My Flickr Photos of Springs

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Salt Springs swimming area is closed until Sept/Oct

Just noticed this while surfing the Internet.

Salt Springs swimming area was closed on April 14, 2008 for reconstruction purposes. I called up the Salt Springs Visitor Center and they said that it should re-open in September or October of this year.

Salt Springs Visitor Center
14100 N. State Highway 19
Salt Springs, FL 32134
Phone: (352) 685-3070
Hours: Open Thursday-Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Three Sisters Springs: a place of natural perfection

Published in Print May 31, 2008 (Letters to the Editor)
Various Comments made:
It made me so happy to read that Hal Flowers has decided not to develop the property. I wish it could remain as it is: perfect!

I am very pleased to read that Hal Flowers is reconsidering his development plans. This will benefit the manatees. However, I am very skeptical of the Save the Manatees Club's vision of land-only observation.

I am amazed at how caring and generous developer Hal Flowers is. He was so moved by the manatee's plight that he was willing to take a piece of property, that he paid $10.5-million at the height of the real estate madness and is now willing to dump it on the taxpaying public for only $15-million.

More than 900,000 boats are registered in Florida and approximately 400,000 boats registered in other states use Florida's waterways. Obviously, with more than a million boats on the waters, we need strong manatee protection. Slowing down seems like such a small thing to ask in order to be able to share the waters with these unique animals.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Misdiagnosing Peace River flow restoration?

Published 5/30/2008 (Opinion)
The Tampa Tribune report today on the efforts to restore flow in the Upper Peace River that it would take a reduction of something like 80 percent of water use here to allow the aquifer to recover enough to restore river flow, according to Swiftmud officials.

This argument revolves around whether Kissengen Spring can be made to flow again. The spring south of Bartow, quit flowing in 1950. It was the first time a second-magnitude Florida spring had ceased flowing. This foreshadowed all of the water problems and issues that have occurred since.

Cool, clear waters attract thousands to Ichetucknee Springs

Published 5/30/2008
Thousands flocked to the cool, clear waters of Ichetucknee Springs this Memorial Day weekend, a weekend that kicked off the opening of Ichetucknee Springs where visitors can rent multi-colored tubes and float down the spring-fed river. Jumping off the dock into the water was popular (above ) as was just enjoying the warm, sunny weather (right and left).Thousands flocked to the cool, clear waters of Ichetucknee Springs this Memorial Day weekend, a weekend that kicked off the opening of Ichetucknee Springs where visitors can rent multi-colored tubes and float down the spring-fed river. Jumping off the dock into the water was popular

Outdoor Calendar

Published May 30, 2008
Chipola River Canoe Trip: June 14. Are you looking for a great way to cool off on a hot summer day? Join us for a leisurely paddle on the Chipola River. Don't forget to bring snacks, plenty of water and sun protection. Afterward we will stop at one of the local restaurants for a late lunch/early inner. Contact: Gwen Beatty gfbeatty@yahoo.com (850) 942-7165.

Wakulla River Canoe Trip: June 21. We will put in at S.R. 365 and canoe this wild, scenic river about six miles to the St. Marks Boat Club. Easy paddling. We should see various birds, with a good chance of seeing alligators and manatees. Bring lunch, water, bug spray, sun screen, and binoculars. Top off the trip with swimming at the Boat Club beach. Limit: 8 canoes. Contact: Paull Kirkpatrick (850) 894-3224.

Injured manatee helps developer have change of heart

Published May 29, 2008
The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, is known as the best place in Central Florida to view manatees.

...the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has identified Three Sisters as the most important land acquisition priority in the Southeast.

Three Sisters Springs feeds into Kings Bay in Citrus County. In wintertime its waters are popular with manatees and manatee-watchers.

Note: Article includes nice aerial view of Three Sisters Springs

Nelson wades into watery woes

Published May 29, 2008
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson had a front seat Wednesday to North Florida's version of the water wars.

Nelson, a Democrat, started the day by meeting environmental advocates who urged him to stop water-bottling plants and growing Florida communities farther south from tapping the north's water.

He ended with a boat trip launched from Fanning Springs - where the depleted flow of the former first-magnitude spring has been linked to excessive groundwater pumping.

But Florida Geological Survey geologist Tom Greenhalgh said measurements since 1997 show the spring has averaged about 71 cubic feet per second. He said dry weather conditions are a major factor, but a contributing reason is groundwater pumping in the area that is permitted to average 60 million gallons pumped per day.

"I don't perceive Fanning ever being first-magnitude again," Greenhalgh said

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Volunteers important to Wekiva River Basin State Parks

Published May 29, 2008
Because of Tallahassee's tight budget, volunteers are needed now more than ever, said Anne James, a park-services specialist and volunteer coordinator for the Wekiva River Basin State Parks, which includes Wekiwa Springs State Park, the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park and Rock Springs Run State Preserve.

