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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pruette opposes diverting river water

Neptune Beach City Councilwoman Harriet Pruette is wondering why her city is alone in fighting a proposal to divert water from the St. Johns River in Central Florida instead of letting it continue to flow northward to its mouth in Jacksonville.

The bill, which the Neptune Beach council reviewed in a workshop this month, opposes a proposal to divert water from the river near its source, in the DeLand area, to a depleted aquifer in Central Florida. St. Johns tributaries such as the Ocklawaha River could be diverted for the same purpose. The St. Johns River Water Management District is reviewing the proposal.

Even though Neptune Beach does not border the river, Pruette said the Intracoastal Waterway and its tributaries, which are connected to the river, run through Neptune Beach.
Source

Dunnellon to discuss plans for land use

Published Oct. 30, 2007
Residents interested in the city's plan for future development may wish to attend tonight's Planning Commission public workshop, where the complete package of proposed changes to the city's comprehensive plan will be discussed.

As for the goals and objectives of the future land use ...land within 150 feet of the banks of the Rainbow or Withlacoochee rivers would be limited to water-oriented uses.

The major proposals under this comprehensive plan element include a prohibition against major water withdrawals from the Rainbow and Withlacoochee rivers, a prohibition against degrading wetlands and a prohibition against cutting cypress trees. Also, only slow-release fertilizers would be allowed.
Source

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We Need to Protect Estuaries

Published October 30, 2007
Estuaries, in case the term is unfamiliar, refers to the areas at the mouths of rivers where fresh water mixes with salt water to create a productive ecosystem that is a prime nursery area for marine life.

I stopped at one small spring called Falmouth Springs on the outskirts of Live Oak. Near the entrance was a sign that explained efforts to reroute stormwater runoff from a nearby state highway to protect the spring from additional pollution.

The message on the sign went on to explain that this was a "karst window,'' which is another way of saying this is a direct connection to the aquifer that supplies everyone's drinking water. Contaminate it at your peril.
Source

The tale of two water districts

Published Oct. 30, 2007 (Opinion)
Getting the citizenry and local governments within its own district riled up by proposing to pump the Ocklawaha River apparently isn't enough for the St. Johns River Water Management District. Now, it has irked residents and water officials in the neighboring Southwest Florida Water Management District by suggesting that Lake County should look to the Withlacoochee River and Lake Rousseau as a future water source, even though St. Johns has no authority to do so.

The good news is that Swiftmud officials, after hearing a firestorm of protests from residents and politicians in the Withlacoochee basin, put the kibosh on the St. Johns plan. At an Oct. 18 meeting in Dunnellon with members of Protect Our Waters at Rousseau and other opponents, Swiftmud spokesman Jimmy Brooks reassured those in attendance that the water district has no intention of tapping the Withlacoochee anytime soon, if ever.
Source

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Suwannee River Basin and Estuary Initiative

Click image to enlarge


In response to the growing number of environmental concerns in the mostly pristine Suwannee River basin and the Suwannee River estuary system, the States of Florida and Georgia, the Federal government, and other local organizations have identified the Suwannee River as an ecosystem in need of protection because of its unique biota and important water resources. Organizations with vested interests in the region formed a coalition, the Suwannee Basin Interagency Alliance (SBIA), whose goals are to promote coordination in the identification, management, and scientific knowledge of the natural resources in the basin and estuary. To date, however, an integrated assessment of the physical, biological, and water resources has not been completed.
Source

Suwannee Interactive Mapping System (IMS)
A Web-based Geographic Information System (GIS). It provides geographic data access for the U.S. Geological Survey Suwannee River Basin and Estuary Initiative.

Proposed bottled water plant may take water from Fort White system

Published 10/25/07
The practice of buying a municipality's water and then turning that water into purified water is common practice for the leading purified bottled water companies in the country that use city and well water to make their distilled bottled water.

