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Monday, December 31, 2007

Forest Service must allow for use of lands, but still preserve them for future

Published Dec. 30, 2007
The oldest national forest in the eastern continental U.S., it was even created in controversy a century ago, leading to an unusual nickname: the "Midnight Forest."

The Forest is bound roughly by the Ocklawaha River on the north and west, the St. Johns River on the east, and almost the county line to the south.

The Juniper Springs Recreation Area was conceived and constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935 to attract visitors to the Ocala National Forest for recreational use.
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Ocala Forest is a land of contrasts

Published Dec. 30, 2007
You and your neighbors own 384,000 acres known as the Ocala National Forest. And this mighty land holding will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Nov. 24, 2008.

..camping is available. Most of it is primitive. Except for Salt Springs, the campgrounds generally do not have water and electric. But there are two cabins that are rented and, at Alexander and Juniper Springs, there are bathhouses for campers.

The Forest Service also works with other government agencies. The U.S. Geological Survey and St. Johns River Water Management District have permits for monitoring wells for water levels and quality in the Forest. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission operates a shooting range and manages wildlife.
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Protect springs yes, but be reasonable

Published Dec. 30, 2007 (Opinion)
The adequate management of septic tanks is a national and state concern. A 1998 report to the National Onsite Demonstration Program expert panel meeting at Ohio State University showed that more than 7,000 septic tanks malfunction somewhere in the U.S. each day, or roughly 2.6 million units malfunction each year.

Marion County is clearly part of this national issue, which we began to address three years ago by investing over $1 million to study our future water needs. From this study came policy for protecting our water resources flowing into two of the state's most pristine and productive springs.
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Monday, December 24, 2007

Time To Resolve Weeki Wachee Issues

Published: December 23, 2007
We now have an opportunity to ensure that the historic Weeki Wachee Attraction remains open to the public and the internationally known mermaid shows continue to enchant future generations.

Under the direction of former Florida Supreme Court Justice Ben Overton, mediation talks over four months involving the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Weeki Wachee and the Department of Environmental Protection have produced a letter of intent. Signed by DEP and Weeki Wachee, the detailed letter spells out DEP's plans to operate the attraction as a state park, which will not only ensure its existence, but also enhance the facility and its amenities so even more people can enjoy a slice of old-style Florida entertainment.
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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Trash it

Published Dec. 23, 2007 (Opinion)
To protect the karst-sensitive and high water recharge areas within Marion County, an ordinance was enacted in 2001 prohibiting any more Class I, II, or III landfills being built or expanded after Jan. 1, 2002. No private, no commercial, no governmental, no more landfills in Marion County, period!

Landfill liners leak at the rate of one leak per 1,000 feet of seam, and this type of leak is not always picked up by the groundwater monitoring wells. So, in addition to the continuing sight, sound and smell associated with another landfill cell, there is the continuing risk to the Silver Springs water supply.
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Thirsty counties seek to tap rivers

Published December 22, 2007
The era of pumping cheap water from the aquifer has come to an end in Central Florida, just as it did in Tampa Bay a decade ago. For utilities and water managers wary of the risk and expense of desalination, river water is the next obvious source.

To quench this thirst, cities and counties plan to spend nearly $1-billion on three projects to pump and treat water from the St. Johns River, which stretches from Indian River County to Jacksonville.

So far, 15 public utilities in Lake, Marion and Putnam counties have asked to tap into the Ocklawaha, a major tributary of the St. Johns.
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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Wekiwa Springs State Park offers options, a plunge

Published December 21, 2007
A hike through Wekiwa Springs State Park, which hugs the Orange/Seminole border near Apopka, provides all the natural sights and sounds of an unspoiled Central Florida the way it once was.

"I can't think of a better way to end a hike in Florida," said Jon Phipps, an avid hiker and member of the Central Florida Chapter of the Florida Trail Association. "The spring is right there. It's not only beautiful, but it always makes you feel better."
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DEP permit aims to protect springs

Published December 21, 2007
The proposed permits and legal agreement require the city to reduce nitrogen in wastewater by 75 percent. The city also will study expanding the use of treated wastewater on landscaping and will improve the treatment of sewage sludge to make it available as a lawn fertilizer.

