From its headwaters north of Lake Okeechobee to the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, the Florida Everglades is an integral part of our ecology, culture and economy. Recognized as a World Heritage Site, the Everglades provides habitat… Read More
Who can access our assistance? We represent clients concerned about protecting natural resources and the human environment. We provide legal support for clients who cannot afford to hire private attorneys, which is why the “public interest” tends to… Read More
With more than fifty years of collective experience in environmental and land use law matters, our lawyers are recognized leaders in their field. ELC attorneys have experience in litigating cases in a variety of forums from federal and… Read More
The Everglades Law Center is a nonprofit law firm dedicated to representing the public interest in environmental and land use matters. Working with more than thirty national, state and local environmental and conservation groups, our firm utilizes litigation, advocacy and policy development to protect and sustain this region’s unique and irreplaceable ecosystems and communities. Our attorneys are uniquely positioned throughout the Everglades ecosystem and handle a wide range of environmental matters, including land use, wetlands permitting, endangered species, public lands, and sustainable energy development.
Our mission is to advocate, negotiate, and when necessary, litigate to protect and restore the South Florida ecosystem.Read More
ECAP — a grant-funded summer program for middle school students — is excited to engage students in local grassroots activism and advocacy this summer!
We will introduce students to ongoing community and regional efforts related to Everglades restoration in Martin County and provide opportunities for students to learn the nuts and bolts of community engagement as part of ongoing Everglades restoration projects and related work.
Meet your ECAP Team!
Nathaniel Osborn is the chair of the history department at The Pine School and has taught social studies at the secondary and college level since 2003. His book Indian River Lagoon: An Environmental History (University Press of Florida) received the 2017 Stetson Kennedy Book Award from the Florida Historical Society.
Osborn is a Trustee of the Martin County Library System. He is a popular speaker at regional events, and his community service also includes a long stint as the Chair of the Martin County Historic Preservation Board.
Kenny Russell is a lifelong and multi-generational resident of Florida with roots going back 6 generations. He grew up with lots of outside time and developed quite a passion for Florida ecology and Florida history. Currently, Mr. Russell is teaching science and social studies to middle schoolers at Murray Middle School in Stuart, where has been an instructor for 6 years. In addition to his role at Murray Middle School, Kenny is the lead instructor for an after-school STEM lab, as well as coach of a LEGO first robotics team.
Program Dates and Outline
This program is free of charge and will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 10 a.m. both days. Tuesdays will run until 11:30 a.m., and Thursday will end at varying times, depending on the field trip. The ECAP program will run for 6 weeks from the week of June 14th through the week of July 19th.
Tuesday’s format will be virtual — via an online platform — workshop-style discussions that will give attendees a foundational knowledge of Everglades Restoration and local water issues and will be supported by Guest Speakers from local organizations.
Thursday’s format will be in-person field trips where feasible given COVID-19 restrictions and the possible presence of cyanobacteria blooms in our local waters.
The program will culminate with a final advocacy project of the student’s choosing. This may be a letter to the editor, supporting a rally, giving public comment at a local meeting, etc.
Dates and Workshop Topic
Guest Speakers Tuesday’s @ 10:30 via Zoom
Field Trips Thursday’s @ 10:30 – locations detailed below
Schooner Lily (St Lucie Estuary) – Shepards Park at 600 SW Ocean Boulevard. Please park in the second parking lot by the playground and seawall. Boarding begins promptly 15 minutes before departure, and the sail will leave at the scheduled time of 10:30 a.m.
Florida is home to more than 100 federally listed species as well as nearly 120 state listed species. ELC attorneys take a comprehensive and integrated approach to listed species recovery by ensuring that endangered species needs are considered at all levels of government decision-making (federal, state, and local). This includes litigation under the Endangered Species Act, advancing federal and state policy initiatives that aid in the recovery of protected species, and working with clients to create local land use controls that provide greater protections for listed species.
ELC works tirelessly to protect federal and state listed species throughout Florida. ELC’s General Counsel Jason Totoiu has significant experience litigating and advocating on behalf of endangered and threatened species throughout the Southeastern United States and much of his work at ELC is focused on wildlife conservation issues.
Florida has nearly 10 million acres of public lands. These lands include National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, state parks and preserves, and state and locally funded conservation areas. Unfortunately, these lands are under increasing development pressure by private companies and more recently, by local governments. ELC attorneys have significant experience in advocating for sound planning and management practices in our national parks and wildlife refuges, protecting state parklands from encroaching development, and ensuring that local conservation areas remain in conservation.
Wetlands are a major part of the South Florida Ecosystem. Yet, despite the federal and state “No Net Loss” mandate in the late 1980s, wetland loss continues to be a major issue facing south Florida. ELC attorneys have significant experience as litigators and advocates in advancing wetlands protections. Our practice includes challenging the issuance of major dredge and fill projects under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and environmental resource permits under state law, which could undermine Everglades restoration objectives. ELC also works with its clients and partners in advancing legislative and regulatory improvements to federal and state wetland permitting policies.
Unsustainable land use practices continue to be a major threat to the environment. A recent study finds that if Florida maintains its current development pace, roughly 7 million acres will be converted to urban use by 2060. Of these lands, 2.6 million acres of native habitat, an area the size of Vermont will be lost.
ELC utilizes litigation and advocacy to advance sustainable land use practices and protect the greater Everglades ecosystem. Specifically, our work focuses on advancing the connectivity of Lake Okeechobee to the Southern Everglades by challenging incompatible uses in the Everglades Agricultural Area (such as mining and intense industrial development), challenging major developments that threaten water quality and wildlife habitat in the Kissimmee River basin, and challenging land uses that would serve as obstacles to implementation of Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects.
We vigorously oppose and litigate attempts by local governments to weaken their land use regulations and move their urban service boundaries. We also challenge land use proposals, such as rock mining and new roads, which threaten to compromise Everglades restoration.