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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Top 10 things to do in Gainesville

Published: December 21, 2008 - The Gainesville Sun
9. Splash in the springs.
Ginnie Springs, located in High Springs, has more than 100 camping sites with electric and water and 300 “primitive” sites with neither. Visitors can bring there RV or tent and rent a site for only $18 a night (with no electricity) or can rent a tube for the day for $6.
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It's Crystal Clear: Protect Natural Springs

Published: December 21, 2008 - Tampa Bay Online
A bill introduced a couple of weeks ago by Sen. Lee Constantine of Altamonte Springs, chairman of the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee, would protect them for future generations - and accomplish much more.

The bill would require protection zones around Ichetucknee Springs in Columbia County; Rainbow and Silver, both in Marion; and Wakulla County's Wakulla Springs.

It would require officials to identify springs drainage areas vulnerable to pollution. Confusion over jurisdiction shouldn't be an issue because the legislation would allow the zones to cross political boundaries.
Source

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Parties vying for control of Flint’s future

Published December 19, 2008 - The Post-Searchlight.com
For some people, restoring the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin to its natural state by sending more water downstream—as Boyd and other Floridians say they want for environmental reasons—meant the dam that created Lake Seminole in the early 1960s would be operated in a way that would be unconducive to recreation on and around the lake. Congressman Boyd has clarified his idea by stating he strongly supports the health and usage of Lake Seminole.

However, the issue of how water travels from North Georgia’s Lake Lanier to the Gulf of Mexico has been and continues to be debated.
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Annette Long: Up next: Water quality trading

Published December 14, 2008 - The Gainesville Sun
On Nov. 21, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection held a public workshop to discuss plans for a Water Quality Credit Trading Program. In 2008 Florida House Bill 547 made changes to the Florida Watershed Restoration Act (FWRA) that primarily addressed water quality trading.

The amendment authorizes permitted polluters to trade credits when a reduction in their permitted loads is achieved. Today this program is limited to a pilot project in the Lower St. Johns River Basin.
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Editorial: Wake-up call

Published December 14, 2008 - The Gainesville Sun (Opinion)
In each of the past three years an influential state lawmaker has introduced a bill into the Florida Legislature to initiate a meaningful springs protection program. In each case, the bill died from lack of support.

Our 700 springs are nothing more than vents for the aquifer. The degradation of our springs — in both the amount of water that flows from them to the quality of that water — is nothing more than visible evidence of what is happening underground.
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Now is the time to protect Florida's precious springs

Published December 14, 2008 - Ocala Star-Banner
The magnificent artesian springs in Florida are displaying alarming changes, including reductions in water flow, elevated nutrient concentrations, reductions in natural aquatic vegetation and fish, and increasing populations of filamentous algae.

Declining flows may be the greatest threat to spring survival. Kissengen Spring in Polk County, White Springs in Hamilton County, and Worthington Springs in Union County, all former spring-focused resorts, have stopped flowing. A non-flowing spring is a sinkhole and a clear signal that groundwater levels have significantly declined.
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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Quit stonewalling on springs protection

Published December 3, 2008 - Star-Banner (Opinion)
Four years of public weigh-in, recommendations by dozens of county committees and boards, initial rejection by the County Commission, a five-month rewrite of the original draft by a hand-picked committee of "stakeholders" and, finally, resubmission of the new and improved ordinance to commissioners has yielded, well, very little. Indeed, too little.
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At one with nature and the river

Published December 03, 2008 - Suwannee Democrat
For seven nights, 65 canoeists, kayakers and others enjoyed good weather and smooth waters from Big Shoals to Branford.

Some days the group averaged 10-14 miles, while other days paddlers achieved 23 miles. At the designated trailheads, prepared meals were served as part of the trip.
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Friday, November 28, 2008

Florida looks at mercury contamination in fish

Published 11/28/2008 - The Florida Times-Union
Largemouth bass in nine out of 10 Florida rivers that the scientists tested had unusually high mercury levels in their flesh, according to preliminary results from research by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Those rivers included the St. Marys on the Georgia border and the Santa Fe, which runs north of Gainesville. The St. Johns River apparently was not tested.

A summary of that research, which should be published next year, was presented at a science conference in Tampa last week.
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Poe Springs to be run by new business promoting tourism

Published 11/27/08 - High Springs Herald
Nature Quest was the only proposal that said the company could operate the park at no expense to the county. By increasing attendance as much 15 percent in the first year, the company said it can make a profit of $35,957. The estimated profit for the fifth year is $43,706.
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Commission to hear management proposals for Poe Springs

Published November 24, 2008 The Gainesville Sun
The County Commission on Tuesday will review proposals by Nature Quest, current park manager North Central Florida YMCA and High Springs resident Sharon Yeago.


A Nature Quest proposal several years ago drew heated opposition from Poe Springs users and nearby residents, prompting about 600 signatures collected from critics who said a change in management could lead to more noise and rowdiness.

The commission is set to discuss the proposals at its Tuesday morning meeting, which begins at 9 a.m.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Updated: Proposed Natural Bridge land deal called a 'steal' for Florida

Published November 17, 2008 - Tallahassee Democrat
The state would buy the land for nearly $3.4 million, or $62,020 an acre..

The property is immediately south of the Natural Bridge battlefield park and consists of eight large karst windows where the St. Marks River flows underground through an extensive cave system
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sinkhole Diving Deaths

Published 11/14/2008 - Firstcoastnews.com
A search team has recovered the bodies of two divers who apparently ran out of air while exploring a Florida cave system on Tuesday.

The bodies were pulled out of the sinkhole near the town of Hudson Wednesday afternoon.

The cave system (Forty Fathom Grotto) where they died is hundreds of feet deep and branches out six miles.
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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Climate change threatens Florida's drinking water supply

Published November 9, 2008 (in Print) St. Petersburg Times
Much of the damage to Florida's water supply will take place out of sight, in the underground aquifers that provide most of the state's drinking water. As rising seas nibble at the state's coastline, saltwater intrusion will also creep steadily inland.

Utilities and water managers are now studying the possibility of pumping wastewater underground to recharge the aquifer along the Hillsborough coast. In recent months, even the controversial idea of a north-to-south water pipeline enjoyed a short-lived revival.
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Regional disputes highlight water shortage seminar

Published 11/07/08 - The Florida Times-Union
The Jacksonville University-Florida Coastal School of Law symposium held Thursday brought experts from around the country to talk about water shortages. Among the most-discussed: regional disputes that highlight the differences between water policy in Florida and its neighbor to the north, Georgia.

Varn called the battle over water withdrawals from the St. Johns in Central Florida a red herring. North Florida should be more concerned with groundwater withdrawals, and the risk of it drying up or being contaminated from South Georgia paper mills and other industry.
Source

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Florida DEP Continues Restoration of Rivers, Lakes, Estuaries

Published 11-05-2008
Florida has marked yet another significant milestone in its comprehensive strategy to address waterbody restorations around the state. As part of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program and the on-going initiative to set water quality goals for impaired waterbodies, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Michael W. Sole has approved the establishment of specific reduction targets for 20 waterbodies. This latest round of pollutant reductions have been adopted for waters located in the St. Marks/Ochlockonee River, the Suwannee/Santa Fe River, and the Everglades West Coast Basins. These limits have also been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency under federal law.
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County adopts new regulations on fertilizer use

Published November 5, 2008 - Ocala Star-Banner
Marion County commissioners on Tuesday passed new regulations on fertilizer use, the first piece of a set of broader comprehensive rules designed to protect the community's springs and groundwater.

Kesselring's revisions included: the striking of a proposed "blackout" period for applying fertilizers; raising the maximum limits of fertilizer that could be applied; so-called "fertilizer free" zones were changed to permit greater fertilizing of such areas; penalties for offenders were downgraded to emphasize education over punishment; and the effective date of the ordinance was put on hold for six months so the county's five municipalities could review the law and determine whether they wanted to adopt a similar measure.
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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A necessary step

Published 11/04/08 - The Florida Times-Union
The effort by the Lower St. Johns River Total Maximum Daily Load Executive Committee caps nearly a decade of work. It provides a roadmap for preserving and improving 101 miles of the river between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ocklawaha River, the largest tributary to the St. Johns.

Gov. Charlie Crist came to Jacksonville recently to acknowledge the plan's completion and tout the river's importance to the region's future.

The federal Clean Water Act mandates the creation of a management plan. The Basin Management Plan spells out responsibilities for governments, utility companies, industries and others regarding what can be discharged into the river and at what levels. It also spells out other efforts to improve the river's health, such as water reuse and septic tank removal.
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Spring Rejuvenation

Published November 4, 2008 - Hernando Today
The Weekiwachee River springhead is the target of a half-million dollar restoration project to remove debris and algae and to replant the natural botanical bounty that will help keep the water clean.

It's an effort by the Southwest Florida Water Management District to get the springs looking like they did six decades ago, when the first mermaid performer dipped a tail into the 72-degree water.

