My Flickr Photos of Springs

Friday, November 30, 2007

River Wonderland

Santa and Mrs. Claus will settle into their log cabin overlooking the Rainbow River headsprings amid thousands of lights during Santa Over the Rainbow from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7-9. Live music starts at 6 p.m. and the merry duo will arrive in a decorated pontoon sleigh-boat at 7 p.m. Santa and the Mrs. also will be there Dec. 14-16. On Dec. 21, 22, 26 and 27, the park will be open for a lights only event. Entrance fee is $1 per person; free ages 5 and younger. 465-8555.

Water Woes

Published Nov 29, 2007
More than a dozen oystermen met with Governor Charlie Crist at the state capitol. Pointing to maps and explaining how a reduced flow from the Apalachicola River is already hurting the oyster crop, the group is
looking for the Governor to stand up for them when he meets with the
Governors of Alabama and Georgia over the water flow issue next week.

Crist also told the oyster delegation he looks forward to hearing more
from the community before his Dec. 11 meeting with Governors Purdue and Reilly.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rain cuts Lanier releases

Published Nov. 28, 2007
Columbus received more than 2.5 inches of rain between Sunday and Monday. That rainfall, though it did not affect Lake Lanier’s level, added to the amount of water flowing through the lower Chattahoochee and the Flint Rivers, and supplemented the required 4,750 cubic feet per second that must flow through the Apalachicola River to protect endangered mussels and sturgeon, Davis said.

Davis also said that the corps’ "exceptional drought operations" reduced the amount required to flow to the Apalachicola River from 5,000 cfs to 4,750 cfs. If drought conditions worsen, the corps can reduce the flows to 4,500 cfs and again to 4,150 cfs.

Water withdrawal issue reaches Council

Published 11/28/2007
The growing controversy surrounding proposed plans to draw more than 260 million gallons of water a day from the St. Johns River and a tributary, the Ocklawaha River, finally reached the City Council on Tuesday.

One project, at the Taylor Creek Reservoir in Orange and Osceola counties, is already being designed for up to a $215 million plant that will pipe as much as 40 million gallons a day from the St. Johns River into the reservoir for residents of Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Orlando and other Central Florida cities.

Our view: Protecting liquid gold

Published November 28, 2007
Rockledge's water reuse plan latest example of need to save every precious drop

The city is seeking state approval and must first prove the aquifer won't be harmed. But based on growing experience with the process around Florida, officials say the technique is sound and not cause for alarm.

Local governments ask legislators to protect water

Published Nov. 28, 2007
One week after the Marion County Commission voted down its springs protection ordinance, Commission Chairman Charlie Stone presented springs protection as the county's number-one legislative priority for the upcoming 2008 session in Tallahassee.

On the issue of water supply, the county pushed for the establishment of minimum flows and levels for the Ocklawaha River before plans to potentially pump it for water supply are pushed ahead. Marion County and Ocala officials both urged lawmakers to fund research into desalination plants for the state's long-term water supply instead of pumping rivers such as the Ocklawaha. State Rep. Kurt Kelly, R-Ocala, has introduced a bill that would get that program started.

City-county Planning Department plans growth meetings

Published November 27, 2007
Tallahassee and Leon County will consider proposed policies next spring that deal with traffic congestion, Wakulla Springs and other growth issues — but the public has an opportunity to view draft proposals beginning today.

One proposal would establish a Wakulla Springs protection zone in Leon County, with additional regulations to protect groundwater within that zone. A study completed earlier this year shows that the Floridan Aquifer in southern Leon County is most vulnerable to contamination due to the thin layer of sandy soils above it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River System


Low water levels demand answers

Published November 27, 2007
Lake Sidney Lanier is a big, deep reservoir on the Chattahoochee River. So when it drains, it can be slow to refill without a lot of rain.

Because it can hold 624 billion gallons when full, Lake Lanier plays a key role in a water dispute between Alabama, Florida and Georgia that's been fought in the courts since 1990. Alabama and Georgia want water for cities and hydropower, while Florida wants water to maintain the seafood industry at Apalachicola Bay.

Lake Lanier has dropped 16 feet since early May under a plan to provide water for threatened and endangered mussels and sturgeon in the Apalachicola River. Florida officials say the water also supports the estuary and seafood industry in Apalachicola Bay.

