On the eve of a big rally meant to rescue the ailing Wekiva River, a couple of state lawmakers are calling for a renewed effort to restore and purify the Central Florida river’s source, Wekiwa Springs.
Rep. Linda Stewart and Sen. Darren Soto, both Orlando Democrats, have drafted a bill designed to revive the flow and purity of Florida’s famous but now degraded springs, including Wekiwa. They said the legislation was prompted by a series of articles in the Orlando Sentinel in December that attributed a significant portion of the declining health of Florida’s rivers to problems with its springs.
“The articles helped me target what I thought we could do this year,” Stewart said of the Sentinel’s Down by the River series. “Some of our critical rivers are getting some money and some attention, though not everything they need. So I thought we should concentrate on what doesn’t get a lot of attention: springs.”
The lawmakers’ proposed Springs Revival Act would require the state’s water-management districts to work with other environmental agencies for a year to identify imperiled springs and establish plans to restore those springs within five years.
Filed earlier this week, Stewart’s bill is HB 789, while Soto expects to file his Senate version early next week.