FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dr. Robert Palmer, Legislative Chair
October 7, 2015
GAINESVILLE, FL – On October 5, Governor Scott announced the distribution of over $80 million for the statewide implementation of springs restoration projects with the objective of projecting springs for future generations.
While these springs projects will probably lead to an improvement over the environmental degradation that would occur without them, it is also true that the projects, individually or in combination, will not result in a single Florida spring returning to health. DEP’s measure of success – pounds of nitrogen reduced or gallons of water saved – is flawed. The standard should be whether or not the State has a plan for healing our stressed-out springs. We are realistic enough to know that this will takes years or even decades, but the State needs to focus on the long-term goal of actual springs restoration, not interim measurements that are disconnected from that goal.
More aggressive and imaginative measures are needed. Where are the State’s plans for buying out polluting activities on those lands in North Florida which are critical to the recharge of the aquifer and to the health of springs? Where are the State’s plans for curtailing water use and fertilizer use at the source, rather than allowing polluting activities to continue and attempting to clean them up after the fact? Where is the State’s blueprint for serious water conservation?
Until the State acts on these and other fronts, we will continue to see these lists of projects that make the grant recipients quite happy, but which have little prospect for accomplishing the ultimate goal of clean, healthy springs and a clean, healthy aquifer.