Governors against their state parks

Why do we see Rick Scott’s “interim” secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection promoting zany money raising ideas for state parks? Tea Party Governors do what they do. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker proposed eliminating all general revenue dollars devoted to park operations. Maine Governor LePage wanted to dismantle that state’s Bureau of Parks and Lands and increase timber harvesting on state lands. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is closing state parks and cutting the budget of others. Kansas governor Sam Brownback also has cut state park employees and budgets.

Tea party governors love their state parks but not if they cost anything.

How many manatees can you pack in there?

During cold spells, manatees aggregate in warm water springs to survive. The minimum flows and levels established for these flowing systems must leave enough depth and water space for the half-ton marine mammals. Not a problem; just don’t issue water use permits that would lower flows and squeeze manatee box equivalents too hard:


SWFWMD, Recommended Minimum Flows For the Chassahowitzka River System, October 30, 2012, p. 80.

That is just an illustration of space requirements, not a coffin. Pack ’em in.

Southwest Florida 1963-2015?

In 1966, the Florida Board of Conservation published a report on “Land and Water Resources Needs and Availability” in the “Southwest Florida” region. Water demand projections went out to 2015 for an area about the same as today’s Southwest Florida Water Management District.

They may have set the record for demand overestimates. The Board projected that water demand in 2015 in the region would be 6.4 billion gallons a day, which is about the same as occurred in 2012 in the entire state and over five times that within the water management district. To meet that enormous demand for water, the report endorsed a series of inland reservoirs and the conversion of upper Old Tampa Bay into a fresh water lake.

We are living in the Board of Conservation’s future but it is not what they expected.

Florida waterisms

There are lots of Florida-specific acronyms, programs, and place names but those are not “waterisms.” It means a term mostly or exclusively used to describe a fact or concern about Florida water management. Like:

“Backpumping” (Mostly a south Florida term and referring to agricultural users that pump their excess water into a natural water body)

“Deep” reservoir (Meaning a very shallow reservoir but deep by Florida standards)

“Expand the water pie” (A plea for the government to help pay to develop water supplies)

“Finger-fill canal” (Old-fashioned dead-end canal networks designed to maximize waterfront footage)

“Hydropattern” (The temporal and spatial patterns of flooding in wetlands)

“Reclaimed water” (In most other places, called “reused” or “recycled” domestic wastewater.)

“Reservation” (Setting aside water from withdrawal as necessary for the protection of fish and wildlife or public health and safety)

“Springshed” (Area within a ground or surface water basin that contributes to spring flow) (Not the practicing of gathering elk antlers in Colorado in April)

“Water lost to tide” (Runoff beyond what the speaker wants to occur)

There are many more Florida waterisms because of unique hydrology and water management practices.

Doing more water conservation

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, portions of south Florida are moving into drought conditions:


July 7, 2015

Funny, Florida goes into and out of drought, like in 2001:


May 15, 2001

If the current drought intensifies and spreads, probably the best set of water conservation responses was written way back in 2002: the Florida Water Conservation Initiative. Unfortunately, there is no more recent statewide inventory of water conservation possibilities. I am personally fond of that report and it has lots of good ideas that could still be implemented. Even better, the state, in cooperation will all categories of water users, could prepare a new water conservation inventory. Florida droughts will recur.