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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our seventh calendar year
    PCR #312  (Vol. 7, No. 11)  This edition is for the week of March 13--19, 2006.

The Tampa Bay Watershed and Its Importance To You -- Part Three....Proposal to Sell Off Our National Forest Lands  by William Moriaty
"V For Vendetta"  by Mike Smith
Alone  by Nick King
Everything But a Grammy....Movie Notes....My Favorite Films -- Chapter 10: "Fast Times At Ridgemont High"  by Mike Smith
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More tales from "La Floridiana" await you in "William Moriaty's Florida"! For more information simply click the book cover above!

The Tampa Bay Watershed and Its Importance To You -- Part Three

Alrighty then. Last week we covered a listing of the several hundred waterbodies that in totality contribute to the health, vitality or degradation of Tampa Bay. But what part might you be able to do in order to ensure that we have a Bay with clear unpolluted waters capable of sustaining life forms that in many cases sustain your own life and economic livlihood as well?

Let's look at some scenarios:

Alonn Avonac lives on South Himes Street in Tampa's Interbay peninsula. He loves his St. Augustine lawn and prides himself in the verdant healthy growth and aesthetics that it provides. It did not get that way by accident though! Alonn fertilizes his yard almost weekly during the rainy season. Problem is, there is so much fertlizer he has broadcast over time that much of it runs off of his yard into the street during rainstorms and for the past seven years now has helped also grown a verdent and healthy colony of algae that lines the storm water ditch that from Himes Street all the way to where it empties into Hillsborough Bay. At that outfall, rocks are green with slime (algae) and the water quality is degraded due to the decline of oxygen that the algae bloom has produced. It's not unusual to see an oxygen deprived fish or two lying belly up on the surface of the water near the outfall device carrying storm water from Mr. Avonac's prized lawn. There is nothing wrong with having a healthy lawn or using fertilizers, but limit fertilizing to an as-needed basis only and always follow broadcast rates on the manufacturer's label directions -- it's the law!

Sloop John B. of Pleasant Parkway in Clearwater has loved and cultivated his prize Fortuniana root stock roses for close to three decades now. In order to control insects and fungus over the years, he has launched a wholesale assault on the pests by bathing the roses foliage with a mix of insecticides and fungicides. Although he follows the application rate directions to the letter, he would often spray on windy days carrying the mix into the Maple swamp that abutts his property. This same swamp flows into Allen's Creek which winds its way eastward to the Largo Inlet and Old Tampa Bay. Crabbing used to be pretty good at the Largo Inlet, but in the past few years it has declined significantly. Years of pesticides in the water column of Allen's Creek might be the reason! Always follow manufacturer's label directions - - it's the law! In the event of spraying your prize roses (and there is no crime in that) when trouble occurs, be sure that the wind speed is less than 10 miles per hour and spray directly at your intended target.

Storm water that flows directly from roadways, driveways and parking lots into our waterways is untreated, containing nearly every contaminate that the surface of these pavements contained prior to the rain event. Oil, anti freeze, brake fluid, petroleum by-products, human and animal wastes and a host of other chemicals endsup directly in the water column and shoreline of the nearest water body. Would you knowingly drink such untreated water or eat fish from it? Needless to say, there are innumerable paved surfaces in the Tampa Bay watershed that contribute to such contamination of our waterways. Even miles away from the hustle, bustle and pavement of Tampa Bay resides tenth generation native Floridian farmer C.W. "Goodbuddy" McCall whose dairy ranch in Polk County abutts a creek that empties inevitably into the Alafia River. A portion of the cow pies dotting his pasture land seep into the creek adding an imbalance of nutrient rich chemicals that hasten algae growth and degrade oxygen levels in the water. Storm water and non-point contaminates need to be treated whenever possible in order to reduce or eliminate pollutants by the time the water column reaches its first waterbody. This can be accomplished by the construction of storm water ponds, the providing and installing of vegetation in order filter out contaminants on the water column's journey and by your simply checking your own car for any chemical leakage.

In addition to the items mentioned above, even air quality effects the quality of the Bay. Contaminates placed in the air from power plants, automobiles and even aircraft fall into the Bay and its waterbodies contributing to the water quality problem.

Tampa Bay is one of, if not the most precious commodities that we have in this part of Florida. It is your responsibility to protect it and defend it so that future generations can continue to harvest from it, use pleasure or commercial water craft on it and marvel at its natural beauty and the complex and inter connected balances needed to keep this namesake waterbody healthy.

