In hot water? Potential fight brews between Stronach and FL water conservation group
On June 23, a day-long public forum hosted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Silver Springs Alliance, the Silver River Museum and the Marion County Springs Festival in conjunction with the Florida Conservation Coalition was held at Silver River State Park in Ocala, Florida.
The forum, titled ‘Speak Up: Silver Springs’ drew a crowd of several hundred area residents and environmentalists who are concerned about the area water supply and water conservation. In addition to drought that has plagued the area for years, several man-made occurrences have caused alarm due to dwindling water supplies. The goal was to educate people about Florida’s natural resources and encourage them to influence public policy makers so that Silver Springs, and all Florida’s springs, can enjoy a brighter future.
Environmental experts have stated that the Silver Springs’ flow, by conservative estimates, will stop in 12 years. In a worse-case scenario, that could be even as soon as 20 months.
High atop the list of concerns from local residents is the planned development of Adena Springs by Frank Stronach, which would include a grass-fed cattle ranch and meat processing plant on thousands of acres in Fort McCoy.
The planned cattle ranch could draw up to 13.2 million gallons of groundwater per day, something that Charles Lee, representing Audobon of Florida states, “could well be the last nail in the coffin of Silver Springs.”
Stronach’s team argues that the operation won’t hurt Silver Springs, and that the flow reductions to which Lee refers are the result of an undefined event that is not related to rainfall or development. Stronach has personally pledged to prevent damage to water resources, even if that means cutting back on water usage. He said he wanted to be a good corporate citizen.