Rainbow River NEEDS NOTHING — NEEDS EVERYTHING
Workshop to present the MFLs to the public. Lots of science, lots of graphs, lots of explanations. A very critical Peer Review which called for less subjectivity, more discussion, more explanation, more study, more justification, additional guidance, less conflicting results, and a capping on withdrawals until the nutrient issues are effectively addressed.
Whitey Markle Kathryn Taubert and Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, all Sierra Club
In other words, it calls for a better job. And consideration of a more stringent threshold standard. The Peer Review said in a nice way that the Southwest Florida Water Management District fell far short of its mission, which was to justify their recommendations of a minimum flow and level.
The “needs nothing” group worked very hard to “rationalize” (the word of Whitey Markle) and paint a rosy picture, pretty much of sweetness and light. The “needs everything” group did very little rationalization (the opinion of your writer) and spoke with confidence, science, passion, experience and observation, common sense and facts.
And the latter group far outnumbered the former. There were some very intelligent and learned people in the crowd. These were people who were not fooled by pictures and graphs and numbers scattered around. And to a person they wanted the Rainbow River “left alone” (more of Whitey’s words.)
Robert Knight, the first and by far the strongest speaker, laid it out all at once and immediately punched all the air out of the water management bag. He refuted with facts, numbers and science just about everything the two water management scientists (Ms. Holzwort and Mr. Russo) said. And it took him a whole lot less time to do it.
Dr. Robert Knight essentially refuted about twelve years of SWFWMD work in about five minutes.
After that, everyone else pounded on the bag, but it was completely flat, and almost no more air came out.
But before long the bag will be inflated again and presented to the SWFWMD governing board in Brooksville, where it will be voted on and passed. We can hope it will be substantially amended before that happens, following the numerous suggestions of the Peer Review Panel. Experience suggests it will not be.
Janet Barrow Harriet Jones Burt Eno
Many of the speakers were local users of the river, and many represented environmental groups. OSFR was represented by four members and your historian spoke. The Sierra Club was heavily present with several speakers.
Billie Jo Benedict Maxine Connor Karen Arrington Cindy Noel
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-