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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Florida rivers getting sicker, Sentinel investigation finds

Published 1/16/2013 Orlando Sentinel
Of the 22 rivers studied, from Miami to Pensacola, nearly half are in decline because of pollution from lawns, street runoff, wastewater and agriculture, and because of shrinking flows caused by drought and rising demand for water by cities and industries.

But the state has a compelling reason to protect its rivers: If Florida's rivers are not healthy, then neither is its water.


The Hillsborough, Peace, St. Johns and Kissimmee rivers, for example, deliver drinking water to the state's biggest metropolitan areas. The Apalachicola nurtures a bay famed for its oysters. The state's giant springs, sources of rivers such as the Silver and the Wekiva, are an unmatched collection of natural treasures. And wilderness areas tied to rivers, such as the Suwannee's and Fisheating Creek's, are awesome, humbling places

Protecting rivers is controversial. Last month, most notably, an impatient federal judge ordered Florida and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to finally implement pollution regulations that have been on the books for nearly 15 years. Many state lawmakers and industries have fought the regulations as overly burdensome.

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