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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Biologist to be honored

Gov., Cabinet to recognize Savery for making Wakulla Springs' future 'clearer'
Published February 27, 2007 Tallahasse Democrat
As he drove a glass-bottom boat over Wakulla Springs on Monday, Scott Savery said he feels more hopeful about the park's future than he did in the late 1990s.

That was after Savery first discovered hydrilla, a foreign plant species, growing in the spring in 1997. He watched as hydrilla and algae choked the springs and turned the water green and cloudier - as it appeared Monday through the boat's glass bottom.
Source

Troubled waters for manatees?

Their dependence on warmth from power plants could prove disastrous
Published February 26, 2007

State and federal officials expect many of these aging power plants to close eventually. As the state's human population grows, more efficient power production requires newer facilities. A 95-year-old plant in Fort Pierce that once attracted as many as 49 manatees will close next year. Two plants in Brevard are each more than 40 years old, and their age has manatee advocates worried.

But manatees fare better at natural springs rather than artificial sites, Laist said. Blue Spring in Orange City and Kings Bay in Citrus County, where water bubbles from the ground at a constant 72 degrees, support two of the state's healthiest manatee groups.
Source

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Just soaking up their new refuge

Published February 18, 2007
Where once only a few determined manatees would swim the shallow, silt-clogged gauntlet from the Homosassa Blue Waters up to the Long River Bridge at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, now the zone is quite the manatee social spot.

One cold morning last week, a park volunteer guessed that as many as 100 of the creatures were in that area at dawn.
Source

Manatees Returned To The Wild At Blue Spring State Park

Published February 20, 2007
Blue Spring State Park released two Lowry Park Zoo manatees Tuesday as a part of the Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP). Wildlife experts returned the manatees, named "Dundee" and "Gene," to their natural habitats after several years of rehabilitation.

Blue Spring is a designated manatee refuge where the water temperature remains a constant 72 degrees, creating a safe haven for the West Indian Manatee, a federally listed endangered species protected by the Endangered Species Act of 1972, the Marine Mammal Protection act of 1973 and the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act.
Source

Conservationist points out natural beauty of Avatar land

Tour of Land now protected
Published Feb. 20, 2007
One of the land’s natural features is Indian Lake. Marwick pointed to a great blue heron gracefully landing along the lake’s bank. He turned his attention to a nearby 60-foot-wide sinkhole.

“This is an important part of the recharge,” Marwick said about the area where water percolates down through the soil as it returns to the Floridan Aquifer from which drinking water is drawn. “This property probably has 40-50 sinkholes on it.”
Source

Scuba diver dies at springs in Chiefland

Published 2/20/07
A scuba diver died Monday while diving at Manatee Springs State Park in Chiefland — the second diver death in the last week in North Florida.

Bobby Rothel, 19, of Panhandle, Texas, was found by rescue divers near an underwater area called Catfish Hole in Manatee Springs, according to Sgt. Scott Tummond with the Levy County Sheriff's Office.
Source

Monday, February 19, 2007

Shorter run for tubers almost ready to spring forth

Tubing run will shorten trip on river to about an hour
Published Feb. 19, 2007

For more than 50 years, people have enjoyed heading to K.P. Hole, a Marion County park south of Rainbow Springs State Park, renting inner tubes and floating down the Rainbow River about 3 miles for a trip that typically takes about four hours.

Perhaps as early as April 15, a new $3.9 million state-run tubing location is poised to open and offer up to 1,000 daily seasonal tubers the choice of taking a shorter run on the east side of the river.
Source

Soaking up their new refuge

Published February 19, 2007
It's the time of year when manatees look for warmer waters. This year, they found something new: an area near the Homosassa Springs Wildlife park.

Last summer a project more than a half dozen years in the making was finally accomplished at the park. The area between the park's outer boundary at the Homosassa Blue Waters and the Long River Bridge was sucked clean of clogging silt and muck.
Source

With aquifer stressed, reservoirs are needed

Published 2/18/07
Shows picture of Kissengen Spring as seen in 1894. Decades later, when Florida put greater demands on its water, the spring water disappeared.

Just a few decades ago, fresh water was so abundant in Southwest Florida that homes near the upper Peace River were built on stilts and developers looked for ways to drain tens of thousands of acres for farms and cities.

Water levels in the Floridan Aquifer, a deep underground reservoir once thought to be inexhaustible, have fallen 50 feet. For decades, salt water has been pushing into the aquifer, contaminating the freshwater supply.
Source

Wakulla Springs Bottled Water gives up on plant

Published February 17, 2007 Tallahassee Democrat
Wakulla Springs Bottled Water is no longer pursuing a bottled water plan in Wakulla County, the company's spokesman has said.

