Supporting Science-Based Water Solutions

 

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Why It Matters to Florida

Florida’s ongoing economic recovery has fueled growth in all areas- from population growth to private-sector job creation. In fact, Florida is now the third most populous state in the nation and since December 2010 has created more than 1.6 million private-sector jobs.
But, an increased population means an increased need for vital resources such as water. Florida’s population is expected to have 26 million residents by 2030 – residents that will consume approximately nine billion gallons of water each day. From a single glass of water to fueling Florida’s large agriculture economy, water discussions must take into account the needs of the future so sound policies can be enacted today.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

The Florida Chamber growth estimates place Florida’s water demand at 20 percent higher between now and 2030. The Florida Chamber understands that enacting strong, science-based water quality standards now will protect Florida’s natural and economic resources for the future.

As part of its ongoing efforts to help secure Florida’s water future, the Florida Chamber of Commerce announced an educational partnership in March 2016 with Dr. Brian Lapointe, Research Professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. Securing Florida’s Water Future is a series of educational videos solely focused on ensuring Florida’s water future is sustainable and provides the quality of life Floridians and visitors deserve.

The most recent video in the series of educational videos demonstrates why following science-based research is important to securing Florida’s water future, and sheds light on the harmful role that septic systems are playing in ongoing water quality problems in the Okaloosa River Basin.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

With a larger population and increasing demand for resources on the horizon, science-based solutions that take into account the needs of Floridians and our precious natural resources will help move us in the right direction. Adopting smart growth policies will benefit small businesses and families by growing the private sector and will protect Florida’s natural resources for the future.

Act Now

Join the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition‘s efforts to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities and double down on efforts to prepare for Florida’s growing population through infrastructure investments.

Dr. Brian Lapointe Testifies on Science Based Water Quality Solutions

Highlights Solutions for Harmful Algae Blooms

Dr. Brian Lapointe, Research Professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, testified January 9 before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government to offer science-based solutions for the harmful impact that algae blooms are having on Florida’s waterbodies and neighboring communities in Florida.

Dr. Lapointe highlighted his research and educational partnership with the Florida Chamber of Commerce – an effort to raise awareness about the harmful role that septic systems are playing in ongoing water quality problems in the Okaloosa River Basin. And he shared the latest educational video with committee members.

Senator Doug Broxson (R-Pensacola) praised Dr. Lapointe for his work and partnership to help raise awareness of this important concern.

“Thank you for working with the Florida Chamber in bringing science into the forefront instead of emotion,” said Senator Broxson.

With 26 million residents expected to call Florida home in 2030, Florida’s water demand is expected to increase by more than 20 percent. Science-based water solutions are important to Florida’s economic and environmental future.

How You Can Get Involved

  1. Share the latest Securing Florida’s Water Future video, Algae Bloom.
  2. Sign the petition to ensure Florida’s water future is sustainable here.
  3. Join the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition.

Latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Water Education Video Highlights Caloosahatchee River

Collaborative Effort with FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Focuses on Science-Based Research Solutions

 

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 17, 2018) – Strengthening efforts to secure Florida’s water future, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today is releasing the latest in a series of water education videos demonstrating the importance of following science-based research solutions.

Securing Florida’s Water Future: Caloosahatchee River features research produced by Florida Atlantic University – Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Research Professor Dr. Brian LaPointe. Despite recent impacts of heavy rainfall and fresh water discharges, strategies are underway to improve the health of this natural resource located on the southwest Gulf Coast of Florida.

Securing Florida’s Water Future: Caloosahatchee River features the following environmental and business leaders:

  • Drew Bartlett, Deputy Secretary for Water Policy and Ecosystem Restoration, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
  • Ernie Barnett, Executive Director, Florida Land Council
  • Roland Ottolini, P.E., Director, Natural Resources Division, Lee County Board of County Commissioners
  • Colleen Depasquale, Executive Director, Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce

 

Manmade changes to the Caloosahatchee River and its watershed have altered the hydrology of the region. Heavy rainfall often results in large influxes of freshwater runoff from Lake Okeechobee and the local basin. In order to address local basin issues, stakeholders and government agencies are working on other strategies to improve the health of the Caloosahatchee Estuary.