Divers will use a massive vacuum system to suck out an estimated 6,100 cubic yards of accumulated algae and sediment - enough to fill more than 600 dump trucks. A system of pumps will push the muck under State Road 550 and into a borrow pit in Weeki Wachee Preserve, a large swath of district-owned land.
Source

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bubbling to the Surface

Published 11/1/2008 - Florida Trend
The Century Commission's Water Congress generates some bold recommendations, but will the state listen?

This fall, the Century Commission hosted an ambitious Water Congress in Orlando with the goal of finding sustainable long-term solutions to Florida’s water needs. Delegates — 120 in all, from commissioners in water-worried counties to sod farmers to environmentalists to utility directors — spent two days trying to reach a consensus on a broad range of recommendations submitted by all of the parties and the public.

Top 4 Recommendations:
1) Reinstate Florida’s annual funding for developing alternative water supplies.
2) Create strong incentives for regional partnerships such as water-supply authorities.
3) Consider conservation projects a type of alternative water supply, as eligible for funding as any infrastructure project.
4) Set per-capita goals for water use and provide a stable funding base for the Conserve Florida program.
Source

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jefferson County buys headwaters of Wacissa

Published October 29, 2008 - Tallahassee Democrat
After Mark Glisson retired from the Department of Environmental Protection and moved to Jefferson County, he decided this river project was for him, and he helped broker the deal. Paula Sparkman of Bird, Leinback and Sparkman negotiated the contracts with the owner, the Wilson Family Trust. The $500,000 price may be lower than the land's assessed value, said Sparkman, who said she was proud that the headwaters would be "preserved for the future, for the public."

Tourism is a piece of Jefferson County's economic development plan. The Wacissa River draws many visitors without much promotion. Now the Jefferson County Tourist Development Council can begin to advertise this attraction in earnest.
Source

Monday, October 20, 2008

Natural History lecture series begins at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park

Published October 20, 2008 - North Florida News Daily
An Evening Natural History Lecture Series on environmental issues including leaping sturgeon in the Suwannee River will begin Oct. 29 at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. This lecture series will feature renowned US Geological Survey Research/Scientist/author Dr. Ken Sulak of the University of Florida, along with a number of other biologists from UF who will speak on a variety of interesting topics involving marine biology.
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CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK: Obama pledges to protect water

Published 10/18/2008 - The Florida Times-Union
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is pledging to protect Florida's waterways, including the St. Johns River.

The campaign has unveiled a plan that would enhance federal financing for water and wastewater treatment infrastructure. He and running mate Joe Biden also support full funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which finances water quality projects.
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Two new upgrades celebrate the St. Johns River

Published 10/19/2008 - The Florida Times-Union
The good news for the river involves a new Web site that's been created by the St. Johns Riverkeeper.

It can be found at www.mystjohnsriver.org and it's loaded with information about the river.

The interactive site details facts about the river, describes its history and the culture of the people who have lived on it and depended on it, and explains the threats to its health.
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Butler property study totals $29,880

Published October 18, 2008 - Lake City Reporter
The current 360-acre sprayfield is irrigated at two-inches per week, Clanton said. The sprayfield takes water from a 14-acre reservoir that can hold 45 million gallons of water, which is pumped to sprayguns by four, 200-horsepower pumps.

The SRWMD sees the project as helping the Ichetucknee Springs Basin and other groundwater, according to SRWMD Executive Director David Still.
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County Leaders Urge Citizens To Face Corps

Published October 16, 2008 - The Times
On Monday, Oct. 20, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Apalachicola courthouse annex, the US Army Corps of Engineers will hold the first of five "public scoping" meetings on the revision of the water control manual for the Corps' operation of the federal reservoirs on the Chattahoochee River.

Schedule of scoping meeting, which will close Nov. 20, is at www.apalachicolariverkeeper.org Citizens may submit comments at the meetings or through the Corps website at www.sam.usace.army.mil and going to the ACF Water Control Manual Update link.
Source

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

County plans beginner kayak, canoe trips

Published October 13, 2008 - Star-Banner
The Marion County Parks and Recreation Department is planning canoe and kayak trips for adults this fall beginning Thursday, Oct. 16.

For more information, or to pre-register, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 352-671-8560.
Source

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Unique collaboration built plan to restore St. Johns River

Published 10/10/2008 - The Florida Times-Union
On Sept. 15, the Total Maximum Daily Load Executive Committee, an unprecedented and diverse working group, reached an apex of years of work and voted, unanimously, to endorse its work product, the Basin Management Action Plan, for the Lower St. Johns River Basin.

The action plan's implementation will benefit the 101-mile-long segment of the St. Johns River that flows between the mouth of the Ocklawaha River and the Atlantic Ocean.
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State finalizes $600 million river rescue plan

Published 10/10/2008 - The Florida Times-Union
The head of Florida's environmental agency finalized a plan Friday for Northeast Florida's cities and utilities to spend more than $600 million helping the St. Johns River.

The Basin Management Action Plan is supposed to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus entering the river. That would shrink algae blooms and help underwater grass beds where many fish live or eat.
Source

Friday, October 10, 2008

Boating restrictions lifted on parts of St. Johns River

Published October 9, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
As water levels on the St. Johns River continue to drop, and are now below flood-stage levels, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has lifted restrictions that prohibited vessels from operating on some portions of the river.
Source

Thursday, October 09, 2008

State Park Volunteers Building Spooky Attractions

Published 10/8/2008 - The Suncoast News
Some spooky sightings already have been reported at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, where volunteers are preparing for the annual Halloween in the Woods event.

A pirate ship and a giant bat are taking shape as crews from the Salt Springs Alliance park volunteer group construct things that will go bump in the night Oct. 24 and 25.
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Wakulla Springs fights nitrate contamination

Published 10/8/08 - The Famuan
Tallahassee residents who get their drinking water from Wakulla Springs can breathe a sigh of relief after local officials have identified the source of unhealthy nitrate deposits in the water.

After a three year cooperative study between the United States Geologists Service and the City of Tallahassee, Hydrologist and USGS member Hal Davis said the deposits are coming from Crawfordville's spray fields, the inflow from the northern part of Leon County and the septic tanks were the major sources of nitrate to the springs.
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A question of leadership

Published 10/8/2008 - Star-Banner (Opinion)
...we think if the County Commission exhibits the proper leadership to save two of the most precious freshwater sources in the state - Rainbow and Silver springs - others will follow, knowing that the health of the springs and the aquifer feeding them affects all of us, environmentally and economically. And even if they don't, that is no reason for Marion County to adopt the ludicrous position that it will do nothing because no one else will.
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Minimum Flows, Maximum Importance

Published October 7, 2008 - Hernando Today
So when it comes to pumping water to meet west central Florida's burgeoning demand, how much is too much?

The Southwest Florida Water Management District is working to answer that question for dozens of water bodies in its 16-county region, including the Withlacoochee, Weekiwachee and Chassahowitzka rivers

The district's regulatory department and governing board will use the minimum flow levels when deciding on whether to grant a permit for water supply projects or groundwater pumping in the region.
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White Springs history worth visiting in person

Published 10/07/2008 - North Florida News Daily
Florida's Nature & Heritage Tourism Center, Headquarters of the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail gives you a one-stop information center. Explore information on canoeing, historic sites, National and State Forests, wildlife, biking, hiking and unique Florida experiences.
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Monday, October 06, 2008

Paddle Florida returns in November

Published October 05, 2008 - Valdosta Daily Times
On Nov. 8-15, Florida’s premier canoe and kayak camping adventure will be held again on the Suwannee River and will feature a seven-day, 93-mile trip, starting at the Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center in White Springs and ending up in Branford.

Additional information on Paddle Florida can be obtained by visiting www.paddleflorida.org for registration and journey details.
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Oppose water permit

Published October 5, 2008 - Orange Sentinel (Opinion)
Citizens of Lake County: We live in a county named for our beautiful lakes. These lakes and our quality of life are being threatened by the St. Johns River Water Management District's possible granting to Niagara Bottling a permit to withdraw 177 million gallons of water a year from the Floridan Aquifer.

The County Commission voted to file a legal challenge to the granting of this permit. The members of the Golden Triangle Republican Women's Network voted at our September meeting to support commissioners' action.
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Business Briefcase

Published October 5, 2008 - Hernando Today
Jack Hanna, famed wildlife expert and television personality, will be at Weeki Wachee Springs attraction Thursday, Oct. 9. He will film a portion of his made-for-kids reality show, "Into the Wild." The unscripted series documents Hanna's adventures throughout the world as he encounters fascinating animals and cultures. The highlight of the filming will be when the show's star jumps into the spring to swim with the world famous mermaids. "Into the Wild" recently won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Children's Series. For more information, call the park at 352-596-2062 or visit www.weekiwachee.com
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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Scientists turn their attention to Spring Creek in Wakulla

Published 10/1/08 - Tallahassee Democrat
Scientists have found that water flowing underground at Lost Creek in Wakulla County comes out at both Spring Creek and Wakulla Springs, researchers reported Tuesday.