The public will have 21 days to file legal challenges once the permit notices are published in the newspaper.

City officials said they were anxious to receive the permits because delays could force them to halt planning for at least $160 million for the Lake Bradford Road and Thomas P. Smith wastewater plants.
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Friday, December 21, 2007

Manatee License Plate

Published Dec 20, 2007
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) unveiled a new look for an old favorite today at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. FWC Regional Director Greg Holder unveiled the new design for the Florida manatee license plate.

“This is an exciting day for the FWC and the Florida manatee,” Holder said. “With the sales from this plate, we hope to generate revenues that will sustain valuable manatee research and conservation for years to come.”
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St. Johns dredging in line for $2.8 million

Published 12/20/07
Jacksonville Port Authority stands to receive $2.8 million in federal funds to spend on a long-planned dredging project in the St. Johns River.

Port Authority Director Rick Ferrin said the money will help pay for a $22 million project to deepen a 5.5-mile section of the river including Talleyrand and the Chaseville Turn. The navigable depth will go from 38 to 41 feet and the turn will be widened, he said.
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Sulphur Springs Revisited

Published: December 20, 2007
In 1986, high fecal coliform bacteria counts forced the city to close the spring to swimmers, along with the lagoon that carries the spring water to the river. The bacteria, which originate in waste from warm-blooded animals and humans, are carried to the spring via sinkholes north of Sulphur Springs, as well as in stormwater runoff from the surrounding area.

Activists such as Russell hold out hope that someday the spring will be clean enough to swim in again. On a recent walk beneath the mossy live oaks around the spring, Russell stared sadly at the "No Swimming" signs on fences around the spring and lagoon.
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

UPDATE: One year later, spray field agreement on track, attorney says

Published December 19, 2007
A year after the signing of a settlement agreement to a legal challenging involving Tallahassee's wastewater spray field and Wakulla Springs, an environmental group attorney said he still expects the agreement to be honored.

The agreement largely resolved a legal challenge filed by environmental groups and Wakulla County against a permit proposed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The challengers, along with then-Attorney General Charlie Crist, said the permit failed to protect the springs.

A year later, city officials say they’re awaiting a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. A DEP spokeswoman said she expects a permit to be proposed soon, but she can't be more specific.
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A plan to protect nature, honor history

Published December 20, 2007 (Opinion)
It's not every day government has the opportunity to simultaneously preserve a one-of-a-kind natural resource and a charming combination of state history and cultural nostalgia. The potential to do both exists in the state Department of Environmental Protection's proposal to transform Weeki Wachee Springs into a state park.

The proposal, announced at the state Cabinet meeting Tuesday, would require the state to accept ownership of the 60-year-old tourist attraction from the city of Weeki Wachee, which owns the company that operates the park. The land is owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which bought it from the city of St. Petersburg in 2001 for $16-million.
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Weeki Wachee: State Or County Park?

Published: December 19, 2007
Weeki Wachee Springs is one step closer to becoming a state park, but attraction officials say they want to first rule out the possibility of being included in the Hernando County park system.

County officials said Tuesday they are willing to consider that but are hesitant to jump into the middle of the ongoing, court-ordered mediation between the mermaid attraction and its landlord, the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
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Water conservation not just 'symbolic'

Published on: 12/19/07
At a news conference to tout the success of his mandate to cut water use by 10 percent in the northern third of the state, Perdue clarified comments he'd made in late October to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's editorial board. At that time, Perdue said conservation was largely symbolic and would have a negligible effect on the area's supply.

The amount of water needed for Florida's Apalachicola River — more than 3 billion gallons a day — is being met by the other federal reservoirs on the Chattahoochee, and local stream flows, according to the corps.
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County demands river data

Published Dec. 19, 2007
St. Johns officials want counties and municipalities to choose by March or April the alternative water supplies they plan to be part of, so planning and early design may start. But minimum flows and levels for the Ocklawaha and Silver rivers are not due until the end of 2009. The Silver River feeds the Ocklawaha with water from Silver Springs.