Lanier has continued to drain, even after the Corps of Engineers on Nov. 16 reduced flow from Jim Woodruff Dam at the Florida state line. Georgia officials have said the Atlanta area faces water shortages if the reservoir continues to drain without rainfall.

Lake Lanier sits near the top of the river basin that extends from the mountains of North Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico. Only 6 percent of the basin drains into Lake Lanier, according to the Army Corps of Engineers

River Resolution

Published Nov 27, 2007
The Franklin and Gulf County Commissions have adopted a resolution regarding the importance of the Apalachicola River to communities in Florida. Four other counties could follow. The Jackson County Commission will consider the same resolution at their meeting Tuesday night.

The flow of water coming from Georgia has already been reduced and will probably stay that way through at least the next seven months. That's a time frame some people think is too long because the oyster beds and sea grass are already dying.

The Apalachicola Riverkeeper Organization would like to see any kind of growth in Atlanta stopped so it doesn't create new water requirements while Floridians are being told to cut back. It also wants to see meters on the water for major users in the Atlanta area so there is some way to enforce a reduction.

Franklin County opposes river flow cuts

Published November 27, 2007
Franklin County is calling on Gov. Charlie Crist to oppose reductions in water flowing into the Apalachicola River, and other counties may join in the effort.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to reduce water flowing into the Apalachicola River by up to 17 percent in response to a drought gripping the region. The Corps began with a 5 percent cut in flow on Nov. 16.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is holding a meeting Friday at 11:30 a.m. in the Franklin County courthouse annex to hear concerns about the river.

A River Disappearing: Part III

Published Nov 26, 2007
Georgia's Governor Sonny Perdue has convinced federal officials to reduce water flow from Lake Lanier to the Apalachicola River by more than two million gallons a day.

"We filed an injunction against the Army Corps of Engineers," says Perdue, "To end the senseless relief of 3.2 billion gallons of water a day from our reservoirs."

However, for the people who live downriver, the release of water is anything but senseless.

Conservationist Dan Tonsmeire is in a fight to stop the water reduction.

He says it's destroying the Apalachicola Bay, the nursery for 95% of all commercially harvested seafood in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rivers connect and divide those who depend on them

Published November 26, 2007
Alabama, Florida and Georgia have been fighting in court since 1990 over water from the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint rivers. Georgia says the water is needed for more than 3 million people in the Atlanta area. Florida says the water is needed for the seafood industry and economy in Apalachicola Bay.

Apalachicola Bay thrives with a mixture of fresh and salt water and periodic flooding from the upstream river, said Lee Edmiston, research director at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. Without flooding, the saltwater-tolerant predators such as stone crabs, conchs and oyster drills move in to prey on the oysters.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Best Management Practices (BMPs) are designed to preserve and protect Florida's water resources from non-point-source pollution occurring from agricultural fertilization.

Protecting Florida's Springs: Land Use Planning Strategies and Best Management Practices (14 MB, PDF)
Published November 2001

Division of Community Planning - Springs Protection

More Info:
A Guide to Environmentally Friendly Landscaping (9 MB, PDF)

Best Management Practices for Enhancement of Environmental Quality on Florida Golf Courses (2 MB)

Florida Green Industries - Best Management Practices (PDF)

Homeowner Best Management Practices for the Home Lawn

Office of Agricultural Water Policy - Best Management Practices

Silviculture Best Management Practices

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A River Disappearing, Part 2

Published Nov 21, 2007
Georgia's water crisis and decision to reduce water flow from Lake Lanier to the Apalachicola River has had a ripple effect on the economy downstream.

Fishing and tourism in Wewahitchka is now facing its own crisis. Many of the businesses that depend on the river are closing their doors.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Coalition forms to save Florida Forever program

Published Nov. 20, 2007
Florida Forever, the program that supplies the money to buy and manage state parks and other environmental preserves, will expire in 2010. Then what?

A coalition of grassroots groups are being organized to push for extending the program at least until 2020 to finish the job begun decades ago and to find new ways to protect and manage land.

Over the past 17 years, the state programs have purchased more than 2 million acres. About 30 percent of Florida's land is under some kind of conservation protection: public or private ownership, or conservation easement.

County staff will try hand at revision

Published Nov. 22, 2007
The failure of the Springs Protection proposal to win approval during Tuesday's Marion County commission meeting leaves the resonating question: What happens now?

