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July 31, 2007

Florida native and citrus grower Ronald E. Oakley took his oath of office to serve on the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board during board meeting Tuesday.

Oakley was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to succeed Talmadge G. “Jerry” Rice. Oakley’s term ends March 1, 2011.

The Zephyrhills resident is the executive vice president of Oakley Groves, Inc. in Lake Wales. He feels his experience as a citrus grower and rancher will give him insight into managing the District’s water resources despite the area’s growing population. His experience as a cattle rancher also gives him a unique perspective and interest in protecting the area’s land resources.

Oakley will also assume responsibility as chair ex officio of the District’s Withlacoochee River Basin Board.

Governing Board members are unpaid, citizen volunteers who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate. The Governing Board
sets policy for the District, whose mission is to manage the water and related resources of west central Florida to meet the needs of current and future water users while protecting the environment. Each Governing Board member also serves as chair ex officio of a Basin Board.

The District has eight regional Basin Boards that provide guidance for local programs that are specific to the watershed basins they protect. The District’s ninth basin, the Green Swamp, is administered by the Governing Board. Basin Boards work with local governments and other entities on water resource projects that have an impact in local communities. Basin Boards often provide partial funding for these projects in partnership with a local government or local cooperator.

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