With at least 14 springs, Spring Creek at times has one of the largest flows of any Florida springs system. But the main spring also stops flowing at times, as it did in late 2006.
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Protecting Wakulla Springs

Published Sep 30, 2008 - WCTV
The Wakulla Springs Basin Working Group held a meeting Tuesday where scientists and cave divers unveiled their latest findings.

"In times past we had to switch from outhouses to the standard septic tank. It's now time in the vulnerable areas of our recharge areas to switch from these standard septic tanks to the new nitrogen removing septic system." said Jim Stevenson, the coordinator for the Wakulla Springs Basin Working Group.
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Friday, October 03, 2008

Seminole's thirst for St. Johns water draws fire

Published October 2, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
The administrative hearing will span three weeks this month, with a decision not expected until late this year.

Seminole County's attorney went on to stress that the county has spent heavily, nearly $125 million, to recycle treated sewage for lawn irrigation. Much of the spending has resulted from intensive construction required to equip old neighborhoods with new pipes to distribute reclaimed wastewater.

The effort will lessen the county's demand for Floridan Aquifer water by at least 8 percent, de la Parte said.
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Otter Springs has new owner

Published October 2, 2008 - The Gainesville Sun
The Suwannee River Water Management District became the new owner of Otter Springs in Gilchrist County Wednesday.

The district paid $6.8 million for the 636-acre site which contains two, second-magnitude springs, more than a mile of Suwannee River frontage, a camp ground with 100 RV sites and other recreational facilities including a lodge. The completed sale means that a permit that would have allowed 400,000 gallons of water to be pumped from the springs each day has been eliminated.
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Water Withdrawal Administrative Hearing Starts Today

Published October 1, 2008 - WOKV
The administrative hearing surrounding a permit to allow Seminole county to withdraw water from the St. Johns River starts today. The St. Johns Riverkeeper, Neil Armingeon, says they've raised about $175,000 towards this fight that is expected to last a couple of weeks.
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Santa Fe College, Thomas Center shows focus on water

Published 10/1/2008 - Gainesville Sun
We have two shows in two different locations, both focusing on water and both inspired by the same. The first, "Portray, Preserve, Prosper — Florida's Eden: Springs Heritage Region," is running as Santa Fe College's Santa Fe Gallery.

The second, "Liquid Muse: Paintings from the St. Johns Region," is being hosted by the Thomas Center through Oct. 19
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Monday, September 29, 2008

Septic Springs: Study points to need for more regulation

Published September 29, 2008 - (Opinion) Tallahassee Democrat
How much each source of pollution is responsible is educated guesswork based on various studies performed over the years. But another recent study adds weight to the body of evidence indicating that Woodville-area septic-tank pollution is not a friend of Wakulla Springs.
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Researchers study water pollutants

Published 9/29/08 - Central Florida Future
In the partnership with Marion County, researchers study the retention ponds and how pollutants such as nitrates seep into the ground. They also study possible solutions such as adding different materials to the retention ponds to help filter nitrates.

She said the main problem in Marion County is the two major freshwater springs in the area: Rainbow Springs and Silver Glen Springs. If nitrates pollute the water that feeds the springs, it could lead to a change in the ecology of the river, Mowry said. That mean's it would no longer be a good swimming or fishing spot, Mowry said.
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Boat restrictions eased by officials

Published September 28, 2008 - news-journalonline.com
State wildlife officials continue to ease the emergency boating restrictions on the St. Johns River.

Lake Jesup no longer has any vessel restrictions, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Saturday. Since August, the river had been closed to vessels from the south end of Lake Monroe, south to State Road 50, because of flood waters from Tropical Storm Fay.
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Dr. Robert L. Knight: Saving Silver Springs can’t wait forever

Published September 28, 2008 - Gainesville Sun
I also found that the fish community at Silver Springs had declined by 78 percent during the intervening 25 years, and the changes were linked in time to the construction of Rodman Reservoir downstream on the Ocklawaha River.

The recent Silver Springs study also forecasted the condition of Silver Springs 50 years in the future (2055) as a result of continuing development in Marion County. These estimates predict an additional 84 percent increase of nitrate concentrations, an 18 percent additional decrease in flows, and further degradation of the biological community in Silver Springs.
Source

Sunday, September 28, 2008

State taking ownership of Weeki Wachee Springs

Published September 27, 2008 - Bay News 9
The Recreation and Parks Department of the Florida Department of Enviornmental Protection is taking over Weeki Wachee Springs and Buccaneer Bay in November.

Weeki Wachee officials say the state has reassured them that no changes will be made.
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Fate of proposed bottled water plant near High Springs to be considered

Published 9/27/08 - High Springs Herald
A final decision on whether a bottled water plant will be allowed to be built on the Santa Fe River near High Springs will be made at a meeting Tuesday, Sept. 30.

A special Gilchrist County Commission meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Trenton High School Auditorium to discuss a special permit that would allow a bottled water plant to pump 500,000 gallons of water a day from a spring system called Blue Springs near Rum Island.
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Suwannee River Water Management District governing board

Published September 27, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
The 2008 Water Congress was held in a collegial setting. In contrast, the trial-like state administrative hearing in Sanford promises to lay bare simmering resentment between North and Central Florida over the use of the St. Johns River.

Hoping to avoid future battles, the several hundred top water professionals brainstorming in Orlando on Friday shared ideas for solving water challenges in the coming decades. The gathering focused on drafting for state lawmakers a series of recommendations on water use, now running at about 20 billion gallons daily statewide.
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Florida once again wonders: Whose water is it?

Published September 26, 2008 - Tallahassee Democrat (Opinion)
Backin 2003, when Jim King was president of the Florida Senate, he hit a rhetorical home run when describing the depth of outrage among North Floridians over the suggestion that the historic Suwannee River could be the answer to water shortages downstate.

When South Florida politicians and developers start scheming about taking North Florida's water, people hereabouts start looking in the direction of their gun cabinets. Water's about as primal a public policy issue as there is. When they talk about taking what residents of this region perceive as theirs, prepare to take cover.
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SRWMD Governing Board approves FY 2008-09 budget, work plan

Published 09/26/2008 - North Florida News Daily
The Suwannee River Water Management District governing board This year’s budget highlights several programs of interest to the District including:

Implementation of The Ichetucknee Partnership (TIP) involving local, voluntary and incentive based initiatives to support wise springshed management within the Ichetucknee Springshed.
Source

Conservation is Best Way to Help Protect the River

Published 26 September 2008 - redOrbit.com
First, the district is in the process of conducting a two-year scientific study of what the environmental effects of withdrawing water from the river would be.

Beginning to withdraw water before knowing that impact would be ridiculous.

Second, delay is important because the focus of the debate is beginning to shift more toward where it should have been all along - - conservation
Source

Study links septic tanks to algae and weeds in Wakulla Springs

Published September 26, 2008 - Tallahassee Democrat
A recent study has connected septic tanks in the Woodville area to groundwater flowing out at Wakulla Springs, according to a Florida State University researcher.

Earlier this year, researchers injected the tracer chemical sulfur hexafluoride into groundwater at other locations in Woodville and detected it 60 days later at Wakulla Springs, Chanton said. Together, the two tests confirmed the connection between septic tanks in the Woodville area and the springs.
Source

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Celebrate National Lands Day with Wakulla Springs State Park

Published 9/24/08 - Wakulla.com
In honor of both National Public Lands Day and National Estuaries Day on September 27, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is encouraging Floridians and visitors to participate in educational activities statewide that will highlight the annual celebrations.  There are events taking place at state parks as well as the DEP-managed greenways and trails statewide, while events being held at Florida’s three National Estuarine Research Reserves, managed by the Florida DEP, will hold events exploring estuary habitats and wildlife. There will be several events where volunteers and families can participate in restoration and land management projects.

Wakulla Springs State Park will celebrate National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 27, 2008.  Volunteers will join staff in repairing portions of the nature trails to improve visitor access.  Work clothes and shoes are required.  Work gloves and a water bottle are suggested.  Lunch will be provided to all participants.  The event will take place from 
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Wakulla Springs State Park, 550 Wakulla Park Drive, Wakulla Springs, Florida.  Call (850) 926-0700 for more information about the event.  Visit www.floridastateparks.org/WAKULLASPRINGS/ to learn more about Wakulla Springs State Park.
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Plan for a Florida water czar resurfaces at conference

Published September 24, 2008 - St. Petersburg Times
The two-day gathering of more than 100 utility officials, developers, bureaucrats, lobbyists, lawyers and environmental activists has been organized by the Century Commission on a Sustainable Florida, led by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker.

At the meetings of the Florida Water Congress on Thursday and Friday, the agenda calls for discussing topics, including conservation, desalination and whether the state needs a water czar with the power to order drinking supplies piped from the regions that have it to the regions where developers need it.
Source

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Where Did Our Water Go? Give the law a chance

Published September 23, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
Florida sits atop one of the most productive aquifers in the world -- the Floridan Aquifer, which extends for about 100,000 square miles beneath Florida and neighboring states. Altogether, it is estimated that more than a quadrillion gallons of fresh groundwater percolates below Florida -- more than beneath any other state. But utilities in Central Florida are running short of available groundwater. How can that be?

