ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

THE ISSUE FOR 2017 -- CLEAN WATER
An open letter to Florida Legialstors

First of all let me state that Florida is a water based state. Without water we are Arizona!

It is important that we continue with the efforts in the Springs Restoration (FDEP)( 2016) and Surface Water Improvement & Management (SWIM) (begun in 1987) plans which seek to remove contaminants from our aquifer and surface waters. Florida relies on tourism to a large extent and many of those tourists come to enjoy water related activities.

The Everglades restoration whether it be a reduction in septic systems in “upstream waters”, land purchase and set aside by the State of Florida, or building a reservoir to hold back runoff during extreme wet periods all must be considered. We cannot continue to allow excessive nutrient runoff to enter our rives, and oceans. The resulting algae blooms from these excessive nutrients not only hurt the environment, but discourage tourism and water oriented activities of residents as well.

Furthermore said algae blooms be it red tide or extraordinary algae growth cause fish kills as well as benthic (bottom dwelling) population mortality far beyond the point source. It is imperative that we do what we an to preserve and hopefully improve our water quality. Your life and mine depend on it.

“Big Sugar” may oppose Everglades restoration in favor of immediate profit, but from what I see we eat too much sugar anyway. I farmed for 25 years and to allow nutrient to get away was economically foolhardy. “Big Sugar” should be looking at methods or reuse the excessive nutrient thereby saving them money I the long haul.

I urge you to do the right thing for Florida and her it’s people by supporting efforts to improve our environment. For every dollar invested in restoration you will see at least a TEN fold payback in a state that depends on tourism.

Charles “Chuck” Morton

jumping fish

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

This council in in charge of the restoration of the Gulf of Mexico after the Deep Water Horizion incident. Visit their website http://www.restorethegulf.gov for more information.

Frankly it's a lot of gobble-de-gook and seems to be a governmental shell game wasting a lot of money on administraton, Read the "About us" section including the links.




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SPRINGS INITIAVE

Sent to Governor Scott 6/29/2012

Sir,

Florida without water = Arizona. We must conserve our water supplies and use water in a responsible manner. Silver Springs in down in flow rate by a whopping 76% from historical levels; White Spring is dried up and my Weeki Wachee spring is down over 30% in flow rate.
We need to implement accurate current rainfall data into the models.. We have not had 60 inches of rain any year in the last 15 years I have been here, but that is what is used in the water recharge models. I presume this is so unwarranted development can take place. I figure we can have quality or quantity and it all hinges on water supply and use patterns.
The short term creation of 100 or 1000 or even 10,000 jobs won't be worth it when we run out of water.

Once we pump the aquifer to the level of saltwater intrusion we are done. I've lived on cistern water where we only get what God gives us through rainfall on our own roof. The aquifer has a larger recharge area or "roof" but it still equates to the amount of rainfall recharging it. Silver Springs has a "roof" of 1200 square miles and it is loosing the battle. I hate regulations much as you do, but we must use the most accurate data we have before we allow continued permitting increased use of the most valuable public resource in the world - clean fresh water!

When I moved to Florida in 1995, I calculated that each year a "new" water source of 100 million gallons per day was needed to provide water for the "new" people moving to Florida each year. We have not done that, but have continued to make withdrawals from the aquifer without regard of the consequences.

I urge you use your powers as Governor of the State of Florida to reverse this trend through accurate analysis establishing minimum flows, stricter water use permitting, reuse of water and water restoration efforts.

This will provide more jobs for the future buy insuring we have a future Florida as we know it.

Charles "Chuck" Morton, President
Hernando Environmental Land Protectors

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Did you ever wonder about our drinking water?

Here is a link the Hernando County's latest WATER QUALITY REPORT. Actually you would be hard pressed to find better water.
Note: most polutants are from the plumbing system within the home or building: lead leaching from solder joints in copper pipe, buildup in hot water tanks and container contamination.





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STOP THE WATER


(2012)

The following is in response to a question, " Why don't we capture water (from the Weeki Wachee) before it goes to the sea?"

To divert the water's of the Weeki Wachee or any other river for human consumption has been proposed, but it would upset the ecology irrevocably as many species of saltwater fish require freshwater to spawn in.

We are already experiencing over fishing and part of the reason is that the spawn rates are dramatically reduced.

We've screwed up the salmon out west by damming the rivers to the point we are farm raising them now.

In short it is not advisable. It would be necessary to build dams which would prevent manatees and fish from coming into the fresh water.