Wekiva rangers and visitors are fortunate to have the Wekiva Wilderness Trust looking out for their interests and the health of the parks, James said.

To inquire about volunteering with the Wekiva River Basin State Parks, call 407-884-2006 and ask for James.

Protect Florida Springs License Plate

Florida Springs License Plate
The Florida License Plate is now available for purchase. Click link below for more details.

Florida's Springs are severely threatened due to contamination, damming, development of shorelines and recharge area, and in particular, reduced water flow as a consequence of water extraction for municipalities, agriculture, golf courses, and bottled water. Funds collected support these efforts as well as a Springs Grants Program, which supports on-going community based initiaitves aimed at springs restoration, potection, and education around the state.
Purchase Online

Fans of river withdrawal have minds firmly closed

Published 5/29/08 (Opinion)
The St. Johns River Water Management District assures those of us living along the river before it empties into the Atlantic Ocean that plans to withdraw up to 262 million gallons of water a day won't go forward if studies show the river's health would be harmed.

That's not the same message Central Florida is receiving. The Brevard Water Supply Board passed a resolution last month "supporting the St. Johns River Water Management District's efforts to fully develop the St. Johns River as a supply source ..."

Plug Porter sink and help protect the aquifer

Published May 29, 2008 (Opinion)
Porter sinkhole penetrates the clay layer that allows the lake to be perched. Water flowing down the sinkhole, when the sinkhole has water over it, has been measured at 7 million to 9 million gallons per day. This loss of water down the sinkhole amounts to as much as 3 feet of water level per year that could be filling the lake.

Porter sinkhole penetrates the clay layer that allows the lake to be perched. Water flowing down the sinkhole, when the sinkhole has water over it, has been measured at 7 million to 9 million gallons per day. This loss of water down the sinkhole amounts to as much as 3 feet of water level per year that could be filling the lake.

Geologists view Peace River’s collapse

Published May 27, 2008
With an historical output of 20 million gallons per day, Kissengen Spring would have been classified as a magnitude-two spring today, a category worthy of state protection.

But, it ceased continuous flow in 1950 as the result of excessive groundwater pumping, according to studies by the Florida Geological Survey. The water was withdrawn primarily for phosphate mining, which was booming in the area at the time.

The mining operations consumed 75 million gallons of water per day — more than twice the demand of all other users in Polk County combined — and had installed wells as large as 24 inches in diameter near the spring, according to a 1951 FGS and other reports.

Exploration Award Presented to KUR

Published May 28, 2008
This May, at the 2008 NSS-CDS Annual Workshop, the NSS-CDS awarded the Weeki Wachee Karst Project with the 2008 NSS-CDS Exploration Award. KUR directors Walter Pickel and Brett Hemphill were present to accept the award and other members of the Weeki Wachee Exploration Team were also present at the ceremony. This award is greatly appreciated and testifies to the amount of hard work and energy that has been put into this project by each of the team members.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Additional parking may be in future for Blue Springs park

Published: May 27, 2008
Opening day at Blue Springs park drew more than 2,000 people, a crowd so large that the gates had to be closed from time to time in the afternoon because there wasn’t enough parking.

Jackson County Parks and Recreation Director Chuck Hatcher said he hopes that problem will be a thing of the past by next summer.

He’s heard, but hasn’t officially received word on paper, that legislators approved partial funding of a grant to expand parking and make other improvements to the park.

The county had asked for a $200,000 Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program grant, but Hatcher has been told the county has been approved for $135,000, the balance trimmed away in a round of budget-cutting.

Sen. Nelson shown effects of low flow on Apalachicola River

Published May 27, 2008
Sen. Bill Nelson saw the dry shoals along the Apalachicola River where rare mussels should be thriving and the shrunken pools which should be filled with stripped bass, and promised Tuesday to do what he can to help get more water released into the waterway.

Nelson traveled 25 miles of the river, which provides spawning areas for protected sturgeon and the freshwater needed to help oysters survive in Apalachicola Bay, seeing how the decision to hold more water in Georgia is hurting life downstream in Florida.

The river is six feet below what it would normally be during a dry season, Nelson was told. Some areas where fish spawn are being exposed for the first time. And the lack of fresh water flowing into the Apalachicola Bay is hurting shrimp and oyster populations. Species that normally remain in the Gulf of Mexico are being found in the bay and upriver as salinity levels rise.

Officials: Reconsider Restoring Kissengen Spring

Published 5/27/2008
Water management district officials advised a Peace River oversight committee of the district’s strategies to recover the flow of the upper portion of the river, which is now disappearing down a series of sinkholes and crevices.

...the spring ceased flowing in the 1950s and ’60s because of overpumping, primarily for phosphate mining. Pumping for agricultural and public supply has increased since, keeping the aquifer depleted.

