We can heal our springs

Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:55 AM.

To anyone who has spent much time in Florida, the decline of our fresh water springs is heartbreaking.

Clear pools are now choked with algae. The algae gets so thick it shuts down glass bottom boat rides because the water’s no longer clear enough to see anything. Swimming beaches at the springs are suddenly roped off with Health Department signs, warning people of the health threats from polluted water.

When faced with something this sad and overwhelming, there’s a tendency to shrug our shoulders and say it is the inevitable result of progress. After all, New York City once had bubbling streams and oyster beds. But, in our case, that is the wrong way to think.

The truth is that springs pollution is both preventable and reversible. We can change this.

What we need is political will – a scarce Florida resource but one that each of us can cultivate. It is already starting to happen. People have been rallying throughout the state to protest the decline of our water resources. In January, people turned out in force to demand clean water at public events in Boynton Beach, Bradenton, Ft. Myers, Ft. Pierce, Gainesville, Interlachen, Jacksonville, Key West, Palm Bay, Naples, Ocala, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, Vero Beach and Orlando. A statewide rally for clean water is planned at the state Capitol in Tallahassee Feb. 18.

They unveiled a new Floridians' Clean Water Declaration which lists six rights that should be guaranteed to the people of Florida and four responsibilities of our state government, water managers, and natural resource users. The campaign’s goal is to get as many individuals, organizations, businesses, and elected and appointed officials as possible to sign the Clean Water Declaration and commit to work together to achieve its principles.

And politicians are responding.



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