Knowledge of Groundwater Responses A Critical Factor in Saving Florida's Threatened and Endangered Species
Part I: Marine Ecological Disturbances
Sydney T. Bacchus
Applied Environmental Services, P. O. Box 174, Athens, GA 30603; email@example.com
Florida's marine species, including threatened and endangered species, are subjected to adverse environmental conditions due to groundwater alterations because agencies charged with implementing and enforcing the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act fail to consider those impacts. Examples of anthropogenic groundwater perturbations that can result in direct, indirect, secondary and cumulative impacts to marine species include: (1) aquifer injection of effluent and other ecologi-cally
hazardous wastes; (2) aquifer 'storage' and 'recovery'; (3) groundwater mining; and (4) structural mining of the aquifer system (e.g., limerock, sand, phosphate). Groundwater flow in Florida's regional karst aquifer system varies greatly both spatially and temporally, in response to those anthropogenic alterations. Those perturbations can result in significant physical, chemical and biological changes in the marine ecosystem. Related adverse impacts can include: (1) predisposing organisms to disease (e.g., decreasing host resistance, increasing pathogen vigor), including catalyzation by carbon-loading; (2) in troducing new pathogens; (3) promoting rapid, antagonistic evolution of microbes; and (4) introducing hazardous chemicals, including endocrine disrupters. The adverse effects of those alterations may be a significant factor in the major ecological disturbances of Florida's marine environment described in volume 18(1) of Endangered Species UPDATE. The magnitude of adverse impacts to marine species from those groundwater perturbations is unknown. Currently, the agencies have not fulfilled their fiducal responsibilities by failing to require the necessary studies, proceeding with permitting actions in the absence of that required information, and failing to take enforcement action against existing violations.