Background Info:
Kissengen Spring(PDF)

Picture of Measuring Stick at Kissengen Spring. It was placed by the U.S. Geological Survey to show water levels. If they reached 83 feet, water would once again spill into the Peace River. It's been under that since the 1950s.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Conversion of land to help St. Johns River

Published May 26, 2008
The conversion of 10,000 acres of agricultural land in Indian County to open water and marsh communities will improve water supply, flood protection, and water quality in the Upper St. Johns River Basin.

The creation of the Fellsmere Water Management Area will also provide recreational and habitat benefits to the area, which is just east of the St. Johns River Water Management Area and known to anglers as the Stick Marsh.

Fishing along the St. Johns river can be rewarding

May 27, 2008
The slow-moving river, the largest in Florida (approximately 310 miles long), offers a wide variety of species to catch. The river, which flows north, begins in Indian River County and meets the Atlantic Ocean in Duval County.

Mullet are common through the river, especially during their spring and fall runs up and down the coast. But redfish, flounder, snook and tarpon can also be found in the river. The further north you go, the more common the saltwater species

Environmentalists step up efforts for funding in Florida despite downturn

Published May 27, 2008
Florida's acclaimed program for buying environmental lands managed to avoid the ax of a budget-slashing Legislature this spring.

The state's Florida Forever program and the decade-long Preservation 2000 program that began in 1990 have armed state land agents with $300 million annually. The two programs so far have purchased a combined 2.4 million acres.

Land bought by Florida typically becomes state forest, parkland, protected wildlife habitat or conservation corridors along ecological treasures such as the St. Johns River.

Protection Zone proposed to safeguard Wakulla Springs, but some Woodville residents wary of development

Published May 27, 2008
Now, efforts to protect Wakulla Springs by limiting septic-tank effluents could make sewer service a reality.

The Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department is proposing a Primary Springs Protection Zone, extending from south of Orange Avenue to the Wakulla County line, that would give residential developers incentives to pay for sewer installation.

Developers would be allowed to build more units per acre in Woodville once sewer is available. For areas where sewer isn't available, the proposal calls for strengthening septic-tank regulations.

Marianna's Caves Draw Divers

Published May 26, 2008
The City of Marianna hosted divers from as far away as South Africa, New Zealand, and Brazil at a national cave diving convention this Memorial Day weekend. Official numbers haven't been tabulated yet, but divers say there were well over 300 of them taking advantage of Marianna's Blue Springs and the Mill Pond.

"We're getting about 100 divers a month - about 1200 a year. That impact alone is close to a million dollars in economic benefit," Art Kimbrough with the Chamber says.

"Florida's Rivers" is a look at the history and ecology of our state rivers

5/26/08 (Book Review)
Charles Boning, a man of many talents (he's a lawyer who not only is also an accomplished naturalist and writer, but even an astute photographer) has written a book entitled Florida's Rivers which, living up to its name, is an overview of all the major rivers of the state, organized by region

The real treat though is to sit down and read Florida's Rivers cover-to-cover and thus gain the benefit of a short course in the history and ecology of Floridian rivers and riparian environments. While Boning doesn't spend too much time on any one river-in a mere 230-some pages he really doesn't have room to-he offers a strong overview of all the state's major rivers in a manner that is easy to follow. Plant and animal life, recreation, and history are all addressed in the river-specific entries.

Jackson County Attracts Cave Divers

Published May 25, 2008
"Jackson County has blind salamander- the only place in the world other than Georgia that has that species so there's a lot of scientific value," said Jessop.

Residents know Blue Springs as a swimming hole, but its becoming internationally known for cave diving.

Cave diving is an emerging tourism industry in Jackson County. 1,000 to 1,200 divers each year bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars to the area.

Mayo man encounters sturgeon on Suwannee

Published 5/26/2008
A Mayo man was slightly injured Friday when he was struck by a jumping sturgeon on the Suwannee River. This is the first reported sturgeon strike in 2008.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers, Brian Mosley was boating one mile south of Ivey Park in Branford when a sturgeon leapt in front of his boat.

Mosley ducked, and the fish hit the boat’s cowling, striking Mosley on the back and bruising him slightly. Mosley declined medical services.

To report sturgeon collisions, call 1-888-404-FWCC (3922).

Student videos push to save St. Johns

Published 5/25/2008
The St. Johns Riverkeeper asked area high school students to submit 60-second public service announcements addressing the importance of protecting our rivers.

Twenty submissions were sent from several counties across Florida. Five of the top six submissions were from counties in Central Florida, Orth said. The winner will receive $1,000.

