Navigation through the pages of this web site provides an overview of major issues that the counties in the Apalachicola River and Basin and Wakulla County will be facing for the first half of the 21st century and beyond. Some of the issues are local in scope and can be decided by local residents. But some issues may have regional, statewide, or even international impacts. Many of the important issues that this region will need to address during the next 30 to 40 years have already made their presence felt today on a smaller and more limited scale. These important issues include:
Old and new beach houses at Cape San Blas in Franklin County (photo by
- How much population growth should there be and where should this growth occur? The answer to this question is complicated by the ecological diversity found throughout the region and by the large expanses of land already in public ownership.
- The existing economy of the 7-county ARROW region is based largely on tourism, agriculture/silviculture, and fishing and seafood production. More recently, the area along the coast has become popular for second homes and retirement living. How can we diversify and expand the economic opportunities within the region for county residents who wish to stay? Unless we can do so, we risk losing the area’s historical and cultural heritage.
- The water flows in the Apalachicola River will continue to heavily impact the residents of the area and Apalachicola Bay itself. The ultimate resolution of the Apalachicola-Chattahochee-Flint River dispute will have a major influence on the region. Not only is the amount of water important but the timing of water releases will be important as well in maintaining the basin’s resource values.
- Because of the close proximity of all the counties to the Gulf of Mexico, the future of the commercial fishing and seafood production in the Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico is of vital interest to the area’s residents. A recent report by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy concluded that pressures from pollution, overfishing, and residential development is seriously jeopardizing the future of the ocean. County residents and planners must ensure that new business and residential developments are carefully designed in a way that ensures long-term viability and protection of the natural resources in the Bay that have been one of the trademarks of the region.
There are no easy answers to the above issues. You can help ensure that the answers to these difficult questions are to your liking by being active in your community and helping shape the planning and decisionmaking processes that will affect us all. The ARROW website will be a source for information on these types of issues as events unfold.
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