The primary causes of our water woes can be stated simply: over-consumption, over-drainage and unsustainable growth.
Source

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Corps Of Engineers Plans Meetings On River Basin

Published September 22, 2008 - Tampa Bay Tribune Online
Five public meetings are planned next month by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on its operations of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin.

The agency's water control manuals spell out how its reservoirs should be managed including how much water is released.
Source

Monday, September 22, 2008

Leon County residents point to development as reason behind recent flooding

Published September 21, 2008 - Tallahassee Democrat
Over a two-day period starting Aug. 2, Fay dumped 74 billion gallons of rainwater on Leon County — 26 billion within Tallahassee city limits — damaging hundreds of homes, causing millions of dollars in damage and flooding dozens of residents out of their homes.

In closed basins, floodwaters can remain a problem for several days because the water slowly leaves the area only through percolation into the groundwater and by being pulled out by trees and plants. The Oak Ridge Road area also had two sinkholes, but those were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of flooding.
Source

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cave diver dies at Jackson Blue

Published: September 20, 2008 - Jackson County Floridian
A Texas man died while diving at Blue Springs Recreational Area near Marianna on Friday, said authorities.

Mork and his friend Dan Weyant, both from Texas, both entered the water at Blue Spring at 12:30 p.m. and descended about 2,000 feet through the cave known as Jackson Blue into an area of the cave known as Rabbit Hole, according to JCSO.
Source

Recovery from flooding slow for many along the St. Johns

Published September 20, 2008 - Orlando Sentinel
It will be a long time before life along the St. Johns River returns to normal.

"We're still flooded," Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris said this week, more than four weeks after Tropical Storm Fay dumped more than 27 inches of rain on some areas of Central Florida. "It could be weeks before we're out of flood stage," he said.
Source

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Water withdrawal request sparks massive study of St. Johns River

Published September 19, 2008 - Daytona Beach News-Journal Online
"We're putting together a clearer picture of the St. Johns River than has ever existed before," said Ed Lowe, the district's director of environmental scientists and lead scientist for the assessment. An interim report is expected later this fall, but the panel's final report won't be complete for two years.
Source

Consensus inches toward tapping two nearby rivers

Published September 19, 2008 - The Gainesville Sun
The St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers moved a little closer last week to becoming prime potable water sources for thirsty Central Florida.

More than 100 scientists, St. Johns River Water Management District engineers and environmental experts met in Gainesville on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the rivers as two potential water sources in 2013, when the state turns off the taps to Central Florida countries seeking to draw additional groundwater from the aquifer.
Source

Springs festival promotes water resources

Published September 19, 2008 - Star-Banner
To ensure residents understand the county's water resources, environmental agencies, as well as state and local governments, will hold their seventh annual Marion County Springs Festival Saturday at Silver River State Park.

Knight has studied the spring and Silver River for the past 25 years, watching nitrate levels increase several fold as nutrients leach into groundwater from septic tanks and sewer plants.
Source

Students show love, concern for the springs

Published September 19, 2008 - Star-Banner
As members of a group called PAWS (Promoting Awesome Watershed Stewardship), she helped students monitor the water quality at four sites on the Rainbow and Withlacoochee Rivers.

Regrettably, there is a lot of misinformation about our water resources and a lot of controversy that surrounds them. The first step toward a solution is increasing appreciation for our springs and other water resources.
Source

Friday, September 19, 2008

Boating restrictions on St. Johns River adjusted

Published September 18, 2008 - West Volusia News
As floodwaters along the St. Johns River slowly recede, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has eased boating restrictions from the Highlands Park Canal just north of State Road 44 south to the Interstate 4 bridge at Lake Monroe.
Source

Scientists ask just how much can the St. Johns lose

Published 9/18/2008 - The Florida Times-Union
Taking too much water from the St. Johns River could fuel toxic algae blooms and suck water from underground aquifers, scientists meeting Wednesday said.

During Wednesday's public meeting, attended by about 100 people, researchers described computer models of subjects including how salt content in the river might change. That projection suggested other factors, including dredging to accommodate larger ships in Jacksonville's port, could have a larger impact on how much ocean water enters the river.
Source

State to purchase sensitive land site

Published September 18, 2008 - Tallahassee Democrat
More than 1,000 acres along the St. Marks River in Leon County will be protected from development under a purchase approved Tuesday by the governor and Cabinet.

The area is north of Apalachee Parkway and features pine woods, river swamp and a stream that flows underground into Wood Sink. Tallahassee and Leon County earlier had targeted the area for purchase under the Blueprint 2000 program to protect water quality.
Source

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sod industry: Grass isn't the enemy

Not exactly about the Florida Springs but I sometimes see this issue about
St. Augustine grass showing up in regards to water conservation.

Published September 17, 2008 - Daily Commercial
Irrigation controls, water-saving technologies and education would be more effective than banning a grass that can sometimes be more resilient than other drought-resistant varieties, those industry leaders argued during a Tuesday county commission workshop.

Simply banning a grass instead of encouraging methods for water conservation doesn't get commissioners to the ultimate goal of saving water, said David Dymond, board member with the Florida Sod Growers Cooperative and general manager of a sod growing business.
Source

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cutting Back Algae In St. Johns River

Published September 16, 2008 - WOKV News
A Florida Department of Environmental Protection committee has endorsed a plan to keep algae from building up in the St. Johns River.

The DEP's Total Maximum Daily Load Executive Committee has endorsed the Lower St. Johns River Basin Management Action Plan, a roadmap to reduce the amount of nutrients that are loaded into the river that can cause the unsightly and potentially environmentally harmful algal blooms.
Source

Group seeks to reconnect communities along Apalachicola River

Published September 16, 2008 - Tallahassee Democrat
They’re supporting the concept behind a group called RiverWay South, based in Columbus, Ga. at Columbus State University. The group says its mission is to promote the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers for tourism and to preserve the heritage of communities.
Source Google Cache

Monday, September 15, 2008

Annie Pais: How can we protect our water in Florida?

Published September 14, 2008 - The Gainesville Sun (Opinion)
In 2006 Florida’s Eden, a north Florida nonprofit, citizen initiative researched the water challenges. Puzzled by the lack of protection for the aquifer and the springs, Florida’s Eden questioned scientists and community leaders to come up with a plan to bridge the gap between what we know needs to be done and making it happen.

To find out more about One Region One Book, the Water Awareness Campaign and how your participation is important please visit http://www.FloridasEden.org or call Annie Pais at 352-377-0777.
Source

Ocklawaha River still potential target for water grab

Published September 14, 2008 - Star-Banner
The St. Johns Water Management District will hold a symposium Wednesday and Thursday to discuss potential effects of withdrawing water from the St. Johns and lower Ocklawaha rivers. Attending the meetings will be water agency scientists and environmental experts outside the agency who were asked by the district to review its work and findings.

The meeting, being held in Gainesville, will focus on the water agency’s initial findings on the issue of water withdrawal from the two rivers. Largin said the Management District will hold more meetings in the future as additional information about water withdrawal becomes available.
Source

Ocklawaha River still potential target for water grab

Published September 14, 2008 - Star-Banner
The St. Johns Water Management District will hold a symposium Wednesday and Thursday to discuss potential effects of withdrawing water from the St. Johns and lower Ocklawaha rivers. Attending the meetings will be water agency scientists and environmental experts outside the agency who were asked by the district to review its work and findings.

The meeting, being held in Gainesville, will focus on the water agency’s initial findings on the issue of water withdrawal from the two rivers. Largin said the Management District will hold more meetings in the future as additional information about water withdrawal becomes available.
Source

Volusia's Spring-to-Spring Trail, middle section

Posted Sep 13, 2008
This is a fairly new, 3.3-mile segment plus a 2-mile loop at Lake Beresford Park. So out and back and around the loop is a nice 8.6-mile ride. I advise using the free parking at Lake Beresford Park because the southern end is at Blue Spring State Park, and that costs to park/
Source

Springs protection? Never mind

Published September 13, 2008 - Star-Banner (Opinion)
During a board workshop Tuesday on the proposed Springs Protection Ordinance, Stone rejected the idea that commissioners should act to preserve the quantity and quality of our water supply.
Source

State Park Expands Holiday Events

Published September 13, 2008 - Tampa Bay Online
New holiday events aimed at luring more visitors to Werner Boyce Salt Springs State Park are in the works.

Late-night events will offer spooky fun during Halloween in the Woods in October, organized by the Salt Springs Alliance park booster group.

In December, the first Holiday Nights Under the Stars will provide gift-shopping while visitors stroll a trail decorated with lights.
Source

Men accused of dumping asbestos tiles in swamp

Published September 13, 2008 - Herald Tribune
Three men were arrested Friday in the dumping of asbestos tiles and other construction trash at a wetlands area north of Auburndale.