The announcement comes after a three-year effort by Wakulla County residents D. P. and Ruth High to get all approvals necessary to construct the plant and make water from Wakulla Springs available on the retail market.
Source

Liquid Gems, The Sinks of the Wakulla

Sat April 21, 2007 9:00-11:30am
Explore the unique geological wonderland of northern Wakulla county. Follow Cal Jamison, DEP's Springs Ambassador, on an unforgettable journey to explore the beautiful sinks that are so special to this area. The tour will begin at the River Sink Parking lot and take you across the Wakulla Springs recharge area. Visit what few eyes have ever seen and discover how these windows on the aquifer impact our lives. Meet in the parking lot of the River Sinks Tract just south of the Leon/Wakulla County line at the SE corner of US Highway 319 and CJ Spears Road (go through open gate 100 feet on dirt road to gravel parking lot).
$10 Pre-registration required.
Wakulla Wildlife Festival 2007

Indian Springs (Wakulla County)

(YMCA Camp Indian Springs)
2387 Bloxham Cut-Off Road
(Located about 1 mile before Wakulla Springs State Park if heading South on 267)
Crawfordville, FL 32327
(850) 926-3361

The land around the spring is owned by the YMCA and is operated as a camp, so is not open unless you are attending one of their camps or can make group arrangements for a special event. Very nice spring, rope off area is shallow enough for smaller kids.

Pictures taken 2/19/07

















More Info:
Cave Diving in Indian Springs

Springs Fever ...

YMCA Camp Indian Springs Website

Panacea Mineral Springs (Wakulla County)

(Across from the Wakulla Welcome Center in Panacea)
Panacea, Florida

It's hard to imagine but according to several sources such as the Forgotten Coast Magazine 2006, a long time ago visitors came from around the world to viist the town's mineral springs, which were said to cure various ailments

Picture taken 2/19/07












More Info:
Florida Springs Database
Springs Fever ...
Wikipedia

Sally Ward Spring (Wakulla County)

Inside the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
550 Wakulla Park Drive
Wakulla Springs, Florida 32327

Located near the about .2 of a mile on the left from the Wakulla Springs State Park entrance. Sally Ward Spring flows into the Wakulla River.

Picture taken 2/19/07













Florida Springs Database

Springs Fever ...

Walton County receives grant to preserve Morrison Springs

Press Release 2/7/07
Walton County has received a $500,000 grant from the Northwest Florida Water Management District to make improvements at Morrison Springs located off State Road 81 in eastern Walton County. The grant is intended to improve water quality and protect valuable natural resources.

The Morrison Springs property was acquired from private owners by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in 2004. The Walton County Board of Commissioners entered into a lease agreement with Environmental Protection later that year to manage the site.
Source

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Man dead after Suwannee River cave diving

Published 2/16/07
A certified cave diver from Virginia apparently drowned this week while cave diving alone in a spring along the Suwannee River.

Simmons is believed to have entered the water wearing his dive gear sometime after noon on Wednesday in a remote area of northwest Lafayette County known as Allan Millpond Springs. The property is owned by the Suwannee River Water Management District and is open to the public.
Source

Mystery surrounds sunken remains in Florida spring

Published 2/16/2007
In the crystal-clear waters of a Florida spring, decades-old remains are defying identification, tantalizing experts who are trying to solve a Suwannee River mystery.

Local legend has it that the remains are all that's left of the steamboat Madison, a floating general store that chugged up and down the Suwannee in the mid-19th century.
Source

CCOW Will Host Water Forum

Published 02-16-2007
The Concerned Citizens of Wakulla (CCOW) will host a Water Forum on Thursday, February 22nd at the Tallahassee Community College’s Wakulla Center in Crawfordville. The forum is scheduled from 7 pm – 9 pm with a social beginning at 6:30 pm. The public is invited to attend.

Hal Davis with the US Geological Survey will be speaking about the springsheds in Wakulla County including specific information about the Wakulla and Spring Creek Springs systems. A representative from the Northwest Florida Water Management District will be speaking about water use in our region with specific information about water use sustainability and the permitting process.
Source

Protecting Wakulla Spring

Published 02-14-2007 Letter to the Editor
In 1994, upon learning about the cave that conducts water to Wakulla Spring, the Wakulla County Commission created a mile wide protection zone over the cave to protect the waters flowing to Wakulla Spring. This is the first, and to date the only, protection zone created to protect a Florida spring and it demonstrated progressive environmental leadership.
Source

Friday, February 16, 2007

Mystery Surrounds Sunken Remains in Florida Spring

Published 2/15/2007 National Geographic
In the crystal-clear waters of a Florida spring, decades-old remains are defying identification, tantalizing experts who are trying to solve a Suwannee River mystery.

