Debut of “Giving Our River a Voice” Speaker Series, With Jim Gross


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The new speaker series from OSFR, “Giving Our River a Voice,” began this evening August 16, 2016, with geologist Jim Gross, who spoke on “The Floridan aquifer system,  It’s not rocket science…really.”

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At the president’s request, Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson give a status report on the phosphate mine

The lecture can be seen in its entirety on the video at this link.

Jim Gross, who is on the Advisory Board of OSFR, gave a totally thorough explanation and description of the aquifer in terms anyone can understand.  So much information was presented that we will not attempt to reproduce it here.  Our best suggestion, try to catch Jim at his next presentation.

A few things did stand out to us, however, one being that among options we have of non-traditional water sources, recycling wastewater is much, much cheaper than desalination.  Another disconnected stat:  of ground water,  public supply uses about 48 % and agriculture about 35 %.  Agriculture use has declined recently, not because of good water management, but because of plant diseases.  Also, since 2012 overall water use has dropped, again, objective scientists believe that is not caused by better management but because of of the downswing in the economy.

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Smithsonian Program Director Kristina Young with Jim Gross

An observation:  our officials who make water decisions are not water experts, but instead of listening to water experts and taking their advice, they pretend to become water experts overnight, and thus their decisions reflect incompetency and their foolishness.

Another observation:  during a water crisis the stages go from   drought > awareness > concern > panic.  Our officials who make water decisions take no action until stage four–panic.  Again, that might be because they pay no attention to the water experts.

The bottom line and message we should take home from this session is that yes, we are having water problems, and the answer is -as the sub title says, it’s not rocket science:   withdraw less water.

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OSFR President Pam Smith introduces speaker Jim Gross

Jim Gross is a professional geologist with 38 years of experience in water resources.  He is a native of California and earned his bachelor’s degree in geology at the University of California at Santa Barbara.  For the first 10 years of his career Jim worked in geothermal energy exploration and development throughout the western United States.  After several years of professional work he returned to academia and earned a master’s in geology at New Mexico State University.  He then moved into water supply planning and development work, both in the public and private sectors.  Jim has more than 20 years of experience in long-term regional water supply planning, including 18 years in Florida.  Jim is a licensed professional geologist in California and Florida, and is certified as a Professional Geologist by the American Institute of Professional Geologists.  On April 1, 2016, he was named Executive Director of the Florida Defenders of the Environment.

Our thanks go to Doug Jipson and Digitel Productions of Fort White for filming the session and to New Century Woman’s Club of High Springs for the use of their facilities.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life:  once taken, it cannot be brought back-

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