The Green Swamp, 870 square miles of freshwater swamp and forests, is the source of the Hillsborough River, the Withlacoochee River and much of the Tampa Bay area's drinking water supply.
Source

Webb plans to amend lawsuit legislation

Published 09/12/2008 - The Daily Record
Curtis, environmental manager for Georgia-Pacific, and Greg Strong, regional director of FDEP, explained that a court order mandates the 36-inch, four-mile pipeline be built. According to Curtis, Georgia-Pacific has been dumping wastewater from the paper mill into Rice Creek — a tributary of the river — since 1948. Over those 60 years, the five-mile creek that’s narrow enough to jump over in some places, has effectively been killed. Strong claims local anglers do catch fish in Rice Creek. However, because it has been dredged, its shape is more box-like and without natural slopes, Rice Creek doesn’t contain natural or valuable grass beds that would help dilute effluent.
Source

Residents urged to curb use of fertilizer

Published September 12, 2008 - Star-Banner
As a result of nitrogen levels increasing in area rivers and springs during the past few decades, the water district nicknamed "Swiftmud" has started an educational campaign for September and October to try to persuade residents in Citrus and Marion counties to cut their fertilizer use to no more than twice a year, and to follow the directions for its use.

Fertilizer should not be used before it rains because too much water drives the fertilizer into the ground, where it heads to groundwater before grass can absorb it.
Source

State Budget Commission Sets Aside $1.7 Million For Mermaid Park

Published 9/11/08 - Hernando Today
The Legislative Budget Commission on Wednesday approved a $1.7 million appropriation to run Weeki Wachee Springs for the remainder of this fiscal year after the attraction becomes a state park on Nov. 1.

State officials projected the park would take in $3 million by the end of the current fiscal year and set aside the money for the period from Nov. 1 through June 30, 2009. The money is coming out of the state park trust fund.
Source

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fertilizer pollution stirs debate

Published September 11, 2008 - Star-Banner
The ordinance now proposed in Marion County, which the County Commission requested to come back for a vote in 30 days, would ban fertilizer application in these places:

Within 15 feet of the top of the bank of a drainage retention area, canal, wetland or any other water body

Within 200 feet of a sinkhole or any other karst feature, such as a cave, with an opening at the surface.

Within a half-mile of the ordinary high water line of Silver Springs, the Silver run, Rainbow Springs or the Rainbow River.
Source

County revisits ordinance to protect springs

Published September 10, 2008 - Star-Banner
Century Commission will host a water summit Sept. 25 and 26 in Orlando with 120 delegates from around Florida.

During the meeting, delegates will discuss Florida's existing water resources, consequences of water shortages, best use of water resources and building codes for water efficiency.

For more information about attending the water summit at the Orlando World Center Marriott, call the Century Commission at 850-219-0082, ext.5.
Source

Divers find bigger scallops and more of them along Nature Coast

Published 9/8/08 - by CnewsPubs.com
Overall, the season started better than last year, when 2007 rebounded quickly over a couple of dismal years in a row. Scallops were larger and easier to catch this season up and down the Nature Coast, with vast numbers around Homosassa, south of the mariculture and bird racks at Crystal River and the consistently high-yielding Steinhatchee area.
Source

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Baptism Sunday at Ichetucknee Springs October 5

Published 9/9/2008 - Lake City Journal
Area churches and their members are invited to Baptism Sunday at Ichetucknee Springs on Sunday, October 5, at 2 p.m.

The purpose of this event is to promote believer's baptism, build fellowship among churches in Columbia County and demonstrate good stewardship of the springs.
Source

Sturgeon strike again; man and son injured

Published September 9, 2008 - The Gainesville Sun
A 4-year-old boy’s arm was broken, and his father was cut by a jumping sturgeon on the Suwannee River on Sunday afternoon.

The Suwannee River is home to a large population of sturgeon, who can grow to more than 8 feet long and weigh up to 200 pounds. State biologists have estimated that between 6,500 and 7,500 of the fish spend eight or nine months a year in the river.
Source

Monday, September 08, 2008

FL flooding: A river runs through it

Published September 6, 2008 - Disaster News Network
When Carolyn Wisdom bought her home near the St. Johns River she never dreamed the river would one day swirl into her home.

With the new rain, the St. Johns River, which cuts a 310 mile path through the center of the state with headwaters in southern Brevard County, will probably not crest this weekend as was predicted.
Source

Grant could help protect Three Sisters Springs

Published September 5, 2008 - Bay News 9
On Thursday, officials secured at least $6.3 million in grants from the state's Florida Communities Trust. The project was one of 18 to receive funding out of 90 throughout the state that applied.

The grant represents a major step towards buying the property from developer Hal Flowers. Currently, Flowers owns 56 acres of land surrounding Three Sisters Springs. He bought it with the intention of building homes on the land.
Source

Whatever the reason, lakes are vanishing

Published in Print September 5, 2008 - St. Petersburg Times
I've written grim columns about declining water levels in the Withlacoochee and Weeki Wachee rivers. I've scolded homeowners for jeopardizing our natural treasures by pumping millions of gallons of groundwater onto their lawns. I've said it's draining the beauty and value from our community.

They say pumping has drawn lake levels down less than a foot. The real problem is the pattern of low rainfall that dates back more than 30 years and may be due to anything from long-term cycles in the climate to global warming to loss of wetlands.
Source

Hanna leaves lots of dead fish in Brevard

Published September 5, 2008 - Florida Today
Residents have been reporting dead fish this week to state biologists.

We have already seen minor fish kills resulting from low dissolved oxygen levels in the St. Johns River, the Withlacoochee River and several lakes.

FWC biologists suspect the number and severity of fish kills will increase over the next several weeks as algae blooms explode in the St. Johns River and Indian River Lagoon.
Source

Flooding at Poe Springs

Published 9/4/08 - High Springs Herald
Tropical Storm Fay's rainfall has caused the Santa Fe River to rise, flooding the springs at Poe Springs Park. The entire springs and much of the swampland leading to the springs is flooded with dark river water. Park Manager Karl Dowda made the decision to close the springs to swimmers due to the flood waters possibly having dangerous bacteria and debris.
Source

St. Johns River Expert Talks Flooding, Future Storms.

Published September 4, 2008 - WMFE-FM
There are still spots along the St. Johns River where floodwaters from Tropical Storm Fay continue to rise. The river at Sanford is expected to top eight feet later today, bringing it to "major flood" stage, while the St. Johns at Deland is also on track to reach "major" flooding with a bit more than five-and-a-half feet. Depending on how much rain Tropical Storm Hanna brings, an already bad situation for hundreds homeowners could get even worse. 90.7's David Pitman talked about that with University of Central Florida Civil Engineering professor Dr. Scott Hagen. He has spent years studying the St. Johns and he says the river is acting just as he would expect it to, after a storm like Fay.
Source

Leaders must protect resources

Published 9/4/08 - The Florida Times-Union (Letter to the Editor)
The outrage expressed by citizens and local governments is not as much about the amount of water up for grabs as the fact that the district wants to allow an out-of-state company to bottle our groundwater at virtually no cost when we are experiencing water shortages.
Source

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Local briefs for Sept. 2, 2008

Published 9/2/08 - Star-Banner
The Rainbow Springs Basin Working Group will meet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 10 at McDonough Capital Management, 7620 South U.S. 41, Dunnellon.

Topics for discussion include Rainbow River turtles, vegetation mapping on the river, and minimum flows and levels for the river.

For more information or a detailed agenda, call Peter Colverson at 327-3270
Source

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Updated boating restrictions for the flooding St. Johns River

Published 9/1/08 - North Florida News Daily
As flooding continues on parts of the St. Johns River, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in cooperation with local, state and federal partners, has enacted a new emergency rule for the affected areas of the river, including its associated lakes and tributaries.

The St. Johns River and its waters may be dangerous for vessels right now and the FWC is asking boaters to avoid using these areas if possible until these restrictions are lifted. There are many other water bodies available to boaters in Central Florida that are navigable at this time.
Source

Needed rain, few problems brought by Fay

Published 9/1/08 - High Springs Herald
Of the rainfall meters that the Suwannee River Water Management District monitors, Ichetucknee Springs got the most rain in the Crescent Communities with 6.58 inches.

The rainfall helped fill ponds that were empty or nearly empty because of the low aquifer. The rainfall also helped raise the level of the Santa Fe River, causing it to finally dislodge the water hyacinths that had clogged the river near High Springs.
Source

Monday, September 01, 2008

The water is flowing, and business is good

Published September 1, 2008 - Herald Tribune
...6,000 gallons a minute rushing upward from 125 feet below the surface to a little lake, just an acre and change, that may or may not constitute the Fountain of Youth.

Warm Mineral Springs is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. Admission is $20, with discounts for
frequent visitors, AAA members and children under 12. (The buildings on the
grounds, incidentally, were designed in Sarasota School tradition by
Victor Lundy, a contemporary of architect Paul Rudolph.) The cafe
is generally open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 426-1692, or visit http://www.warmmineralsprings.com
Source

FL closes river as flooding continues

Published August 31, 2008 - Disaster News Network
In addition to the two to two and a half feet of rainfall in some places, swollen streams and lakes are still pushing water into areas along the St. Johns River basin. Florida's longest river, the 310 mile long St. Johns, flows northward from Lake Hell'n Blazes to the south in Indian River County to the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville. Flooding is building in locations north and west of Brevard County where Fay dumped most of her rain.