Minimum flows and levels are intended to show a point at which any more surface withdrawals or groundwater withdrawals in the area could cause environmental harm. St. Johns officials told the County Commission during a meeting in late October that no plans to pump the Ocklawaha would be approved until minimum flows and levels were in place.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

State may go into mermaid business

Published December 19, 2007
The owners of Weeki Wachee Springs want to give their pre-Disney tourist attraction to the state, making it a new Florida State Park.

Supporters say Weeki Wachee Springs would be a coup for the Florida State Parks system. At a depth of 403 feet, it's the deepest spring in the United States and would round off a list of Tampa Bay area state parks, including Hillsborough River, Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island state parks.
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Rose Creek cleanup deemed successful

Published December 18, 2007
More than 25 volunteers spent their Saturday to help clean up Rose Creek sink cave and to build a litter screen across the Creek to help stop the flow of trash into the sink that could eventually contaminate the areas drinking water.

The two projects were pronounced a success by Lamar Hires, diver and owner of Dive Rite; Jim Stevenson, coordinator of the Ichetucknee Springs Working Group; and John Wheeler, Rotary Club member.
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Riley pleased with water talks

Published 12/19/2007
Riley said the agreement will cover the two river basins shared by the three states, and he believes it will include raising the winter level of Alabama reservoirs by 3 to 4 feet. "That's almost like building another reservoir," Riley said.

Riley said the staffs of the three governors will go to Washington after the first of the year to work with federal agencies on developing a water sharing plan. The governors intend to agree to a plan by Feb. 15. Then, he said, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will have 30 days to review it instead of the normal 130 days.
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Florida approves new license plate

Published 12/18/07
Tuesday, Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet approved a new "Protect Florida Springs" specialty license plate that will raise money to help protect Florida's natural springs.



The proceeds will also be used for research and education.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New water plans will be delayed

Published Dec. 17, 2007
Plans to slow the flood of pollutants into Marion County's groundwater and springs won't be ready for commissioners to consider by January as hoped.

Last month, after rejecting stiff rules meant to stem the tide of increasing nitrogen seeping from septic tanks into groundwater, county commissioners directed staff to come back with a revised plan two months later.

County Growth Management Bureau Chief Michael May said last week that after his first proposal failed, he would approach the board more carefully the next time, with more information and more community involvement in the plan.
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Divers Successfully Complete World Record Dive from Turner Sink to Wakulla Springs

Published 12-17-2007
Jarrod Jablonski and Casey McKinlay, divers with the non-profit Woodville Karst Plain Project, successfully completed a world record cave dive this past weekend in Wakulla County, Florida. McKinlay, 39, and Jablonski, 38, spent seven hours at 300 feet below the earth's surface diving the cave passages and another 13 hours decompressing for a total of 20 hours in the water. While a record for cave diving was definitely broken, the real reason for making the dive was to show that the cave systems below Turner Sink, just south of Tallahassee, and Wakulla Springs are connected.

Jablonski and McKinlay both currently live in Gainesville, Florida. Jablonski is a dive instructor for world reknowned Global Underwater Explorers (GUE), based in High Springs, Florida, and McKinlay works for Halcyon Manufacturing, a company specializing in making dive equipment.
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Southern states to speed up water deal

Published December 17, 2007
Prompted by an 18-year water war that pits Florida environmentalists and oystermen against Atlanta urbanites, governors from three southeastern U.S. states agreed on Monday to moved up their timetable for reaching a water-sharing agreement.

The governors of Florida, Georgia and Alabama met for several hours behind closed doors with U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and agreed to submit a water-sharing plan to federal overseers by February 15, rather than by June 1 as previously planned. The deal would take effect on March 15.
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Divers Break Record for Longest Cave Passage

Published 12/17/07
But they did more than set a record. Working for the Woodville Karst Plain Project, the divers swam for the first time through the state's Wakulla Springs and Leon Sinks cave systems. Scientists had already proven that the caves were connected earlier this year.

The project aims to map the Woodville Karst Plain, a 450-square-mile (1,165-square-kilometer) region that stretches from Tallahassee to the Gulf of Mexico.

Next the team hopes to explore the cave system south, to its juncture with the Gulf of Mexico—some 8.5 miles (13.7 kilometers) as the crow flies.

