Former Florida Senator Bob Graham calls on Florida residents to be the “front line of protection” for the state’s water resources. He encourages Floridians to apply common sense — and to encourage their elected leaders to do the same. “If we screw this up, we have killed the goose that laid the golden egg,” Sen. Graham said on June 23rd in front of a crowd of over 1,700 Floridians.
The declining health of Silver Springs is emblematic of the challenges facing water resources throughout the state of Florida. Over the past few decades, Silver Springs and the Silver River have experienced a dramatic increase in nutrient pollution and a dramatic decrease in flow due to drought, groundwater over-pumping, and neglect.
According to St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman, “the flow from Silver Springs has dropped from 800 cubic feet per second to 250 cubic feet per second in the past 12 years. The health of our waterways directly impacts Florida’s statewide economy.” Water-related recreational activities in Florida generate $970 million in direct economic benefits to local communities and 220,000 jobs in boating and marinas, fishing and marine science research.
Senator Graham and the Florida Conservation Coalition request that Florida Governor Rick Scott direct the Department of Economic Opportunity to assess the establishment of a Resource Planning and Management Committee, authorized under Chapter 380, Florida Statutes, which would harness the power of public and private stakeholders in developing a plan to correct the issues facing the state’s waterways.