Go to jacksonville.com/riverkeeper to vote for your favorite public service announcement.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Scuba group descends with 'Sea Hunt'-era gear

Published May 25, 2008
A group of passionate scuba divers took a dream descent on Saturday in honor of a popular 1950s television series filmed at the Silver Springs attraction.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the underwater adventure show, "Sea Hunt." The show, which starred Lloyd Bridges as scuba hero Mike Nelson, was filmed largely at a Silver River spring that has been closed to recreational divers for roughly 40 years.

Out into the wild

Published 05/25/08
Juniper Springs Run is a writhing snake of crystalline water. It carves its track through some of Florida's most exotic wilderness. It's as wild as a water moccasin, though not deadly. But, like a snake, Juniper Springs Run can bite you if you aren't prepared to play by its rules.

Juniper Springs State Park is located about 40 miles south of Palatka, in the heart of the Ocala National Forest.

The headwaters of the Run are a beautiful second magnitude spring with two main boils and an old mill house that used to harness the spring run to generate electricity. It's a beautiful swimming hole. Camping is available, and there's a small store with food and bathrooms. There also are picnic facilities and a small museum. Canoe rentals are available with a take-out service.

More info:
Contact Phone Number (352) 625-3147

Our position: Central Florida lawns will be OK with weekly watering

Published May 25, 2008 (Editorial)
It's not part of the revised water-conservation program that Orange County adopted last week. But the suggestion county planners and commissioners made requiring once-a-week lawn watering from November to March is making quite the splash.

The St. Johns River Water Management District, which guards the water supply from Jacksonville to Orlando, says it intends to impose the restriction on governments, businesses and residents, probably beginning in 2009.

Oysterman Caught in Water Wars

Published 5/25/2008
Longtime oysterman Keith Millender sees every shower taken or car washed in metropolitan Atlanta as a small threat to his family, which has harvested seafood from northwest Florida's Apalachicola Bay for generations.

The Apalachicola River -- which carries water more than 300 miles from Georgia's Lake Lanier into the bay, providing the delicate balance of freshwater and saltwater oysters need to thrive -- is running dry.

Oystering is a $10 million industry in Florida, with about 1,200 licensed harvesters and 25 processing houses in the Apalachicola

12th annual St. Johns River cleanup on June 7

Published May 24, 2008
Volunteers from across the area will hit the St. Johns River on foot and by boat June 7 for the river cleanup.

Civic groups, youth groups, boaters and individuals can participate by removing trash and debris at 11 locations along the river from Pierson to Osteen. The event takes place in conjunction with a national river cleanup that will see thousands of volunteers working across the country.

To get a free commemorative T-shirt, preregistration is required. For more information and to preregister, please contact Tom Carey at 386-736-5927, ext. 2073.

Register for the event: http://volusia.org/cleanup/stjohns.htm

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Officials tour Rainbow with eye to protect

Published May 24, 2008
Protecting the delicate environment of the Rainbow River while still allowing recreational use of the stream is a tricky balancing act.

On Friday, a group of local officials, environmentalists and state resource managers took a tour along the river that highlighted the challenges of striking that balance.

While there was wildlife all around, there were also signs of growing environmental troubles for the river. Algae has bloomed at the head springs. Boat propellers have scarred the grass bed on the river's bottom. The high water mark on cypress trees along the banks is well above the river's current level. Chris Zajac, an environmental scientist with Swiftmud, said flow from the spring is 100 million gallons per day below historic levels due to an ongoing drought. He said nitrate levels have doubled in the last six years.

High Bacterial Levels Close Rock Springs At Kelly Park

Published May 23, 2008
Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, a local swimming area has been closed because of high bacterial levels in the water.

On Friday, the Florida Department of Health closed Rock Springs at Kelly Park until further notice. The picnic area and campgrounds will remain open.

Further tests will be conducted on a weekly basis to determine when the springs can reopen.
Google Cache

Area parks gear up for big Memorial Day weekend

Published 5/23/2008
Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the busy season for local parks.

Poe Springs, which opens every day at 9 a.m. and closes at sunset, is located off of County Road 340 (Poe Springs Road).

The park is owned by Alachua County and has a softball field, volleyball courts and playground. The park also offers water tubing and canoeing along the Santa Fe River

Friday, May 23, 2008

St. Marks River American Heritage Trip

Leave T~n~T at 9 a.m. to put in at the St. Marks River in Newport for a four-hour guided American Heritage Trip. Learn about the history along the St. Marks River by a TCC Certified Green Guide. $50 per person includes kayak rental. Reservations required. 925-6412.

More Info:

Bridge over Withlacoochee will link nature trails

Published May 23, 2008
The state Office of Greenways and Trails is going to build a multi-use trail bridge designed to resemble the old railroad bridge it replaces over the Withlacoochee River.

The agency also is adding a total of three miles of paved trail to the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway on either side of the bridge. The trail will pass through the southwest corner of the Blue Run of Dunnellon Park.