In fact, Williston just last year allowed a water bottling plant to connect to the city's water supply. The city is making money from the endeavor because the city charges more money the more water someone uses.
Source

As thirst grows, water war looms

Published October 27, 2007
For decades, Lake County -- like most of the state -- has depended on the underground Floridan Aquifer to accommodate a lot of its water needs. But the population now has swelled to almost 290,000 -- roughly 36 percent more residents than just seven years ago -- and is expected to outpace groundwater supplies in coming years.

Central Florida's overall development through 2025 is expected to exceed groundwater availability by up to 200 million gallons a day. The St. Johns River Water Management District could stop issuing new permits for groundwater withdrawals in six years. That could force local governments to come up with often costly alternative sources such as piping water from large regional rivers including the Ocklawaha, St. Johns and Withlacoochee.
Source

Friday, October 26, 2007

Rivers' flows, levels debated

Published Oct. 25, 2007
The future of some of Marion's most significant water bodies set off a lengthy debate between county commissioners and department heads from two water management districts Wednesday.

Officials with the Southwest Florida and St. Johns River Water Management districts brought charts, graphs and statistics to explain the process of establishing minimum flows and levels for Rainbow Springs, Silver Springs and the Rainbow, Ocklawaha and Silver rivers.

Marion County commissioners expressed doubt about whether the two districts' permitting divisions would adhere to these flows. They also brought concerns that plans to potentially pump the Ocklawaha for water started before the minimum flows and levels have been established.
Source

Going against to flow on conservation

Published Oct. 24, 2007 Opinion
Our community's public outcry over potential water transfers, led in large part by the Marion County Commission, has been effective. For instance, state water managers recently backed away from two plans to do just that - one in which water was to be pumped and shipped out of Marion County to Orlando, and one in which water would have been piped into The Villages from another community.
Source

Overpopulation dooms state's finite water supply

Published October 24, 2007
Regarding "Florida should consider tapping freshwater springs" (Oct. 16): Despite "42 years in the drainage and irrigation business," the proposal by the writer to refill Lake Okeechobee by tapping Central and North Florida's "many giant freshwater springs" and building a 50- to 60-mile channel to Lakes Apopka and Kissimmee is remarkably naive and uninformed.

Might anyone recall the construction of the Cross Florida Barge Canal, which fortunately was stopped in 1971? The writer asserts that the water from those springs "discharge enough pure drinking water into the ocean every minute to fill Lake Okeechobee (and clean it) and to supply all of South Florida." Already, 60 percent of the 7.2 billion gallons of water consumed daily by Floridians is drawn from the same Floridan Aquifer from which most Florida springs flow. That amount is barely exceeded by the combined output of all of Florida's 27 first magnitude springs (slightly over 8 billion gallons per day).
Source

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Florida Springs Related Posters

The following posters are published by the Florida Geological Survey. Although some of these posters are available online I would just suggest purchasing those that of interest through the Florida Geological Survey for a nominal fee. (Details below)

Click images to enlarge


Florida’s First Magnitude Springsheds (1 MB, PDF)
by T. Greenhalgh, 2003, Color, 25” X 37 ‘. (Poster 12)


Florida's Hydrogeologic Environment (3 MB, PDF)
by P. Bond, 2002. Illustrates the hydrogeology of karst terrane, with rev. text and rev. color, 34” X 22.” (Poster 5)


Florida's Sinkholes (2 MB, PDF)
by F. Rupert and S. Spencer, 2004, Color, 22” X 34’. (Poster 11)


Florida Springs Protection Areas (8 MB, PDF)
by T.H. Greenhalgh and A.E. Baker, 2005 1 sheet (Open File Map Series #95)


Land Use and Spring Protection
by P. Bond, 2003, Color, 23” X 35 ‘. (Poster 10)


Protecting Florida’s Springs
by P. Bond, 2002. Same artwork as Poster 5 rev., illustrating the hydrogeology of karst terrane, with different text. Color, 34” X 22.” (Poster 8)


Springs of Marion County, Florida (3 MB, PDF)
by G.H. Means and D.S.Anderson, 24 “x 36”, 2005. (Poster 14)

More Info:
The Florida Geological Survey maintains a current List of Publications (Information Circular 87). The list includes all formally published publications, a subject index, ordering instructions, an order form and is available in either print or PDF format (digital format).