It's part of the Woodville Karst Plain Project's effort to map the region's underground cave systems, understand their role in the aquifer, and protect their waters from pollution.
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Water crisis threatens Apalachicola oysters

Posted on Dec. 17, 2007
The 18-year water war involving Florida, Alabama and Georgia is also 'Atlanta vs. the world' as the metropolitan area demands more water, which could threaten the ecology and economy downstream along the Apalachicola River.

The 107-mile river, its healthy waters and the shallow and protected bay into which it spills fuel the rapid growth of smooth-tasting oysters, the product of sunlight, river- and ocean-made flesh in the place locals call ''the Last Great Bay.'' About 10 percent of the oysters consumed in the nation and 90 percent of those eaten in Florida come from these waters.

The oyster's filter feeds and thrives with the tide and flow of both salt- and freshwater. The saltwater helps kill freshwater parasites and the freshwater blocks saltwater predators, like oyster drill snails, and parasites. If the water is the life's blood of the critters and economy, its flow is the pulse.

Florida sued, saying the minimum flow threshold of 5,000 cubic feet a second -- 2.24 million gallons a minute -- was too low. That's less than half the historic flow for this time of year, the dry season.
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Monday, December 17, 2007

Apalachicola Mayor on Water Wars

Published Dec 14, 2007
Mayor Van Johnson today called upon the Governor's of Florida, Georgia and Alabama to use restraint when finalizing a solution on the "Water War" controversy. "While Georgia clearly needs additional water for growth around Atlanta," the mayor said, "the Governor's should agree that no further reduction in water flow should be agreed upon or allowed by the Army Corps of Engineers until Atlanta and Georgia have planned adequately for the long term infrastructure needs of growth in the state."

The Governor's of the three states are due to meet in Tallahassee on Monday to discuss ways of resolving the dispute.
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Groups urge Crist to oppose reducing Apalachicola flow

Published December 14, 2007
Environmental groups are urging Gov. Charlie Crist to stand against further reductions in flows to the Apalachicola River when he meets with the governors of Alabama and Georgia on Monday.

Florida officials, Franklin County’s seafood industry and environmental groups say the flow reduction and high salinity in Apalachicola Bay is killing oysters there.
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Divers to traverse cave passage to Wakulla Springs

Published December 13, 2007
Divers who in July discovered a link between Wakulla Springs and Leon Sinks cave systems plan to complete the journey on Saturday.

The Woodville Karst Plain Project divers plan to enter Turner Sink and come out at Wakulla Springs seven miles away. Wakulla Springs supporters plan to greet the divers Sunday after they emerge from decompression.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ocklawaha water has hefty price

Published 12/11/07
Marion County and Ocala officials received an update Monday on the cost of a plan to potentially pump the Ocklawaha River for future drinking water supplies. The price was not cheap.

The total construction costs for a single water treatment plant and 173 miles of pipe to serve 15 utilities in Marion, Lake and Putnam counties was in excess of $811.3 million. Marion's estimated contribution for the plant and pipeline, based on the county getting 21.3 million gallons of water per day, is approximately $158 million. The price estimate had Ocala paying $81.8 million toward construction for 15 million gallons per day.
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Is desal too costly? Let's see

Published Dec. 11, 2007 (Opinion)
Propnents of desalination as a source of water scored a small but significant victory on Monday when water management officials disclosed they will conduct a full-fledged cost analysis of treating and piping seawater to Marion County and its North Florida neighbors.

Ever since the St. Johns River Water Management District first proposed pumping the Ocklawaha River for up to 100 million gallons of water a day to meet regional groundwater shortfalls, river defenders have insisted such withdrawals would destroy the waterway. The ocean, they argue, is a more environmentally responsible solution that provides an endless supply of water and is not that much more costly, while water managers steadfastly counterargue the expense would be dramatically higher.
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Woodville Karst Divers will Attempt World Record Dive of Seven Miles

Published 12-10-2007
The Woodville Karst Divers will attempt a world record dive of 7 miles on Saturday, December 15, 2007. They will enter the cave system at Turner Sink, swimming 300 feet below the ground, and will surface on Sunday, December 16, 2007 at Wakulla Springs. This dive is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest.