What happens is the County Growth Management Bureau will pick up the pieces.

It's staff plans to return in January with new regulations to stop the rising levels of nitrogen in the Rainbow and Silver Springs.

A River Disappearing, Part 1

Published Nov 21, 2007
More than 90 percent of Florida's oysters come from the Apalachicola bay. That's a lot of oysters, feeding a $200 million a year regional industry...

Fresh water from Lake Lanier and salt water from the Gulf of Mexico mix in Apalachicola Bay to form the ideal habitat for some of the finest oysters in the world, but like any good recipe, it's all about proportions and Georgia's proposal will simply spoil the stew.

Jackson Blue Spring Sign at North Florida Fair

Jackson Blue Springs Sign
Jackson County is home to more springs that any Florida county west of the Suwannee River. Blue Springs is one of 33 first-magnitude springs in Florida, with a flow of 122 million gallons of water per day. The spring is a magnificant natural resource, providind many recreational opportunities for residents and guests alike, including swimming, scuba diving, picknicking, canoeing and snorkeling for ancient artificats. Blue Springs is also a major tributary to the Chipola River. The Chipola River is the largest tributary in Florida and flows into the Apalachicola River, which is the largest river, by flow in the State!

The great outdoors are awaiting you

Published Nov. 21, 2007
Marion County is blessed with one national forest, two state parks and the lion's share of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, a 110-mile green corridor across Florida that was once slated to be the Cross Florida Barge Canal and is now a world-class wonder.

Marion County has not one, but two, state parks. Both are on the Web at www.floridastateparks.com. Ten natural communities, miles of trails and a spectacular view of the Silver River await visitors to Silver River State Park, 1425 N.E. 58th Ave., Ocala, FL 34470, phone 352-236-7148. Admission: $4 per vehicle up to eight people. Come back on weekends to visit Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center, open to the public from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $2 per person.

Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon has the state's fourth largest spring. The headwaters are a popular starting point to canoe, swim, snorkel and kayak on the Rainbow River. Admission is $1 per person, children under 6 admitted free. Address: 19158 S.W. 81st Place Road, Dunnellon, FL 34432, phone 352-465-8555. Tubers launch at nearby K.P. Hole County Park.

Clay wants voice in usage of St. Johns River water

Published 11/22/07
The river withdrawals in particular have been controversial, with some North Florida residents opposed to using the St. Johns to fix what over-development caused in Central Florida.

"We are getting a lot of opinions, negative opinions and we are taking that to heart," Green said in a Tuesday presentation to the Clay County Commission. "Let us make the decision based on science, not emotion."

The studies were prompted by dwindling water sources in some counties, where further withdrawals from traditional groundwater supplies could harm lakes, springs and wetlands. The Legislature directed Florida's water management districts to identify potential water sources, including river and seawater, brackish groundwater and reclaimed water, that can be developed without causing harm to the environment, Green said.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Agreement in DeBary marina fight means no marina on St. Johns

Published 11-20-2007
After months of litigation and negotiation, with boatloads of money spent for attorneys and consultants, a preliminary agreement made at a meeting in Tallahassee Nov. 15 will allow developer Joe Krzys of St. Johns Partners to proceed with development of Country Estates at River Bend in DeBary — but without a marina.

The environmentalists' major concern has been protecting manatees that travel that stretch of river, between the bridge at U.S. Highway 17-92 and Blue Spring, on their way to the springs. The stretch of river is part of the Wekiva Aquatic Preserve.

Commissioners scrap Springs Protection plan

Published Nov. 21, 2007
The Marion County Springs Protection plan, meant to stop the flow of pollutants into area springs, was scrapped by county commissioners Tuesday.

In a 4-1 vote, commissioners said the proposed ordinance - which would have made residents in the springs protection zone switch to more efficient, but costlier, septic tanks - was too cumbersome and expensive to homeowners. It would have also limited private well irrigation and forced residents to hook up to county sewer services, if available. It's being sent back to staff to see if anything can be salvaged out of it.

County eyes appraisal of Paradise Springs

Published Nov. 21, 2007
The family that owns Paradise Springs, 4040 S.E. 84th Lane Road, plans to sell the roughly 10-acre property and move out of state. There is a local push among environmentalists and nearby property owners for the county, state and possibly nonprofit conservation groups to partner and purchase the property to add it to the Greenway system, 110 miles of wooded recreation trails from the St. Johns River to the Gulf of Mexico.