St. Johns Oil Spill to be Cleaned by Weekend

Published 5/23/08
JEA says an oil spill in the St. Johns River should be cleaned up by the weekend.

When a construction company hammeriing pilings into the St. Johns River accidentally cut into a JEA power line, it didn't hit electricity, it hit oil.

The best estimate is a couple hundred gallons were slowly released throughout the day Thursday, but the oil is mineral based and not dangerous.

Corridor picked for power lines

Published 5/22/2008
Progress Energy selects southern route that doesn't go over Rainbow River.

Progress Energy Florida will follow existing transmission line corridors when it builds new lines to serve a proposed nuclear plant in Levy County.
Google Cache

Wastewater may face usage rules

Published 05/21/08
Neighborhoods using recycled wastewater on their lawns and golf courses could have the same watering restrictions as the rest of Northeast Florida soon.

The St. Johns River Water Management District says the recycled water, piped from sewage treatment plants back to neighborhoods built with separate reuse irrigation lines, is a resource that needs to be conserved just like groundwater.

Beach water treatment plant ahead of schedule

Published 05/21/08
The city's treated wastewater will be the first in the region to meet higher nitrogen standards that will help protect the St. Johns River, the city public works director said.

Every municipal and private wastewater treatment plant operator in a 100-mile section of the river basin from Palatka to the Atlantic Ocean at Mayport is required to upgrade its system to lower the amount of nitrogen released into the river.

The St. Johns River is considered a polluted waterway, primarily from excessive nitrogen discharged from treatment plants. Too much nitrogen can cause algae blooms that draw oxygen from the water and create a shift in the type and diversity of plant and animal life.

Blue Spring opens Memorial Day in Jackson County

Published: May 22, 2008
Blue Springs Recreational Area will open for the season Monday, May 26.

Visitors can arrive at the park beginning at 10 a.m. on Memorial Day. The park will open until 6 p.m., according to a news release from the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department.

After Memorial Day, the park will open for the summer season on Saturday, May 31. Hours of operation for the park will be 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Admission to the park will remain $2 per person. Jackson County residents may also purchase a $20 season pass. Non-residents may purchase a season pass for $30, according to the news release.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Florida's dry season forces water providers to adapt

Published May 19, 2008
In Winter Garden, residents have been asked to stop watering grass between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The city in recent weeks has seen storage tanks at two of its three water plants pushed close to their limits, forcing utility workers to shut off irrigation lines to hundreds of customers.

"It was being sucked out as fast as we could fill it up," said Don Cochran, Winter Garden's assistant to the city manager in charge of public services.

Experts say many homeowners use far too much water on their lawns. That leads to shallow roots close to the surface, and yards typically cannot tolerate significant changes in watering and temperatures.

District wants to tighten irrigation rules

Published 5/19/2008
The St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board voted to begin the rulemaking process to amend the District’s irrigation rules. The rules apply to all lawn and landscape irrigation, agriculture, nurseries, golf courses and recreational areas not regulated by consumptive use permits.

For more information, visit the District’s Web site at

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Middle schoolers to study St. Johns River

Published May 20,2008
Jacksonville middle school students will have the chance to research the St. Johns River thanks to a grant from a Jacksonville-based foundation.

Eugene Butler Middle School seventh-graders, including those in the accelerated graduation program, will assess water samples and handle other environmental tasks under the guidance of the St. Johns Riverkeeper.

International dive convention welcomes public interest

Published: May 17, 2008
Hundreds from around the world will gather next weekend at Blue Springs Recreational Park to dive into a less-known world right below our feet.
The National Speleological Society Cave Diving Section 2008 Convention and Workshop is an event that holds international merit, according to officials, with diving experts from around the world coming to discuss the latest in diving details. The convention is also a chance for avid divers to experience the world-class springs Jackson County has to offer.

Those interested in registering for the convention may call Bill Rottello, program chairman, at (321) 383-5859. A more specific schedule of events is available on the Society’s Web site, at http://www.nsscds.com

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Georgia denied rehearing in Florida water case

Published 5/16/2008
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said Friday it was denying Georgia's petition for a rehearing on an earlier court decision, thwarting Georgia's thirst for waters that feed into the Apalachicola River of North Florida.

The appeals court had said in February that it's essentially up to Congress and not the Corps of Engineers to decide how much water Atlanta can pump from Lake Lanier. The reservoir drains into the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River

Friday, May 16, 2008

State of the springs

Though nutrient pollution from stormwater runoff might be taking a toll elsewhere in the state, springs near Bay County reportedly are doing well.

“Most of your springs are going to be right along the Econfina,” said Connie Bersok, of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. “Those are in generally good quality. The springsshed, or the basin, is not an area that would have subdivisions, septic tanks or large-scale agriculture.”

