedral. That's where I feel closest to the Creator and who I am
is out there."
For others, the sheer beauty of the Everglades attracts them. "The way the spiders make
their webs on the grass and the sun comes up, it all sparkles like diamonds out there and
all you see is diamonds sparkling about," said Dave Balman.
Frank Denninger has explored the Everglades since a child, but almost
always sees something new with each trip. "You might go 20 feet and all of a sudden you'll
see a prairie or a slough scene or something like that and from that day on you just want
to see it every year."
Marshall Jones sums up the feelings of many Gladesmen: "Most people say
that it's magnetic. And once you come here, you get the itch, you get the bug and people
always want to come back and some don't ever want to leave."
For more quotes please click here.
To view the draft study and its recommendations to protect five cultural sites click
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|Proposals for Tamiami Trail accepted
through Aug. 17
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District is accepting proposals for the
construction of the Tamiami Trail bridge project through Aug. 17.
On June 16, a federal judge dissolved a preliminary injunction halting the construction
of the project. The project includes elevating one mile of the Tamiami Trail as a bridge,
elevating another nine miles about one foot higher than today to accommodate increased
water flows to Everglades National Park, and other project features.
"We're changing the road height and adding a bridge to make the Tamiami Trail less of a
constraint to the flow of water," said Bradley Foster, project manager.
The complete solicitation can be viewed at the Federal Business Opportunities web site
at www.fbo.gov. Please go to the top left and type in the
solicitation number: W912EP-08-R-0025. The latest news also is available at www.saj.usace.army.mil.
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|RECOVER plan provides birds-eye view of Everglades ecology
The Monitoring and Assessment Plan for CERP has recently been updated.
The Restoration, Coordination and Verification – also known as RECOVER – Monitoring and
Assessment Plan is the system-wide monitoring plan for CERP. It measures how well CERP
is meeting its objectives by establishing an ecological baseline and by monitoring the system-wide
responses to implementation of CERP projects. In doing so, the plan increases scientific
understanding by confirming cause-effect relationships between stressors on the Everglades,
such as water management and water quality, and the attributes that respond to those stressors,
such as wildlife and their habitats.
The plan measures how CERP projects affect wading birds, tree islands, oysters and other plants
and animals of the Everglades, and then feeds this data into a biennial system status report.
Together, the monitoring plan and the system status report provide information required to make
informed decisions and management actions that help improve CERP. An example of a management action
the plan could monitor is the increase or decrease of water flows and its effect on wildlife.
For more information and to view the final plan in September, please visit
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