The river touches eight Florida counties as it meanders from its source in the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico.
Source

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Water-bottling plan faces setback

Planning commission recommends its denial
Published 2/13/07

A proposed water-bottling plant near Wakulla Springs received a setback Monday when the Wakulla County Planning Commission voted to recommend denial of the project.

The commission apparently was persuaded by opponents who said approval could encourage companies to locate other bottling plants in Wakulla County and could add to truck traffic on roads near schools. About 110 people attended the public hearing.
Source

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Leon Sinks Geological Area (Leon County)

Directions: In Tallahassee - take Capital Circle to 319 south
for 7 miles. Look for "Leon Sinks" sign on right.
Cost $3 per vehicle

Observe unique "karst" features where the aquifer is exposed at land's surface.

Pictures taken 2/10/07
Big Dismal Sink

Hammock Sink


Fisher Creek Rise (Identified as Natural Bridge on map)










Wakulla-Leon Sinks Cave Map (PDF)

Meet the principal players in the bottling proposal

Published published February 10, 2007 Tallahassee Democrat
Source

Wakulla bottling plan returns

Company intends to pump less water, but proposal still controversial
Published February 10, 2007 Tallahassee Democrat

The Wakulla County Commission rejected the company's proposals in 2004 and 2005 when the company had a state permit to pump up to 1.4 million gallons a day. Now the company has a permit to pump 70,900 gallons of water.
Source

Attorney dives into springs feud

Published February 7, 2007
Goller believes that Swiftmud is to blame for the shoddy condition of the springs. The dead eelgrass and huge globs of algae growing along the river bed - visible from the river cruise - are because of runoff from U.S. 19, she said.

As landlord, Swiftmud is responsible for dealing with that, she said. She believes runoff is also to blame for the sand that accumulated on the springs beach, which the park tried to fix during the infamous dredging incident.

But the primary concern of Swiftmud - which has been a major sticking point in negotiations with Weeki Wachee - is to have the park obtain permission, or what's been referred to as an "underwater lease," from the state Department of Environmental Protection to use the springs and the river the attraction is located on.
Source

City may use more wastewater

Published February 7, 2007 Tallahassee Democrat
Tallahassee's agreement to improve sewage treatment to protect Wakulla Springs could lead to a big increase in the wastewater that's being reused, a Tallahassee utility official said Tuesday.

Tallahassee isn't reusing any wastewater now, other than what's going on the sprayfield, said Lynne Putnam, engineering division manager in the city's water utility. The city plans to pipe 1.2 million gallons daily to the SouthWood area for watering the golf course and landscaping starting in 2008.
Source

Zoning Issue a Symbol of Clashing Values

Published 02-06-2007 Letter to the Editor
Today there is much praise in Wakulla County for the idea that a water bottling industry will transform the economies of my county.

Proponents of placing the first water bottling industrial plant site in a rural residential neighborhood have hired not economists to make this prediction. Rather, environmental consultants and hydrogeologists, politicians and family members are making an argument that there will be an economic windfall to the county when the clean water from the Wakulla Springs basin is sold.
Source

Who Should Control Wakulla County's Water Supply?

Letter to the Editorial 02-06-2007
Mark Twain once noted that “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.” That seems to be the case, again in our county. We have before us, the proposed Wakulla Springs Bottle Watering Plant. On March 5, 2007, the Board of County Commissioners are scheduled to vote on creating a brand new land use category that does not exist anywhere else in the state of Florida. This precedent land use change, or zoning, will allow The Water Bottlers to export water out of our county.
Source

Florida's Proposed Budget Affirms Commitment To The Environment

Published February 6, 2007
The proposed budget recommendations include nearly $70 million to promote energy diversity, $2.5 million to protect Florida's freshwater springs and $400 million to fund the state's land conservation program Florida Forever - $100 million more than last year.
Source

Branford Spring (Suwannee County)


(Inside Ivey Memorial Park)









Dark picture, but shows spring flowing into the Suwannee River




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More Info:
Springs Fever...

Charles Spring (Suwannee County)

(County Park)

From the pictures you can barely tell that this spring is flowing (it is though). This spring flows into the Suwannee River.

Pictures taken 2/9/07






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Convict Spring (Lafayette County)

(Inside River Rendezvous Campground)
Mayo, FL
Contact 352-294-2510

I was told by a gentleman at the park that when the Suwanneee river is lower that this spring is much clearer.

Pictures taken 2/9/07




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Little River Springs (Suwannee County)

(Suwannee County Park)
Hours:
Daily 7-7 April - October
Daily 7-6 November - March

As with most of the springs that I have gone to, be careful as it it not always obvious that within two or three steps is the opening of the spring. This spring may have ok potential for little kids if you keep them away from the headpsring. The water was very clear.

