East Central Florida sits atop the Floridan Aquifer, an underground water source covering 100,000 square miles and spanning Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida (Berardo, pp. 64-65). As the population soars in this region, demand for water will likely increase dramatically, and average water consumption may reach 926 million gallons per day by the year 2020, a sixty percent increase from 1995 levels (Berardo, pp. 64-65). Increasing withdrawals have led to unsustainable levels of use and threaten environmental degradations—saltwater intrusion, reduced spring flows, drying lakes and wetlands—and political conflict (Berardo, p. 65). The principal governmental body in charge of water consumption has designated the area a Priority Water Resource Caution Area, but it is unable to unilaterally solve this impending problem for several reasons. First, the potential causes and impacts of unsustainable use extend beyond its jurisdiction. Second, the diverse array of stakeholders will be reluctant to accept a top-down, dictated solution concerning the sensitive issue of water resources. Third, scientists do not completely understand the potential impacts on the aquifer, and changing scientific understanding may alter potential solutions. How can this natural resource problem be addressed, when the solutions—and even the problems—are poorly understood, and no single administrative body is competent to develop and implement solutions?
William J. Wailand
Making natural resource management decisions in roadless areas of our national forests has long been a contentious issue. The Forest Service, under President Bush, recently passed a rule allowing states to petition the administration regarding how they wish these roadless areas to be managed. The rule envisions that states will collaborate with all concerned parties in formulating these petitions, but sets no standards ensuring such a process. Given the difficulty of achieving collaboration, the lack of standards makes this purported goal less likely and suggests that the rule may have been an attempt to open roadless areas to development. Nonetheless, this Note urges states and stakeholders to undertake collaboration and argues that the administration should use its oversight to encourage this process rather than unwanted development. In this way, the new rule has the potential to facilitate broadly acceptable management policies and provide valuable experience in the field of collaborative environmental management.