Q&A Of The Day – Who’s Responsible For Florida’s Polluted Waterways? Pt. 1

Today’s entry: Who’s responsible for what when it comes to our waterways? It seems like no one takes responsibility for the failures which now include record manatee deaths and for all the talk of changes nothing does. Also, how come no news media calls out Nikki Fried on these issues?

Bottom Line: It’s complicated, except for the explanation for why Fried gets a pass. That’s why meaningful change is hard. Literally, every level of government plays a role. The federal government oversees federal waterways like the Intracoastal and the ocean beyond state boundaries. The federal government also plays a key role in infrastructure and related decisions like discharges from Lake Okeechobee, as it’s The Army Corps of Engineers that have oversight.

The state government plays several roles with multiple departments and agencies within them. Municipalities can also impact waterways based on decisions they make regarding wastewater, infrastructure, water supplies, etc. 

First, let’s focus on the state departments that directly impact Florida's waterways and what their role is. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection protects and monitors water quality, sets restoration goals for surface waters, and oversees restoration activities. DEP implements state laws providing for the protection of the quality of Florida’s drinking water, groundwater, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and wetlands; reclamation of mined lands; and the preservation of the state’s beach and dune systems.

Second, the Florida Department of Agriculture is involved in the development and implementation of best management practices (BMPs); agricultural water quality and water supply policy and planning; administration of cost-share programs; BMP research and demonstration; providing mobile irrigation lab services; and providing data and technical assistance to producers, stakeholders, and state agencies.

In the second part of today’s Q&A, I’ll explain where issues stand and have gone off the rails. 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio 

Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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