Issues of Interest

SILVER SPRINGS WATER PERMIT The St. John’s Water Management District recently approved an application by Canadian billionaire and Ocala ranch owner Frank Stronach to pump 1.46 million gallons of water per day from the popular Silver Springs in Marion County.   At a recent hearing, several dozen opponents stated that the pumping will do significant damage to the springs and river.

AMENDMENT ONE Supporters of Amendment 1, the Water and Land Conservation Amendment, have formed a new group called Florida Conservation Voters. Originally known as Florida’s Water and Land Legacy, it was the coalition of non-profit environmental organizations who were instrumental in passing the amendment. The new group is now focused on electing and educating elected officials on conservation and environmental policy.

ORANGE PRODUCTION DOWN According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, orange production in the state hit a record low this past season, down 4%. Only 96.7 million boxes were sold in 2014-15, a 60% drop since the record high in 1997-98 of 244 million boxes. The industry is still reeling from disease outbreaks. The Department requested $18 million this year from the Legislature to fund research, grow clean citrus stock and plant new trees where diseased trees had been removed. They were granted $8 million for citrus-disease research, in-state citrus-breeding programs and the development and acquisition of new citrus varieties.

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