 

What Environmental Leaders Are Saying:

“Agriculture, residential and cities, urban runoff is adding nutrient loads that have exceeded the capability of the system. Lee County also has numerous septic tanks and we want to move forward and see where opportunities exist to put those folks onto a centralized sewer system.” – ROLAND OTTOLINI, P.E., Director, Natural Resources Division, Lee County Board of County Commissioners

 

“A typical septic tank will put out about 60 milligrams per liter of nitrogen through a drain field, we’re trying to get one or less into the estuary. We absolutely have to deal with the septic systems, get them out of the ground for this pollution. But how can we make sure it’s successful? And that’s by bringing state level funding to try to offset the homeowner costs so a utility can make the investment to run the line and we can get people to abandon their septic tanks.” – DREW BARTLETT, Deputy Secretary for Water Policy and Ecosystem Restoration, Florida Department of Environmental Protection

 

This is the eighth in a series of water research educational videos. Previous videos include:

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

 

“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.”

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.

Chamber-Promoted Study Links Algal Blooms to Septic Tanks

 

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A recent study by Florida Atlantic University points to aging septic tanks as a leading cause of pollution in the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie Estuary.

On Wednesday, the Florida Chamber of Commerce released the fifth installment of a water education series, touting the new study.

Dr. Brian Lapointe, a professor with the FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, produced the research. Lapointe and Florida Chamber President and CEO Mark Wilson debuted the video in the Senate Office Building.

Joining the two were legislators from the algae-afflicted areas, including Sen. Debbie Mayfield and Reps. Gayle Harrel, Larry Lee Jr., Thad Altman and Randy Fine.

Harrel, a Stuart Republican, and Mayfield, a Melbourne Republican, are advancing policies that will address the issues unearthed by the study. Harrel recently introduced HB 339, something she describes as “Legacy 2.0” because it seeks to set aside 7.6 percent of Amendment 1 funding each year to convert septic tanks to sewers. Mayfield introduced an accompanying bill in the Senate, SB 786.

Wilson said anticipated population growth led the Chamber to make Florida water quality a priority.

“If you think about Florida’s future,” Wilson said, “here’s what we know: more people are going to need more water.”

The fact that Florida is adding 1,000 people each day, he continued, means an additional 6 million people will be living in Florida by 2030.

“So, water matters,” Wilson said.

 

Click here to read the complete article at Florida Politics.

Securing Florida’s Water Future – Springs

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> VISIT Our Water Solutions Page

As part of its ongoing efforts to help secure Florida’s future, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today released the fourth in a series of educational videos solely focused on ensuring Florida’s water future is sustainable and provides the quality of life Floridians and visitors deserve.

Securing Florida’s Water Future: Springs features FAU-Harbor Branch Research Professor Dr. Brian Lapointe, and some of Florida’s leading water and environmental leaders including:

  • Dave Burnell, Crystal Springs City Manager
  • David Childs, Attorney with Hopping, Green & Sams and Florida Chamber of Commerce Water Policy Expert
  • Todd Kincaid, Hydrogeologist, GeoHydros
  • Bob Knight, Director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute
  • Jim Stevenson, Former Chief Naturalist for Florida State Parks and former Senior Biologist of the Department of Environmental Protection
  • Jake Varn, Government Relations professional and former Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection Secretary

Watch the video to learn more about where the Florida Chamber stands on issues relating to water security, and be sure to share our video. To find out how to join us in finding long-term water policy solutions for Florida, email Chris Emmanuel.

Securing Florida’s Water Future: Southwest Florida

As part of its ongoing efforts to help secure Florida’s future, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today released the third in a series of educational videos solely focused on ensuring Florida’s water future is sustainable and provides the quality of life Floridians and visitors deserve.

SHARE OUR VIDEO: Click on the arrow in the top right corner of the video.

The video, Securing Florida’s Water Future: Southwest Florida, also features the following water and environmental leaders:

  • Thomas A. Harmer, Sarasota County Administrator
  • Holly Greening, Executive Director, Tampa Bay Estuary Program
  • Gary M. Hubbard, P.E., Utilities Department Director, Charlotte County Government
  • Gregory S. Rouse, P.E., Engineering Design Manager, Capital Management Services
  • Mark Alderson, Executive Director Sarasota Bay, National Estuary Program

To learn more, visit the Florida Chamber’s Water Issue Page.

More Voices Join the Florida Chamber’s Call for Science-Based Water Solutions

Leading water and environmental experts agree – science-based solutions are essential to ensuring Florida’s water future is sustainable and provides the quality of life Floridians and visitors deserve. Science-based water quality solutions will help secure Florida’s future, and better prepare Florida for the additional six million more Floridians that will call Florida home by 2030. Nat Reed, Former Assistant Secretary of the Interior, and Stetson University’s Clay Henderson share this message in an educational video – Securing Florida’s Water Future: Indian River Lagoon.

Earlier this week, the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce joined the Florida Chamber in calling for science-based water quality solutions over questionable misinformation campaigns espoused on television. Please read Clewiston Chamber Executive Director Hillary Hyslope’s message below discussing this important issue.

Get Involved

Learn more about the Florida Chamber’s efforts to secure Florida’s water future through science-based solutions by clicking here. Join our efforts by contacting Christopher Emmanuel.

Securing Florida’s Water Future: The Florida Keys

Florida Chamber of Commerce Releases Second in Series of Educational Water Videos Featuring FAU-Harbor Branch Research Professor Dr. Brian Lapointe

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2016) – As part of its ongoing efforts to help secure Florida’s future, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today released the second in a series of educational videos solely focused on ensuring Florida’s water future is sustainable and provides the quality of life Floridians and visitors deserve.

Together, with FAU-Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Research Professor Dr. Brian Lapointe, this series of educational videos focuses on science-based water quality solutions– with a focus on the diverse waters of the Florida Keys.

“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.”

The video, Securing Florida’s Water Future: The Florida Keys, features the following water and environmental leaders:

  • Julie Cheon, Public Information Manager, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority
  • Don Demaria, Commercial Fisher
  • Deevon Quirolo, Reef Relief Founder
  • Mike Laudicina, Commercial Fisher
  • Kathryn P. Sutherland, Ph. D., Associate Professor Marian Biology and Ecology, Rollins College Department of Biology
  • Charles Pattison, Policy Director, One Thousand Friends of Florida
  • George Garrett, Deputy City Manager, City of Marathon
  • Tom Walker, PE, BCEE, Deputy Executive Director, Division of Utility Operations, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority
  • Stephen Frink, Publisher and Photographer, Alert Diver Magazine

“I’ve spent decades studying water quality throughout Florida, including nutrient pollution and harmful algae blooms,” said DR. BRIAN LAPOINTE, FAU-Harbor Branch Research Professor. “This project with the Florida Chamber allows me and my colleagues an opportunity to share this research so the public can better understand how human activities are influencing Florida’s water future.”

Economies across the state rely on water, an abundant resource in Florida. Water issues affect these areas economically and scientific steps should to be taken to prevent and counteract this side-effect of water pollution, a point Dr. Lapointe stresses in a Bottom Line interview with the Florida Chamber.

For more information, visit the Florida Chamber’s water solutions page.

Florida Chamber Release First in Series of Educational Water Videos Featuring FAU-Harbor Branch Research Professor Dr. Brian Lapointe

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Sept. 8, 2016) – As part of its ongoing efforts to help secure Florida’s future, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today released the first in a series of educational videos solely focused on ensuring Florida’s water future is sustainable and provides the quality of life Floridians and visitors deserve.

Securing Florida’s Water Future: Indian River Lagoon

 

Together, with FAU-Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Research Professor Dr. Brian Lapointe, this series of educational videos focuses on science-based water quality solutions– starting first with the Indian River Lagoon.

“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.”

The video, Securing Florida’s Water Future: Indian River Lagoon, features the following water and environmental leaders:

  • Clay Henderson, Executive Director, Stetson University Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience
  • Dan Pennington, Planning Analyst, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
  • Todd Kincaid, PH.D., Hydrogeologist, GeoHydros
  • Donna Rhoden, Public Information Manager, Port St. Lucie Utility
  • Nat Reed, Former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and National Parks
  • Doug Smith, Commissioner, District One, Martin County

“I’ve spent decades studying water quality throughout Florida, including nutrient pollution and harmful algae blooms,” said Dr. Brian Lapointe, FAU-Harbor Branch Research Professor. “This project with the Florida Chamber allows me and my colleagues an opportunity to share this research so the public can better understand how human activities are impacting Florida’s water resources.”

Economies across the state rely on water, an abundant resource in Florida. Water issues affect these areas economically and scientific steps should to be taken to prevent and counteract this side-effect of water pollution, a point Dr. Lapointe stresses in a Bottom Line interview with the Florida Chamber.

For more information, yisit the Florida Chamber’s water solutions page.

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Securing Florida’s Water Future

 

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The Florida Chamber’s Plan for Making Florida More Competitive by Preparing Florida’s Infrastructure for Smart Growth and Development

As a state surrounded on three sides by water, it’s often difficult to imagine Florida having long-term water challenges. But as a state that receives more than 70 percent of our annual rainfall within just three months, there are several months of the year where there is little to no rainfall at all – leaving Florida in a vulnerable position when it comes to water supply.

Florida’s unique natural beauty, vibrant agriculture base, and world class tourism industry has attracted economic growth, an increased population, and record visitors. Florida is now the third most populous state in the nation, which has increased the need for vital resources such as water.

According to the Florida Chamber Foundation, Florida’s population is expected to grow by six million more residents by 2030.