At Jackson Blue Springs in north Florida, drinking a glass of spring water will give you the same amount of nitrate as eating six hot dogs.
In central Florida, if you took a standard 30,000-gallon residential swimming pool and poured in 750 gallons of septic tank water, it would contain less nitrate than the waters that people swim in at Wekiwa Springs.
In the Indian River Lagoon, nitrates and phosphates from wastewater and fertilizer are causing toxic algae blooms that have wiped out the vast majority of seagrass and have killed dozens of manatees, dolphins and pelicans.
Closer to home, many segments of Sarasota and Tampa Bay and tributaries such as the Peace, Myakka and Manatee rivers are listed as "impaired" waters by the state.
This is Florida today, in a state of unannounced environmental crisis. However, there is a plan to address these problems.
The proposed Florida Water and Land Legacy amendment to the Florida Constitution would ensure the preservation of conservation lands and restoration of natural systems.
The 10-year program would utilize a portion of existing document stamp tax revenue. It is the only viable option on the horizon for protecting Florida's wild spaces and waterways for future generations.
While most signed and verified petitions needed to get the amendment on the 2014 ballot have been collected statewide, we only have until Nov. 30 to submit the remainder needed. The League of Women Voters of Florida urges you, and encourages you to also ask your friends, relatives and neighbors, to sign petitions and then send them to the LWVF state office at 504 Beverly Court, Tallahassee, FL 32301.
For more information and to download the petition, visit: www.thefloridavoter.org.
Time is running out, not only for the Water and Land Legacy amendment, but also for the treasured waterways and marine life of Florida.
Lee Pflueger, President, League of Women Voters of Manatee CountyBradenton