On December 18, 2020, Governor DeSantis appointed three board members to the Big Cypress Basin Board (BCBB) named Nanette Rivera, Andy Hill and Dan Waters. Just like members of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board, they are appointed by the Governor, BCBB appointees and must be approved by the Florida Senate.
Rivera is the second Marco resident Governor DeSantis has appointed to the water board. In March 2019, Governor DeSantis appointed then Marco Island City Councilor Charlette Roman to the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).
Rivera of Marco is a retired Big Pharma executive who recently ended a 40-year career in the industry having held senior positions with companies such as Abbott Laboratories, Bristol Myers Squibb and Johnson and Johnson. Locally Rivera has served as a member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and is certified in boat safety and navigation. Rivera earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her Master of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Chicago. More recently, Rivera interviewed for the vacancy created by Victor Rios’ resignation from the Marco Island City Council.
On her appointment to BCBB, Rivera commented, “I am honored and very excited to be tapped to work with such a high caliber and professional group. The Big Cypress Basin is in the midst of a multi-decade long Picayune Strand restoration and for me, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Governor DeSantis also appointed Andy Hill to the BCB. Andy is from Naples and the President and Co-founder of Andrew Hill Investment Advisors. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Canisius College and his Baster of Business Administration in Finance from Syracuse University.
Also appointed to the BCBB is Dan Waters, of Naples, Project Manager at Barron Collier Companies. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and his Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida.
The SFWMD encompasses two major watershed basins, the Okeechobee Basin and the Big Cypress Basin. Roman is the Collier County representative on the governing board and as part of that, she is the Chairperson for the Big Cypress Basin Board (BCBB).
In 1976, the Florida Legislative carved the Big Cypress Basin out of the SFWMD creating a mechanism that has kept tens of millions of water management tax dollars collected in Collier County from being spent in other parts of the 16-county districts. The BCBB is a special taxing sub-district of the SFWMD and they have their own ad valorem taxing authority and their own staff.
The BCBB sets the Basin’s regional policy, budget and millage rate. BCBB typically meets once every quarter, unless otherwise announced. Meetings are open to the public. Big Cypress Basin staff work in administration, planning, environmental permitting, right-of-way permitting and operations and maintenance. Tasks related to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) project management are also supported by this office.
According to its website, the BCBB and Big Cypress Basin Service Center manage a network of 143.6 miles of primary canals, 35 water control structures and three back pumps providing flood control during the wet season and protecting regional water supplies and environmental resources from over-drainage during the dry season. Big Cypress Basin protects nearly 500,000 residents in Collier County and portions of Monroe County from flooding.
Another BCB’s important role in the basin and in the community is environmental restoration. Managing water storage and flow also provides wildlife habitat for water–loving species. BCB is not only involved in flood control but also in water quality and conservation; the canal systems are set to hold water back when needed for the dry season and yet have the ability to let the water flow when necessary during periods of rain.