The St. Johns is closed to all boat traffic between southern Brevard County and northern Volusia County to minimize wakes that might push more water into residences in the flood plane.
Source

Saturday, August 30, 2008

FWC to boaters: Avoid the flooded St. Johns River

Published August 29, 2008 - Star-Banner
“The St. Johns River and its waters may be dangerous for vessels right now and the FWC is asking boaters to avoid using these areas if possible until these restrictions are lifted,” an agency news release states.

All of these restricted boating zones are in effect and enforceable when the St. Johns River level is at specified flood stages. The river is at those flood stages now.

The rule will be in effect for 90 days or until flooding conditions have sufficiently abated.
Source

Corps slows flows from Lake Lanier

Note: not necessary about Florida Springs but what happens to Lake Lanier effects the Apalachicola River here in Florida.

Published Aug. 29, 2008 - Gainesville Times
This week’s increase of more than 2 feet in the level of Lake Lanier is the greatest rise in the lake in two years, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the reservoir. And it keeps rising.
Source

State Park Staycations

Published 08/29/08 - wmbb.com - News13
There are a multitude of state parks that offer cool, clear waters provided by springs, rivers and beaches. These parks are a unique part of Florida’s ecosystem and offer plenty of activities such as swimming, kayaking, tubing, picnicking and camping. From cooling off at Wakulla Springs, one of the world’s deepest and largest freshwater springs in Florida’s northern region, to chilling out at Central Florida’s Caladesi Island State Park, the number one beach in the nation, Florida’s state parks provide visitors with many opportunities for a relaxing “staycation.”
Source

Friday, August 29, 2008

Flooding opens Wekiwa Springs to manatees

Published August 28, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
For the first time in memory, manatees are frolicking in the swimming hole at Wekiwa Springs, a spectacle made possible by Tropical Storm Fay.

A pair of manatees, one small and one young adult, has been showing up infrequently for a few minutes at a time.

"The spring hasn't changed," said park biologist Paul Lammardl. "The water is rising because the St. Johns and the Wekiva are backing up."

Lammardl said manatees could have ventured to the spring in the years before Central Florida was developed. But now millions of gallons are pumped from underground, robbing strength from Wekiwa Springs and reducing the river's flow.
Source

Thursday, August 28, 2008

St. Johns River: Some statements clarified

Published 8/27/08
The Aug. 18 letter titled "St. Johns River: Agencies must act responsibly" contained some inaccurate information that warrants clarification.

The St. Johns River Water Management District has not "issued a permit for an out-of-state company to pump 177 million gallons of water a day out of this same aquifer so that it can sell bottled water out of state."

The permit request referred to has not gone to the district's governing board for a vote.

While the district staff recommended approval of 484,000 gallons a day, with limiting conditions, the issue will be first heard by an administrative law judge with the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings.

We welcome discussion of water supply issues and encourage the public to visit http://www.sjrwmd.com for accurate and complete information on what is being done to protect and restore the St. Johns River.
Source

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Way down upon the Suwannee River, far far away

Published 26 Aug 2008 - Otago Daily News
...environmentalists and legislators are fighting to keep the stream unspoiled amid thirsty Florida's development.

Bubbling up from the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia, the Suwannee River makes a lazy loop through 400km of mostly rural north Florida before opening wide into the Gulf of Mexico next to a national wildlife refuge and a pretty little town called Suwannee.
Source

Massive Sinkhole Opens; Fay May Be Cause

Published August 26, 2008 - WKMG Local6
The sinkhole, which is 20 feet wide and 30 feet deep, is located in a cul de sac near Rock Springs Road in Orange County.
Source

DeBary sinkhole forces more evacuations

Published August 26, 2008 - Daytona Beach News-Journal Online
Note: Article includes nice map of St. Johns River water levels

More homes in DeBary have been evacuated after a 20-by-50-foot sinkhole opened on Don Smith Boulevard about 7:30 tonight. Families from about 20 homes on Sotheby Way in DeBary Golf and Country Club are being directed to a Red Cross shelter at St. Ann's Catholic Church.

The St. Johns River, already at flood stage all along Volusia County, continued to rise Monday, prompting officials to warn residents in low-lying areas to sandbag their homes and leave if they feel threatened by rising water.
Source

Canoe/kayak race to benefit children in need

Published August 25, 2008 - Ocala Star-Banner
On Sept. 6, paddlers will launch from Gruff’s Tap and Grill in Dunnellon to embark on Kayak for a Cause, a race to benefit Covenant Children’s Home.

The eight-mile race will start at 9 a.m. from Gruff’s and head down stream, sending the paddlers through a portion of the Rainbow and Withlacoochee rivers
Source

Fay is downgraded, exits after long, destructive run

Published Aug. 25, 2008 - The Miami Herald
Gov. Charlie Crist and an entourage of state officials toured the flooded areas along the St. Marks River, which rose from 6.9 feet on Friday to 12.9 feet on Sunday as water streamed in from basins farther north.

Those who live along the St. Marks River expected flooding but not so much water so quickly.
Source

Idle-speed, no-wake zones may take effect on the St. Johns River

Published August 25, 2008 - North Florida News Daily
When the water reaches a certain level, idle-speed, no-wake zones go into effect. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is cautioning boaters to become familiar with the temporary zone changes of the St. Johns River.

Boaters can learn about the conditions of the St. Johns River by logging onto http://MyFWC.com/boating/ Report damaged markers to 1-866-405-BUOY.
Source

Selling water is awful, but it's just one of many problems confronting local waterways

Published August 24, 2008 - Ocala Star-Banner (Opinion)
Allowing 500,000 gallons of water to be pumped from Black Sink Prairie ...while at the same time placing water restrictions on Marion County residents, doesn't make any sense.

About 27 miles of the Ocklawaha River, between Eureka and the Ray Boat Basin in Ocala, is almost completely blocked with fallen trees and can damage boats trying to weave through them.
Source

St. Johns River Facts

Published August 25, 2008 - Central Florida News 13
The land area that drains into a water body is called a drainage basin - also called a watershed. St. Johns is divided into three drainage basins.

Saltwater enters the river at its mouth in Jacksonville. In periods of low water, tides may cause a reverse flow as far south as Lake Monroe - 161 miles upstream from the rivers mouth.
Source

Monday, August 25, 2008

River's worst yet to come

Published August 24, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
The St. Johns River could hit Central Florida this week with some of the worst flooding on record.

Runoff from Fay is gorging nearly every part of the 310-mile St. Johns River, which forms south of Melbourne and flows north to the Orlando area and on to Jacksonville.
Source

Lake County officials stand up to St. Johns 'water gods'

Published August 24, 2008 - Orlando Sentinel
Niagara wants the St. Johns River Water Management District to give it just under 500,000 gallons a day of water to put in bottles and sell.

Apopka is asking the district for 5 million gallons a day -- 10 times the amount that Niagara wants -- to water lawns.

But what Apopka wants will be far more damaging to Lake County's water systems because it will reduce the flow into the Harris Chain of Lakes, which already are at near-historic lows. And the St. Johns district's plan would open the floodgates to stick pumps in every lake and river that still has a trickle left to steal.
Source

Apalachicola River Expected to Flood

Published 08/24/08 - Mbbb.com - News13
Low flow levels along the Apalachicola River have been a major concern for residents who rely on the river for tourism, recreation, and a source of income. Just last month levels sat far below the water gages, but that’s not the case now that Fay has moved through.

Fay may have come and gone but we’re not out of the woods just yet. There’s still a flood warning for the Apalachicola River near Blountstown affecting Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf and Liberty counties. That warning is expected to continue until Tuesday evening with the river cresting on Monday evening about two feet above flood level.
Source

Fay's remnants not done with Florida yet

Published August 25, 2008 - The News-Press
The St. Marks River, the Ochlockonee River, the St. Johns River near Lake Harney and the St. Mary's River near MacClenny were at major flood stage on Monday afternoon. The St. Marks is expected to crest on Tuesday, officials said.

St. Marks River at Newport (Wakulla County) – at record major flood stage. Crest expected on Tuesday. Major flood stage forecast for Sunday through Saturday. Major flood stage impacts: Natural Bridge Road will flood. Major flooding will occur in the area.
Source

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fay Weakens To Depression After Pounding Central Florida

Published August 24, 2008 - Central Florida News 13
The rising waters of the St. Johns River could leave an entire Lake County town under water.

County deputies sent rescue teams to Astor.

The area did not see much rain from the tropical storm, but there are concerns all the water from other areas will flow into the river and overflow into the town.

The water is already up to the edge of the banks in some areas.

Hundred of sandbags have been handed out in the area.

