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Wetlands Question and Answer – Beaches and Springs

Wetlands Question and Answer – Beaches and Springs

Below, you will find questions I received from a concerned citizen.  I welcome all questions and I appreciate the opportunity to share the truth!

Question:  So if the state is doing such a good job protecting our wetlands why are our beaches closed so often?

Answer:  Wakulla County is unique.  More than 65% of our county is protected forest land. Forests contain wild mammals. Wild mammals poop in the forests. Poop contains bacteria, like Fecal Coloform and Enterococci.  Rain washes the bacteria into our bays. Our bays are shallow and situated in the “bend” of the pan handle.  This creates a pooling effect that does not quickly flush out our bays.  We typically see our beaches closed as a result of water quality after periods of heavy rainfall.  Heavy rainfall flushes everything in the forests into our bays.  While humans certainly have an effect on water quality, if they were the primary cause of poor water quality, we would see the problem more often.  

Question:  Why are millions of our tax dollars being spent to restore our springs?

Answer:  Some folks like to claim that the State, specifically the current administration, has no interest in protecting the springs.  If that was true, the Governor and Legislature would not be spending millions of dollars to restore our springs.  Lots of people live upstream from our springs with septic tanks that add nitrogen to the aquifer.  Tallahassee has a waste treatment spray field serving 250,000 people north of our springs that adds nitrogen to the aquifer. South Georgia contains large farms, that contribute nitrogen to our aquifer, that ends up in our springs.  The millions of dollars you reference have nothing to do with the buffers in the proposed wetlands ordinance.  The State is spending that money in an attempt to reduce nitrogen in our springs.  We all want to protect our wetlands.  We all want to improve the drinking water in our aquifer.  We simply do not need multiple layers of government to achieve these goals.  The most recent data shows the nitrogen in Wakulla Springs comes from the following sources:

Septic Tanks 50.66%
Atmospheric 12.86%
Sinking Streams 10.50%
Farm Fertilizer 7.61%
Livestock 7.09%
Waste Water Treatment Facilities 6.30%
Urban Fertilizer 4.46%



Question:  Isn’t the most effective government the one closest to the people?

Yes, I will agree with you here. The majority of voters elected 5 Commissioners to represent them and make decisions for them. The majority of Commissioners voted to eliminate duplicate government regulations and to eliminate financial risk to the tax payers who elected us. A NO vote on Referendum A will ensure wetlands will continue to be protected by the State and Property Rights will continue to be protected by the government closest to the people!


One Response to “Wetlands Question and Answer – Beaches and Springs”

  1. Pam Freeman says:

    Please do not blame all the bacteria in the water on the wildlife. This is not accurate. Mammals have been pooping in the forests for years and we never had a bacteria problem in the bay. This has come about in the last 30 years or so from overdevelopment in the areas north of the bay and comes into the bay from run off. The bacteria is in the waste from landfills and untreated sewage. Not only is there bacteria in the bay but also in the wetland areas in the Apalachicola National Forest and the Wakulla State Forest. There is a bacterial imbalance from all the waste coming in to the water.

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