Fast Facts About Tampa Bay From the Tampa Bay National Estuary Program:

  1. Tampa Bay is the largest open-water estuary in Florida.
  2. More than 100 tributaries flow into Tampa Bay.
  3. More than 200 species of fish are found in Tampa Bay.
  4. A single quart of Bay water may contain up to 1,000,000 phytoplankton.
  5. Mangrove-blanketed islands in Tampa Bay support the most diverse colonial waterbird nesting colonies in North America.
  6. Every square meter of Bay sediment contains an average of 10,000 animals.
  7. On average, Tampa Bay is only 12' deep.
  8. The Port of Tampa is Florida's largest port.
  9. More than 4,000,000,000 gallons of oil, fertilizer components and other hazardous materials pass through Tampa Bay each year.
Write To Your U.S. Senator in Opposition to President Bush's Proposal to Sell Off Our National Forest Lands

As first brought to your attention in PCR #312 President Bush plans to sell off close to 1,000 acres of the Ocala National Forest to land speculators and developers. The National Forests of our Great Nation were lands set aside as a reserve for timbering in the event that private timber lands became too depleted of trees to furnish this renewable resource to the forestry industry.

In a veiled Federal social welfare program called the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, Bush wants to fund this Act not by raising taxes or by selling the timber harvested on these lands, but by selling off the land itself. In Florida there are close to 900 people daily moving into this State resulting in the continued taxing and degradation of this State's natural resources. Surely this influx of new residents is helping to provide enhanced tax revenues that could be used to fund State programs that could mimic the social welfare program mentioned above if the citizens of Florida favored such a program.

The bottom line is this...

If a land sale of this type is allowed there will be nothing left to stop President Bush from selling off more National forest land followed next by what? The selling off of our United States National Parks lands? His record has demonstrated the most contemptable disregard for the environmental well-being of this country of President in our history and this misguided and ill-informed attempt on his part has to be stopped dead in it tracts. Although education, private property rights and transportation are tentamount to our Nation's well being, so is the properly planned and managed stewardship of its forestlands and natural resources. This misguided proposal demonstrates no such stewardship.

This is yet another example of an Administration incapable of responsibly living within its fiscal means.

This report below prepared by Ms. Pat Carver, Environmental Consultants Council Liason with the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs addresses this proposal and its impact very comprehensively. We need you, the reader to stand up to this veiled land grab and welfare program and urge you to write to your U.S. Senator in opposition to this proposal.

In Florida, please write to the following two U.S. Senators as soon as possible:

U.S. Senator Mel Martinez-R

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson-D

Report March 2006 Deep South Natural Resource Committee Pat Carver, Chairman

The current administration has proposed selling over 300,000 acres of land within our National Forests around the country. Each state in the Deep South Region stands to lose up to 7500 acres of National Forest Lands. The sale of these lands is to provide funding to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000. Prior to this, the funding for the SRS has come from the timber harvest on these lands. However, in recent years the revenue from that source has declined. The President's fiscal year 2007 budget includes a legislative proposal to reauthorize SRS for an additional five years and to allow the Forest Service to sell approx. 300,000 acres. The money received from the sales (up to $800 million) would provide funding to temporarily extend the SRS.

The following acreages of National Forests are for sale in the Deep South Region:

  • Mississippi 7,503 acres
  • Georgia 4,522 acres
  • Louisiana 3,895 acres
  • Alabama 3,220 acres
  • Tennessee 2,996 acres
  • Florida 973 acres.

    These National Forest Lands have been set aside as significant to the best interests of the citizens of the states and the country. It simply is not in the best interest of the people of America to be selling off some of our treasured land that has been set aside for the future.

    We the people have only until March 30, 2006 to comment on the sale of these publicly owned lands. Please write to: USDA Forest Service, SRS Comments, Lands 4S, 1400 Independence Ave., WSWl, Mailstop 1124, Washington, DC 20250-0003. Email submissions are preferred. You may email: SRS_Land_Sales@fs.fed.us.

    The extension of the Secure Rural Schools Act would provide affected states and counties a short-term safety net of payments which will be adjusted downward overtime and eventually phased out. Let's not allow the sale of our National Forest Lands just to keep a program alive for a few more years. For more information go to: www.fs.fed.us. Also, we hope to have this information on the Deep South website.

    Do write to protect our National Forest Lands before March 30. If this slips by, it may be the National Parks up for sale next, and the start of an avalanche of sales of public property to meet budget shortfalls.

    For addition information, link to the Organizations of Concerned About Rural Education and the National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition.

    "La Floridiana" is ©2006 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.