Dear Neighbors and Friends,
The water issues facing Central and South Florida have seen increased attention with the recent algae blooms and discharges from Lake Okeechobee. Over the past several decades, the scientific community has identified multiple sources of nutrient loading that are causing the serious impacts in our waterways. This is a problem that will require numerous forms of remedial and, end even more importantly, preemptive measures to provide lasting and long-term solutions. The issue knows no boundaries and the effects will continue to harm residents and businesses in both Martin and Palm Beach Counties, as well as other areas in Florida.
With that in mind, I have joined with several other local leaders to form the Water Solutions Working Group. Our goal is to take a global approach to the problem without finger-pointing or partisan politics. We have already begun the process of reaching out to water quality experts, elected officials and community leaders. This is an issue that requires assistance and cooperation from residents, business, and all stakeholders and hopefully our group can play a positive role in getting solutions accomplished.
Below please find a copy of a press release identifying our mission.
Over the last few years, waterways within and along the Treasure Coast and the Palm Beaches have experienced increased negative environmental, economic, and health-related impacts. These are primarily associated with discharges from Lake Okeechobee into waters in Martin and Palm Beach County. Other factors contributing to the impacts include non-point source pollution from septic systems or fertilizer and pesticide use runoff, drought, drainage and control structures, and other human activities.
Acting as individual members of municipal and governmental boards in North Palm Beach County, we have been discussing how to better work together to identify feasible and effective long-term solutions to protect the health of our local waterways and beaches, the viability of our local economy — and in doing so, protect the health, safety and quality of life of our residents.
Recent headlines describing these extensive negative impacts again make it clear that short-term remedies are NOT the solution: A long-term strategy must be developed and implemented to eliminate the impact of these discharges.
We must accelerate collaborative efforts to mitigate our current water problems and identify solutions. This effort must occur without partisan politics or blame. We have formed a Water Solutions Working Group to drive progress toward this goal. The Water Solutions Working Group will meet regularly to find the best method of achieving these goals, including collaborating with our fellow board and council members, other elected and government officials, residents, business owners, leaders of area institutions and other stakeholders.
Our area’s ongoing water-quality problems have reached a tipping point. They represent an existential threat to our waterways, our treasured natural resources, our economy, and ultimately our quality of life. We invite those equally concerned to join us in finding solutions.
Ilan Kaufer, Vice Mayor Town of Jupiter
Abby Brennan, Mayor Village of Tequesta
Chip Block, Commissioner, Town of Jupiter Inlet Colony
George Gentile, Chairman, Jupiter Inlet District
Dr. Matt H. Rostock, Board Member Loxahatchee River District