Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility Takes On the Manatee Crisis in Florida

March 20, 2022

What will Florida do to address its water quality crisis?

On this episode, hosts Peter Ravella and Tyler Buckingham talk to Timothy Whitehouse and Jerry Phillips about the manatee die-off currently unfolding in Florida. This crisis, the latest result of the state's poor water quality, has drawn the attention of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), an organization for environmental and public health professionals, land managers, scientists, enforcement officers and other civil servants dedicated to upholding environmental laws and values. Timothy Whitehouse serves as the Executive Director of the national organization, and Jerry Phillips heads up PEER's Florida Chapter. Together, they discuss the root causes of the manatee die-off, the federal and state responses to the situation, and how the water quality issues facing Florida might be effectively managed in the future.

Show Transcription
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Peter Ravella & Tyler Buckingham

Peter and Tyler joined forces in 2015 and from the first meeting began discussing a project that would become Coastal News Today and the American Shoreline Podcast Network. At the time, Peter and Tyler were coastal consultants for Pete’s firm, PAR Consulting, LLC. In that role, they worked with coastal communities in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, engaged in grant writing, coastal project development, shoreline erosion and land use planning, permitting, and financial planning for communities undertaking big beach restoration projects. Between and among their consulting tasks, they kept talking and kept building the idea of CNT & ASPN. In almost every arena they worked, public engagement played a central role. They spent thousands of hours talking with coastal stakeholders, like business owners, hotel operators, condo managers, watermen, property owners, enviros, surfers, and fishermen. They dived deep into the value, meaning, and responsibility for the American shoreline, segment-by-segment. Common threads emerged, themes were revealed, differences uncovered. There was a big conversation going on along the American shoreline! But, no place to have it. That's where CNT and ASPN were born.