Spoiler alert: Three of the six are about water
A coalition of environmental and other organizations is distributing a sternly worded report to all candidates in Florida for federal and state offices about worsening threats to the state’s natural resources.
On Wednesday, the alliance publicly released “Trouble in Paradise,” an initiative started by Nathaniel Pryor Reed, a conservationist and co-founder of 1,000 Friends of Florida who died recently.
“Tragically, he did not live to see this report to fruition,” Paul Owens, president of 1,000 Friends of Florida, said during a media conference.
To complete Reed’s final initiative, the 1,000 Friends organization partnered with Apalachicola Riverkeeper, Defenders of Wildlife, Florida Defenders of the Environment, Florida Springs Council, Florida Wildlife Corridor, Florida Wildlife Federation, the Howard T. Odom Florida Springs Institute and the League of Women Voters of Florida.
The result is a document intended to educate this state’s potential elected officials about what Owens calls “the greatest challenges facing Florida’s environment.”
Although the organizations are making sure paper or email editions of the report reach candidates in upcoming state and federal elections, Owens said they encourage voters to make sure contenders in local races are also aware of the findings and recommendations.
“These are critical issues at every level of government in Florida,” Owens said.
The study outlines six priorities that the partnership contends need urgent attention as well as specific geographic areas it considers especially endangered, including the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, the Indian River Lagoon, Apalachicola River and Bay and several natural springs.
Throughout the report, the authors call for enforcing environmental protections “already in place,” sufficiently funding agencies responsible for overseeing those duties, appointing “strong and effective” agency leaders and passing legislation “to restore and improve workable programs and address current and future challenges.”