To honor their efforts, the public is invited to meet them on Sunday, December 16, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. at the pavilion in Wakulla Springs State Park.

The attempt to break the world's cave traverse begins at Turner Sink. When you get to 236 Greenlea Circle, follow the tape to the sink hole.
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Don't drink the water

Published: Dec 9, 2007
At a school science fair Wednesday, Thomas' 10th grade students premiered findings revealing contamination and pollution in the Weeki Wachee watershed, uncovered during two months of research and water-composition testing.

Collecting water samples from three spots on the river — Rogers Park, Jenkins Creek Park and Springs Coast Environmental Education Center — the students tested the water for levels of various elements, including carbon dioxide, phosphate, magnesium, dissolved oxygen, hardness, nitrates, calcium and pH.

A watershed is an area of land that water flows across as it moves toward a common low point or body of water, such as a stream, river or lake.

Much of the 2.4 trillion gallons of freshwater Floridians use each year is drawn from the Floridian Aquifer, a porous limestone formation that traps groundwater.
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Protect seafood industry

Published December 09, 2007 (Opinion)
Throughout the fall, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue had complained that water from Lake Lanier northeast of Atlanta no longer should have to be sent south, eventually flowing into Florida's Apalachicola river and bay. Not surprisingly, the governor cared about metro Atlanta residents suffering through the worst drought in recorded history, not the Florida Panhandle seafood industry that also depends on fresh water to nourish the estuary.

The governors of Florida, Georgia and Alabama will meet on Dec. 17 to discuss these tri-state water issues. Florida has a good case, if Gov. Crist will make it.
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Whose thirst comes first? Orlando, Jacksonville areas face water war

Published 12/9/07
Northeast Florida has launched a campaign to prevent thirsty Central Florida from pumping water out of the St. Johns River.

A growing coalition of Jacksonville-area environmentalists and politicians hopes to shield the north-flowing river from proposals to divert as much as 250 million gallons each day to Orlando-area communities.

The St. Johns looks mightier than it is. Though wide as the Mississippi River in places, the river flows so weakly a steady wind will force it to run backward. Near Jacksonville, tides from the Atlantic Ocean fill much of the river. But that blend of fresh and salt water creates an estuary for shrimp, oysters, crabs, clams and countless other species.

The nearly exclusive source of Orlando drinking water -- the deep-underground Floridan Aquifer -- is now being pumped through wells at the rate of about a half-billion gallons a day.

Extracting more, according to the St. Johns River Water Management District, will run the risk of poisoning the subterranean reservoir with seawater and sap spring flows, dry up wetlands and turn lakes into dust bowls. Those predications so unnerve authorities that they vow to halt any new aquifer pumping by 2013.
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Warm Winter Weather Restores Area's Summer Fishing Patterns

Published Dec 9, 2007
Though there has long been a splinter population of snook in the Crystal and Homosassa rivers in this area, those fish depended on the warm outflow of the springs for winter survival. The Withlacoochee, though fed by some spring-fed rivers, is largely a surface-water river and usually much colder than the Crystal and Homosassa. But that no longer seems to make much difference when winter has become a second summer. Snook, a tropical species, require water temperatures above 58 degrees year-round to survive.
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Lake Munson future uncertain

Published December 9, 2007
Pollution problems have plagued Lake Munson for years, but the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's refusal recently to pay for a Leon County muck removal project highlighted the lake's ills and its uncertain future

Lake Munson has few plants left in it because of chemical treatments to kill hydrilla and a foreign species of apple snail that has a voracious appetite for aquatic plants.

The lake continues to receive dirty stormwater runoff from Munson Slough, which receives flow from drainage ditches in Tallahassee. There is disagreement among scientists on whether water quality has improved, the FWC said. The lake eventually drains into a sinkhole that flows to Wakulla Springs.
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Corps to send Lake Lanier recommendation

Published on: 12/07/07
U.S. Fish and Wildlife will make final decision about water releases from lake

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Mobile is preparing a letter with its recommendations about reducing water releases from Lake Lanier.

