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UW-F position statement on Amendment One spending priorities...

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  • UW-F position statement on Amendment One spending priorities...

    Here is the UW-F official position on Amendment One a unanimous BOD vote.

    Amendment One is part of our Florida Constitution now. Promoted by its supporters to be the solution to our water quality and habitat conservation issues, the Amendment passed easily.

    The drafters and promoters of Amendment One want to buy more public land, but buying more public land, in and of itself, will not fix the pollution issues we have with our surface and ground water. Improvement in water quality is why people voted for Amendment One. That message was delivered loud and clear on Nov. 4th.

    Jobs and Florida's habitat and water quality are top priorities for Florida's voters, and habitat quality is the top priority for sportsmen in Florida.

    Not so long ago, Florida had vast areas of open freshwater marsh sparsely interrupted by emergent brush, willow, and cattail. These shallow open water marshlands were where submerged aquatic vegetation provided shelter for bait fish, invertebrates, and other elements of the food web, feeding game fish, ducks and other birds. Shallow hard bottom marsh also provided the places for spawning beds. In the estuaries, sea grasses were abundant and lacked the light choking veneer algae. The snow white sand is gone, stained by muck, and the inland shallow water marshes are now mostly grown over with willows and cattails; fed by the excess nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus coming from septic tanks, wastewater discharges, and agricultural and storm water runoff.

    The time has long since passed for Florida to address the problems with wastewater infrastructure. Old septic tanks are polluting ground water and surface water, and wastewater releases, which are still permitted, pollute our surface water even more. Upgrades to existing wastewater treatment facilities to include tertiary treatment and expanded capacity are vital, and upgrading old septic systems to STEP systems and adding additional infrastructure to address old and new growth are next on the list of things to do.

    In addition to these priorities, addressing storm water pollution statewide is also a top priority.

    Buying more land has been important to Florida, but we must prioritize now to make sure that the land we already own is restored and maintained, and that the root causes affecting water quality and habitat are the priorities for the revenue set aside by Amendment One.

    Land purchases and easements should be limited to addressing re-use water and storm water storage and treatment, and we're not talking about green-space and retention ponds that decorate new development. Expanding actively managed filter marshes and funding infrastructure and technology that go along with filter marsh systems in all of Florida's watersheds will be vital to the health of our streams, lakes and rivers.

    Florida's two biggest issues are jobs and water pollution. Many of the jobs lost are directly related to the water pollution problems that have manifested themselves in Florida over the past 50 years. The tourist industry, commercial fishing, and outdoor sporting industries have been devastated by the decline in habitat and water quality.

    Another issue is aquifer restoration. It is long past time to look at other sources of potable water supply.

    Amendment One language is broad enough to fund infrastructure "improvements" needed. What ends up happening, in great measure, depends on the commitment of decision-makers to set guidance and prudently allocate funds to solve these "root cause" issues.
    Last edited by hitch; 01-19-2015, 04:10 PM.
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