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Water Meeting at Mansion

December 17th, 2007 by Mike Vasilinda

U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, Bob Riley, the governor of Alabama, and Florida Governor Charlie Crist spend the day behind closed doors, looking for a compromise in water use.

Hear it here: Water Meeting at Mansion

Georgia, Alabama and Florida have been arguing over water flows in the Apalachicola River system for more than two decades. At stake for hundreds of oyster men and shrimpers is their livelihood.

Apalachicola bay depends on a mix of fresh and salt water to produce 10 percent of the nations oysters. Reduced fresh water flows are already impacting the crop showing up in restaurants.

“Too much salinity will kill some of them,” restaurant owner Jeff Stillwell said. “So you know we’re buying a 60 pound bags, our yield may be 52 pounds.”

Shrimpers and anglers are also seeing reduced stock from a breeding ground too salty to allow eggs to hatch. The river’s flow was reduced in November to give Atlanta more drinking water.

Governor Charlie Crist met for almost five hours behind closed doors with the governors of Georgia and Alabama.

Their last meeting saw water flow cut by 5%. Fishing interests say enough is enough.

“This is protecting Florida and the future of Florida and Florida’s seafood and Florida’s people,” Chris Doolin with the Southeast Fisheries Association said.

The Ultimate solution to the drought is out of the Governor’s hands. What they need is rain.

After a day of discussion all three governors called the meeting “frank, candid, and productive.”

The only real agreement so far is that water flow will not be reduced in the Apalachicola in June.

“I’m concerned about the spawning season along the Apalachicola River and bay and appreciate the consensus on that point,” Governor Charlie Crist said.

More meetings are scheduled for January and February.

Posted in Charlie Crist, State News, Wildlife | No Comments »

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