Farmworkers & Lake Apopka History

September 23, 2015 11:40 AM | Anonymous

To:  FOLA Board & Advisory Group

From: Jim Thomas

I am sending these emails to a lot of people who have expressed interest in our projects on Lake Apopka. Our major project now is the Ecotourism Coalition and we will discuss our plans in our regular board meeting. Our next meeting is October 1, at 5:30 P.M. at ONP. Please attend if you can.

I’d like us to think about a restoration project that will interest the public and allow some opportunities to get public volunteers. I hope to get some restoration in fringe areas which introduce native plants that have habitat value which will attract bird species that are not aquatic or migratory species. We will discuss it on Thursday at the board meeting.

FOLA has been mentioned in several articles last week. In Joy Dickinson’s Sentinel column she mentioned FOLA as one of the groups that helped start the restoration.

Another article “Ill Farmworkers Push for Answers” described health problems believed to be caused by the toxic sprays applied to the farm fields. When FOLA began pushing for closing the farms, the Farmworkers Association berated us publicly for putting farmworkers out of jobs. Our response was that we were actually saving their lives. We were able to document many instances where the aerial sprays were applied while workers were in the fields!

The NURF system is operating again for the first time since April, 2012! The current operation is being monitored to make sure all equipment is operational. FOLA opposed the NURF project, not because of the process but because of the location.  We felt it should have been a long way downstream and the project site was the only on in the entire north shore that could have been restored to a wet prairie system. Once we lost we stopped pushing but we are still concerned about the accumulation of flocculent materials on site.

 Our bus tour of the north shore last week was very interesting and gave us a good look at sites for potential ecotourism projects. We will organize more tours to get more people out there.

The Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council will meet on Friday, October 2 at 9:00 AM in the Lake County Administration Building in Tavares (315 West Main Street, the round building). I probably will not be able to make it so I hope someone from our group will attend and take notes. FOLA continues to disagree with this group on flooding the north shore and several other issues.

The West Orange Airport Authority will meet today at 10:00 AM at Apopka City Hall. I was not able to attend. If anyone attended, please call me for an update. FOLA continues to disagree with any plan that puts flight patterns over the north shore.

The Birdapalooza planning committee will meet on September 30 at 8:30 AM at Magnolia Park. I can’t attend but we have some members who can update us. We need to make sure we really support this project!

Tonight, Wednesday September 23, Kevin Gidusko will give a presentation on The History of Lake Apopka at 7:00 PM at the Winter Garden History Center. Please try to attend—you will find it fascinating. Kevin has been a great supporter of ONP form the beginning.

On Wednesday, September 30 I will attend a luncheon where the Environmental Hero will be announced. If we win first place, ONP will receive $10,000. We will get $5,000 if we don’t get first place. Thank you to everyone that took the time to vote.

Thanks to all of you who continue to support our projects and goals to help ensure we do the best we can to restore the Apopka basin and create a great habitat!

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