We can solve a lot of the water problem by utilizing a 3 pipe system and plantings that do not require as much water. 51% of our potable water in Hernando County is used for irrigation.
White pipe -- potable water
Black Pipe -- sewage
Purple pipe -- treated wastewater to be used for irrigation

Also if you want to create a desert - cut down the trees so the sun can beat on the ground and dry it up. This also break up a surface biosphere and allows the evaporation to go higher, quicker and result in reduced rainfall. Remember when it used to rain every day in the afternoon in the tropics like Florida -- we've cut the trees and the water vapor goes higher and we don't get those afternoon showers anymore. The more we pave over the greater the heat absorption of the land which increases the uplift of the water vapor from the uncovered soil.

Another problem is AIR CONDITIONING -- do you realize that in order to cool a given volume of air by so many degrees it is necessary to heat up an equivalent volume the same number do degrees. Add to that the heat generated to produce the electricity, the waste hear of the motors within the AC system and you will see that we are altering our environment in order to stay cool. Also consider the increased carbon dioxide produced to generate the electricity if it is from coal, oil or gas. Now guess what neutralized the carbon dioxide -- yep it's trees, but we cut them down and the trees could have shaded your home to keep it cool.

Of course the oceans also absorb a lot of the carbon dioxide and it is used by aquatic plants, which in turn are eaten by sea animals which in turn are eaten by fish that you would reduce the spawning rate of by using their freshwater. The repercussions of our actions go way beyond what is readily apparent.

Do you remember when your Mom hung clothes on the line to dry? Now we use an electric dryer which creates heat in order to dry the clothes and uses electricity and in some cases gas. Those clothes on the line dried by evaporation without wasting the resources of electric or gas.

What I am saying is that we must take INDIVIDUAL responsibility for our actions and what it does to the world. God gave us brains, let's use them.

I read a book in 1960 named the POPULATION DILEMMA and it indicated the sustainable carrying capacity of the earth is around 4.8 billion people. We are well past that, over 7 billion people worldwide, so we are continually degrading our ecology at this point. It called for taking individual responsibility and limiting your offspring to 1 per person - that's 2 per family, but recognize way back then divorce was not as prevalent and living together was virtually unheard of. To be brutally frank - we screwed ourselves into this dilemma and without serious family planning we will only get out with a HUGE disaster, be it famine, disease, war or natural disaster.

Maybe the Mayans were right - the world will enter into a new phase in 2012. Hopefully it will be an age of responsibility!

Chuck Morton
President, HELP




The future of Florida's springs isn't eternal


By Robert Knight and Sky Notestein, Special to the Times
Published Thursday, July 31, 2008 8:37 PM

Florida has more artesian springs — 700 of them — than any other place in the world.

Some are large and familiar, like Silver, Ichetucknee and Wakulla; others small and hidden away, like Fern Hammock and Shangri-La. But they all have a crucial role in Florida's freshwater supply and environmental health, not to mention their recreational values.

In the past decade, longtime threats to these natural gems have become more urgent. Many springs that were formerly blue now have a greenish tint. Unsightly filamentous algae have replaced their natural aquatic plant communities. Flows are declining in numerous springs. Some have stopped flowing altogether.

Scientific research tells us that many of the changes have been caused by humans. Here's a look at what we know, what we don't know, and what we can do to begin to restore our precious springs.

Spring fact: All consumptive uses of groundwater in a springshed reduce spring flows to some extent.

Nearly every aspect of a spring, from the basin size and shape, to the fish, other wildlife, plants and public use, depends on a sufficient flow of pure water. The No. 1 objective of springs' protection must be protection of the volume of water flowing forth. Every human use of water in a springshed (the area of land that recharges water to a spring) — every domestic, agricultural, commercial, and public water supply well, shallow or deep, large or small — to some degree reduces groundwater flow to the local springs.

Spring fact: The concentration of nitrate nitrogen, a recognized pollutant in surface and groundwaters, is rising rapidly in most Florida springs in response to agricultural and urban development.

A continuing increase in nitrate nitrogen concentrations in groundwater is one of the most visible environmental consequences of Florida's agricultural and urban development. Throughout the karst (porous limestone) areas of North and Central Florida where artesian springs are common, groundwater nitrate nitrogen concentrations have increased by 50 to 350 fold, with localized hot spots greater than 10 parts per million — the EPA drinking water standard. These increases not only threaten drinking water but are also harming plants and other organisms. Even if all human-controlled nitrogen pollution sources were stopped today, nitrate pollution in our aquifers and in our springs will take decades to reverse.

Spring fact: Spring ecosystems are undergoing widespread and dramatic changes in natural flora and fauna, often evidenced by replacement of natural plant communities by filamentous algae and native fauna by exotic species.

