My Flickr Photos of Springs

Friday, February 29, 2008

National Geographic-Funded Archaeological Project at Wakulla Springs during April Needs Volunteers

Published 02-28-2008
Three types of volunteers can participate in an exciting archaeological project near the Wakulla Springs Lodge. If you are available between April 7 and May 5, 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. daily (except Sunday) you can participate in the project.

JU to study impact of drawing water from St. Johns

Published February 28, 2008
The City of Jacksonville has commissioned Jacksonville University to conduct a $100,000 study on the environmental impact of a plan to remove up to 262 million gallons of water from the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers.

The City Council voted 16-1 to challenge Seminole County's application to remove up to 5.5 million gallons per day, joining St. Johns County and the St. Johns Riverkeeper.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Water District OKs Amended Pact With Weeki Wachee Springs

Published: February 27, 2008
The water district, known as Swiftmud, owns the 27 acres on which the park sits. The governing board agreed to end the dispute if the attraction management follows through on its decision to donate the landmark to the Department of Environmental Protection, which runs the state park system, on Oct. 31.

The board initially approved a settlement agreement with Weeki Wachee during its Jan. 29 meeting with a deadline of Feb. 1 for the City of Weeki Wachee to sign the new agreement.

Apalachicola Bay closes to oyster harvesting

Published February 27, 2008
Apalachicola Bay was closed to oyster harvesting Tuesday night but will reopen Thursday morning after test results today showed that oysters are healthy, a state official said this afternoon.

High water flow down the Apalachicola River led the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to close the bay as a precaution, said David Heil, chief of the department's Bureau of Aquaculture Environmental Services.

St. Johns County to contest river water withdrawal

Published February 27, 2008
The ranks of Seminole County opponents continues to grow in Northeast Florida. The county's plan to draw 5.5 million gallons of water a day from the St. Johns River will be formally opposed by St. Johns County.

St. Johns County's opposition is echoed by that of the St. Johns Riverkeeper and Duval County.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Jacksonville, others object to St. Johns River pumping

Published 2/22/2008
Officials on Thursday vowed a legal challenge to a Central Florida request that could have been granted as early as next month. They say they feel betrayed by water managers who promised more scientific study before allowing withdrawals from the St. Johns River.

Seminole County is asking the St. Johns River Water Management District to pump 5.5 million gallons per day from the river for irrigation. District staff endorsed the permit last week; the governing board must give it final approval.

Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton has directed city attorneys to file a formal objection, spokeswoman Susie Wiles said. The St. Johns Riverkeeper, a private organization, is also pursuing legal action. St. Johns County is considering it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

St. Marks River Rise (Leon County)

Pictures taken 2/21/08 (Click images to enlarge)

Rainy day, but luckily it was a light drizzle in the early morning when these pictures were taken.

More Info:
Springs Fever...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lawmaker proposes springs protection

Published February, 19, 2008
Sen. Burt Saunders, chairman of the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee, says he expects to file a bill to establish a pilot program requiring springs protection zones where advanced wastewater treatment and improved septic tanks are required.

The two springs targeted in the bill are Rainbow Springs and Silver Springs, both in Marion County. But the proposal may face opposition from developers and agricultural interests.

Mermaids' spring becomes state park

Published February 19, 2008
A years-long dispute between the company that runs the famous mermaid attraction and a water management district that owns the property was officially put to rest Monday.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum ceremonially signed an agreement that makes the attraction a state park.

The park opened 60 years ago about 80 miles west of Orlando, making it one of Florida's oldest tourist attractions.

Researchers assess Florida's manatee population and threats

Published February 18, 2008
More than 300 manatees — including those that visit the Wakulla River each year — migrate to Crystal River to bask in the mild spring waters and the warm discharge of the Progress Energy power plant. Data from the manatees is used by researchers to determine whether the population is rebounding or veering toward extinction.

Researchers also worry about manatees that use warm water discharges from power plants to escape the cold. They're concerned that manatees could die in the future if the plants are shut down or they eliminate their discharges. While up to 80 manatees have been spotted at the Crystal River power plant, some plants on the Atlantic Coast and the Southwest Florida Gulf coast have had up to 500 manatees at a time. Those power plants play a more critical role during cold snaps because there are fewer springs in those regions where manatees can seek refuge, said Ron Mezich, a manatee habitat biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Things to do - Underwater archaeology:

Published February 17, 2008
Jeff Moates, curator of the Florida Maritime Museum, will talk about an underwater archaeology project along the Wacissa River in Jefferson County at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Weedon Island Preserve. The museum is in Cortez, a commercial fishing village.Best for adults; suitable for children 12 and older. Free. Registration required. Call 453-6500.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Where will our water come from?

Published 2/16/08
The battle lines are being drawn over plans to tap the Ocklawaha and St. Johns rivers to supply a growing population.