Paradise Springs is a popular scuba diving spot because of its deep underwater cavern system, which the Floridan aquifer feeds. Curt Chappelka, whose family owns the property, said water bottling companies also have expressed an interest because of the cavern on site.

Florida’s Oyster Industry Drying Up?

Published Nov. 20, 2007
Oysters are a $134 million industry in Apalachicola. But the salty, spineless delicacy is dying off - another victim of drought.

The source of the problem lies 400 miles to the north at Lake Lanier, Ga.

A man-made water supply for Atlanta, for decades it had quenched the city's thirst, kept the rivers running and flushed Apalachicola Bay with the fresh water the oysters need to survive.

Now, with the southeast drying up and the lake's water level a record 18 feet below normal, Georgia wants the spigot turned off.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Save the springs ordinance

Published Nov. 18, 2007 (Opinion)
After three years of bold assurances that Marion County would enact one of Florida's most stringent groundwater protection laws, a majority of the County Commission is balking, and just days before a formal vote on the Springs Protection Ordinance.

Three commissioners, Chairman Charlie Stone, Stan McClain and Jim Payton, have indicated they will not support the ordinance as currently written. A vote is slated for Tuesday. The trio had a change of heart after an Oct. 30 public hearing at which well diggers, irrigation installers and builders railed against the ordinance, claiming it would create financial havoc for their businesses and put a new house out of reach for many homebuyers.

Let us remind all concerned that the intent of Springs Protection Ordinance is just what it says it is. As Jim Stevenson, Florida's "Mr. Springs," famously stated, "Our springs are windows to the aquifer." In other words, when we protect our springs we're protecting our drinking water.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Water woes continue on the Apalachicola River

Published 11/15/2007
The Water Wars continue between Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Georgia wants to drain more fresh water from the Chattahoochee River that flows into Florida’s Apalachicola River.

“The Apalachicola River is known for having the highest natural bio diversity of any river system in North America,” said Dan Tonsmeire, Apalachicola River Keeper.

But the river is drying up and Georgia wants to drain more fresh water from upstream because of the drought.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Feds cut water flow to Apalachicola River

Posted Nov 16, 2007
The top federal wildlife agency announced Friday it would cut the water flow down the Chatahootchee and Apalachicola rivers to conserve water supply for the drought-stricken Atlanta area.

Reduced flows likely will kill a portion of protected mussels in the Apalachicola River but not wipe out the species, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials in Atlanta.

Cynthia Barnett - Water Presentation

Author of "MIRAGE: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern US" Will give a presentation November 29th at 6:45 pm in room 101 Carraway (geology) Building, FSU campus.

Carraway Building is near the corner of Woodward and Tennessee Street. Might be best to park on the NORTH side of Tennessee and walk over. Carraway Building is just South of the Florida Geological Survey building which is exactly on the South West Corner of Tennessee and Woodward. Carraway Building is just north of (across the
sidwalk from) the FSU bookstore/parking deck.
Source: Friends of Wakulla Springs State Park Listserv

More Info:
Author Website

Manatees Return To Blue Springs State Park

Published November 17, 2007
A spokesperson at Blue Springs State Park in Volusia County said 15 or so manatees moved into the spring Thursday. By Friday afternoon, 40 manatees were in the waters, creating quite a show for visitors.

Manatees migrate to the springs when it's cold because the water is warmer there.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Major clean-up on Santa Fe River this Saturday

Posted 11/17/07
A massive river clean-up involving scuba divers and the use of kayaks, canoes, power boats and land volunteers will be held this Saturday, Nov. 10 at the State Road 47 bridge over the Santa Fe River.

The bridge is located a few miles south of downtown Fort White.

All volunteers will meet at 9:30 a.m. at the park located at the State Road 47 bridge that crosses over the Santa Fe River.

Those wishing to participate should call Olson at 352-264-6827 or contact her via e-mail at: aar@currentproblems.org

Source - Google Cache

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Florida Springs - Maps

Complete Florida Springs Map & Guide
FL Springs Map and Guide
Find 91 different Florida springs with a detailed index, overall state map, large insets, pictures and more.