The print edition is available by contacting the Survey's Publications Office at
(850) 488-9380.
Florida Geological Survey Publications

Monday, October 22, 2007

Karst Study of Manatee Springs, Phase 1

An older publication from 11/24/2004 but has alot of good information in it.

Study to investigate in a karst environment, the impacts on groundwater quality by conentional onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems (OSTDS), consisting of a septic tank and drainfield.

Click image to enlarge


Karst Study of Manatee Springs, Phase 1 (Zip file)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hearings set on springs protection ordinance

Published Oct. 17, 2007
The public hearing days are set for Marion County's springs protection ordinance, which will regulate development in primary and secondary protection zones around Rainbow Springs and Silver Springs.

The fist public hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. Oct. 31, and the second and final public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 20.
Source

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fall CCOW Field Trips will Take You to Sinkholes and Coastal Marshes in Wakulla County

Published 10-16-2007
Sparkling Gems Tour – Nov 10th, 2007

Wakulla Springs Ambassador Cal Jamison will be leading a tour of the area’s springs and sinkholes. Join us at 9am on Saturday morning at the southwest corner of the intersection of New Light Church Road, CJ Spears Road, and Crawfordville Hwy (US319) - the first intersection south of the Leon/Wakulla County line. We will assemble there in the River Sinks Tract parking lot and travel in a van for the rest of the trip.

You will follow the line of sinks that open to the Wakulla-Leon Cave system as it meanders south towards Wakulla Springs. Be prepared for short walks to some of the sinks and bring bug repellent as ticks are plentiful this year. At the end of the 3 hour trip, you will have the opportunity to follow Cal in your own vehicle to Cherokee Sink, see the restoration work being done there, take a swim, and eat your picnic lunch. Registration is limited, email Rebecca to reserve your spot: cpi_rebecca@hotmail.com. You can also call 850-421-1638.
Source

Central Florida told to look elsewhere for water

Published Oct. 16, 2007
The Ocklawaha River project is one of four along the St. Johns River now being considered. The Ocklawaha is one of many rivers, creeks and lakes that contribute to the St. Johns.

With Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties out of the picture, the remaining utilities eyeing the Ocklawaha during Monday's gathering were from Marion, Lake and Putnam counties. Lake and Putnam counties' claim to the river is that it flows or starts within their borders.
Source

Water agency: Only Marion, Lake, Putnam will get Ocklawaha's water

Published Oct. 15, 2007
The 20 or so utilities wanting water from the Ocklawaha River fell by more than half after the St. Johns River Water Management District told south central Florida counties they should get their drinking water elsewhere.

At a meeting Monday afternoon in Ocala, water district Assistant Executive Director David Fisk said that, considering the amount of water available from the river and the needs of area utilities, there was only enough for Marion, Lake and Putnam counties.
Source

Ocklawaha River (spring-fed)

Click image to enlarge

Map used by permission from Outpost Resort

The Ocklawaha River is the principal tributary of the St. Johns River. The most important and famous tributary of the Ocklawaha is the Silver River, which carries the discharge from Silver Springs. Another important tributary of the Ocklawaha is Orange Creek, which flows from Orange Lake.
Source

More Info:
Florida Defenders of the Environment : Ocklawaha River Project
Ocklawaha Florida Community Forum and Information Center
St. Johns's Water Management District - Upper Ocklawaha River Basin

'05 water bill was meant to promote alternatives

Published October 15, 2007
A recent Times article, "Law lets thirsty areas look far," and subsequent editorial, "Water grab would be theft, pure and simple," brought to my attention what I see as a misunderstanding of the applicability of "local sources first" laws.

As prime sponsor of Senate Bill 444 during the 2005 legislative session, my objective was to confront the water wars that we were experiencing between water-rich and water-poor areas of the state. The bill addressed the necessity of increasing the "water pie" through the development of "alternative water supply" projects.