Though most do not realize they’re causing damage, recreational users are rough on area springs. Cleckley described trampled wetlands and trees cut down or damaged by rope swings. He cited Pitt, Sylvan and Williford as being local springs of concern as far as recreation degradation.

Brian Katz, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, has spent 10 years studying Florida’s springs. He said he is encouraged to see lawmakers considering the health of the springs.

The Nature Conservancy Celebrates Opening of Angus Gholson Jr. Environmental Learning Center

Published May 15, 2008
Renowned botanist Angus Gholson Jr. of Chattahoochee was honored by The Nature Conservancy today as the namesake of a new environmental center on the Conservancy’s Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve in Bristol.

The 6,295-acre preserve includes bluffs as high as 200 feet along the Apalachicola River, rare steephead ravines, and a wide variety of rare plants and animals.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. With funding from the voter approved Florida Forever program and our generous donors the Conservancy has helped protect more than 1.2 million acres in Florida since 1961. Visit us on the Web at http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/florida/

Water Wars

Published May 15, 2008
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) and U.S. Congressman Allen Boyd (D-North Florida) today decried the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to extend water flow reductions from 750 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 650 cfs from Lake Lanier beyond April 30 through May 31, 2008. The Corps’ approval of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s (EPD) irresponsible request comes as the state of Georgia continues to allow lax water restrictions in metropolitan Atlanta with little to no thought of its downstream neighbors.

Wildlife and fish spawning is currently underway on the Apalachicola River. Gulf sturgeon require a stable flow to ensure spawning success. Operations that rapidly reduce flows over spawning grounds during the spawn strand eggs and kill larval fish, critical to the ecosystem of the Apalachicola River.

Wacissa River Springs (Jefferson County)

Here are of the springs that are located along the Wacissa River. Pictures and video were taken on 5/14/2008. Many are only viewable via boat.

Big Blue Spring

FlickrMore Photos

Cassidy Springs

FlickrMore Photos

Horsehead Spring

FlickrMore Photos

Log Spring

FlickrMore Photos

Wacissa Spring 2 (Near Diving Board)

FlickrMore Photos

Click image to enlarge

Source (PDF)

There are two places within a 1/2 mile of the Wacissa Spring that rent Canoes/Kayaks.

Wacissa River Canoe & Kayak Rentals
Corky: (850) 997-5023
Cell: (850) 342-4997
Bob: (850) 997-6112
Email: wrcr@embarqmail.com

Wacissa Springs Livery
Canoe & Kayak Rentals
(850) 997-2324 Jim
Email: jumdulock@hotmail.com

More Info:
Goose Pasture is the only public camp ground on the lower Wacissa River. It is one of the take out points for boat trips from the head spring. From the Wacissa River head spring parking lot, drive north about 3/4 mile and turn south (left) on Hwy 59. Turn left on Hwy 98 and continue until you cross the Aucilla River. Turn left on the second paved road off 98. About 3 miles down the paved road it will turn into a dirt road. Take a left at the first dirt crossroad. Continue straight where the road forks, it will terminate at Goose Pasture.

Cassidy Spring "pshermanfl's" YouTube Video
Map of Goose Pasture to Nutall Rise via the Slave Canal
Sea Kayak Florida
Springs Fever...
Underwater Journey on the Wacissa River "paddledog's" YouTube Video
Wacissa River Canoe Trail

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Develop alternative water supplies

Published 5/13/2008 (Letter to the Editor)
Contrary to what Hardesty wrote, the Yankee Lake Project does not defy logic and scientific facts. According to the St. Johns River Water Management District, the science clearly shows that groundwater overpumping will adversely affect water quality in the aquifer system, wetlands, streams and springs, regardless of whether the groundwater withdrawals are located in Central Florida or Northeast Florida. This means we must develop alternative water supplies to preserve our groundwater resources. This is what the Yankee Lake Project is all about.

The district has studied the St. Johns River as a possible alternative water source since at least 1995. These studies consist of over 10,000 pages of scientific reports prepared by nationally recognized experts.

Their studies conclude the St. Johns River could provide up to 155 million gallons per day of water without adversely impacting the water quality or ecology of the river, and rules were adopted by the district recognizing this conclusion. The Riverkeeper, Hardesty's group, attended meetings that led to adoption of the rules, but did not provide comment.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Our state leaders talk tough when river looter's far away

Published May 12, 2008 (Editorial)
The silence emanating from the secretary and his boss, Gov. Charlie Crist, is deafening. Central Florida's proposed withdrawals will affect the ecology and health of the St. Johns and Ocklawaha, including the fisheries and salinities, but there are no letters forthcoming to Seminole or Orange counties expressing opposition to these equally destructive proposals.

