Alachua County Environmental Protection Director Addresses Lake Levels, Sinkholes and Water Usage
Lochloosa Lake in Alachua County.
Despite recent rainfall, Florida is still in desperate need of water to help fill area lakes and more importantly the Floridan aquifer.
Many lake residents are blaming over-pumping of the aquifer by agriculture, utilities and other businesses for the low water levels in area lakes around Keystone Heights. Business owners around Orange and Lochloosa lakes blame low water levels on not only the lack of rainfall, but on a large sinkhole in Orange Lake.
Whether or not to “stop up” the sinkhole has been a debate in both Alachua and Marion Counties for at least 60 years. Marion County commissioners came up with a plan to try and stop the outflow of water from the lake a few years ago, but water managers nixed the idea.
Alachua County commissioners were not supportive because of the cost for the proposed project.
Alachua County’s Director of Environmental Protection, Chris Bird, talked with WUFT News about lake levels, sinkholes and water usage overall.
More Stories in Environment
Microbeads, like the ones found in common toothpastes and facial products, are damaging the environment more than many people know. The particles in these beads can enter oceans and rivers, disrupting marine life and causing damage to the ecosystem.
A Florida forester received a national award for fire prevention. He calls prescribed burns the “single most important” land management tool in the state.
Contamination in recycling has lead to deficit for the national recycling industry. Alachua County has managed to remain successful due to their dual stream system.
The month of September is National Honey Month, which marks the end of honey collection for most beekeepers across America. Florida consistently ranks top five for honey production in the country and is seeing an increase in the number of bee colonies in the past 8 years. As a result, the state generates a $13 million annual honey profit.
The new project proposal would go into effect Oct. 1, if approved. Researchers hope to help preserve St. Augustine by highlighting vulnerable areas in infrastructure so the city is better prepared for rising sea levels.