Ordering Info:
FreshWater Publications
2 Market St #114
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 505-3270

Upper Suwannee & Withlacoochee Rivers
(Boating, Canoeing & Recreation Guide)
Upper Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers
Recreation guide which contains a navigational map and GPS readings for park, landings, and river facilities.

Ordering Info:
Send your request, mailing address, and a check made payable to American Canoe Adventures in the amount of $3.65 (for guide + postage) to:
American Canoe Adventures
10610 Bridge St.
White Springs, FL 32096
(386) 397-1309

Lower Suwannee & Santa Fe Rivers
(Boating, Canoeing & Recreation Guide)
Lower Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers
Recreation guide which contains a navigational map and GPS readings for park, landings, and river facilities.

Ordering Info:
(352) 463-3467
Note: You can also order this map from American Canoe Adventures.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

St. Johns River River Water Management District - Online Brochures

Here are a couple of online brochures that I found on the St. Johns River River Water Management District website. See link below for complete list.

Florida’s Aquifers: Our Most Precious Resource

Source (PDF)
Take a look at the Floridan aquifer, the major groundwater source for north-central Florida, how water gets in and out of the aquifer, the many ways man uses the aquifer’s water and threats to this drinking water supply.

A Green Blanket on the Water: Algae

Explains what nutrients are and how too many nutrients can adversely affect a water body; gives tips on what individuals can do to limit the amount of nutrients flowing to our waterways.
Source (PDF)

St. Johns River River Water Management District - Publications order form

McClain, Payton, Stone favor rewrite on springs protection

Published Nov. 13, 2007
Supporters of Marion County's proposed Springs Protection plan may come up dry in trying to tap enough commission votes to put the new rules on the books.

Commissioners Stan McClain, Jim Payton and Charlie Stone said Monday that unless the proposed ordinance was overhauled, they would not vote to pass the legislation that would phase out traditional septic tanks and require homeowners to replace them with costlier Performance Based Treatment Systems. The commission is scheduled to vote on the ordinance Nov. 20.

Currently, the proposed ordinance would require new septic systems for all new homes in the county's springs protection zones, which include most of the county. It also would require that failing septic tanks be replaced with the new Performance Based Treatment Systems, capable of reducing nitrogen levels entering the environment by at least half.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rum Island Spring (Columbia County)

Cost: Free

Pictures taken 11/6/2007

More photos

Poe Spring (Alachua County)

Located inside Poe Springs Park
28800 NW 182nd Ave
High Springs, FL 32643

Contact: (386) 454-1992
Hours: 9 a.m.- sundown

Entrance Fee is $5.00 per person – 4 yrs and younger are free

Poe Springs Park was purchased by Alachua County in 1985 and was managed by the NCF YMCA until December 2008. As of February 1, 2009 Nature quest™ is the managing partner of Poe Springs Park™ for Alachua County.

Picture taken 11/6/2007

More Photos

More Info:

http://www.PoeSpringsPark.com Future Websiste - Not Online Yet

Park Brochure (3 MB, PDF)

Blue Springs Park (Gilchrist County)

7450 NE 60th St.
High Springs, Florida 32643
(386) 454-1369

Hours are 9:00am-7:00pm from March until October and winter hours are 9:00am-5:30pm

General Admission (Daily)
Ages 13 and up -- $10.00
Ages 5-12 -- $3.00
Under 5 -- Free

Click image to enlarge

Map Source

Pictures taken 11/6/07

Little Blue Spring
(Was not flowing at time of visit)

More Photos

Gilchrist Blue Spring (Blue Spring)

More Photos

Naked Spring

More Photos

Johnson Spring

More Photos

More Info:
Blue Springs Park

Ginnie Springs Outdoors (Gilchrist County)

Campground & Dive Resort
7300 NE Ginnie Springs Road
High Springs, FL 32643
Phone: (386) 454-7188

General Admission (Daily) 8AM- 1/2 hour before sunset

Adults (10% discount to seniors 62+) $12.00
Children (Ages 7-14) $3.00
Children (Ages 6 and Under) Free

All 7 of the springs below are found within Ginnie Springs. Excellent clarity of water. Very nice place to go and visit.

