Friday, February 26, 2010

Fred George Basin cleanup in support of Florida Forever a huge success!

Note: WPS would like to thank everyone who participated Saturday, and especially our friends at FSU Environmental Service Program, The Nature Conservancy, and Save Our Shores. Special thanks as well to WPS intern Rick Ulrich.

Take A Hike, Florida
By Alexis Diao
WFSU Public Radio Tallahassee
February 22, 2010
Related link: Support Florida Forever Coalition

Some local environmentalists spent their Saturday morning picking up trash in the Fred George Basin, a sources for Tallahassee's drinking wells. The basin's clean-up is one of ten events throughout the state collectively called "Take a Hike, Florida." It was hosted by the Florida Forever Coalition.

North Florida is peppered with sinkholes, and for the most part they're all connected. The same water in the Fred George Basin, for example, can be found an hour away in Wakulla Springs.

There's a lot of connectivity here in terms of keeping the groundwater clean. The entire environment supports a tremendous number of threatened and endangered species, including the Woodstork, which is a federally endangered species.

Misty Penton is an environmental activist and founder of the Wildwood Preservation Society. She helped organize this event with the Florida State Environmental Service Program.

"Right now, there aren't any trash traps to keep the trash from draining into the sinkhole area. That means that for 34-square miles, all of the runoff garbage is going down into that sinkhole."

The basin was recently purchased as public land through Florida Forever. Eventually, it will have trash traps, which are large strainers set in the water to catch floating debris.

Until these strainers are put in place to clean the basin water, volunteers are left to do the job. Thomas University student Rick Ulrich showed off black trash bag full of finds.

"Glass bottles, aluminum bottles, some balls, tennis balls, baseballs, that sort of thing."

The Fred George Basin clean-up wasn't your everyday walk in the woods. A month after the Federal Environmental Protection Agency proposed setting tougher standards for Florida's water quality, and about a week ahead of the legislative session, the statewide campaign was sort of a pep rally for environmentalists.

One of them is volunteer and director of Government Affairs for the Florida chapter of Nature Conservancy, Andy McLeod.

"We are participating today in part to call on the Legislature to provide sufficient funding to see that Florida Forever exists next year."

One cooler, thirteen car tires, and countless glass and plastic bottles later, the volunteers call it a day.

Endangered wood stork nesting in Fred George Basin, June 2009.

Wildwood Preservation Society is a non-profit 501(c)(4) project of the Advocacy Consortium for the Common Good. Click here to learn more.

"it's all connected"

1 comment:

Jon said...

Wow! This is a great effort. Happy to see you are on facebook. I look forward to hearing about the team's progress.