Latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Water Education Video Highlights Kissimmee River and Science-Based Research Solutions To Securing Florida’s Water Future

By: Edie Ousley

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (April 17, 2018) – Building on efforts to secure Florida’s water future, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today is releasing the latest in a series of water education videos that demonstrate the importance of following science-based research solutions.

Securing Florida’s Water Future: Kissimmee River features research produced by Florida Atlantic University – Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Research Professor Dr. Brian LaPointe. The Kissimmee River basin extends south from Orlando to Lake Okeechobee and encompasses thousands of square miles.

 

“Drainage projects, along with other human activities, have altered the quantity and quality of water flowing south to Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades and the downstream estuaries,” said Dr. Brian LaPointe, Research Professor at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. “This video series allows us to share information on the Kissimmee River restoration, as well as other strategies that are underway to protect these important water resources for future generations.”

Securing Florida’s Water Future: Kissimmee River features water and environmental leaders, including:

  • Jeff Couch,S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Paul Gray, Ph.D., Okeechobee Science Coordinator, Audubon Florida
  • David Childs, Partner, Hopping, Green & Sams, P.A.
  • Ernie Barnett, Executive Director, Florida Land Council
  • Drew Bartlett, Deputy Secretary for Water Policy and Ecosystem Restoration, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
  • Bob Butler, Butler Oaks Farm

 

The Kissimmee River once meandered for 103 miles from Orlando to Lake Okeechobee. Following severe flooding in 1947, Congress authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to deepen, straighten and widen it.

Did You Know?

  • The Kissimmee Channelization Project destroyed much of the floodplain-dependent ecosystem, and had downstream impacts on water quality in Lake Okeechobee.
  • The Kissimmee Restoration Project will return flow to 44 miles of the historic channel and restore about 40 square miles of the river/floodplain ecosystem.
  • The watershed is also a highly urbanized developing area, and the very north end –closer to the Orlando area – a lot of communities are on septic tank systems. That remains one of the larger challenges, this source of nitrogen and phosphorus that leaches into waterways from septic tank systems.

 

“When it comes to securing Florida’s future, there are few issues more important than water,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “With six million more people expected to call Florida home by 2030, science-based data is key to meeting the challenges Florida faces.”

 

This is the Seventh in a Series of Water Research Education Videos. The Series Includes:

  • Kissimmee River & Tributaries North of Lake Okeechobee
  • St. Lucie Estuary
  • Springs
  • Southwest Florida
  • The Florida Keys
  • Indian River Lagoon

Click here to view the complete series or visit www.FloridaChamber.com/WaterVideos.

 

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.