The governor opposes Atlanta's plans. We're still waiting to see an equivalent sense of indignation from the governor, or the DEP, over similar threats to the St. Johns River's health and economy. No, it's easy to criticize Atlanta; it plays well at home. But, don't expect the governor's office, or the DEP, to anger the powerful Central Florida development community; it's the fountainhead of campaign contributions and power. The Crist administration and Sole talk a good game, as long as the bully lives in another state.

Rainbow River Patrol recruiting volunteers for clean-up

Published 5/12/2008
Trash in and along the river is a big problem, even if you don't immediately see it, said Jerry Rogers, coordinator of Rainbow River Conservation's annual Rainbow River clean-up.

That is why Rogers would like as many volunteers as possible to meet at Rio Vista Park on May 17 to help with the clean-up.

Rainbow Springs is a first-magnitude spring ranked fourth in Florida for volume of discharge. It produces 400 to 600 gallons of water each day that disperses throughout its 5.7-mile length, according to Rainbow River Conservation officials. The 220-member group formed in 1962. They began sponsoring the annual river clean-up in 1980.

The Importance of Florida's Springs

Published 5/12/2008
Most of us who live in rural Florida know about the springs: numerous state parks and other public lands have been planned around them and some of us may even be fortunate enough to have springs on our own land. You really cannot avoid the springs if you're in one of the counties between Gainesville and Tallahassee, not to say the rest of Florida is without springs, but they are nearly omnipresent in the northern part of the state. More importanty, they are one of the key hydrogeographic features of the natural basis for our state's water supply. The karst formations in Florida are a delicate affair, a balance between the underground water table, above-ground rivers and lakes, and the springs that link these-all held together in a framework of ancient limestone and other minerals.

In Gainesville, Glen Springs just north of what is now the Alfred A. Ring Nature Park once fed a pool where neighborhood kids would go swimming, but the same location is now owned by the local Elks' Lodge which uses it for breeding fish for a catch-and-release program.

Suwannee Parks & Recreation

Once again, Florida springs protection fails in session

Published May 12, 2008
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Burt Saunders, R-Naples, called for a pilot project in Marion County to establish protection zones for Silver and Rainbow Springs. Creating the zones would lead to reductions in nitrogen from farms, sewage treatment plants and septic tanks.

The same thing has been pitched for Central Florida's Wekiva Springs and for Wakulla Springs. But efforts to begin a statewide springs-protection strategy have failed in the Legislature in recent years. And it happened again in the 2008 session

Water district to hold workshops on irrigation rules

Published 5/12/2008
The St. Johns River Water Management District will hold a series of public workshops to provide information about the proposed tightening of irrigation rules.

The rules will apply to all lawn and landscape irrigation, including agriculture, nurseries, golf courses and recreational areas not regulated by consumptive use permits.

A workshop in Jacksonville will be held July 1 at the Department of Environmental Protection on Baymeadows Way.

Other workshops will be held June 18 in Sanford, June 19 in Vero Beach and July 3 in Tavares.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Apalachicola Riverkeepers

Published May 10, 2008
Dozens came out to the first annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival at Tall Timbers in Tallahassee Saturday.

The festival was hosted by the Apalachicola Riverkeepers, an organization dedicated to protecting the waters of the Apalachicola River and Bay.

Organizers say the festival brings award winning films about how people can be environmentally conscious and protect the natural treasures of Florida.

Friday, May 09, 2008

New partnership to help protect Ichetucknee

Published 5/9/2008
A new group called The Ichetucknee Partnership will give one united voice to the many organizations that have been working to protect the Ichetucknee River and springs for years.

Stevenson, who has worked for more than a decade to protect the Ichetucknee, went before the Lake City - Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and "challenged" them to lead a united partnership to protect the Ichetucknee springshed, Johnson said.

A springshed is the surface area that contributes water to a spring. The Ichetucknee Springshed is approximately 384 square miles, with 93 percent of that in Columbia County, Johnson said.

It's time -- here come the manatees

Published 5/9/2008
Boaters on the Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers should be on the lookout for manatees because the end of winter is the start of manatees' migration around the state, said Karen Parker with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Most manatees congregate further south in areas like Crystal River, Parker said, but last year, there were reports of more sightings than usual on the Santa Fe River.

The drought last year also prevented the manatees from entering the Ichetucknee, where the water is warmer than the neighboring Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers, said Ichetucknee Park Services Specialist Sam Cole.

The drought caused the Santa Fe River to be lower than normal, preventing the manatees from crossing over a natural limerock ridge that separates the two rivers.

Local Governments Hear Feedback on Wakulla Springs

Published May 8, 2008
Area leaders in Tallahassee, Wakulla, and Leon County listened to feedback from residents regarding policies for the Primary Springs Protection Zone. The parties have been working for quite some time on recommendations to protect the springs and local groundwater.