Again, it is important to remember that the point of the legislation was to avoid the adverse effects of competition for the use of traditional water supplies. To that end, the legislation specifically states that alternative water supply projects would not be conducted in a manner that would adversely impact the areas where the water was withdrawn. The clear intent was to offer incentives for the creation of "alternative water supply" to alleviate the temptation to transport water from distant sources. Universally within the work group, the existing "local sources first" policy was our guiding principle.
Source

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Fountain of Youth (Video, Photos)

Published 10/15/2007
Ponce de Leon Springs are relatively cool and inviting with temperatures around 68 degrees Fahrenheit year round. The main spring is a convergence of two, underground water flows, and it produces 14 million gallons of water daily.

The park, named after Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, has two self-guided nature trails through the forest with information along the trails on local ecology and wildlife. Guided tours are also conducted seasonally.
Source

The Big Mermaids

Published October 14, 2007
Florida's manatees may not have fairy-tale looks, but swimming with them stirs passion for their survival

When winter comes, thousands of West Indian manatees head for the Sunshine State, often swimming up rivers to lounge around warm springs with a small number of permanent residents. They lack the insulation of other marine mammals, and when ocean temperatures drop they can perish from hypothermia if they don't escape the chilly water.

Seventy-five miles north of the Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area is the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, an 80-acre site, accessible only by boat, that is winter home to about 15 percent of Florida's manatees. Visitors to the refuge are allowed to swim with the creatures, and "limited animal-initiated contact" is permitted.
Source

Article links to this video:
Florida's endangered manatees have an itch to scratch -- and in the warm springs of Crystal River, Fla., they'll come right up to humans for assistance. Chronicle Travel Editor John Flinn goes swimming -- and scratching -- with the manatees on this underwater tour.
Video

Group tries to lure plant for bottled water to Lake

Published October 13, 2007
By 2025, local governments may be forced to pipe in water from rivers and lakes miles away to meet future demands. Meanwhile, the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission has helped Niagara Bottling with plans to set up a large plant near Groveland.

Niagara wants to take an average of 490,000 gallons of underground water every day to package into bottles at its proposed plant at Lake County's industrial park. That amounts to up to 182 million gallons a year, or about a third of the water that Groveland uses.

...the growing thirst for water is a serious concern in Central Florida, where projected demands through 2025 will exceed groundwater availability by up to 200 million gallons a day, according to St. Johns officials. The water-management district is urging local governments to work together to use alternative sources of water such as tapping large rivers like the Ocklawaha, St. Johns and Withlacoochee.
Source

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A resource siphoned

Posted 10/14/2007 Opinion
The mayor and City Council need to become fully engaged on the proposed removal of 262 million gallons a day of water from the St. Johns River.

That's "only" about 4 percent of the total.

But this resource is too large and too valuable to stand and watch while the St. Johns River Water Management District does most of its work in Central Florida, where the current water crisis exists.
Source

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fate of two proposed water bottling plants in jeopardy

Published 10/11/07
A water use permit that would have paved the way for a bottled water plant has been denied by a water district governing board, and a special exemption to build a water bottling plant in Columbia County has been withdrawn by the applicant.

But the denial comes with a provision that allows the applicant to reapply at any time without prejudice, Dinges said.

The water use permit that Wray was seeking was for July Springs, a spring located near Ginnie Springs. Wray was requesting to withdraw up to 600,000 gallons of water a day.

Columbia County officials said that Stephen Cheeseman of Santa Fe Springs LLC has withdrawn his request for a special exemption to build a water bottling facility in Columbia County.

A water use permit modified in 2005 allows Cheeseman to withdraw up to 150,000 gallons of water a day but required that a water bottling facility be built within two years.
Source

Lake County Water Alliance has eyes on Withlacoochee

Published Oct. 11, 2007
Lake County and its cities are looking at the possibility of taking water from Lake Rousseau and the Withlacoochee River in Marion County to meet its future water needs

Protect Our Waters at Rousseau, a group of concerned citizens, is inviting the public to attend a meeting at 7 p.m., Oct. 18, at the Dunnellon train depot, off Williams Street (U.S. 41) to discuss the Alliance's plan.

