Last week, FAC’s Environmental Advocate, Stephen James met with Senator David Simmons, Senator Darren Soto, and Representative Bryan Nelson in Orlando, Florida, to discuss potential springs legislation for the 2014 legislative session.   Each of these legislators, along with Representative Linda Stewart, has expressed an interest in sponsoring some form of springs protection legislation this year.  Although precise language has yet to be drafted, we have been advised that a bill would likely include the following concepts:

  • State-wide approach to protect all springs, with focus on action at the local level
  • Funding at all levels – Approximately $100 million to each water management district, with 50% state match, 30% county match and 20% municipal match
  • Realistic “worst - first” approach in which priority springsheds are addressed before others
  • Consideration of “bang for the buck” projects - cost effective nutrient reduction
  • All nutrient sources will be addressed including residential and commercial fertilizer, septic tanks, wastewater, stormwater, etc.
  • Focus on fertilizer will include load reductions, limitations specific to springsheds, slow-release blends, agriculture BMPs, education, enforcement, and reclaimed water
  • Focus on septic tanks will likely eliminate installation in new development, eliminate septic tanks nearest to the springs, and require connection to central sewer when close
  • Water quantity component will likely be in separate legislation

FAC was asked if our membership would like to participate in the initial drafting of springs protection legislation consistent with these concepts.  To that end, should you have any proposed language, comments, or even broad suggestions for legislation, kindly contact Stephen James, at (850)922-5650 or sjames@fl-counties.com.    By all means, feel free to contact these legislators directly, should you have any questions or concerns. 

Please note that time is of the essence, as we have been asked to provide comments within the next thirty (30) days.