The State of Florida funds extensive research on springs chemistry, hydrology, and ecology, and it maintains many monitoring stations for documenting short-term and long-term trends in the health or the degradation of our springs. And, of course, with every legislative appropriations cycle, there are always a number of projects funded by the State to restore or protect springs.
What the State doesn’t fund, however, are studies documenting policy options for preserving or restoring springs. Policy studies could and should play a key role in springs restoration, contributing, for example, valuable insights into pros and cons and costs and benefits of various restoration options. A good example of a policy-related paper is “Governor’s Water Resource Commission Final Report, Submitted to Governor Bob Martinez, December 1, 1989”.
To begin to fill this gap in policy analysis, the FSI has developed a relationship with the University of Florida’s Law School Conservation Clinic, a semester-long course for third-year students taught by Professor Tom Ankersen. Students in the Clinic work on a variety of conservation-oriented projects; beginning in the fall of 2017, a number have chosen to research and write policy studies dealing with springs. What follows is a compendium of these students’ white papers, along with other relevant springs policy studies. Law students contributing to these springs papers include Joel Benn, Lauren Grant, Dan Ward, and Ashley Weisenfeld.