Water managers say the rivers would help diversify sources as demand outpaces available groundwater. Environmental advocates say water managers are failing to fully consider the repercussions and should explore other options, such as water conservation, seawater desalination and limits on water permits.

We've got to begin to address per-capita water use and limit our growth," said St. Johns Riverkeeper Neil Armingeon, pointing to figures showing Florida uses water at a higher rate than the rest of the nation.

"We are using water at a rate that is no longer sustainable."

Armingeon spoke Friday as part of the Rally for the Rivers 2008. The three-day event, organized by the Putnam County Environmental Council, had previously focused on environmental issues surrounding the Rodman reservoir and dam on the Ocklawaha.

New bottled water plant proposal to be made

Published 2/15/08
The owners of Blue Springs Properties will go before the Gilchrist County Commission on Feb. 25 and ask permission to build a water bottling facility that could withdraw an average of 528,000 gallons a day from the springs.

The application for the special exemption to build the facility states that the plant will bring good-paying jobs and almost $400,000 in taxes for the county with minimal impact on the environment.

Waterways Commission considers blocking river withdrawal permit

Published 02/15/2008
The Jacksonville Waterways Commission was advised, even warned, to start paying very close attention to what’s happening to the St. Johns River in Central Florida.

The pending permit that would allow Seminole County to tap the St. Johns for an average of 5.5 million gallons of water per day — with a maximum of 11 million gallons a day — for the proposed Yankee Lake facility may mark the beginning of what many conservationists in Northeast Florida have feared.

More water, but no river deal yet

Published 2/15/08
The governors of Alabama, Florida and Georgia won't meet their goal of reaching an agreement by today on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Sole said Thursday.

Meanwhile, more water has been flowing down the Apalachicola River this month than in recent years. That may be helping the seafood industry in Apalachicola but it hasn't provided the big flood that scientists say is needed along the river.

Manatees in Trouble

Published Feb 15, 2008
Marine Biologist fear for the safety of several manatees spending the winter in the panhandle. The endangered species normally travels south for the winter and the dozen of so that stayed in northern Florida could be in trouble.

Scott Calleson a state Wildlife Biologist says the endangered species are warm-blooded and should have moved to warmer water by now.

“They’re in okay water as long as they say at the springs. The water coming out there is about 69 degrees or so which is warm enough to keep them alive, if they get much down stream of that, the water can cool down quiet a bit and they can put them at risk.”

About ten of manatees remain in the Wakulla River. Wildlife experts say this is the most they’ve ever seen this far north in February.

Volunteers help keep St. Johns River beautiful

Published February 15, 2008
Thousands of commuters a day pass over the St. Johns River and admire its beauty, but few think of Watershed Action Volunteers, an organization that works to keep the river beautiful.

The volunteer program of the St. Johns River Water Management District helps keep the river, and the waters that flow into the river, clean and healthy.

It has dozens of partners throughout the 18 counties in east Florida where waters drain to the St. Johns and other rivers and seeks to connect citizens from all walks of life with water resource and conservation related volunteer opportunities.

Among the most visible public programs of the organization in Volusia County are the cleanups of the St. Johns, Halifax and Indian rivers that have been organized every year since 1995.

This year, the cleanup of the Halifax and Indian rivers is planned for March 3. The St. Johns River cleanup is set for June 7.

SRWMD focuses on latest measures

Published February 15, 2008
Watering lawns at night for no more than two days a week, encouraging the unlimited use of treated water and prohibiting washing or cleaning streets, driveways, sidewalks or other impervious areas except to meet health or safety standards are all rules that will take effect April 7 as part of mandatory water use requirements.

The rules that will govern mandatory water-use restrictions for Columbia and 14 other counties were discussed in depth during a Suwannee River Water Management District meeting Thursday afternoon.

The Water Management District’s governing board implemented a Phase II Water Shortage Order last month because cities and counties in the district were suffering the district’s eighth-driest 24-month period since 1932, with a 28.7-inch rainfall deficit.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Seminole plans to draw millions of gallons a day from the St. Johns

Published Feb 14, 2008
Seminole County wants to pump 5.5 million gallons of water a day from the St. Johns River to beef up its reclaimed water system and, eventually, drinking water supplies. But before it can move forward, the St. Johns River Water Management District must sign off on the plan. Staff has recommended approval.

The public will have the opportunity March 11 to comment on the proposal. The board meeting begins at 1 p.m. at the district’s headquarters, 4049 Reid Street, Palatka. Members of the public wishing to comment must fill out a speaker’s form before the start of the meeting.

District inclined to OK tapping St. Johns for water

Published February 14, 2008
The St. Johns River Water Management District announced Wednesday it intends to allow the county to pull up to an average of 5.5 million gallons of water a day from the river at its Yankee Lake treatment plant.

