Local & Statewide Amendment 1 Rallies Held
The Sierra Club and Land and Water Legacy, in coordinated efforts with The Florida Springs Council, Our Santa Fe River, Save Our Suwannee Inc., and many other local and statewide conservation groups, organized statewide simultaneous rallies throughout Florida on May 30.
The crucial task of raising public awareness, and capturing the attention of State Legislators, on the extremely important budgetary and spending allocations for Amendment 1 designated towards the purchase(s) of lands to protect our water resources, specifically, were the focus of the rallies
The organizers accomplished a herculean effort, garnering major media attention, public support, high profile, expert speakers, and other key representatives, in a short amount of time, which amounted to a nearly spontaneous event, as they call to rally went out barely a week before the event(s)!
Showing clout as voters, with an immense capacity to quickly organize, when needed, the various, mentioned, and interconnected organizations such as Florida Springs Council, Sierra Club, Our Santa Fe River, and Save Our Suwannee, among many others, empowered their memberships and the public at large, to send our legislators back to Tallahassee with this voter approved message.
Fund Florida Forever Fund Everglades Restoration
Protect our Springs
Local cave diving legend, world renowned film maker, lecturer, and author, Jill Heinerth and Representative Clovis Watson were just a couple of the keynote speakers, locally, extolling the crowd(s) to be proactive in contacting their representatives in Tallahassee.
The event was a state wide smash success, with more rallies planned for the future, addressing vital, water conservation and protection legislation, and other serious matters affecting Florida’s most precious resource: OUR Waters.
Jay Jourden, SOS NEWS!
USGS Issues Revised Framework: Hydrogeology of FL Aquifer
April 21, 2015
Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have updated the hydrogeologic framework for the Floridan aquifer system that underlies the state of Florida and parts of Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.
The Floridan aquifer system, the principal source of freshwater for agricultural irrigation, industrial, mining, commercial, and public supply in Florida and southeast Georgia. The extensive underground rreservoir currently supplies drinking water to about 10 million people residing across the area as well as 50 percent of the water that is used for agricultural irrigation in the region.
By describing the hydrologic and geologic setting of an aquifer, a hydrogeologic framework enables appropriate authorities and resource managers to monitor an aquifer more accurately, improving their ability to protect these critical resources and determine the near and long term availability of groundwater.
As the first update of the framework for the aquifer in over 30 years, the revision incorporates new data into a detailed conceptual model that describes the major and minor units and zones of the system. Its increased accuracy is made possible by data collected in the intervening years by the USGS; the Geological Surveys of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina; the South Florida, Southwest Florida, St Johns River, Suwannee River, and Northwest Florida Water Management Districts; and numerous other state and local agencies.
The USGS is releasing two reports as part of its current assessment of groundwater availability of the Floridan aquifer system. The first report documents the revised framework, and the second provides datasets that describe the surfaces and thicknesses of selected hydrogeologic units of the Floridan aquifer system.
The data depicts the top and base of the aquifer system, its major and minor hydrogeologic units and zones, geophysical marker horizons, and the altitude of the 10,000milligramperliter total dissolved solids boundary that defines the approximate fresh and saline parts of the aquifer system. WaterWorld www.waterworld.com
New research reveals concerns about the health of the Floridan Aquifer
July 6, 2015
New studies led by the University of California, Irvine (UCI), reveal that “About one third of Earth’s largest groundwater basins are being rapidly depleted by human consumption, despite having little accurate data about how much water remains in them…This means that significant segments of Earth’s population are consuming groundwater quickly without knowing when it might run out.” One of the 21 depleted aquifers that the study cites is the combined Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains Aquifer, which includes the Floridan Aquifer. (1)
These studies, which used information provided by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, highlight a concern that all Floridians—especially state water managers, elected officials and representatives—should take seriously.
NASA has confirmed what Florida’s water advocates already know, that we are using too much water and are damaging our aquifer in the process. This is the same aquifer that provides drinking water for millions of Floridians and feeds the state’s 1000 freshwater springs, the largest concentration of such springs in the world. And because we do not know when we might deplete the aquifer, we need to employ the Precautionary Principle; we need to make conservative decisions in the face of uncertain science.
Water advocates have long argued that Florida’s springs are “canaries in a coal mine” because they serve as windows into the Floridan Aquifer,providing the first warnings of problems.At a 2013 Springs Conservation Summit, 13 panelists agreed that threats to the Floridan Aquifer are real. The panelists included Ann Shortelle, then executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District(SRWMD); Erich Marzolf, also of SRWMD; Anthony Cunningham of Gainesville Regional Utilities; and Lisa Gordon of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2)
Most of Florida’s water management districts have already identified areas within which water sources are projected to be inadequate to meet demands through 2020. (3) Long-term trends reveal that aquifer levels are declining throughout the state. For every foot that the aquifer drops, the level of saltwater underneath rises 40 feet. Saltwater intrusion into wells can damage crops and render water undrinkable, leading to severe economic problems for farms, households, businesses and industries.
