Water Dept. not good stewards of Cone Ranch
Hillsborough County’s Water Department Director, Paul J. Vanderploog, wrote a letter to the Tribune claiming his agency has been good stewards of Cone Ranch — contrary to what I and others said in this Tribune article. He brazenly brings up the old management plan as evidence of their good stewardship, even though the Water Department has forbidden any of the wetland restoration called for in that plan.
The wetlands on Cone Ranch have been ditched & drained to the point that the cypress domes are literally dying of thirst, and a great amount of water is being lost in rainy-season runoff — yet the Water Department has refused to allow a single ditch to be plugged, which would increase the water storage capacity of these wetlands and significantly increase the quality & quantity of water flowing year-round into the Hillsborough River — Tampa’s primary and most economical source of drinking water.
ELAPP, our county’s Environmental Lands Acquisition & Protection Program, will be much better stewards of our natural resources at Cone Ranch. And, unlike the Water Department, ELAPP allows public access to our public lands.