Living in South Santa Rosa County has a distinct advantage as well as a clear disadvantage. It is a uniquely beautiful place to live, located in the Panhandle of Florida between Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, but because of that beauty, it also draws extraordinary growth and development.
Save Our Soundside, a 100-member organization led by Dara Hartigan and Liz Pavelick, is dedicated to preserving the quality of life in the South Santa Rosa County area. They closely monitor new development efforts and their impacts on flooding, research and document changes to the land, write letters to the editor, and show up to testify or submit comments at hearings, fighting for reasonable development policies that will support the community that already lives there, let alone allow for growth. The population has almost doubled since 2000.
As Liz Pavelick wrote in March 2020, “The beautiful lake was here first and many neighbors over the years have told us stories of swimming in the lake as kids, fishing this water and just observing the wildlife in and around the previously crystal-clear spring water. It is heartbreaking to watch this selfish destruction of a natural habitat.”
Together with partner organizations in Santa Rosa County, Save Our Soundside is working with Thriving Earth Exchange to find solutions to balancing resource management with growth in a reasonable way with appropriate planning. The project involves “Inventorying and mapping the elements that influence quality of life in Santa Rosa County [to] form a critical foundation for any number of future community science initiatives, including creating and advocating for good policy, applying for FEMA and other grants, and building a sustainable development plan.” The project is beginning in April 2021 and will take just over a year.
Written by Michele Gielis
Flooding, Water Contamination
Fighting Industrial Contamination, Halting Bad Development, Nature-Based Solutions
501c3 Tax Deductible