Pictures taken 2/9/07






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Peacock Springs State Park (Suwannee County)

Cost: $3 per vehicle (limit 8 people per vehicle).
Directions: From Live Oak, take SR 51 South approximately 17 miles to Luraville. Turn left on 180th Street, go approximately 2 miles. Park entrance is on your right. From Mayo, take SR 51 North approximately 7 miles to Luraville. Turn right on 180th Street and go approximately 2.5 miles. Park entrance is on the right.

Pictures taken 2/9/07






2nd Spring

Orange Grove Sink (also in same park)

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More Info:
Florida Online Park Guide

Troy Springs State Park (Lafayette County)

(1st Magnitude Spring)
674 N.E. Troy Springs Road
Branford, Florida 32008
Phone: 386-935-4835
Cost $3 per vehicle (limit 8 people per vehicle)

Needed a day off, took pictures of several springs. This spring is not really recommended for young children as there was no shallow area that was apparent. A park ranger though told me that when the Suwannee River is lower though that there is a place to the left for little kids to swim in but it was not obvious to me. From the steps it appears to be an immediate drop off into fairly deep water. This spring flows into the Suwanee River.

Pictures taken 2/9/07






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More Info:
Florida Online Park Guide
Mystery Surrounds Sunken Remains in Florida Spring

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Spring is the source of many fond memories

Published January 28, 2007
Magnesia Springs is one of several springs in the area located on private property, according to the St. Johns River and Suwannee River water management districts.

Dorn said when he first bought the land, he'd considered pitching it as the site of an alternative medicine clinic of some sort. Now, he said he's hoping to work with Alachua County in the future to make it the kind of public park that would allow the spring's adoring masses to enjoy it as a swimming hole again.
Source

Recognizing Silver River threat, officials planning to clean up Half Mile Creek.

Published Jan. 30, 2007
It's dubbed the "monster pipe" by local environmentalists, who see it as a monstrous pollution problem for the Silver River.

The 52-inch-wide concrete pipe with a metal grate over its mouth sits a few feet off State Road 40 just east of the Silver Springs attraction's property. For some 40 years, untreated stormwater runoff - and all the oil, grease and chemicals it carries - have flowed through the pipe into Half Mile Creek, a tributary of the Silver River.
Source

Sunday, February 04, 2007

County considers requiring souped-up septics

Published January 24, 2007
The Leon County Commission on Tuesday agreed to consider requiring advanced septic systems in southern Leon County to protect Wakulla Springs

The advanced systems would be required only for new development. The commission directed its staff to explore options for replacing failing systems with advanced septic systems.
Source

Water Bottling Company Files Paperwork to Create New Land Use Designation

Published 15 January 2007
Attorneys representing Wakulla Springs Bottled Water, Inc. filed papers in Wakulla County Monday to amend the county’s comprehensive plan and create a new land use category for bottling water. A bottled water plant in Crawfordville could be built if the comprehensive land use amendment is approved by the planning and zoning committee and the Board of County Commissioners. The Florida Department of Community Affairs will also review the amendment.
Source

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Wekiva deal costs Orange $7.5M

The contribution is part of a plan to preserve sensitive land near the river
Published 1/10/07

The final, crucial pieces of a $74 million deal to preserve a large tract of environmentally sensitive land near the Wekiva River came together seamlessly Tuesday.

County commissioners in Orange and Lake, as well as the St. Johns River Water Management District, agreed to help protect the area where the Wekiva Parkway will be built.
Source

New signs are for springs' protection

Published 1/11/07
"To protect the springs, you have to protect a large land area around the springs called the springshed, which is basically the area where the water that goes into the ground ends up feeding that spring," Bird said. "The signs are to try to raise public awareness and to remind not only our residents but our visitors that they are traveling in an area that is sensitive and where what is done on the land can pollute the springs."

Officials believe the area's drinking and recreational waters are increasingly under threat from growth and development. Most of the county's springs are in the northwest corridor along the Santa Fe River.
Source

Park ponders manatee exhibit

Officials want more manatees to reach the spring run's warm waters. A final project is years away.
Published 1/11/07

During the past summer, the park dredged the area just west of the Long River Bridge, where gates now separate captive manatees from wild manatees. In recent years the stretch between the bridge and the Homosassa Blue Waters has been clogged with sediment, making it difficult for the wild manatees to get close to the spring run in low tide.

Now with the way deepened, the hope is that more wild manatees will be able to get up into the area when they need the warm water. The spot is already inside the park boundaries and closed to swimmers. It forms a natural sanctuary where animals can escape the sometimes crowded area just outside.
Source