Click image to enlarge

Map Source

Deer Spring

More Photos

Twin Spring

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Dogwood Spring

More Photos

Ginnie Spring

More Photos

Little Devil Spring

More Photos

Devils Eye Spring

More Photos

Devils Ear Spring
(1st Magnitude Spring)

More Photos

Monday, November 12, 2007

Land Conservation and Springs Protection: Recent Achievments and Big Challenges

On Tuesday November 13th at 7:30 p.m. Fay Baird, Hydrologist and Environmental Consultant, will give program on the state of Florida's natural springs. Plant raffle and social time will follow speaker. Program at Doyle Conner Auditorium.

Springs protection

Published Nov. 11, 2007 (Opinion)
It sounds like a good idea, until you read what the county has in store for us

Let's take the springs protection issue one item at a time. We all want to protect our springs. I don't care what business you may be in, clean water is essential to life, ours and the critters we know live around us. Secondly, those of us who work in Marion County mostly live here. Let me stress that: we care about what goes into our lakes and streams, we also drink the water.

Now let's discuss the proposed Springs Protection Ordinance. It has not been put together with a consensus of the stakeholders. This is really important if we citizens want this ordinance to withstand challenges and also be worth the paper it is written on.

Understanding Invasive Aquatic Weeds

Understanding Invasive Aquatic Weeds

Homework and Classroom Activities - Information Suitable for Grades 4-7

This 16 page booklet contains information and activities about aquatic ecology and five invasive weeds affecting North American aquatic ecosystems. Copies of the book may be ordered, or a file may be downloaded and printed.

Restaurant Allows Diners To Cook For Themselves

Published November 12, 2007
Visitors to DeLeon Springs have the chance to dine in a sugar mill built in the early 1800s.

The Old Spanish Sugar Mill restaurant at DeLeon Springs State Park opened in 1961. The unique eatery allows customers to cook their own pancakes from a griddle at their table.

In addition to unique dining, DeLeon Springs State Park also offers a freshwater spring with a year-round temperature of 72 degrees.

Video Footage of Divers Connecting Leon Sinks to Wakulla Springs

Published 11/11/07
Last June a group of divers set some world records for cave dives starting out at Wakulla Springs State Park.

They were able to take color videos of this last dive which you can see at the following website. This video is the one where they were able to make the connection of Leon Sink and Wakulla Springs.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Requiring pricier septic systems is divisive point in springs protection

Published Nov. 10, 2007
The county's ordinance calls for new septic systems that would reduce nitrogen in septic tank effluent by 70 percent, or down to just 10 milligrams per liter.

In contrast, traditional septic tanks don't break down nitrogen at all, said Dale Holcomb, Florida Department of Health environmental administrator. Instead, most of the chemistry happens in their drainfields, where helpful bacteria in the soil and plants break down only about 30 percent of the nitrogen.

But that still leaves 70 percent left to slip dangerously into groundwater and the springs where algae and aquatic plants await their next meal.

The proposed ordinance aims to curb swelling levels of nitrogen in the Rainbow and Silver Springs.

The level of nitrates in the Rainbow River has doubled in the past 10 years and increased five-fold in the Silver River during the past 50 years.

Weeki Wachee, City of Mermaids: A History of One of Florida's Oldest Roadside Attractions

The public is invited to join author Lu Vickers as she presents her book, "Weeki Wachee, City of Mermaids: A History of One of Florida's Oldest Roadside Attractions."

The program will be at 2 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Deltona Regional Library, 2150 Eustace Ave. The program is free and recommended for adults and children 15 and older.

Water management district to explain St. Johns proposal

Published November 9, 2007
The St. Johns River Water Management District will explain to government boards its proposal to remove millions of gallons of water per day from the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers.

The district says the removal of up to 262 million gallons of water per day is needed to sate water needs in growing central Florida. Alternative water projects are needed so not to cause environmental damage by overtaxing the state's aquifer.

Opponents counter the water removal will hurt the rivers' ecosystems.

The district's executive director, Kirby Green, will speak at the following board meetings.

5 p.m., Nov. 13, City of Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board
2 p.m., Nov. 16, St. Johns River Alliance at the University of North Florida
2 p.m., Nov. 20, Clay County Board of County Commissioners
8:30 a.m., Nov. 27, Putnam County Board of County Commissioners
1:30 p.m., Nov. 27, St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Wekiva: Wonders to wander

Published November 08, 2007
The Wekiva River basin is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise.

