June 2015 Education and Outreach Report

Sierra Club Tri-County Working Group

May 19, 2015 we met at the meeting room at the old Rexall Drug Store in Inverness.  It was an interesting step back into the 1960’s motif.

Brad Rimbey explained the issues with Chassahowitzka and Homosassa lawsuit and explained minimum flows and levels. The lawsuit drags on about flow. Salt water intrusion is occurring as time goes by.   The plaintiffs have spent  a large amount of money to get the state to protect the flow of the springs that feed the Chassahowitzka River. Degradation of our water is not legal. Brad’s colleagues are all awaiting for the circuit court to make a decision. No one seems to know how long this will take. The US Supreme Court says it is illegal to reduce minimum flows; it is a form of pollution. The group is fighting for an Outstanding Florida Water.

Sewage and fertilizer runoff is polluting water in Orange Creek basin, Whitey Markle explained.   No TMDL for Lake Lochloosa was ever put in place for five years. There is still no Total Maximum Daily Load level set but it is promised by June. To understand the meaning of this issue, please reference   http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/tmdl/

Plum Creek would only make matters worse for that environment. Whitey believes that the Florida Administrative Code is used as a shield and is used against ordinary citizens.

Nancy Kost discussed the State of Florida and water management districts selling “ Surplus Lands” and we imagined how they choose those parcels.  The process has been going on for a time. The Governing Board is making a decision today about what lands to sell. Much of the land they want to sell off is sensitive wetlands for that area.  Check your news reports for how this turns out.

Jon Brainard asked for referrals for where to show Seven Wonders educational presentation. We talked about places over the 15 county area that he has done presentations as well as where I could do presentations in the future. I am making contacts in Alachua County and Gary will be working with me to get bookings in Eastern Marion County.

The Rodman Dam controversy was discussed by Whitey Markle as well as legislative issues. In the Legislature, SB 918 died.  Sewage system construction may take money from Amendment 1 if some legislators get their way.   Whitey believes most of the money should be spent to purchase land for conservation in Florida.   He stated that Florida Sierra Club growth management committee is asking for research into how the Florida Administrative code can be improved. If you are interesting in researching Florida’s Administrative Code, please visit   https://www.flrules.org/

Gary Green discussed how we as conservationists can become bogged down with negativity when we are fighting a discouraging battle. He would like us to work together and have a special meeting to take our message for a better environment in Florida. He polled the group on which issues were most important to us. With that information we will form a committee that will work on a presentation that will motivate the public to learn more and take action.