Michael Stone of Our Town Magazine has written a fine article entitled “Saving Florida’s Water” which appeared in the May/June High Springs Alachua edition. In it he discusses Poe Springs in Alachua County which stopped flowing for the first time in 2012, and the nitrate problem, caused principally by over-use of fertilizers.
Among those he interviewed for information on the Santa Fe River were Dr. Robert Knight and OSFR President Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, who related something of the history of Our Santa Fe River.
The organization incorporated in 2007 on the heels of the successful effort to stop four water-bottling plants from setting up shop along the Santa Fe River. Among its ongoing goals: having the Suwannee [River] Water Management District put a moratorium on issuing larger water-use permits, and getting the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to work with farmers on bringing down their use of water, fertilizers and other chemicals.
Drops in such areas would come from what Our Santa Fe [River] President Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson described as ‘right crop, right location.’ For example, she said, growers could transition to long leaf pine because, even though the tree takes longer to reach its harvest point, it requires less treatment and irrigation.
In addition, the organization is collecting photographs of the Santa Fe River taken prior to 1990 to use in its campaigns and compare and contrast river conditions over time. Malwitz-Jipson said anyone with such photographs can call 386-243-0322 or email [email protected] to coordinate and that the photos would be returned if they needed to be scanned.
Malwitz-Jipson said the same contact information can be used for anyone interested in volunteering to help with events, such as film showings and guest speakers; collecting photos, membership recruitment; and contacting officials and other community members about water issues.
‘We’re all in this together,’ she said, ‘and we feel strongly that people who want to be a part of their community can actually make something happen.’
Our Santa Fe [River] is one organization among many that have emerged in the wake of the growing danger to Florida’s water.
Other points discussed in the lengthy article were the Ichetucknee Alliance and Florida Springs Institute. Dr. Knight has hope that the will of the people of Florida will eventually win out over our money-minded authorities who are currently over-pumping the aquifer:
‘It doesn’t matter what party, what religion, what your economic status is- the environment’s important for everybody, and the people in Florida understand that.’