There are flood fears up and down the St. Johns River, which may not reach its highest levels until the middle of next week.
Source

Sinkholes Open Up Across Central Florida

Published August 22, 2008 - Central Florida News 13
More and more sinkholes are popping up across Central Florida after Fay’s heavy rains.

One family in Lake County had to leave their home because of a sinkhole.
Source

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Experience nature on the Chassahowitzka River

Published August 22, 2008 - Bay News 9
Deep in Citrus County lies a gem for nature and water lovers: the Chassahowitzka River Campground.

The 40-acre campground is within walking or boating distance of the 30,000 acre Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge.
Source

House candidates speak on water issues

Published August 21, 2008 - Bradford County Telegraph
Some tidbits gathered from this article:
...none of the four candidates (for District 21 House of Representatives) support withdrawals from the St. Johns River.

Jacksonville Environmental Agency has treated wastewater to EPA standards.

Speaking of the facilities and technology required to take the Oklawaha and St. Johns water, France said, "Once they build it, they'll never turn it off."
Source

Mill will protect environment

Published 8/20/2008 - The Florida Times-Union (Opinion)
Further, we know that Georgia-Pacific remains absolutely committed to meeting clean water standards and protecting the quality of Rice Creek and the St. Johns River. It has invested more than $200 million over the last decade to protect and improve the St. Johns River by improving wastewater quality.

Construction and use of the new discharge pipeline is part of the environmental improvement plan that will enable Georgia-Pacific to meet water quality standards and continue operating in Putnam County.

The paper mill has aggressively addressed nutrient loading at its facility and has already reduced total nitrogen by 54 percent and total phosphorus by 78 percent.
Source

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Springs on Suwannee River, with a heated, in-ground pool, soon to be open to public

Published 8/20/08 - High Springs Herald
Otter Springs, located in southwest Gilchrist County, includes more than a mile of riverfront land towering with cypress trees, two springs connected to the mighty Suwannee River and a hardwood forest.

The Suwannee River Water Management District Board unanimously approved the land to be purchased for $6.8 million with Florida Forever money, a statewide program that aims to protect and conserve land in Florida.
Source

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lake creates legal fund against Niagara

Published August 20, 2008 - The Daily Commercial
Lake County will create a special fund for residents who want to donate money for the county's legal challenge of the Niagara Bottling groundwater permit request.

Clermont and Groveland have pledged a total of $155,000 to help fund the legal challenge. Lake County staff has proposed moving $500,000 from county general fund reserves to a special fund for the same purpose. Various municipalities in Lake County, as well as Orange and Volusia county governments, have adopted resolutions offering moral support to the move.
Source

Aquifer vulnerability

Published August 20, 2008 - Ocala.com
The aquifer is an underground layer of water mixed with permeable rock, silt or sand. It's from the aquifer that we draw groundwater for drinking and other household uses.

The map also shows something of how the aquifer and local rivers and springs are connected, Mowry said, citing Silver Springs and the Ocklawaha River.

That means when pollutants enter vulnerable areas of the aquifer, those substances could find their way into springs and rivers.
Source

Pipeline will protect St. Johns River

Published 8/20/2008 - The Florida Times-Union
As the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's district director for this region, and someone who has been actively involved in major efforts to improve water quality in the river, I would like to clear up some misinformation and address some of the questions that have been raised, specifically regarding Georgia-Pacific's plans to begin construction on a pipeline to relocate the Palatka facility's discharge from Rice Creek to the St. Johns River.

Soon a Basin Management Action Plan - a road map for restoration identifying improvement projects will be completed, which will remove nearly 6 million pounds of nutrients from the lower basin of the river each year.

It is important for the public to be informed about the real facts of this project. To ensure that information is readily available, we have created a Web site with information at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/northeast/Current-Topics/GeorgiaPacific.htm
Source

Turbulent waters need clarifying

Published August 20, 2008 - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The reality is that metro Atlanta’s water use amounts to just 1 percent to 2 percent of the flow of the Apalachicola River at the Florida line. That equates to a reduction in flow of less than 2 inches —- 2 inches in a river subject to daily fluctuations of more than 2 feet.

Numerous historical documents,... make clear that Lake Lanier was located where it is —- just above Atlanta —- specifically to “assure an adequate supply of water for municipal and industrial purposes in the Atlanta metropolitan area.”
Source

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Florida DEP receives $2.57M grant

Published August 19, 2008 - Tallahassee Democrat
The Department of State will receive $79,275 for archaeological investigations of early Spanish landing sites on the St. Marks and Suwannee rivers.

And the Florida Geological Survey will receive $32,250 to study offshore freshwater springs in the Gulf of Mexico, including one within a mile of Lanark Village in Franklin County.

The Florida Department of Health will receive $85,000 to develop response plans for harmful algal blooms, which can include red tide, in counties statewide.
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St. Johns River Water Withdrawal Symposium

Published August 18, 2008 - WOKV.com
You're invited to learn more about the affects of pulling millions of gallons of water from the St. Johns River. The St. Johns River Water Management District board has information that says 262 million gallons a day is the magic number.

Those scientists will present the information to you on September 17th and 18th at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center.

Space is limited so pre-registration is required. Contact the Water Management District to register. The presentation is free and open to everyone. The Hilton is charging for lunch and snacks but you can bring a bag lunch.
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Putnam paper mill pipeline into St. Johns River a concern

Published 8/18/2008 - The Florida Times-Union
Plans for a wastewater pipeline from a Putnam County paper mill to the St. Johns River have put new attention on research indicating that years of paper production in Northeast Florida left a troubling environmental legacy on the river bottom in Jacksonville.

This summer, the mill said that $200 million in equipment upgrades failed to make its discharge pure enough to pass clean-water standards in the creek, which is too small to dilute the wastewater.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

States may keep trying to reach water deal

Published Aug. 16, 2008 - The Times, Gainesville, GA.
This week, reacting to federal judge Paul Magnuson's announcement that the water supply case would go forward, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley gave a hint that he might be willing to continue talks.

"The federal judge handling these cases has emphasized the need for the three states to work out a long-term solution to this problem," Riley said. "He is certainly right, and I remain ready to meet any time, anywhere, with Gov. Perdue and Gov. (Charlie) Crist to work toward an equitable agreement for sharing this vital natural resource."
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Cleaning Up A Jacksonville Environmental Hazard

Published August 16, 2008 - InjuryBoard.com
From the 1890s until 1978, the old Kerr-McGee property in Jacksonville was home to a fertilizer and chemical plant. Now the site encorporates the polluted Talleyrand waterfront area. The land is vacant, and a bulkhead is built over contaminated sediments at the bottom of the St. Johns River that runs through our city.

How to clean up the site has been a headache but now the area may see state money for cleanup and community projects. Under the plan, the site owner, Tronox Inc. would purchase the river bottom as part of a cleanup of the river and the shore.
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Group Aims To Seize River's Watershed Moment

Published August 16, 2008 - Hernando Today
The Withlacoochee River Alliance aims to seize that moment. The alliance, which just formed and had its first meeting in Nobleton Wednesday, will be a coalition of several environmental groups, community organizations and individuals from throughout the river's 2,100 square-mile watershed who have that common goal, Murphy said.

The focus of any river group is typically twofold: preserving water quality, and protecting water levels and flows threatened by thirsty development.
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Lake may shift funds to fight Niagara

Published August 16, 2008 - The Daily Commercial
Lake County could move $500,000 from reserve funds to a special line item to challenge Niagara Bottling's request to the St. Johns River Water Management District for a groundwater permit.

County officials have estimated the suit could cost from $200,000 to $500,000, with a large part of that going to pay expert witnesses. A spokeswoman from Niagara has written previously in an e-mail message the company plans to "vigorously defend the permit through every legal means" and that the county has underestimated the cost of the challenge.
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Get facts about Seminole project

Published 8/16/08- The Florida Times-Union
Stories in the media continue to mention potential environmental impacts to the St. Johns River resulting from Seminole County's Yankee Lake Project.

In fact, because Jacksonville and St. Johns County have been unable to identify any evidence contradicting the St. Johns River Water Management District's finding of no environmental impact to its portion of the river, the district has signed agreements stipulating Seminole's withdrawals won't harm the portion of the river located in Duval and St. Johns counties. This means no discussion of total maximum daily loads, salinity changes and detrimental environmental impacts to the river at the administrative hearing in October.
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Ocklawaha still very much at risk

Published August 14, 2008 - Ocala Star-Banner (Opinion)
Not only is the water district still interested in the river as a source of up to 100 million gallons a day of drinking water for North Central Florida, it is ready to proceed - if only it could find enough "sponsors" willing to pony up the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to bring the controversial project to fruition.

...the Ocklawaha project in Marion County had been shelved because no public or private utilities had stepped up to help finance the project, estimated to cost $832 million at last tally.
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Helping the River: Irrigation project to divert wastewater from the St. Johns

Published August 14, 2008 - Palatka Daily News
Palatka is preparing to stop dumping its treatment wastewater, nearly 2 million gallons a day, into the St. Johns River.