In Lake County, the cities and county governments, through an interlocal agreement, formed the Lake County Water Alliance to collectively look for alternative water sources required by the St. John's District. The Alliance's Water Supply Plan names Lake Rousseau and the Withlacoochee River as possible sources of water for Lake County.
Source

Ochlockonee park swimming closed

Published October 11, 2007
The swimming area at Ochlockonee River State Park in Wakulla County is closed because of high bacteria levels.

The park's Web site attributes the bacteria to recent drought conditions. It's unclear how long the swimming area has been closed.
Source

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Leon Co. moves forward on septic systems

Published October 9, 2007
The Leon County Commission today agreed to move forward with requiring advanced septic tank systems after seeing maps showing that groundwater is susceptible to contamination.

The maps, produced by Advanced Geospatial Inc. of Tallahassee, show that the aquifer is considered vulnerable in more than half the county. Leon County paid $73,000 for the study.

The maps suggest that groundwater near Wakulla Springs in southern Leon County and northern Wakulla County is the most vulnerable to contamination. They confirm what scientists have been saying - that the lack of a clay layer makes water flowing to Wakulla Springs is susceptible to contamination.
Source

More Info:
Leon County Aquifer Vulnerability Assessment (LAVA)
This project provides a science-based, water-resource management tool to help minimize adverse impacts on ground-water quality, including focused protection of sensitive areas like springsheds and ground-water recharge zones

Article Links to:
Leon County aquifer vulnerability map (PDF)
Wakulla County aquifer vulnerability map (PDF)


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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Raising Level of Lake Hancock to Eliminate 31 Houses

Published: October 7, 2007
Eighty years ago the (Peace) river was full of gushing springs, maintaining a vibrant flow of river water, said Mark Hammond, Swiftmud's director of resource management.

"As Polk County started to develop the easiest thing to do was to drop a well and pull water out," he said. "As we saw increases in withdrawals we saw corresponding decreases in aquifer levels."

By the early 1960s many of the springs along Peace River had dried up, Hammond said, leaving surface water as the only way to keep the river flowing. But Mother Nature doesn't always cooperate and during droughts parts of the river become more suited for walking than canoeing.
Source

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sylvan Springs No. 1 (Bay County)

Inside Pitt Spring Recreation Area
Contact: 850-539-5999
Cost: Free
Directions: Just off State Road 20 about seven miles west of where 20 intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City. Turn into Pitt Spring Recreation Area immediately past the bridge.

Take Nature Trail to Spring.



FlickrMore Photos


More Info:
Florida Springs Bulletin #66 (PDF)
Florida Springs Database
Springs Fever...

Pitt Spring (Bay County)

Inside Pitt Spring Recreation Area
Contact: 850-539-5999
Cost: Free
Directions: Just off State Road 20 about seven miles west of where 20 intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City. Turn into Pitt Spring Recreation Area immediately past the bridge.


Currently no swimming is allowed

Pictures taken 10/5/2007




FlickrMore Photos


More Info:
Florida Springs Bulletin #66 (PDF)
Florida Springs Database
Springs Fever...

Conservation is the key to protecting river's health

Published 10/5/2007
...50 percent of the drinking water taken from the Floridan Aquifer is used to irrigate landscaping.

Cutting back significantly on that wasteful use of potable water could lessen the need to take as much as 262 million gallons of water a day out of the river, water the management district says will be needed to meet the demands of growth as the aquifer is depleted.
Source

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Colors of the Rainbow

Published Oct. 4, 2007
Friends of Rainbow Springs to host fine arts show and sale at state park

Twenty-two artists in the Nature Coast Painters group, along with members of the Ocala Digital Art Masters, will be at Rainbow Springs State Park this weekend for the first of two Fall Heritage Weekends.

