BRIDGING THE GAP AMONG SPRING BASIN STAKEHOLDERS: HOW TECHNICAL WORKING GROUPS HELP!
From 2013 to 2014, nutrient TMDLs were developed for several impaired springs located in the Springs Coast Basin in west-central Florida. Outcomes from these Technical WGs showed how detailed, focused discussions and input have improved the development of water quality targets and restoration plans. The high level of technical participation resulted in a rigorous TMDL document based on local knowledge and the best available science. The public felt a strong connection when action was being taken to restore the impaired waterbody and their concerns were ultimately being addressed. Scientists educated policymakers and the public on contaminant transport, groundwater/surface water interactions, and hydrogeology. This intercommunication has provided funding opportunities for scientists, municipalities, and water management districts through federal and state grants by focusing limited local and state resources directly on measures to restore water quality. Finally, the public, policymakers, and scientists felt they were all part of the recovery effort.