Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Preserving our south Florida soils, uplands and wetlands
POINT OF VIEW
Palm Beach Post
May 22, 2017 Local News
By: Drew Martin
Preserving our South Florida soils, uplands, wetlands
Currently, Southeast Florida continues to destroy many of its remaining open areas for development.
These areas hold native plants, soils and habitat for migratory birds. We continue to focus on growth rather than quality of life. A large amount of the water in our area is ground water.
In order to have clean ground water we need to have open areas where water can reside and percolate into our aquifer. Open areas also provide a place for storm water to accumulate, which helps to prevent flooding. Development plans are failing to protect the open areas. Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) with (planned) golf courses are now permitting the golf courses to be developed thus removing more open space.
The more we remove open space and natural areas the more we reduce aquifer recharge and increase aquifer contamination. An example is Century Village off Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach. The development was planned with a large golf course. That golf course is now being eliminated. Where will the water that accumulated on this golf course during storms go? Most likely more water will be pumped out into the ocean during heavy rains. This will damage our coral reefs. New scientific models show the reefs off Palm Beach County and northern Broward County are particularly valuable to reducing storm surge damage. How many billions in dollars of property value are put at risk by building on open space.
The Agricultural Reserve in western Palm Beach County is being destroyed by small cuts, by constant changes in development zoning. The loss of open space will negatively impact drinking water and increase the risk of flooding. At the same time, the loss of native trees and shrubs increases the heat of the day. Migratory birds need these open areas to rest between flights.
In Miami-Dade County, an area known as Pineland Rocklands is up for development for a Wal-mart store. Natural areas are what bring people to Florida. They enhance property values and improve the mental health of the residents.
We need to change our priorities and protect the environment first.