The Friends of Rainbow Springs host the fine arts show and sale Saturday and Sunday, and will welcome the Hands-on Woodturners on Oct. 27 and 28.
Source

Piping water is biggest threat to Florida's river, author says in speech

Published October 4, 2007
The biggest threat to Florida's rivers is piping to divert water, not water bottling plants, the author of a book on Florida's water supply said in a speech at the High Springs Branch Library Sunday afternoon.

Calling water bottling plants a "tiny gnat" in the room, Cynthia Barnett, author of "Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S," told the audience, many of whom oppose water plants, that the piping of water should be a bigger concern to Floridans
Source

Why we must have a Water Wars Summit

Published Oct. 4, 2007
Worried that outsiders want to siphon off the Ocklawaha River? Then you need to know that the Smart Growth Coalition of North Central Florida, in conjunction with the Putnam County Environmental Council, is sponsoring an important Water Wars Summit concerning the pipeline threat to the Ocklawaha River.

The summit is scheduled for this Sunday, 2-4 p.m., at the Marion County Commission Auditorium, in the McPherson Governmental Complex, 601 S.E. 25th Ave., Ocala.

Here, you'll learn how dozens of Central Florida utilities, having used up their own local surface and ground waters, now want to build a $500 million pumping plant and 136-mile long pipeline to siphon off as much as 108 million gallons a day from the Ocklawaha River to "fuel" development on their own turf, even though nobody knows if this is a safe thing to do.
Source

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Newest state park is along St. Marks River

published October 1, 2007 Tallahassee Democrat
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has made it official - the St. Marks River State Park is the newest in the state park system.

The St. Marks River State Park covers 2,589 acres along the St. Marks River east of Tallahassee. People now can explore the park on foot or on bicycles from roads going through the park from Apalachee Parkway and Tram Road, park officials said Monday.
Source

Ocklawaha's fate is coming to a head

Published Oct. 1, 2007
At issue is the water district's plans to allow thirsty central Florida to siphon as much as 50 million gallons of water per day from the river.

Meanwhile, Marion County officials estimate this county's water needs will more than double during the next five decades. In addition, they predict there will not be enough groundwater to meet the county's water demand by 2015 without hurting area springs and that alternative water sources will be needed. That means that Marion County might want the Ocklawaha for itself or might have to turn to the Gulf of Mexico and desalinization.
Source

Monday, October 01, 2007

Chipola River Spring Inventory - Jackson and Calhoun Counties

Spring Locations in Northern Jackson County, FL
Click image to enlarge


Spring Locations in Southern Jackson County, FL
Click image to enlarge


Spring Locations in Calhoun County, FL
Click image to enlarge


A total of 63 springs were identified in the Chipola River basin. Thirty springs were identified north of I-10 in northern Jackson County, twenty-eight were identified south of I-10 in southern Jackson County, and five more were identified in Calhoun County. Springs in the Chipola River basin include those with typical fissure-type vents and those that incorporate areas of diffuse, upward percolation of ground water into pools and runs. Springs discharging via diffuse percolation are
termed seep springs (Copeland 2003).
Source (PDF)

Spring Inventory of the Wakulla and St. Marks Rivers

Click image to enlarge


A total of 51 springs and karst windows were identified in the St. Marks/Wakulla River basin (Figure 6). Springs in the St. Marks/Wakulla River basin include those with typical fissure-type vents and those t hat incorporate areas of diffuse, upward
percolation of ground water into pools and runs. According to the Florida Springs Classification System and Glossary, Florida Geological Survey Special Publication Number 2, flow through an exposed conduit in the Floridan Aquifer is considered a karst window and not a spring (Copeland 2003). Therefore, several features historically noted as springs, though included in this report, should not be considered springs: including Rhodes Springs (1-4), Natural Bridge Spring, and
River Rise Springs #3 and #4. Karst windows, however, remain valuable natural resources worthy of conservation.

Source: St. Marks River and Wakulla River Springs Inventory - Leon and Wakulla Counties, FL

See document for GPS coordinates and descriptions of Springs.
Source (PDF)