Thursday, July 12, 2012

Soaking Up the Silver Springs Rally

It's been a busy summer so far and I haven't had a chance to blog about June's Rally for Florida's Water at Silver River State Park until now.  Before the rally I worked on postcards for the Sierra Club using John Moran's images. I felt like helping the Sierra Club out at the event so I was tasked with finding individuals to fill out the postcards to send to lawmakers in Tallahassee. Wearing a bright neon green T-shirt with "Ask Me About Slime" across the front, I worked the crowd and occasionally visited the booths of the other environmental organizations while listening to the presentations. Estimates of the crowd ranged from 1,500 to 1,800 and the keynote speaker, former Senator and Ex-Governor Bob Graham spoke to an enormous audience.

This postcard, showing the algae outbreak on the Santa Fe River earlier this year,
was filled out and mailed to state lawmakers.
This one shows the formerly pristine Itchetucknee.
A gorgeous Live Oak spread its limbs over the rally.
An overflow crowd for Bob Graham and others
Music, Old Florida style
Ex-governor and former U.S. Senator Bob Graham

I finally checked out the museum that was closed on my last visit to the State Park and ogled over the amazing Silver Springs artifacts. With so much great history on display, it's hard to believe anyone would do anything that could threaten this iconic natural and historic landmark. The whole day was remarkable; no rain despite an 80% chance of precipitation, great participation from those in attendance and a rousing standing ovation for John Moran's closing address

Fantastic model of the aquifer below Ocala in the museum
There were so many great exhibits at the museum that I plan on going back to see it again.
John "Man on Fire" Moran's rousing closing speech challenged current Governor Rick Scott to take action.

The event generated good publicity and locally the Orlando Sentinel has started to write editorials critical of the state's water policies. Soon after the rally northern portions of the state were soaked by Tropical Storm Debbie, dumping much needed rain on the area. Evidence of the deteriorating water levels in the aquifer could be seen, however, in the large number of sinkholes opening up throughout the state (over 50 in Marion County alone.) The Adena Springs Ranch folks who have requested the large water permit, have gone on a PR offensive, taking out huge ads in both the Gainesville and Ocala papers and launching a new website. Overall the rally was a good start to the campaign for better water policies in the state, but the big battle has yet to be decided. And the war over Florida's water is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. But I will to all I can to make sure future generations have the opportunity to know the beauty of Florida's spectacular natural waters.

This billboard, just south of the park, foreshadowed the events to follow Tropical Storm Debbie

1 comment:

  1. Luckily I get to talk about Silver Springs (and other waterways) a lot in my new job. I'll make sure to forward any information I think you may find useful!