Members and friends:
It is time to submit your comments as good stewards of the Florida environment. To submit your comments to the Florida Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation, go to www.flsenate.gov/media/topics/wlc.
Our Conservation Committee recommends the following points:
- Use amendment 1 money to restore the Ocklawaha River.
A restored river will become a healthy ecosystem. It is currently unable to flow naturally so it is choked with exotic vegetation and it is laden with nutrients.
Restoration will provide economic opportunity for many nature-based tourism ventures including fishing and better access.
The $300 to $500 spent annually to maintain the lock, dam, and pool will be soon recovered after restoration.
The water quality will improve from stagnant to drinkable when the river is restored to its natural vegetation (more cleansing and more shade resulting in far less evaporation).
16 Miles of the river will be restored and 10,000 acres of forested floodplain wetlands will grow back to their natural state.
Endangered species will benefit. Restoration will allow for natural water flow for Manatees, Atlantic Sturgeon, and a large portion of the Ocala to Osceola Wildlife corridor will be re-established for the animals and birds.
By breaching the dam, diversity of fish population will increase immensely. Bass, Mullet, Striped Bass, Channel Catfish, and Shad will return to the upstream springs as they naturally would.
The two dozen Springs that are buried under the flooded pool will be re-established to their natural flow rate and will become healthy again.
The State of Florida is technically trespassing on federal land in maintaining the Rodman dam which is on Federal property and remains unpermitted by the Federal authorities.
The Cross-Florida barge Canal was a mistake that has been corrected. This last remnant, Rodman Dam, should be removed to save litigation costs.
- Buy more upland and wetlands to protect our water supply.
- Restrict the sale and use of high-Nitrogen and Phosphate fertilizers, both in the urban setting and in the Agricultural sector.
- Replace or refurbish septic systems that are in critical springsheds.
- Enforce the Clean Water Act of 1972. Establish Minimum Flows and Levels and Total Maximum Daily Loads of nutrients for all Florida Waterbodies and ENFORCE those regulations.
- Allocate $300 million for springs protection. Lesser amounts will be insufficient.
It is important to submit your comments as soon as possible. The Senate Conservation Committee is eagerly waiting for any and all public comment. Whatever bills that will be developed from these comments are due by February 25th, so please send your comments soon.