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RE: [ft-l] Potts Preserve trail letters needed

The Water Management District originally purchased the property, in part,
because they saw that the water quality *inside* the dikes was better than
*outside* the dikes. They were looking at traditional pollutants as well as
suspended particulate material, clarity, etc. That statement was made
during a drive/walk through in 1990 or 1991 when the district was just
opening the property to the public. They felt that the dikes were
responsible for the higher water quality inside the property because they
limited the entry of motorized vehicles (hence few hydrocarbon wastes) and
they also slowed the passage of water into the Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes
serving as a temporary storage of flood waters during times of heavy
	Until recently, the district has said that they do not want to
remove the dikes for the above reasons. At this time, the district is not
saying anything, apparently because of the political pressure brought to
bear by airboat groups that want access to the property. I have found it
impossible to get a reply from anyone in the district to any questions
concerning management of Potts Preserve. 
	The subject of removing the dikes did not come up until airboaters
started commenting at public meetings of the SWFWMD board and at DEP
meetings. The SWFWMD position has always been that they do not want to
disturb the dikes, and as far as I know, they are not going in that
direction. However, since DEP has assumed regulatory responsibility for the
wetland areas in Potts Preserve, the water management district has removed
itself from the management of the property and all such discussion occurs
at DEP now.
	DEP has sent some groups to look at water flow at various sites
along the perimeter of Potts. Mike Dawson, one of our FTA members, has
joined these groups and reports that little gets done. The people get
off-topic quickly and accomplish little.
	The observation that other hiking areas have been lost in the past
is not a good reason to give up on this one. Rather it indicates that we
have to become more active in promoting our position in front of those
governmental bodies that will make the decisions. I think it certain that
if we do not lobby for our trails then we will lose them.
	Again, I hope every person on this list will write at least one
letter in support of keeping the dikes (causeways) in place and preserving
access for all groups (hikers, bicyclists, horse riders, birders,
naturalists, etc.)
- Carl Strohmenger

On Thu, 2 Dec 1999, Hale, Pamela wrote:

> Carl,
> do the dikes impede the natural water flow?  It may be the better thing
> to do to remove them.
> restoring the historical, "natural"
> flow of water may has benefits beyond what we hikers would claim if the
> "improvements" were left as-is.  Does the water management district have any
> study literature available to the public?  I'd like to know what benefits would
> be realized with the restoration, weighed against the costs (loss of public
> access, etc.).
> Pam Hale

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