Monday, March 11, 2013
Looking Down Into Water
Florida may be named after its flora, but it is the land of water, too, water that changes moods with every wind, rain, and angle of the sun. It changes the land, and it changes us.
Want for its mythical Fountain of Youth has turned into an aquifer-sucking need. Florida’s water is drying up. It seems hard to understand when every river from Escambia to Suwannee County is over its banks after the wettest February on record, but yearly use from population growth outdoes yearly accumulation. Some bubbling springs have ceased flowing, turning stagnant and warm.
Pollution is another matter, with more water discharging directly into streams than back into the aquifer, much of it rank with manmade chemicals. Pesticides and fertilizers are very well known in these waters.
But there are still beautiful, water-filled places, despite less groundwater and more pollution from wastewater runoff. A visitor might not know the difference in the appearance of our spring-fed rivers today compared to only a few decades ago, before the hydrilla started taking over, before the crystal waters began to tinge green and brown.
There is a fight for development versus the necessity of keeping our wild swamps and coasts, the bogs that suck boots right off the feet of any who try to trespass but shelter the most delicate and rarest of nature’s species.
Looking down into water may be a good place to start helping our state. Maybe the reflections we see in Florida’s rivers will show us all there is to be gained by saving them.