The river, its tributaries and surrounding lands offer clear water for paddling and fishing, springs for swimming and tubing, riverfront campgrounds and trails for hiking, horseback riding and off-road cycling - all about 30 miles north of Disney World.

Wekiwa Springs State Park: The park near Apopka has a spring-fed swimming hole, 60-site campground, primitive camping, a 13-mile hiking trail, canoe rentals, horse trails, off-road bike trails and a playground. For campground reservations, call (800) 326-3521. For information on primitive canoe camping along the Wekiva River, call (407) 884-2009. Entrance to the park is $5 per car. Call (407) 884-2008 or go to FloridaStateParks.org/wekiwasprings

Monday, November 05, 2007

Park has quiet ride, native Fla. ... hippo?

Published 11/4/2007
Homosassa Springs a step back to a different era in the state's history

This 200-acre park is 70 miles north of Tampa and 60 miles west of Orlando. And it's not a typical state park. It's a quaint throwback to Old Florida mixed with a hefty dose of evolving eco-tourism.

The place — like many in Florida — started out as an entertainment park with all kinds of exotic animals. In the 1980s when its owners were considering selling the lush land along a clear blue-green spring to developers, the community protested. Citrus County took over the site and then the state picked up management of it.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Blue Run park closer to reality

Published Nov. 3, 2007
Blue Run of Dunnellon Park is one very large step closer to becoming a reality.

On Friday, the Florida Communities Trust, using a portion of its Florida Forever Funds, awarded roughly $2.2 million for the purchase of 32.5 acres south of the County Road 484 bridge. The land is on the east shore of the Rainbow River in Dunnellon, an area commonly referred to as the tuber exit.

"I think it's going to be great for Dunnellon," Kenny said. "It will help make Dunnellon a destination. It has value to it because it helps to protect our spring shed and the river itself, and keeps it from being developed."

St. Johns water needed for a thirsty Orlando

Published 11/2/2007
By 2025, traditional groundwater sources could come up 200 million gallons a day short in supplying potable water throughout Northeast and Central Florida.

Kirby Green, executive director of the St. Johns River Water Management District, gave that projection Thursday as he described plans to begin pumping water from the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers to combat the projected shortfall.

Green spoke for about an hour to the Northeast Florida Regional Council about a controversial plan to draw 262 million gallons of river water daily in order to quench rapid growth in the Orlando region.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Volusia seeks partners in quest for more water

Published November 2, 2007
Even as Georgia, Alabama and other parts of Florida argue over water rights, Volusia County and its neighbors seem to be taking a far more cooperative approach as they edge away from using groundwater.

On Thursday, Volusia County said it would explore partnering with Seminole County for a water treatment facility on the St. Johns River and/or partnering with Flagler County for a desalination project that would turn ocean water into drinking water.

Volusia gets its water from an underground aquifer, but the St. Johns River Water Management District has required the county to find alternative sources because withdrawing water reduces the flow in Blue Spring and disrupts manatee habitat.

Bouncing around on springs law

Published Nov. 2, 2007 Opinion
Marion County Commissioner Andy Kesselring, the board's leading advocate of legislation to safeguard our major freshwater springs, thinks his colleagues remain committed to protecting the mammoth Rainbow and Silver springs, despite comments at a board meeting on Wednesday that might make the public believe otherwise.

Kesselring remains optimistic a "good" ordinance will emerge from the commission's Nov. 20 public hearing on the long-awaited springs protection law. We wish we could share his upbeat view.

Ocklawaha River pipeline plan with possible implications for area is modified

Plans for a 100-mile pipeline to pump water from a river in Marion County has been reduced to include only the counties that the river runs though, a water district official said.

Just last month, local environmental groups were worried the pipeline from the Ocklawaha River would set a precedent for piping water out of rivers all over the state.

The other counties -- Orange, Seminole and Volusia -- may be able to use water from the St. John's River, Fisk said. The Ocklawaha feeds into the St. John's River.

Sharing the St. Johns Considered

Published 11/1/2007
Water planners say surface water is the short term option to meet the demands for drinking water in Central Florida. The St. Johns River that flows through the First Coast is being touted as part of the solution.

The St. Johns Water Management District is reviewing proposals that, if approved, would divert more than 250 million gallons daily from the river to be processed into drinking water.