Palatka has used treated wastewater at the its municipal golf course for about five years. Crews are extending it to St. Johns River Community College. The pipeline also will provide reused water for a cemetery and several sports complexes between the two locations.
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Report helpful in quest to revive St. Johns River

Published 8/15/2008 - The Florida Times-Union
The release of an important document last week was overshadowed by Mayor John Peyton's pledge to challenge Georgia-Pacific's plans to dump the foul pollution from its Palatka mill into the middle of the St. Johns River.

The plan is to update the study annually. That's critical because, as the report points out, there's much that isn't known about the St. Johns and the effects of the threats facing it - Georgia-Pacific's effluent and the withdrawal of millions of gallons of water a day among them.
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Refuge celebrates 25 years of protecting manatees

Published August 15, 2008 - Bay News 9
This weekend, the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge will celebrate a major milestone, and along with it, a quarter-century of protecting some of Florida's most beloved creatures.

The 80-acre refuge was founded 25 years ago in Kings Bay for the specific purpose of protecting the endangered West Indian manatee. The refuge consists of several small islands and more than 30 natural springs, which are critical for the manatee's survival.
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Water district purchases Otter Springs complex, bans bottling

Published August 14, 2008 - The Gainesville Sun
The 636-acre Otter Springs complex on the Suwannee River in Gilchrist County has been purchased by the Suwannee River Water Management District at a cost of $6.8 million.

The district governing board Tuesday approved the purchase, which includes the relinquishing of a bottled-water permit that had been issued for the springs.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

We have met Wekiwa Springs' enemy . . . and he is us

Published August 14, 2008 - Orange Sentinel (Commentary)
Normally, the water flowing out of the spring -- like water in a swimming pool -- is pretty sterile stuff. And that is why springs naturally are so clear.

But throw fertilizer in the mix and you create an algae buffet. It eats. It grows. It smothers the natural vegetation. It makes everything slimy. It's gooey to step in. The water gets greener. The globules start growing.

This isn't just a Wekiwa problem. It's going on in springs all across Florida. We are destroying these gin-clear gems.
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Wildlife Preserve Serves As Interactive Classroom

Published August 13, 2008 - Hernando Today
Note: Not necessary an article about the Florida springs but a great idea to teach kids the importance of the Florida Aquifer.

At the Wachee Wildlife Preserve on Osowaw Boulevard, a recreational property owned by the district. Kids received hands-on activities such as a scale model of the state's water supply, the Floridan Aquifer, which shows how pollution seeps from various sources into the Gulf of Mexico. Colored dye represented everything from pesticides on the farm to leaking septic tanks. When it "rained," the water ran downhill into the trough that served as the ocean.
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Hydrilla poses threat

Published 08-13-2008 - The Farmerville Gazette
Note: This article is about Lake D’Arbonne in Louisiana but it gives info on Hydrilla.

Hydrilla was discovered in the United States in 1960 at two Florida locations, a canal near Miami and in Crystal River. It spread throughout the state very rapidly. By the early 1970s it was established in major water bodies of all drainage basins in the state.

Hydrilla is now found in all Gulf Coast states, Atlantic Coast States as far north as Maryland and Delaware, and in the western states, California, Washington, and Arizona.
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County files Niagara challenge

Published August 13, 2008 - The Daily Commercial.
Lake County government and the city of Groveland say a groundwater permit request by a California-based bottler just doesn't hold water.

Water district staff did not take into account water shortages, sustainability, alternate sources and other possibilities when recommending in July the permit be granted, the suit argues. Niagara also did not adequately prove its withdrawals would be safe for local waterways.
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Watershed idea: Switch to Bahia lawns

Published August 10, 2008 - St. Petersburg Times
I want to talk about minimum flows and levels, a bit of government jargon that describes the state's main tool for protecting our rivers and lakes.

These are standards that identify the smallest amount of water needed to sustain the health of freshwater bodies of water.

And, because rivers and lakes in Florida depend either directly or indirectly on groundwater, water management districts are supposed to limit further pumping once the unwanted minimums are reached.
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Cleanup of river continues

Published 8/10/08
The water management district and JEA committed $250 million to remove existing wastewater discharges from the river and redirect treated water to other purposes, like irrigation and industrial cooling. When complete, these 20 projects will collectively remove 1.6 million pounds of nitrogen per year and 32 million gallons of discharge per day from our river, conserving a similar amount now drawn from the Floridan aquifer for these irrigation and industrial purposes.

Additionally, a team of academic researchers from UNF and JU have published a State of the River report. Primarily funded by the city's Environmental Protection Board, the report tracks data to evaluate the river's health. These findings have been condensed in a brochure that can be found along with the full report and other St. Johns River resources at http://www.SJRreport.com
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Utilities drop plan to siphon water from Ocklawaha

Published August 12, 2008 - Star-Banner
The rush to alternative water sources is due to Florida water authorities telling Central Florida utilities their prime source of water - the underground aquifer - will be off limits by 2013 to additional pumping.

One of the things that utilities wanted to know was minimum flow levels. Minimum flow levels show how low the water in rivers can drop before hurting wildlife that depend on the river.
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St. Johns River: Grant will provide resources

Published 8/12/2008 - Times-Union (Letter to the Editor)
I hope you will help us in raising the money necessary to protect the St. Johns River. For every $2 that you donate to our St. Johns River Awareness and Legal Fund, the Weavers will donate $1 up to $150,000. You can donate on our Web site, http://www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org/
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Move made to block company from selling water from acquifer

Published August 11, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
Lake County commissioners and Groveland CIty Council filed a joint petition today to stop a controversial water-use permit for Niagara Bottling, which wants to pump, bottle and sell water from the Floridan acquifer.

The joint challenge requires the District to notify the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings which will then appoint a judge to weigh arguments for and against Niagara's permit. The judge would make a recommendation to the District's governing board, which would have the final say on the bottler's permit.
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Monday, August 11, 2008

Niagara Bottling isn't the real water worry -- but development is

Published August 10, 2008 - Orange Sentinel (Commentary)
One of Niagara's greatest foes is the city of Groveland, an annexation-crazed town with 7,000 lots waiting for houses. It now uses 1.6 million gallons of water a day but is asking the St. Johns River Water Management District to almost quadruple that amount in the next 20 years.

And people are worried about Niagara?

The comparatively small amount of water Niagara would use -- 484,000 gallons a day -- is much less than that used by Cutrale Citrus Juices over in Leesburg and the Cherry Lake Tree Farm in Groveland. It wouldn't even be enough for some 36-hole golf resorts.
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Fight over reclaimed water has Port Orange hot

Published 8/10/08
The St. Johns River Water Management District has taken notice of the value of reclaimed water. Water district officials want to exert control over how water local wastewater utilities, residents and businesses use the resource.

Port Orange City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose the water management district's proposed rules. Water management officials plan a public hearing in November and vote in December on the plan.

The city's plant produces 12 million gallons of reclaimed water a day. Port Orange recently completed a 75-acre lake to hold excess reclaimed water for use during peak times. A second 100-acre lake should be completed later this year.
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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Jacksonville Jaguars owners put $150,000 into fight over St. Johns River water

Published 8/8/2008 - Orange Sentinel
Team owners Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver announced they will give as much as $150,000 to the St. Johns Riverkeeper, an environmental group that has stirred mounting public opposition and filed legal actions to prevent Central Florida from using the river as a major supply of water.

Seminole County's initial request to take 5 million gallons daily from the river near Sanford was quickly opposed by North Florida. In coming years, Central Florida utilities may attempt to withdraw nearly 150 million gallons each day, or far more than the Orlando Utilities Commission now needs.

Edward de la Parte, a lawyer for Seminole County, said withdrawals of 5 million gallons daily won't harm the river, despite what Riverkeeper and others allege.
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North Florida Land Trust aims to raise $2M

Published August 2008 - Jacksonville Business Journal
A land trust is launching a campaign to raise more than $2 million so that 400 acres of wetlands can be preserved within the Pumpkin Hill Preserve inside the Timucuan Preserve.

The acquisition of the trust will build on the Bogey Creek Landing peninsula holding and allow the trust to exercise its right of first refusal to purchase 67 adjacent acres. The trust's long term plans are to purchase individual parcels of undeveloped land along Clapboard Creek and other major tributaries to the St. Johns River.
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Mount Dora dives into Lake County's water war

Published August 8, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
City leaders not only oppose a California-based company's request to withdraw millions of gallons of water a year from the Floridan Aquifer near Groveland, they also want to prohibit other businesses from trying to do the same in Mount Dora.

Mount Dora is the latest municipality to join Lake County's efforts to block Niagara Bottling Co. from obtaining a permit from the St. Johns River Water Management District to draw 177 million gallons of water a year from the aquifer.
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Online river map shows boaters where to launch

Published August 8, 2008 - The High Springs Herald
River goers can now view online launch spots along the upper and lower Suwannee River plus portions of the Alapaha, Santa Fe and Withlacoochee rivers.

The interactive map allows users to click on a launch point, bringing up a photo of the location, along with other details such as river miles, GPS coordinates and driving directions.
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