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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Cousteau continues environmental legacy

Published August 23, 2006
The recent Blue Spring trip was a part of that crusade. The very existence of the park that encompasses and protects the spring and the manatees is due to an episode of Jacques Cousteau’s TV series in 1971.

At the time, the spring was a popular and unregulated spot for picnics and swimming. Some of the visitors tried to ride the manatees. Some of the more careless ones left beer cans and other garbage behind.

Cousteau was so enraged he refused to film until the place was cleaned. His emotional tribute to the lumbering animals prompted a public outcry and spurred the state to buy and protect the property.

The young Cousteau has returned to Blue Spring 35 years later, concerned about another threat: a controversial plan to pump ground water near the spring for residential usage, lowering the water level of the spring and possibly threatening its status as a haven for the mammals.
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