Well, the Organic Adventurer picked a fine time to leave town! The end of June was an important time for several issues related to the conservation of our water resources, the safety of our food system and more. So we offer a few resources where people can get up to speed about these issues.
(P.S. We know this post lacks the visuals our readers have become accustomed to, but trust us, there are lots of pictures, videos and informative graphics at the websites listed. If you want to start with a video summary instead of a verbal summary, skip to the Girls Gone Green link at the end and watch their beautiful video.)
The issue: Florida‘s springs and rivers are in distress. The water flow has fallen sharply over the last 10 years. The debate is about how much is due to drought and how much is due to excessive extraction of water. Concern for Northeast Florida’s springs and rivers, in particular, has spiked due to a permit application filed with the St. Johns River Water Management District for extraction of 13 million gallons of water a day for a new cattle ranch, the Adena Springs Ranch. The links below provide more details and avenues for taking action.
This link is for a June 22 New York Times article about the threat to Florida’s springs. It’s a decent general overview of the issue to get you started. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/23/us/florida-worries-as-growth-threatens-its-freshwater-springs.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
Straight from the source, this is the St. Johns River Water Management District page for the Adena Springs Ranch permit. Use it to get updated on the permit’s progress and to leave a comment. Where things stand now: The permit applicant has until August 26 to provide additional information the SJRWMD has requested. After that, the district’s Governing Board will consider the application in a meeting during which the public will have an opportunity to comment, at the district’s headquarters in Palatka. http://www.sjrwmd.com/facts/AdenaSpringsRanchCUP.html
This is the Silver Springs Alliance page. Their library of articles about the Silver River conservation effort is extensive. http://silverspringsalliance.org/
On June 23, there was a rally for protection of the springs and rivers, Speak Up for Silver Springs and Florida’s Water. This is a rally follow-up piece that includes a link for a Change.org petition aimed at encouraging Governor Rick Scott to act. The coalition’s News and Announcements page also has an extensive list of other press coverage and items related to this issue. http://floridaconservationcoalition.org/item/307613
This is a July 5 article on Examiner.com, pointing out that the use permit is for an average of 13 million gallons of water per day, meaning that the applicant could use nearly 27 million gallons per day if granted the permit. http://www.examiner.com/article/adena-springs-could-pump-nearly-27-million-gallons-a-day
This link is for an editorial published on Ocala.com. It gives a bit more a personal look at what savings the region’s springs and rivers means. What I found especially interesting, though, was the list of books, which bears repeating and takes the issue to beyond the local, recommended by a commenter: When the Rivers Run Dry: Water – The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century by Fred Pearce; Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis by Cynthia Barnett; and Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization by Steven Solomon. http://www.ocala.com/article/20120624/COLUMNISTS/120629859?p=1&tc=pg
The Girls Gone Green (www.thegirlsgonegreen.com) is an organization dedicated to exploring environmental, animal and health issues. Their page on this issue includes a video that presents some of the concerns involved and additional information on the impact of waste from animal feeding operations. It also offers a helpful list of contact information for expressing your opinion to Governor Scott and others involved in the process. http://www.thegirlsgonegreen.com/adena-springs-ranch-permit.html
We hope these resources will be a helpful place to start getting informed about an issue that developed very fast up until the end of June. Stay tuned for a similar digest about an issue related to the safety of our nation’s food supply.
Update 7/9/12: The St. Johns Riverkeeper (www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org) just posted a video interview on their Facebook page of former governor Bob Graham regarding Florida’s water issues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i1N8zRuFLc. Don’t know how we overlooked the Riverkeeper; they’re an excellent resource, of course, for information about Florida’s water resources!