Best Western Motel conference room in Gainesville, saw the arrival of over 300 people today, Feb. 21, 2019, whose vehicles spilled over the parking lot onto the grass and sidewalks. Remote meeting rooms were incorporated to accommodate the crowds. They came from all over the state, many from the Lake Okeechobee area, to voice their concerns to the FWC’s seven commissioners.
Above we see a summary of some of the issues revealed from public input. Note that of the five, two speak against the use of herbicides.
Rightfully and happily so the chemical industry may have reason to squirm, as the commissioners heard over and over again of the negative aspects of poisons. Many people simply do not want them.
Apparent at these meetings is that many duck hunters and fishermen, oblivious to or unconcerned about environmental issues, welcome the invasive plants because they may provide habitat for wildlife.
It is amazing how many businesses which exploit our resources for profit have the word “environment” in the company name. Another favorite phrase they scatter about is “good steward.”
Critics bring up the issue of the cost of mechanical control versus spraying, but when they calculate cost they do not factor in human health and the lives of aquatic creatures.
One of the most important things we have to do is to get past our syndrome of always choosing money over environment when it comes down to one or the other. Money can be replaced, but our springs, rivers and groundwater are nearing the tipping point of being past restoration.
The money is there and it is an issue of money versus clean, poison-free water with living animals in it. There should be no question which to choose.
The public input window is still open, so if you have concerns, please comment on the FWC webpage at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-