Natural artesian springs in Florida are generally dominated by luxuriant growths of native submerged aquatic vegetation. Natural algal communities known as periphyton enhance the overall plant productivity that supports fish and other wildlife. Silver, Ichetucknee and Rainbow springs are prime examples of large springs with high flows that retain much of their former beauty and native plant and animal species. But trampling of plants during human recreation (for example, Wekiwa and Volusia Blue) and uprooting and physical damage by motor boat propellers and anchors (e.g., Weeki Wachee and Fanning) often result in the loss of these native plant communities in springs and spring runs, resulting in the predominance of less desirable exotic plant species and filamentous algae. Spring fact: Relatively pristine springs with high flows help support local economies.

Visitation numbers at springs are influenced by clear, cool water and attractive plants and wildlife. Annual visits to the 100 largest springs in Florida are estimated at more than 7-million people, with an annual economic value in excess of $300-million. But springs become less attractive to visitors when the flow and water clarity are reduced and when excessive floating vegetation and filamentous algae predominate.

A time for action

Springs are Florida's canary in the coal mine: If we stand by while they continue to dry up and turn green, we'll have missed one more opportunity to preserve ourselves. What sorts of changes are needed? Primarily those that will lessen our human footprint:

• Stronger water conservation measures in all springsheds and a hold on new consumptive use permits until existing human impacts on spring flow reductions have been quantified and adequate water resources are allocated to preserve the natural water resource values of springs.

• Restrictions on nitrogen fertilizer sales and use in the karst areas of springsheds based on application rates that result in measurable declines in groundwater nitrate nitrogen concentrations.

• Improved practices for treated municipal, agricultural and commercial wastewater reuse and disposal in the karst areas of springsheds by further limiting all groundwater discharges of nitrogen.

• Re-evaluation of public recreational uses in all springs on Florida public lands to develop science-based management plans that ensure compatibility between appropriate recreational activities and sustainable ecological communities in these "crown jewels" of our parks, preserves and national forests.

Robert Knight is an aquatic and wetland scientist and has been conducting applied research in springs and wetlands for more than 30 years. Sky Notestein is an aquatic ecologist who has focused his academic and professional career on springs' restoration over the past 16 years. Both worked at Wetland Solutions Inc. in Gainesville when the article was written.




CHASHOWITZKA TRACT (aka. THE BLUFFS)

The Bluffs area has been closed for river access by land or by water. It seems that Fish and Wildlife finally decided the people around here were right and that it ws not only a policing nightmare but was becoming an environmental one as well.
Countless tons of sand were eroded from the area caused by heavy use by people. Hugh amounts of trash was dumped into the bushes or thrown into the river by thoughtless people who visited the area and felt it was their right to trash it. Could this be a by product of the liberal thinking wherein God forbid we could chastise our children, much less spank them for doing something wrong? We have a whole generation of ME FIRSTER's out there whose attitude if "I'll do it if I want to!" Well they won't be doing it at the Bluffs anymore unless they want to part with a $550 minimum fine.

The Bluffs at Twilight
April 8, 2007


The upper Weeki Wachee is significantly narrower due to low water, but deeper because the current is digging a deeper channel. It's a fun kayak ride, but it could be a problem if two larger power boats met - there might not be room. Re-growth along the banks is significant and it looks better to me than I have seen it in at least 7 years.

Re Growth on the bank




The Hernando Environmental Land Protectors is a participating partner with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service encouraging users of the waterways to clean their boats and gear so as not to transport aquatic species form one body of water to another. It only takes a few minutes to rinse your gear and trailer off, don't forget the bilge water either. It is very easy to inadvertently transfer eggs, organisms and plants from one body to another if there is not sufficeint "drying time" or a quick cleaning done. Visit their website http://www.protectyourwaters.net for more information.




We also support the Florida's Clean Water Network in thier efforts to clean up our waterways and stop continuing polution.

CLICK HERE to see Clean Water Network's webpage







Fortunately Hernando County is very proactive in concern over polluting the aquifer, lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and the Gulf of Mexico.

CLICK HERE to see what Hernando County is doing to manage stormwater runoff.





MANATEES our favorite marine mammal.

2017, Manatees have been removed from the endangered list since there are now over 3000 of the West Indian Manatee. Preventing injury to them still boils down to the fact that we are in such a hurry that boaters don't want to have to have manatee zone where they are restricted to speeds of 25 MPH or heaven forbid a No Wake Zone.

Most No Wake Zones are there not because of manatees, but to prevent accidents, noise polution and erosion. As for the 25 MPH speed limit, I remember when only race boats went that fast. Actually most boats now do not operate over that speed.

The SAVE the MANATEE Club is by far the leader in this effort. their website is www.savethemanatee.org Go to their page and take a look.

Or click on the manatee below to go to their site.




Click on these LINKS to go there.

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