It appears that Florida is on a crash course toward a water disaster, but it is possible to change direction.
A close examination of Florida’s environmental history—and, in particular, the history of the Everglades—reveals that the costs of bad water use decisions far outweigh the costs of preventing damage to our waters.
Florida’s water problems have a science dimension and a public policy dimension. Science was never intended, however, to make our decisions for us or to tell us what we should do in any situation. Construction of the bridge between science and public policy—between what we know about the world and how we choose to use that knowledge—is guided not only by law but also by ethics. Our water managers and elected officials build that bridge between science and public policy when they either make or ignore ethical choices about water use.
Continuing to overuse the Floridan Aquifer is not an ethical choice because it ignores not only the aquifer damage that is occurring now but also the damage to the aquifer and our drinking water that we will bequeath to our children.
The Council urges our water managers and elected officials to take a much stronger ethical stand than they have demonstrated until now. We urge these groups to show leadership on water issues by adopting a policy of statewide mandatory water conservation that applies to all water users. Such a policy ensures fairness because everyone is called upon to make sacrifices. Such a policy also helps to avoid the problems of continuing overuse that will occur if Florida begins to tap into alternative water supply sources without first instilling a water conservation ethic throughout the state.
In summary: The time has come to change the ways in which Floridians are using water. To delay or to resist change will only make our aquifer problems worse and lead to human suffering.
(1)Study-Third of Big Groundwater Basins in Distress
(2)“We agree—threats to our aquifer are real”
(3)Southern Regional Water Program, A Partnership of USDA NIFA & Land Grant Colleges and Universities, “Water Quantity and Policy in Florida” http://srwqis.tamu.edu/florida/program-information/florida-target-themes/water-quantity-policy
New EPA Rules Aimed At Further Protecting Wetlands and Waterways
A new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water ruling will protect streams and wetlands that are currently, potentially vulnerable to pollution and destruction. The rule, announced on Wednesday, is a clarification of the Clean Water Act, specifying which streams and wetlands are under the protection of the EPA.
Under the current Clean Water Act, the EPA says, “60 percent of the nation’s streams and wetlands are not clearly protected, which leaves them vulnerable to pollution or destruction”, a disputed claim, and many landowners are already lining up to file suit on the new measures, claiming yet another overreach by the administration.
“We may have different opinions on how we best protect our water resources, but we can all agree that clean water matters, and that it deserves our protection,” U.S. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy wrote in a recent blog post.
A pair of Supreme Court decisions, one in 2001 and one in 2006, left the status of certain important wetlands, headwaters and other water bodies unclear. While the new ruling sets out to protect these waters, it will only add about 3 percent to the EPA’s jurisdiction.
The new rule, drafted by both the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has been under attack by farmers, business groups, and local governments. Under the banner of the Waters Advocacy Coalition, The American Farm Bureau has led the opposition, lobbying against increased environmental regulation and protection for wetlands. The bureau has expressed concern that the rule will give the EPA authority over farm ditches, agricultural ponds, and “any low spot where rainwater collects”.
However, the EPA says, “Any normal farming activity that does not result in a point source discharge of pollutants into waters of the U.S. still does not require a permit” and that farmers are exempt from requiring permits when it comes to “normal farming, silviculture, and ranching practices.”
It is this broad and sometimes unclear, ambiguous, language that concerns landowners, farmers, ranchers, and other commercial and business interests, who claim the regulations already in place are sufficient, and offer strict, appropriate, and adequate protections already, and that the new regulations are not needed.
Jay Jourden SOS NEWS! & waterworld.com
Watch out for jumping sturgeon if you are boating on the river. They are back for the summer. You never hear about them having a collision with a canoe or kayak so the recipe for sturgeon safety seems to be to reduce your speed. If you are interested in a good sturgeon viewing opportunity, you can often see them at the Rock Bluff boat ramp (from the bluff looking down), at Fanning Springs State Park and at the river dock at Manatee Springs State Park. They seem to jump more in late afternoon and evening.
Did you know Save Our Suwannee has their very own song? Written and performed by Jay Jourden & Mystic Waters. As a thank you for your support we are offering a free download!
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Save Our Suwannee is an all volunteer organization. Board Members attend water management meetings, organize SOS hosted public meetings to educate or inspire the public about local water issues, write publish mail a quarterly newsletter, set up & cover booths at festivals, organize rallies, maintain the membership mailing list and supporter contact info, or do public relations, manage a website and a Facebook page and more.