Florida has it’s fair share of water use disputes due to relatively steady long-term population growth coupled with a fairly robust agricultural industry. Both interests exert heavy demands on the State’s freshwater supply and they increasingly find themselves competing over a resource which is becoming more scarce each day. As a Director of Sea to Shore Alliance, Inc. I have been privy to several extended and well-informed discussions among the Board about the continuing degredation of Florida’s freshwater springs and the problems this presents for the longterm future of the Florida Manatee population. Chief among the suspected causes of the continuing degredation is the inexorable increase of both residential and commercial interests tapping into the aquifer for freshwater needs. The Floridan Aquifer provides the bulk of freshwater to much of Florida (including several large metropolitan areas) and is also used by significant parts of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina. Pinpointing the ultimate “cause” of the degredation is an issue that is multifaceted to put it mildly. Because that discussion could fill volumes, I won’t make an attempt at solving it today, but if you have time and interest you can begin your research here.
The freshwater supply out west is also facing ever increasing demands by many of the same interests as we see here in Florida. While I don’t claim to understand every position being taken in the debate out west, I can say that Trout Unlimited is a conservation organization that I am proud to support with one of its public awareness initiatives called “Sportsmen for the Green.” TU is spearheading a coalition of interests currently attempting to build public support to stop a land development project that will have an incredible impact on two freshwater sources that are relied upon by many, including those who love to fish in healthy rivers and streams. Above is a promotional poster for a Trout Unlimited film titled “Green with Envy” upon which I’m proud to have one of my underwater trout images appear. Here is a link that will give you more information about the overall initiative.
Last summer I made a few brief forays into the creeks and streams of Montana and Idaho. I first saw this as a way to see what kind of critters live down there as well as a way to keep my underwater photography skills honed while being away from the ocean. However, the more I experienced of this cold, cold world the more I realized that it holds just as many points of fascination as I have seen in other marine and aquatic environments. We are heading back to Missoula again this summer and I look forward to getting back in the water in hopes of producing more imagery to support causes in which I believe. Here are a few freshwater images made last summer as well as a few saltwater images I have made since returning to Florida. They show a bit of that otherworldly magic of which I speak. Hope you enjoy! Jimmy
P.S. – if the slideshow does not appear below, you can click here to see the gallery.