Water defines Florida’s natural ecosystems. Seasonally abundant rainfall seeps into vast aquifers and floodplains, releasing billions of gallons of freshwater through springs and rivers to nourish productive seagrass and marshes along the coasts.
While Florida public policy has long aspired to manage water resources to balance benefits for natural systems, economic uses, and population growth, today wetlands, springs, rivers, lakes and estuaries suffer from decades of over-drainage, pollution, overuse and poor management.
Reduced groundwater recharge and drainage of swamps and floodplains has depleted nature’s storage systems. Diversion and discharge of wet season stormwater to coastal estuaries contributes contaminants and robs those same estuaries of freshwater during dry seasons and droughts.
Pollution from farm and urban fertilizers and human and animal waste has impaired springs and rivers and has left a legacy of phosphorus and nitrogen in soils, lakes, and groundwater.
Overuse of water for farm and landscape irrigation and industrial and public supply has depleted aquifers and surface waters and reduced the flow of springs and rivers.
Policymakers have weakened Florida’s water laws, reduced citizen participation in permitting decisions, and cut funding for science, water conservation programs, and alternative water supply projects.
The combined effect of drainage, pollution, and overuse of water harms ecosystems, reduces the functionality of habitat, and has resulted in the permanent loss or expensive restoration.
Therefore be it resolved:
Audubon Florida, deploying professional staff and expertise and using information derived from sound science, will call on the volunteer leadership of local Audubon societies (chapters), members and grassroots networks, and will work with conservation allies, business and community leaders, public officials, and agencies to:
Join Audubon's Chris Farrell in pledging to protect Florida's water resources. Visit http://www.sjrwmd.com/waterpledge.html to take the #MyWaterPledge today.