The chief of public affairs for the Mobile office — Pat Robbins — says the recommendations will be sent to the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife office in Panama City, Fla., which will make the final decision. He says the letter will outline basic conditions that would warrant a further reduction in the flow of water downstream from Lake Lanier.
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Reduced Flow Won't Alter 'Hooch

Last Modified: 12/8/2007
One hundred and sixty million gallons a day -- that's the additional amount of water the Army Corps of Engineers wants to hold back from the Apalachicola River.

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers talks about reducing the flow by two hundred and fifty cubic feet per second they are talking about at the Jim Woodruff Dam at the head of the Apalachicola River -- not at the Buford Dam at the head of the Chattahoochee River.
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Friday, December 07, 2007

Suwannee River Wilderness Trail project update

Published: December 06, 2007
Lafayette Blue Springs State Park is one of a number of places along the Suwannee River that are participating in the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail project spearheaded by the Suwannee River Water Management District.

There are five cabins at Blue Springs, which, when completed, will have two bedrooms, a kitchen, a spacious living room with a stone fireplace, closet space for your suitcases and clothing, and a wrap-around-porch where you can enjoy the view as well as the cool breeze. One of the cabins has an elevator for individuals who are unable to enter the cabin using the stairway.
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Groveland won't reconsider pipeline for bottler

Published December 5, 2007
The city will not reconsider a wastewater deal with Niagara Bottling until the California-based company is more certain to open a large manufacturing plant here.

City Council members unanimously voted in October to turn down the deal amid concern that the area's growth already is expected to outpace local water supplies in a few years. For that same reason, council members Monday night opted not to reconsider the wastewater proposal at least until the St. Johns River Water Management District decides whether to grant Niagara a permit to take nearly half a million gallons of fresh water from the ground every year.
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Florida objects to further Apalachicola flow reduction

Published December 5, 2007
Florida is objecting to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal to reduce water flow into the Apalachicola River by an additional 5 percent possibly this week.

Prolonged low flows in the river combined with a 5 percent reduction in the minimum flow last month “has wrought compelling damage on Florida's highly sensitive aquatic resources,” Sole wrote.
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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Come on, Georgia, give us some water

Published December 4, 2007 (Opinion)
Do you like Apalachicola oysters? They're almost gone. The east and west ends of the bay are dead. Yes, dead. There remains one bar left, and when it's gone, the oysters are gone. Why? Lack of fresh water down the river. Flows have been below historical minimums for several months, and if your governor has his way, they will be reduced further.
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Monday, December 03, 2007

DEP Chief Meets with Residents on Drought

Published Nov 30, 2007
Residents and business leaders say they've seen a 30 percent drop in the number of oysters being harvested, and if more freshwater isn't put into the bay by spawning season in March, next year's oyster harvest will be even worse.

DEP Secretary Mike Sole says the current Army Corps plan has the five percent water reduction lasting through June 1. He says Florida hopes to change that date through talks with the other states. If not, a lawsuit will be their last resort.
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Apalachicola River DEP Meeting

Published Dec 2, 2007
Friday, those worried about the decision gathered in Apalachicola to voice their opposition to the action. Apalachicola resident Linda Raffield said many
feel the impact will affect the entire panhandle region.

"It's hard to look at the people in the community and not feel the pain that they feel with the worry of ‘am I going to have a job tomorrow?’"

More than 100 people concerned with the water levels of the Apalachicola River gathered at the Franklin County Courthouse annex Friday.
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Lower Water Levels Could Mean Lower Profits

Published Nov 29, 2007
The low water level coming from Georgia could mean a drop in profits for businesses all along the Apalachicola River.

Lots of people make their living harvesting oysters in the Apalachicola Bay, others pay the bills by selling them. If the water wars aren't resolved soon

your next oyster meal may not be locally grown.
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River needs its water, Peyton says

Published 12/2/07
Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton weighed in last week on the controversial efforts to drain drinking water from the St. Johns River to help Central Florida.

Though Peyton said he wants to allow the St. Johns River Water Management District the time to finish its research into possibly diverting up to 262 million

gallons of water a day from the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers, he's having a hard time digesting the idea.

"I cannot think of a single scenario that pulling water out of this river would be good for the river," Peyton said.
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