The effects of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic can be felt the world over, and the impacts have dramatically changed the working environment for governments and businesses alike.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida and its employees were no exception. The “Safer at Home,” order established by Tribal Council on March of 2020, created new challenges for collaboration and communication between the various departments in the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
Interdepartmental communication is the key point that ensures work is completed within a timely manner and meets the regulations of the Tribe. This is a given and an absolute that all departments strive for, specifically those within the Heritage and Environmental Resources Office (HERO) and the Tribal Community Development (TCD) departments. Since the establishment of the “Safer at Home,” order the majority of staff members have been working from their homes, causing HERO and TCD employees to find new ways to communicate such as online meetings and virtual presentations.
The Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration project is a Federal Water Resources Project that has an “intended” purpose, per the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), to:
This project is a direct threat to the Brighton Reservation.
For many years, the area known as the “Native Area” or the area west of the North Feeder and south of the West Feeder Canal has been the natural and cultural jewel for the Seminole Tribe.
The Native Area and the lands to the south harbor much of the region’s wildlife and rich medicinal resources. The Western Everglades Restoration Project (WERP) is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Planning project and a component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP) designed to help restore, reconnect and maintain these areas with the natural areas to the south.