STUART — “The soul of Florida is water,” said Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, who was appointed Thursday to the South Florida Water Management District board, promising to “leave all the children of South Florida with a better water future.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of the Sewall’s Point resident and longtime advocate for the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon on Thursday afternoon at the Florida Oceanographic Society’s Coastal Center on Hutchinson Island.

Thurlow-Lippisch recalled her youth spent playing pirates on a ship in the clear, sea grass- and oyster-filled water of the St. Lucie.

“Today such a thing is impossible,” she said. “There are few oysters, little sea grass and sometimes the water is toxic. Yes, toxic. Can you believe it? Toxic water.”

Thurlow-Lippisch said the district has been guilty of withholding information from the public by keeping it “too complex. And that’s how you keep control.”

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She noted that, as a former teacher, she learned how to make complex concepts understandable for her students.

“I want to take information about South Florida’s water problems and share it with the public in a way we can all understand,” she said. “Then, if we have disagreements, we can duke it out in the court of public opinion.”