The proposal is expected to meet widespread opposition because it's the first step in a proposal being explored by governments in Seminole and Volusia counties to use the Yankee Lake plant to produce drinking water from the river. The district's governing board is scheduled to consider the proposal at its March 11 meeting in Palatka.

For now, Seminole County wants to use river water to improve the reliability of its reclaimed water system when people are using the most water. But as many as 16 governments, including Lake and Volusia counties, DeLand and Deltona, have signed a letter of intent to work with Seminole on expanding the treatment plant to help provide more fresh water to the growing region. District officials said that could happen by 2013.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Manatee Rescued at Wakulla Springs State Park

Published 2/12/08
An ailing manatee at Wakulla Springs State Park was rescued Tuesday morning by a team of experts and taken to Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa for rehabilitation, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials said.

The manatee was taken to the rehabilitation center in Tampa, where the staff at Lowry Park Zoo will work to evaluate and treat the manatee.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

3 manatees released at Blue Spring State Park

Published February 11, 2008
Three manatees, which had been under rehabilitation, were released Monday morning at Blue Spring State Park.

The manatees, two orphans and a captive-born manatee, were carried into the spring run, which is a key winter refuge for the seacows and has had more than 260 manatees this winter.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Of good science and good sense

Published Feb. 10, 2008
The blue-ribbon task force charged with rewriting the controversial Marion County Springs Protection Ordinance knows they have a lot of work to do and little time in which to do it. So focus and efficiency count.

That was the underlying theme Thursday at the second meeting of the County Commission-appointed Aquifer and Springs Protection Task Force. Committee member Jimmy Gooding, an Ocala development lawyer, guided his colleagues through the 64-page proposal and identified those sections that he called "controversial," based on citizens' objections during recent commission hearings on the ordinance. Gooding was the logical person for the job since he attended the hearings and most of the ordinance's vocal dissenters are construction-related interests, some of whom Gooding said he has represented.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Walk Planned At State Park

Published: February 9, 2008
Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park and the Pasco County Health Department have a prescription to get people more active.

Next Saturday, Feb. 16, two nature walks and two kayak paddle tours are planned at the park.

Florida Park Service officials wanted to do their part for the annual Step Up Florida exercise campaign, the park's manager, Toby Brewer, explained. The Health Department is coordinating the series of free activities in February and March.

So for the first time, residents are invited to take part in one of the nature walks, at 8 and 10 a.m. The leisurely strolls through the park will leave from the western end of S.R. 52 and cover about two miles, Brewer said.

More river access is history of empty promises

Published 2/8/2008 (Opinion)
Although there hasn't been much said about it lately, you may remember The River Accord, the 10-year, $700 million program Mayor John Peyton launched on a sizzling summer day in 2006 with the goal of improving the health of the St. Johns River.

The accord included this statement: "Past studies have shown that while Jacksonville is truly a River City, there are inadequate opportunities for residents to enjoy the river and its tributaries."

Thus, the accord included another goal: improving access to the river.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Georgia loses major ruling on rights to Lanier water

Published on: 02/05/08
It would take an act of Congress to get more drinking water out of Lake Lanier for metro Atlanta, a federal appellate court ruled Tuesday.

Alabama and Florida immediately declared a major victory in the 18-year, tri-state water war, with Alabama Gov. Bob Riley calling it "one of the most important" legal decisions in his state's history.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sewage Leaks into the St. Johns River

Published 2/4/2008
A construction mishap, according to JEA, sent about 100,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into the St. Johns River.

It happened near a water treatment plant on Bay Street where crews are making renovations to the bridge over Hogan's Creek.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Leon, Wakulla consider springs protection

Published February 1, 2008
Wakulla and Leon counties separately are considering new proposals to protect Wakulla Springs.

Wakulla County is considering expanding its "Wakulla Springs Protection Zone" northwest of the springs. Development within the zone is supposed to get a closer level of scrutiny, said Lindsay Stevens, Wakulla County's director of planning and community development.

Leon County is considering creating a "primary springs protection zone" in the southern portion of Leon County. Developments within the area would be required to connect to sewage service or use advanced septic tanks.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Don't water down springs ordinance

Published Jan. 31, 2008 (Opinion)
When the County Commission abandoned the proposed Springs Protection Ordinance in November, opponents both on and off of the commission argued that "the stakeholders" had not been sufficiently included in the three-year effort to write the water-supply conservation measure.

A handpicked panel of nine residents, dubbed the Citizen Input Panel, will convene for its first meeting at 10 a.m. today at the county Growth Management Bureau. Its members represent building, landscaping, water services, land development, real estate and environmental interests in Marion County.

The Citizen Input Committee has until the end of March to present a new ordinance to the commission, which is then scheduled to consider the rewrite at its first meeting in April. That means fulfilling a tall order in short order.