The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), overseer and boss of the five water districts, needs to take a step out of the La La Land in which it exists and look at the real world. Its policy makers desperately need to change their mindset as to projects and ways to spend our money. If you want to see how money is wasted go to this link. The Florida Springs Council has revealed why we make no progress in restoring our springs and rivers and the futility of our current protocols.
The problem is deep-seated within the way in which our state is run. Industry’s lobbyists can spend unlimited money on those who determine what happens to our environment, while the environmental advocates have little to no money.
So it seems the goal of our DEP is to spend money and appear busy while carefully avoiding offending agriculture at all costs. They are slowly but very slowly converting septics to sewers but that will do little to help our rivers such as the Suwannee and Santa Fe where AG is the main polluter.
Proof is here that unless our DEP makes radical changes, our rivers and springs are doomed.
The Florida Springs Council wants to better understand how the millions of dollars that the state is required to allocate for Springs Restoration Projects each year is spent.So we analyzed the springs projects proposed for funding this year, and we made some startling discoveries that we think would interest you as a springs advocate.
Take a look at the full 2021-2022 Springs Funding Report at www.FloridaSpringsCouncil.org/funding. You’ll find the analyses for individual spring basins, more of what we discovered about springs restoration funding, and our proposed changes to the process.
We found that springs projects proposed by Florida’s water management districts for 2021-2022 funding are not cost-effective when it comes to reducing nitrogen pollution. For every $2,757 spent, these projects will reduce nitrogen pollution by only ONE pound. At this rate it would cost more than 29 billion dollars to reach the water quality goals outlined in state law for Outstanding Florida Springs.
We calculated that if water management districts continue to spend limited Springs Funding in this way, it will take 217 years to reach water quality goals for Outstanding Florida Springs, even though the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act requires that those water quality goals be achieved within 20 years.The low return on investment is due in part to questionable & ineffective projects proposed by water management districts. Eight of the proposed projects average less than 30 lbs of nitrogen removal per project. Five of the proposed projects are reported to have no benefit to water quality or water quantity at all, in violation of DEP’s minimal standards for springs restoration projects. You’ll find examples of these questionable projects in the report.
Based on DEP’s data, approximately 70% of all nutrient pollution to Outstanding Florida Springs comes from agricultural pollution. But, using the most generous estimate possible, only 4% of springs restoration funding is targeted towards reducing or preventing agricultural pollution. Silver, Rainbow, and the springs of the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers would still be significantly polluted even if every non-agricultural source of pollution were removed tomorrow.