Save Florida freshwater wildlife


This video from the USA is called Florida Wildlife Videos March 2012.

From the Center for Biological Diversity in the USA:

Lawsuit Launched to Protect 10 Imperiled Florida Wildlife Species

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of intent today to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency’s failure to protect 10 Florida wildlife species under the Endangered Species Act. All the species are dependent on Florida’s freshwater and wetland habitats, degraded by a century of unbridled development.

“These freshwater species are just a small sample of the fascinating, biologically important species native to Florida,” said Jaclyn Lopez, a Center attorney based in Florida. “The aquatic habitats they live in are urgently threatened by water demands and pollution, and they need Endangered Species Act protection to survive.”

The species covered by the Center’s action are the black rail, Georgia blind salamander, Palatka skipper butterfly, purple skimmer dragonfly, small-flower meadow beauty, Ichetucknee siltsnail, Florida cave amphipod and Panama City, Orlando cave and Big Blue Springs cave crayfish. In 2011, a year after the Center petitioned for their protection, the Service determined that all 10 species “may warrant” federal protection as endangered or threatened; yet it has failed to make the required 12-month findings to decide whether protection will be granted.

1 thought on “Save Florida freshwater wildlife

  1. Water war pits Silver Springs against cattle

    CENTRAL FLORIDA WATER WARS: PART 2 OF 2

    By Kevin Spear, Orlando Sentinel

    10:35 p.m. EST, June 19, 2012

    Florida’s newest fight over water, which is drawing attention from across
    the state, centers on cherished springs near Ocala made famous by
    glass-bottom boats and Tarzan movies.

    Canadian auto-parts magnate Frank Stronach asked in December for a permit
    that would allow him to drill into the state’s underground aquifer near
    famed Silver Springs in Marion County – and pump as much water as a
    medium-sized city uses each day – so he can develop a ranch capable of
    sustaining 30,000 head of cattle.

    The fight pits several groups of volunteers and their cash donations against
    a billionaire businessman and, potentially, the taxpayer-funded agency that
    issues water-use permits in Central and North Florida.

    Yet it may not be a mismatch, for environmentalists statewide have taken
    notice of the controversy and view it as a unifying flash point. A major
    rally in support of the springs is set for Saturday.

    “For decades, environmentalists have negotiated the best deal possible for
    natural Florida, and that approach, while it certainly has stalled total
    destruction, has not saved our resources long-term,” said Karen Ahlers, a
    longtime Ocklawaha River advocate in Putnam County. “In many cases we’ve
    waited too long to draw a line in the sand. If not now, when?”

    Ahlers has already enlisted the Southern Legal Council in Gainesville in her
    drive to sue the St. Johns River Water Management District once it posts a
    notice of its intent to give Stronach a permit.

    This fight also channels emotions generated last year when the city of
    Jacksonville renewed its permit to pump huge amounts of water from the
    Floridan Aquifer, the primary source of drinking water for Central and North
    Florida.

    During meetings and hearings for the Jacksonville permit, environmentalists,
    lakefront-property owners and some government officials in more than a
    half-dozen counties around the northeast Florida city had urged the water
    district to do more to protect the distressed aquifer, fearing that
    Jacksonville’s thirst for water is already draining springs, wetlands and
    lakes far from the city center.

    Angered that their concerns went unheard, opponents of the city’s permit
    were also disappointed in themselves that they hadn’t mounted a fiercer
    defense of Florida’s waters.

    So when Stronach applied for his permit to pump 13 million gallons of water
    a day from the aquifer near Silver Springs, many of those embittered by the
    Jacksonville experience had a similar reaction: Game on.

    Stronach proposes to operate his 25,000-acre spread north of Ocala as
    something between a standard ranch and a factory-scale feedlot.

    His name for the property, Adena Springs Ranch, comes not from the state’s
    rich collection of springs but from his Kentucky farm. He has begun carving
    out 10,000 acres of pasture that would be irrigated with aquifer water at a
    rate of nearly 13 million gallons a day, or about what the city of Ocala
    consumes.

    His permit request comes amid growing agreement among environmentalists and
    regulators that the underground aquifer is so heavily pumped now that it
    might have no more than a few million gallons a day left to offer in many
    parts of the state. The St. Johns water district, whose territory extends
    from Jacksonville to Orlando, has not seen a brand-new request for so much
    water in at least a decade.

    Florida ranchers historically have produced calves that are trucked to
    pastures and feed lots in Midwestern states for fattening. The Adena Springs
    Ranch would raise its calves on grass to maturity and then slaughter them on
    site, as premium beef, in a large building now under construction.

    Stronach’s experts say they used the water district’s methodology to
    calculate the ranch’s potential harm to the aquifer and to Silver Springs,
    and concluded there was none.

    “When we ran that model, the quantities of water we are asking for had
    absolutely no impact on Silver Springs,” said Ed de la Parte, a lawyer who
    works for Stronach and also helped Jacksonville get its permit. Manure would
    be recycled as pasture fertilizer, he said, so rainwater running off the
    property into the springs’ environment would be as clean or cleaner than it
    is today.

    Silver Springs, where glass-bottom boat tours began in the late 1800s,
    already is tinted green from algae growth and plagued by weeds, both of
    which are fed by pollution from street and storm-drain runoff and from
    sewage.

    The springs’ once-prodigious flow has also dwindled sharply, which
    environmentalists say is the result of too much pumping from the Floridan
    Aquifer, robbing the area of water that would otherwise gush from the
    springs.

    Stronach’s experts blame that drop in water flow on unexplained disruptions
    to the limestone holes and fissures that funnel aquifer water to the
    springs.

    His representatives have said they are likely to downsize their proposal,
    with fewer cattle and less water than now requested. But it’s still not
    clear whether the water district regards Stronach’s proposal as a minor or
    major environmental threat, if a threat at all.

    The district’s regulatory chief, Mike Register, said the agency’s
    examination of the request is in “too preliminary” a stage to determine the
    potential effects of Stronach’s plans. Register, a rancher who has a
    master’s degree in agriculture, said the project may be unprecedented.

    “I’m not aware of any large-scale, grass-fed beef operation like this in the
    state,” Register said. “I’m not aware of any in the nation, actually.”

    Though Adena Springs Ranch would have three cattle for every acre, a typical
    Florida ranch keeps a single head of cattle on several acres.

    Springs expert Robert Knight of Gainesville and Silver Springs defender Guy
    Marwick of Ocala both think Florida’s historic approach to cattle ranching
    is compatible with the state’s environment.

    “Nobody would be against this if it was the range-type ranch, with
    meandering pastures, woods and wetlands,” Marwick said. But, he added:
    “Common sense would tell anybody that Adena Springs is going to be
    absolutely devastating.”

    On Saturday, Bob Graham, former Florida governor and U.S. senator, will lead
    a rally at Silver River State Park that will focus on the ranch controversy
    but encompass water fears statewide.

    “Hopefully, the government will get that people are mad,” said Estus
    Whitfield,
    a former environmental adviser to several governors and co-founder with
    Graham
    of the Florida Conservation Coalition.

    Like

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