WUFT News

Rubio, Nelson Hold Field Hearing On Oyster Collapse In Apalachicola

By and on August 13th, 2013

Updated: After joining Rubio and Nelson Tuesday in Apalachicola, Gov. Rick Scott announced the state would sue Georgia over the water usage.

“This lawsuit will be targeted toward one thing – fighting for the future of Apalachicola. This is a bold, historic legal action for our state. But this is our only way forward after 20 years of failed negotiations with Georgia. We must fight for the people of this region. The economic future of Apalachicola Bay and Northwest Florida is at stake,” he said in a statement.

The suit will be filed in the U.S. Supreme Court and will seek to limit the amount of Apalachicola headwaters Georgia can use.

A five-minute audio interview with State Sen. Bill Montford (D-District 6) can be heard below. He discusses his role in helping to convene the hearing, his hopes for the federal government to take a stronger interest, and the steps for the region’s oyster industry moving forward.

Here is a 35-minute video montage of the events inside and outside the hearing.

Original story: There was much emotion Tuesday at the congressional field hearing scheduled to examine the lack of water flow into the Apalachicola Bay.

Due to decreasing levels of water flow into the bay from the Apalachicola watershed, the town’s once-thriving oyster industry has collapsed. The town of Apalachicola, known for its oysters, has  reported that this season has found an insignificant amount of the mussels to be harvested from the bay.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection calls the Apalachicola one of the most productive bays in the nation, providing approximately 90 percent of the oysters consumed in Florida. In addition to oysters, the bay supports extensive shrimping, crabbing and commercial fishing. Only 20 percent of the river lies in Florida, according to FDEP. The Apalachicola River headwaters, which actually begin in Georgia’s  Chattahoochee River, becomes the Apalachicola where it crosses the Florida-Georgia line.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio scheduled the field hearing at the Franklin County Courthouse in Apalachicola to hear evidence concerning the oyster collapse. Speakers blamed the collapse on last year’s drought and poor water conservation practices in Georgia along the Chattahoochee river.

Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio headed the field hearing because Congress has the authority to direct the US Corps of Engineers to provide the freshwater flows necessary to save the Appalacicola Bay.


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

Gulf Shores

Once Vilified, BP Now Getting Credit For Gulf Tourism Boom

The once vilified BP is now being commended for its efforts in helping to attract visitors back to the Gulf Coast. The oil company is spending more than $230 million in its efforts.


fruit drop

Citrus Greening Continues To Plague Florida Orange Groves

Described as one of the worst diseases to ever hit Florida orange groves, citrus greening is costing the state’s general fund $5.75 million. If the disease is not curbed it could be detrimental to Florida’s agriculture and economy.


Tri-State Group Unanimously Backs Plan For River System

Fifty-six people from Florida, Georgia and Alabama unanimously approved of a new sustainable water management plan. They issued their recommendations even as Florida sues Georgia, with Florida’s government arguing that too much water is being siphoned off upstream.


Doug Hornbeck walks with mourners through the woods during his mother’s funeral at Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery. Courtesy of Doug Hornbeck.

Florida Cemetery Offers Environmental Burial Options

North Central Florida Cemetery is the only cemetery in Florida that allows people to be buried on protected land. One of the cemetery’s focuses is being environmentally friendly.


Legislature Proposes Reallocating Amendment 1 Funds

The Florida Legislature has proposed spending money earmarked for conservation in other places. The legislature recommended spending between $8 to $10 million of the $750 million conservation funds on land buys.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments