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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wakulla Springs Bottled Water Controversy

Thursday morning 1/25/07 at 11:00 a.m. on NPR 88.9
Wakulla Springs is a treasured local resource. Now the springs are facing a potential water bottling operation to sell the pristine waters. The proposition is being met with mixed reviews. Join us in studio with Paul Johnson environmental consultant of Paul Johnson and Associates; Chad Hanson president of Concerned Citizens of Wakulla; and Wes Skiles an environmental science filmmaker with Karst Productions Inc., a cave diver, and a cartographer.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Conference and Exposition will Focus on Water Improvement and Conservation

Published on January 5, 2007
The Florida Federation of Garden Clubs District III Clubs have organized the Big Bend Regional Water Conference and Exposition for January 25, 2007. The Conference will be from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Tallahassee/Leon County Civic Center in Tallahassee, Florida. The conference is a joint effort of the Garden Clubs from Franklin, Wakulla, Leon, Jefferson, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor Counties.

Organizers are seeking sponsors and exhibitors who are interested in improving and conserving the water quality in the Big Bend Region, including the gulf beaches, springs and any river or waterways. This focus of the conference is to educate homeowners, businesses and other interested parties about ways they can affect and preserve the quality of our water resources, and to offer resource information about conservation practices and products that can help.

Wekiva fans, take heart: Canoe launch lives on

Posted January 6, 2007
At issue for Wekiva defenders: the possibility somebody would buy King's Landing and build a home or condominiums. That would cut off the single public entry to the scenic Rock Springs Run.

The Wekiva River basin, which takes in Wekiwa Springs, Rock Springs and dozens of other springs, is a treasured but imperiled swath of wetlands and forest along the northern end of the Orlando urban area.

Florida's Natural Wonders

Published January 6, 2007
Florida's crystal clear springs are true natural wonders of the world. But there isn't a major spring in the state that isn't threatened by pollution because of poorly planned development, septic tank leakage, poor wastewater treatment, agricultural runoff and other growth-related pressures.

Independent filmmaker at Devil's Den

Published 1/4/07
An independent filmmaker used the springs at Devil's Den in Levy County for part of the footage in his movie Lithium Springs.

The photography at the springs is outstanding. The underlying story is about a search for gold left by Ponce de Leon when he found the Fountain of Youth. Beyond that, there is a message about keeping Florida free from litter, over-development and exploitation. These messages are subtle and not preachy.

“Much of the inspiration for the film came directly from time I spent at Manatee Springs, Fanning Springs, Otter, Hart, Sun Guaranto, Rock Bluff and Blue Springs in my earlier years, noted director Carter Lord. “I am a Florida woods person and have an intense interest in the swamps, outdoors and springs of our great state. The springs are magic, as you know, and Chiefland sits right in the center of some of the great springs activity in the whole world. I've always loved Chiefland anyway.”

Friends of Wakulla Springs Opposes Removal of Water

Published January 5, 2007
Any future commercial effort to remove water from Wakulla County was unanimously opposed Wednesday evening during the Friends of Wakulla Springs State Park board meeting. The citizens group will be providing further comments on a proposed comprehensive plan amendment whose goal it is to provide a new zoning category allowing the withdrawal and exportation of water out of Wakulla County, and specifically Wakulla Springs Basin, for commercial purposes.

New signs to alert people that water beneath their feet feeds the springs

Published 1/4/07
Raising public awareness about protecting area springs is the goal of new signs that now can be seen along State Road 47 near Fort White.

Fay Baird, coordinator of the Santa Fe Springs Working Group, said that the signs are being placed through the coordination of springs working groups, the state Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Baird said that the new signs are different because they do not label where a springs basin begins or ends, but instead identify an entire area that is sensitive to actions that could influence the water.

The new signs, one of which recently was spotted in Gilchrist County on State Road 47 between Poe Springs Road and the Santa Fe River, labels the area simply as a “springs protection area.”

Probable Impacts to Wakulla Springs from a proposed Water Bottling Facility in Shadeville, Florida

Technical Publication published September 26, 2006 (13.5 MB PDF)
Report addresses to what degree the proposed pumping operation will impact groundwater flow at Wakulla Spring.

More Info

Water plant up for debate

Published January 3, 2007, Tallahassee Democrat
Wakulla Springs Bottled Water Inc. again is seeking approval from Wakulla County for a water-bottling plant.

The company's previous proposal to build 1.7 miles from Wakulla Springs in 2005 was rejected by the Wakulla County Commission amid opposition. On Tuesday, the company filed a new application for approval on 17 acres at Spring Creek Highway at Wakulla-Arran Road.

