The "Speak Up for Silver Springs and Florida's Waters" event hosted by the Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) and its local partners – Silver Springs Alliance, Silver River Museum, and Marion County Springs Festival – was a huge success, with over 1700 concerned citizens from all over the state in attendance. St. Johns Riverkeeper is proud to be a charter member of the FCC.
This important gathering was held on June 23rd at Silver River State Park to celebrate our outstanding water resources, to educate the public and policymakers about the significant water quality and supply challenges we are facing, and to advocate for the protection and restoration of Florida’s imperiled waterways.
Governor Bob Graham, Senator Lee Constantine, Manley Fuller (Florida Wildlife Federation), Charles Lee (Audubon), Dr. Bob Knight (Florida Springs Institute), John Moran (renowned nature photographer) and Lisa Rinaman (St. Johns Riverkeeper) inspired the crowd with rousing and informative speeches.
Silver River State Park served as an appropriate backdrop for this important gathering for Florida's waters. Over the last several decades, the iconic Silver Springs has suffered from dramatic increases in nutrient pollution and declines in its flow by over 50%, partly due to excessive groundwater withdrawals, poorly treated wastewater, and excessive use of fertilizer. The Silver River, an Outstanding Florida Water, flows out of Silver Springs, and is also impaired due to excessive nitrate levels and reduced flow.
However, this event was about much more than just Silver Springs and Silver River. What is happening to these waterbodies is emblematic of the water quality and supply challenges we are facing throughout Florida, highlighting the significant pollution problems that exist and the impending water crisis that we face.
Also, sign the petition asking Governor Rick Scott to take immediate action to reverse the damage that has been done to Silver Springs and the Silver River and begin restoring these vital natural resources.
For more information about the Florida Conservation Coaltion and future events, visit floridaconservationcoalition.org.
Here is a great interview with Senator Bob Graham and his speech from the "Speak Up" rally at Silver River State Park.