Josh Wooten 2016 mug

Josh Wooten, president/CEO of the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce

Many of us remember the ad campaign selling margarine instead of butter that popularized the tagline, “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.”  The same tagline is appropriate for the state of Florida and prior decisions made in balancing our influx of residents with our fragile environment, water quantity and quality.

Let’s face it, over the history of our state and county, we have allowed development in areas where it should have never occurred, failed to adopt standards to protect our aquifer, and to stop pollution and runoff. We have, in essence, attempted to fool Mother Nature.

The good news is that over the past couple of decades everyone, from our political leaders to environmental activists, has made an attempt to reverse the damage to our county and state.

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Citrus County in particular has been a fierce advocate of protecting our water quality and quantity. Environmentalists and businesses alike understand that the protection of our natural resource is priority one.

While we have had many champions of water for Citrus County, I don’t believe we have ever been as well equipped with the resources to protect and restore our many waterways. Under the leadership of our local legislative delegation, Senate President Wilton Simpson and Rep. Ralph Massullo, Citrus County has been on the receiving end of tens of millions of dollars for waterway restoration and the septic-to-sewer program.

From the Gulf to lakes region of our county, we are blessed with magnificent bodies of water. It behooves all of us to do what we can to protect and restore our outstanding waterways. We need to do it for our wildlife, our citizens, and our economy.

The Chamber just did their annual poll of its members and I was proud to see that the economy and environment tied as top issues to our members. This confirms what I have always known: Those of us fortunate enough to live, work and play in this beautiful water-rich county understand how blessed we are and feel a responsibility to preserve and protect what God has given us.

For our wildlife, for our people, for our economy, Save Our Waters!

Josh Wooten is a former county commissioner and current president/CEO of the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce.

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