For many years the technique for mining phosphate in central
Florida was to dewater large tracts of land. This resulted
in a continuing process of augmenting the flow of the Peace
River and the Alafia River. Such large scale, long term
augmentation changed the hydrologic regime and the
ecological cycles along these streams.
During the 1960's and early 70's when the phosphate
companies were encouraged, and later required, to change
their methods so that the dewatering activities were more
limited and the waters removed were used within the process
rather than resulting in augmentation to the streams.
In another area I am familiar with a stream which
periodically was dry, almost on an annual basis until food
processing plants started discharging into the stream. As a
result the stream ceased going dry on an annual basis. Now,
with the shifting of the citrus industry and the closing of
some of the processing plants, the augmentation to this
stream, and other as well, will cause them once again, to go
dry from time to time and you will hear of people
complaining of this, blaming it on anyone of a number of
reasons unrelated to the facts.
2. The Department of Environmental Regulation came into being
in 1975 and has done a surprisingly good *ob, considering
the circumstances of its creation (and o of you -.4f1find
it strange to hear me say that they have done a surprisingly
good job, but I am quite sincere about this although I also
have been and continue to very critical of some of the
things that have or have not been done). The mandates and
the statutes for full utilization of district managers and
for delegation of certain functions to water management
districts has been circumvented, inadvertently, no doubt, by
the legislative appropriation process which has continued to
fund certain activities rather than give clear direction to
the secretary that these things are to be delegated.
An example is the dredge and fill regulation. DER embarked
on dredge and fill legislation under somewhat questionable
authority of water quality. Certainly water quality plays
into this but has become the paramount controlling factor.
Had dredge and fill been delegated to the water management
districts, who already had responsibility for management and
storage of surface water, there would have been less
duplication, overlap and frustration.
S We are fast approaching gridlock and our attempt to preserve
wetlands, per se. Wetlands have been shown to be valuable
but have not yet been quantified. We can also show that
uplands are valuable and that submerged lands are valuable.
Techniques are being perfected and evaluations are being
done which are proving that wetlands can be created, can be
recreated, can be enhanced and that the benefits sought can
be obtained by skillful management. We are kidding
ourselves in Florida if we think our wetlands are pristine
and non man-made. Virtually everything in peninsula Florida
has been altered and many of the today very desirable
wetlands have resulted from man's activities.
From a geologic standpoint Florida is an infant and its
ecological systems are ever changing, dynamic evolutions
that can not be considered to be static and we are kidding
ourselves if we try to maintain or establish any particular
This is not to say that we should not be concerned about our
actions. Let me give you some examples.
ENVIRONMENTAL EFFICIENCY REVIEW COMMITTEE
December 12, 1986
Items to be covered in the presentation before the Environmental
Efficiency Study Commission:
1. Florida has the best, most comprehensive system for water
management of any state in the United States.
a. It has been regionalized in order to take into account
the differing problems throughout the state.
b. It involves a lay citizen board.
c. It establishes a procedure for sub-districts and
sub-district lay citizen boards.
d. It provides for the employment of a competent staff.
e. It has funding authority and responsibility brought
about by constitutional amendment specifically for that
f. Additional funding for land purchase has been
established through the Documentary Stamp Tax Act.
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g. The water management districts have established a
credible track record, having developed a comprehensive
series of rules without much statutory guidance. Each
district has developed at its own pace and to meet its
own needs but there are striking similarities between
those districts that have similar problems and
h. General supervisory authority is authorized through DER
but this procedure has not been fully utilized for a
variety of reasons. However, the potential for doing
so is there and should not be overlooked.
i. Review by the Governor and Cabinet is afforded to the
process but has hamstrung itself somewhat; 14 ^^ d" -,