Water For Fighting

Water For Fighting

Mark Twain is said to have quipped, “Whiskey is for drinking, and water is for fighting." And in Florida, the subject of water can bring out the strongest of opinions. The Water for Fighting podcast will discuss the past, present, and future of water in Florida with the people who make it happen. The host, Brett Cyphers spent over 20 years working throughout Florida government getting to know the people who’ve made water their life’s work and created this podcast to allow you, the listener, to get to know them as well. The object of this show is to get beyond the abbreviated soundbites and two-line quotes to provide a format that allows us to get to know the guest, not just serve an agenda. Guests are encouraged to talk about their experiences and opinions as they wish to express them. We hope you’ll enjoy the conversations.


July 24, 2023 58 mins
In this episode, Brett gets to talk with Mary Szafraniec, a Florida scientist with a remarkable personal story.  They talk about her grandparents’ survival in Nazi work camps during World War II and her parents’ eventual escape from communism in Europe to arrive in the United States, ready to start a new life; how a chance meeting at a music festival changed her career path toward environmental issues and the Florida Departmen...
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In this episode, Brett heads to the empire headquarters of Florida’s most prolific environmental professional, Jeff Littlejohn. Jeff is a principal at the National Stormwater Trust, OnSyte Performance, and the Florida Environmental Network (host of the Environmental Permitting Summer School in Marco Island); a Senior Advisor with the Adams and Reese Law Firm; and the Founding Editor of the newly revamped Florida Specifier. They ta...
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July 10, 2023 46 mins
In this episode, Brett gets a visit from his friend and President of Sea & Shoreline – Carter Henne. They talk about growing up outdoors and on the water in Polk County; how his desire to create sustainable marine ecosystems drew him first to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and then Sea & Shoreline founder Jim Anderson; the things we’ve been getting wrong about seagrass restoration in the past and how...
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July 3, 2023 58 mins

In this episode, Brett gets to spend some time with the former top attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Matt Leopold.  In addition to his time at the EPA, Matt served as General Counsel at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; handled environmental issues for Governor Jeb Bush; and was an environmental attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.  

They talk about growing up in West-Central ...

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June 26, 2023 51 mins

In this episode, Brett travels to Pensacola for a conversation with the prolific Executive Director of the relatively new Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program – Matt Posner. They talk about growing up in Pensacola; the value of the education and experiences he gained on the way to his current role; the importance of fostering partnerships as the head of a small agency; and the exciting new programs his team is spearheading th...

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June 19, 2023 48 mins

In this episode, Brett is joined by lobbyist, consultant, policy expert, and former Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection – Jon Steverson. They talk about growing up the son of an accountant and an English teacher; working for three different governors; his unintentionally controversial tenure as the DEP Secretary; and his approach to working in the legislative process. And of course, no conversation with...

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June 5, 2023 51 mins
In this episode, Brett travels to Palatka to sit down with the Executive Director of the St. Johns River Water Management District – Mike Register. They discuss how a young engineer out of the University of Florida charts a path to a more than three decade-long career at the agency he now runs; his approach to solving problems and working with stakeholders; the complicated processes involved in the development of Regional Water Sup...
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May 29, 2023 72 mins
In Episode 2 of Season 2, Brett travels to Lakeland for the opportunity to hear from the person who brought the idea of conservation easements (they called it something different in the early 90’s) to Florida: 8th generation Floridian, long time real estate broker, and former member of the Florida House of Representatives - Dean Saunders. They talk about his time with Senator and then Governor Lawton Chiles; how conservation easeme...
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May 22, 2023 48 mins
In our Season 2 opener, Brett has a conversation with noted filmmaker and author, Steve Hawley. Steve has a brand new book out called, Cracked: The Future of Dams in a Hot, Chaotic World. They discuss the mythology surrounding the benefits of many of the world’s dams; the benefits of restoring once-dammed rivers; Dam Removal 101; and why he’s cautiously optimistic about the future of the world’s natural systems. Go buy Steve’s new...
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April 10, 2023 48 mins
In the last episode of the season, Brett sits down with limnologist, business owner and two-time water management district executive director – Ann Shortelle.  They talk about building a family and career in Florida; being one of only three people to serve as executive director of two different water management districts; how she wants young women and girls to embrace math and science more; Notre Dame super fandom; and how she...
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April 3, 2023 58 mins
In his second-to-last episode of the season, Brett sits down with attorney, lobbyist, and former secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection – Ryan Matthews. They discuss his family’s deep roots in Upstate New York; the example left behind by a renowned attorney and lobbyist father; the joys and challenges of leadership; and his flirtation with a life of crime. To learn more about Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, go...
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March 27, 2023 57 mins
In this episode, Brett has a conversation with recently retired Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Chief of Staff – Jennifer Fitzwater. They discuss how a kid from the Midwest makes her way to law school and a career in resource protection; what it’s like to have been the Chief of Staff for two separate state agencies; the difficult and complicated work going into solving challenges like manatee habitat loss and red ti...
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March 20, 2023 30 mins

In this episode, Brett sits down with the Northwest Florida Water Management District’s executive director – Lyle Seigler. They discuss Hurricane Michael recovery; springs restoration and protection efforts; the district’s relationship to the regulated community; and what happened to change a town in Walton County from the county seat to a trivia question.

To see tools used by the Northwest Florida Water Management District to trac...

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March 13, 2023 59 mins

In this episode, Brett talks with well-known environmental attorney and former DEP general counsel, Fred Aschauer. They discuss Florida’s U.S. Supreme Court fight to save the Apalachicola River and Bay; growing up between Florida and New York; and how joining a heavy metal band led to a music scholarship and a haircut.  To learn more about Florida’s case against Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Court, head he...
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March 7, 2023 35 mins

 In this episode, Brett sits down with national water quality data expert – Julie Espy. They discuss her rise through the ranks at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; whether Florida’s Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) are still the best tool to remediate water quality degradation; and why one should never, ever, call her a Sooner

To learn more about the state’s Basin Management Action Plans, go here: https://flo...

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February 28, 2023 69 mins

In Episode 4, Brett sits down with his partner: long time water policy and budget guru, Frank Bernardino. They talk about the history of wetland mitigation in Florida; the water resource funding gap and how he proposes we close it; and his life as a young song writer in Miami.

Here’s the best way to reach Frank: Frank@anfieldflorida.com

If you’d like to learn more about what Frank and I do at Anfiel...

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February 20, 2023 73 mins

In this episode, Brett talks with one of the most renowned environmental advocates in Florida – Eric Draper.  Draper is most known for his advocacy on behalf of Everglades protection and the Florida Forever land-buying programs, but he recently served a successful tour as the Director of the Florida State Parks Service.  They talk about effective environmental advocacy; Eric’s continued concern about the global effects of...

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February 13, 2023 68 mins

In this episode, Brett sits down with Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Executive Director – Brian Armstrong.  Armstrong has a career in water management spanning 25 years, nearly all of them at the same water management district.  They discuss growing up on the water; the importance of alternative water supplies; who’s cooler, geologists or engineers; and an incredible story of lake and wetland restoration th...

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February 6, 2023 62 mins

In the very first Water for Fighting podcast, Brett has a conversation with the Godfather of Florida water management – Henry Dean.  Dean currently serves on the St. Johns County board of county commissioners, but his thirty-year career in water resource protection spans five governors, two water management districts, and various other committees and agencies.  They discuss the dawn of water management districts and the F...

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