Water Compact Summit
On April 30th, the Institute hosted a summit of elected officials and representatives of state, regional, and local governments to seek agreement on water quality issues facing Volusia County. The summit was organized by the Volusia League of Cities and Florida Institute of Government and featured League President Matt Surrency, Mayor of Hawthorne and State Representative Kristin Jacobs and a welcome by Stetson President Wendy Libby. Institute director Clay Henderson presented a wide spectrum of water quality issues facing Volusia County including reference to nearly 100,000 septic tanks which contribute unwanted nutrients into our springs and the Indian River Lagoon. He demonstrated how nearly all of Volusia’s waters are deemed impaired under the Clean Water Act. He was joined by Dr. Kirsten Work of Stetson’s Biology Department who reported on her research of exotic species in Blue Spring. Work reported that the spring is below its minimum flow and level while nitrate concentrations are up and exotic species are increasing. These are all indicators of stress on the spring ecosystem. Dr. Jason Evans of the Environmental Sciences Department spoke of his work with adaptation to sea level rise in South Florida. He said Central Florida coastal communities need to address changes in water levels in their long term planning. Presentations were also made by representatives of St. Johns River Water Management District and Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The summit concluded with mayors, city commissioners and other local government representatives signing a “water compact” to pledge their cooperation for working on water quality issues in Volusia County. Each of the participating local governments plan to take the compact back to their commissions and councils for approval. The Institute expects to continue to be a part of this important effort.
Presentations (slideshows) from the summit: