Apalachicola River and Bay Congressional Forum

By: Blaine Tolison Email
By: Blaine Tolison Email

The water war continues in the southeast. Communities around the Apalachicola River and Bay say the lack of water is straining the economy.

General Joseph Schroedel, with the Army Corps of Engineers said, "There is not enough water in the system, top to bottom, to meet all the demands there are today. There's just not enough." The harsh reality was shared at Congressman Allen Boyd's Apalachicola River and Bay forum in Chattahoochee, FL on Monday. There, the term drying up applied to much more than a body of water, but also the industries trying to make an honest living from the river and bay.

Ron Harrison, a seafood company general manager said, "Like the old coal miners who took the canary into the mine, the oyster is the canary of the bay and so goes the oyster, so goes the bay."

And it doesn't stop there. Communities along the Apalachicola say their farmers need the river for irrigation, while the ecosystem as a whole is dependent upon the flow of freshwater.

Felicia Coleman, Ph.D. with the FSU Coastal and Marine Lab said, "That river flow delivers nutrients offshore that support highly productive fisheries and those fisheries deliver billions of dollars to coastal communities and other industries they depend upon."

"We've never seen it like this before. You don't have to be a scientist to see and understand this." said Smokey Harris, a Franklin County Commissioner

To tackle the problem, Congressman Boyd says interstate relations need to be improved. He said, "If we can't get the states to come to grips with their own regional plan, then we have to move forward with the federal government's involvement."

Before that happens, the Congressman and other leaders are working to conduct a formal study to produce facts on how the vital waterway impacts Florida economies. Congressman Boyd is currently garnering support for the upcoming study.

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