Senators hear plight of Wakulla Springs

A manatee surfaces in Wakulla Springs near a tour boat carrying members and staff of the Senate Select Committee on Florida’s Inland Waters

Eight Florida senators today heard from Wakulla Springs State Park supporters about their efforts to fight increasing nitrogen levels that have caused the springs to become choked with weeds and algae.

The Senate Select Committee on Florida’s Inland Waters is holding hearings around the state as it develops possible legislation to regulate pollution affecting springs. Committee members toured Wakulla Springs by boat, viewing alligators, manatees and an assortment of bird life.

Representatives of Friends of Wakulla Springs told senators they had to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Tallahassee wastewater was to blame for nitrogen in groundwater at Wakulla Springs before the city and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection took action.

“Government has not done a good job of protecting springs — I think this one is a case study in that,” said Dorothy Routh, a founding member of Friends of Wakulla Springs.

A DEP representative responded by pointing out that DEP paid for a study that traced the groundwater under the city spray field flowing to Wakulla Springs.

Other speakers said that springs around the state are affected by a variety of nitrogen sources, including farms, septic tanks and dirty stormwater runoff.

“I think what we all understand and need to understand with legislation going forward is that one size does not fit all,” said Sen. Lee Constantine, R-Altamonte Springs and committee chairman.

He has introduced SB 568, the Florida Springs Protection Act, which he describes as a placeholder while the committee develops legislation.

The committee meets again Feb. 12 in Palatka, Feb. 22 in Punta Gorda and Feb. 25 (tentative) in Gainesville.

(Photo and story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or reproduce without permission.)

1 thought on “Senators hear plight of Wakulla Springs”

  1. When is the Legislature and Various Agencies, going to GET IT. Water runs underground through Veins, they Hook up if you will through those Underground Water Veins Our Caves etc. In other words we have an Underground Plumbing System. What affects one Spring affects them all eventually, Just look at the Everglades, at one time it went all the way from shore to shore, until Developers gained Permission to Drain for Developement, it flowed both north and south, for cleansing and storm control,It's called Nature. When we distrube Nature, with out fully understanding it, then we get the problems we now face in Florida. It is a Pity because The Water Districts and Agencies have this information, but instead continue to Permit Developements which they know will damage the Springs of Florida.There are Alternatives, but no one seems to want to ask Developers to put up the money, and so the Taxpayers spend for Roads, that's only being put forth, and behind that comes the Developers, by the way Roads and Parking Lots are at the Head of Pollunts which damage the springs. The Legislature I believe needs to take a course in thePlumbing System of Florida.We have over 700 Springs, Hundreds of Underground Caves,we have been listed as having the best Springs System, including the Former Everglades" in the World. Where do we stand now?

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