FL bottler won't give up on Wakulla as source

Published 1/3/2007
Wakulla Springs Bottled Water Inc., recently turned down by the Wakulla County Commission in an attempt to build a water bottling plant, is reapplying for permission for a new plan that would use less water from the Wakulla Springs area and restrict future expansions on the plant's site and adjacent property, a January 3 Tallahassee Democrat story reported.

County's top tourist draw: nature

Published December 30, 2006
The long-awaited dredging of the Homosassa River just west of the Long River Bridge at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park took place during the summer. The work was designed to give wild manatees an enlarged area closer to the main springs of the river where the animals can escape from human contact when they want to rest.

Melrose journalist Burt honored at Ichetucknee

Published: December 28, 2006
The Florida Springs Task Force installed a bronze plaque mounted on a block of native lime rock at the overlook above the Ichetucknee headspring.
The plaque honors two Florida writers, the late naturalist Archie Carr and also writer Al Burt. Statements about the springs by both writers are engraved onto the plaque.

Ichetucknee Springs became a state park in 1970. The north entrance, which provides the most convenient access to the headspring and the memorial, is located off C.R. 238 near Fort White.

Florida Completes First Phase Of Purchase To Protect Silver Springs

Published December 28, 2006
The Florida Springs Initiative, established by Governor Jeb Bush in 2001, is the first comprehensive, coordinated plan to restore and protect Florida's more than 700 freshwater springs. Last year the Florida Springs Initiative set aside more than $300,000 to protect spring ecosystems, water quality and flow within Florida's state park system.

The 10-year, $3 billion Florida Forever program established by Governor Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature conserves environmentally sensitive land, restores waterways and preserves important cultural and historical resources.

White Springs selected as first Florida Trail Gateway Community

Published: December 27, 2006
The natural beauty of White Springs has brought visitors to the area for over 100 years. In the 1800s, visitors traveled by riverboat to bathe in the world-famous mineral waters. Then in the 1960s, hikers began traveling on the newly built Florida Trail along the Suwannee River, which passes the town.

Now the Florida Trail Association has selected White Springs as the first Florida Trail Gateway Community. These communities provide access to natural recreation sites along the trail, such as hiking, biking, paddling, boating, fishing or birding. They also serve as destination hubs where hikers can stay overnight, shop or visit traditional attractions, such as museums and historic sites.

Sale of long-sought land near Silver Springs finalized

Published December 26, 2006
The state of Florida, Marion County and The Nature Conservancy have teamed up to buy 4,455 acres of land near Silver Springs from Avatar Properties Inc. as part of the Florida First Magnitude Springs Florida Forever project.

The Florida First Magnitude Springs Florida Forever project focuses on land near springs that discharge more than 100 cubic feet of water per second.

With funding from the voter-approved Florida Forever program and other donors, The Nature Conservancy has helped protect more than 1.1 million acres in Florida since 1961.

A victory for nature, for the ages

Published Dec. 27, 2006
It was just a year ago last week that executives and engineers for Avatar Properties unveiled plans for an 11,000-home development, complete with three shopping centers, more than a million square feet of commercial space and a golf course, to be built just a mile or two north of Silver Springs. The development was called Ocala Springs and would undoubtedly alter the landscape of Marion County forever

On Saturday, the state of Florida, the non-profit Nature Conservancy and Marion County quietly finalized their joint purchase of 4,471 acres from Avatar Properties. The land will now be set aside for conservation and recreational use by future generations of Floridians. It is a victory of immeasurable environmental proportions, especially for Marion Countians, because the land serves as a prime and immediate watershed to our precious and irreplaceable Silver Springs. What a virtual city of 20,000 people would have done to the springs is, well, unthinkable.

At $76 million, the price of the Avatar tract places it among the five largest land acquisitions ever under the 10-year, $3 billion Florida Forever program that is earmarked to preserve environmentally sensitive lands. Yes, it's a steep financial price to pay. But the payback has been tabulated time and again and, frankly, there is no price that can be put on preserving Silver Springs and, in turn, our water supply.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Spring Creek flowing again

Published January 6, 2007, Tallahassee Democrat
The Spring Creek springs group, classified as the largest springs in Florida, is back.

Spring Creek discharges an average of 1.2 billion gallons per day, about five times what flows from Wakulla Springs, according to the Water Resource Atlas of Florida. But some scientists say the Spring Creek flow varies too much to provide an accurate estimate.

Spring Creek consists of 14 springs in a shallow bay along the Gulf Coast. The flow periodically stops or the springs suck gulf water back into them, said Harley Means, a geologist with the Florida Geological Survey.