This panel will discuss the past 20 years of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The moderator will guide a conversation between key leaders who played a major role in the progress of the CERP to date.


  • Robert (Bob) Johnson, 

    Supervisory Hydrologist and Director South Florida Natural Resources Center (SFNRC), 

    Everglades National Park

    Robert (Bob) Johnson began working as a hydrologist for the Everglades National Park Service in November 1983, and was named Director of the SFNRC in 1995. 


    Johnson oversees the natural resources management programs for Dry Tortugas and Everglades National Parks,

    as well as the broader National Park Services’ engagement in Everglades restoration projects for the National Park 

    Service/Department of the Interior. He also chairs the Science Coordination Group, the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, and is the Designated Institutional Official liaison with the National Academy of Sciences 

    external peer review of Everglades restoration progress. 


    Bob has spent the majority of his professional career studying the impacts of water management on the Everglades, and recommending actions to restore the natural ecosystems. Bob plans to retire from the National Park Service in December 2020, but will continue to work as a science advisor within the Department of the Interior Office of Everglades Restoration Initiatives.

  • Mary Barley, 

    Founding Member

    The Everglades Foundation

    Mary Barley currently serves on the board of The Everglades Foundation, having served as Vice Chairperson from 2003-2012, and Chairperson from 1995 to 2002, and is Chair of The Everglades Trust (1995-present).  Mary also serves on the boards of National Parks Conservation Association (2011-present), World Wildlife Fund Marine Leadership Committee (1996-present) and the WWF National Council (2007-present), Atlantic Salmon Federation (U.S.) (2004-present), Clean Water Action (2014-present) and Wild Oceans (1998-present).  She has received many awards and accolades for her work, including being designated an honorary Miccosukee, an Honorary Conch by the Mayor of Monroe County in 1999, profiled in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Time’s Hero of the Planet, and on March 25, 2013, during Women’s History Month, was recognized by Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R) in the U.S. Congressional Record. Mary resides in Islamorada, Florida.

  • Dennis R. Duke, 

    Senior Civil Engineer In The Planning Division Of The Jacksonville District, U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers

    Dennis Duke currently works part-time as a Senior Civil Engineer in the Planning Division of the Jacksonville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, assisting in the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual update effort and other South Florida restoration projects.

    Previously, he served over 10 years as Senior Program Manager and Advisor on Everglades restoration in the Office of Everglades Restoration Initiatives of the U.S. Department of the Interior, coordinating activities within DOI on special projects. He also worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Florida Water Management District, State of Florida, and other federal, state, and local agencies, as well as special interest groups and stakeholders to advance restoration activities.  

    In the early ‘90s, as the Corps’ role in environmental restoration grew, he became involved with the Kissimmee River Restoration Project and other projects.  With the passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2000, and the authorization of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), Duke was tapped to lead the overall restoration efforts for South Florida at Jacksonville, and was responsible for the overall startup and execution of the program for CERP, working closely with Corps Headquarters and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works on CERP startup and overall restoration policies. Duke retired from the Corps of Engineers in 2007, after 34 years in project management, planning, construction, and emergency response.

    Duke holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, with a specialty in Water Resources Engineering. He and his wife have two children and three grandchildren.

  • Stu Appelbaum, 

    National Technical Expert In The Water Management Practice

    Stu Appelbaum is currently a national technical expert in the water management practice for Arcadis, a global natural and built asset design and consultancy firm. Mr. Appelbaum came to Arcadis after a distinguished 35-year career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in water resources planning and policy, ecosystem restoration, adaptive management, and program management. 

    During his USACE career, Appelbaum led the interagency, interdisciplinary team of federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in developing the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) that was authorized by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act of 2000. He also led the development and federal rule-making process for the programmatic regulations that guide the implementation of CERP. 

    Appelbaum later served as the USACE program manager for Everglades restoration,  with responsibility for the implementation of CERP projects, as well as the Kissimmee River Restoration and Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park projects. He also led the RECOVER group, with responsibility for implementing the adaptive management program for CERP. Additionally, he served as Chief of the USACE Jacksonville District Planning and Policy Division, providing executive leadership and strategic direction for the District’s water resources planning program in the State of Florida, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. 

    Appelbaum received numerous awards from USACE, including the meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal, and induction into the Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees. He also has received awards for his work on Everglades restoration, including the Palladium Medal, a joint award from the American Academy of Engineering Societies and the National Audubon Society, and a special achievement award from the Everglades Coalition.

    Appelbaum was born and raised in New York City. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of New York, and a Master of Science degree in Water Resources Engineering from George Washington University. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Water Resources Association, the Society of American Military Engineers, the Army Engineer Association, and the civil engineering honor fraternity Chi Epsilon.


Eric Eikenberg, 

CEO, The Everglades Foundation

Eric Eikenberg is a seasoned political strategist and environmental policy expert who leads one of the country’s most prestigious and respected environmental non-profits – The Everglades Foundation, which has an annual operating budget of more than $10 million.


As CEO, Eikenberg oversees a team of nationally recognized scientists, educators, lobbyists, and communications and development professionals. These esteemed colleagues work together to achieve a decades-long campaign to restore America’s Everglades – roughly three million acres of endangered habitat that is vital to Florida’s economic and environmental viability.


Appointed CEO by the Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2012, Eikenberg has extensive policy and political experience in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. He previously served as Chief of Staff to former Gov. Charlie Crist and former U.S. Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr., the latter who authored the landmark Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.


A sought-after public speaker on the importance of preserving one of America’s most unique natural habitats, Eikenberg is a regular OpEd columnist. He also is a widely quoted source for national and local media outlets, including National Public Radio, CNN, The Associated Press, U.S. News & World Report, Politico, The Miami Herald, and many others.


In 2020, Eikenberg was named one of Florida’s Most Influential People in Florida Politics by Influence Magazine for his advocacy work. In 2020 and 2019, he was named one of Florida’s 500 most influential business leaders by Florida Trend, and he was recognized by South Florida Business & Wealth magazine with a 2019 APOGEE Award for his leadership in the non-profit sector. Furthermore, he was selected to the 2019 panel of 50 Influential Floridians as part of an initiative led by The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, and The Bradenton Herald to address pressing statewide issues. Eikenberg was also elected Chairman of the Zoo Miami Foundation Board of Directors in October of 2019.  


On Earth Day 2019, Eikenberg was named Chair of the Ocean to Everglades campaign by the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee for Super Bowl LIV.  In this role, Eikenberg worked to highlight the benefits of Everglades restoration, protection of South Florida’s water supply and other environmental issues important to the future of Florida. 


A graduate of The American University and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Eikenberg, his wife, Tonya, and four children reside in Palmetto Bay, Florida.



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