The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has pulled funding for the springs restoration working groups for Rainbow, SIlver, Ichetucknee and Wakulla springs during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Florida Springs Institute Director Bob Knight says the working groups were started so local residents could play a part in designing restoration goals and standards for the water bodies. He says the groups were a way to give communities some say as to how the rivers and springs should be used. Knight says the groups helped monitor low levels of nitrate in the waters which can result in a number of biological changes. He says the public uses and values these springs tremendously and says it’s sad to see what’s happening to them. He says hopefully the public will be more engaged in the discussion in the future and adds he has already seen backlash with the FDEP’s elimination of the working groups because of budget cuts.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/Knightt5.mp3]
A second congressional Republican, arguing for a vote by the full House, blocked an attempt Tuesday to pass long-stalled federal disaster relief funding that would assist Florida’s hurricane-ravaged Panhandle.