Bob Scanlon with the Leon County Water Resource Advisory Committee spoke to area leaders. He said, "This is us being put on notice that our aquifer is stressed by the way we are currently managing waste water and storm water and that we have an opportunity to develop the techniques and the governmental structures that will improve that."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Georgia aims to defend drought plan against Florida's attacks

Published May 6, 2008
The director of the state Environmental Protection Division said Tuesday that the state is readying a response to Florida’s allegations that Georgia is using more than its fair share of water from the Chattahoochee River.

Michael Sole, secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, sent a letter last week to both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers condemning a proposal that would limit flows to the Apalachicola River, which begins at the Florida/Georgia border.

Sole criticized the plan that would help Georgia keep more drinking water during dry times in reservoirs such as Lake Lanier, calling the impact "potentially disastrous."

Archaeological Find Could Re-Write History Books

Published 06 May 2008
Our history books may be wrong. Archaeologists have found signs of stone-age humans who were not supposed to exist in Sarasota County's Little Salt Springs.

The springs act as a pre-historic time capsule because there is very little oxygen in the water to rot whatever falls in.

District's bucket of facts is leaky

Last modified 5/6/2008 (Letter to the Editor)
Interestingly, in a May 1 article titled "Florida fights Georgia water plan," it was reported that Florida is opposing Georgia's water withdrawal due to the adverse effect already seen in Apalachicola Bay.

The result of last year's Georgia experiment was increased salinity levels, which resulted in oyster kills throughout the bay.

This is precisely the same issue presented if millions of gallons of fresh water are taken out of the St. Johns River and piped to the uncontrollable and mismanaged growth of Seminole County.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Leon County residents get chance to weigh in on land-use changes

Published May 3, 2008
Two public hearings are scheduled this week on the new comprehensive plan cycle, which contains big changes because it coincides with a state-mandated land-use review process that comes around every seven years.

Proposed changes include the creation of enhanced regulations in Woodville to protect Wakulla Springs; more money spent on alternatives to car traffic in central Tallahassee; and enhanced neighborhood protections.

The public hearings are at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday at City Hall, 300 S. Adams St.

Less money meant more partisanship in legislative session

Published May 4, 2008
The Florida Forever land-buying program got $300 million with its ability to raise funds through bonding next year and the program was extended through 2020. Since 2000, Florida Forever purchased more than 535,000 acres of state parks and forests, water management district lands, wildlife and hunting preserves and a grants program for local parks.

The "Florida Springs Protection Act" died in a Senate committee.

On the River: Studying the St. Johns like Never Before

Published 5/2/2008
If thirsty Central Florida starts taking a bigger gulp out of the St. Johns River, it won't make the river more shallow here. What it will do is allow more seawater from the ocean to back up into the St. Johns.

So scientists are studying out how much seawater the river can take before it breaks.

Over the years, the water management district has studied this river intensively, committing more than $1 billion to the effort, according to the agency's figures. But they've done it with more of a monthly or a yearly timeframe.

Now, scientists are getting out to these study zones every single week, so they can figure out what happens to the vital sea grass. Each spring and summer until the study's finished in late 2009, teams like this will visit this study site near Mandarin and another area near the Shands Bridge every week.

The researchers will then compare changes they spot in the grasses and algae with changes they see in the salt levels of the water, which is measured at nearby bridges.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

County approves Wall Springs Park addition

Published May 2, 2008
County commissioners recently voted to purchase environmentally sensitive property adjacent to Wall Springs Park. They now hope the state will fund half the purchase price during a year when budget cuts have been in the forefront in Tallahassee.

The park is in Northern Pinellas, between Tarpon Springs and Palm Harbor, along Alt. 19.

At a County Commission meeting last week, interim County Administrator Fred Marquis told commissioners the four-and-a-half-acre parcel, adjacent to Wall Springs Park, south of Wai Lani Road, would cost $1.2 million.

More Info:
Wall Springs Park
3725 De Soto Blvd.,
Palm Harbor, FL 34683
Phone 727.943.4653

*During periods of high rainfall as much as 10.7 million gallons of water can flow from the spring in 1 day

*The average water flow is 2,917 gallons per minute or about 4.2 million gallons per day

*Swimming is not allowed.
Wall Springs Park

Friday, May 02, 2008

Wacissa River's friends try to keep it flowing

Published May 2, 2008
Best guess is that the Wacissa River is 1.8 million years old. "Sixteen springs in the upper stretch" feed the river, according to Tom Greenhalgh, a researcher with the Florida Geological Survey, which is part of Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The pristine river is home to a "tremendous concentration of wading birds," says Greenhalgh. Local residents and the occasional visitor know the river as a gentle meandering canoeist's delight, a quiet fishing paradise and a meeting spot for teens daring enough to use the big rope swing.

The river was free-flowing until 1850, when entrepreneurs built the historic Slave Canal. Then, in the 1930s, loggers and turpentiners erected a tram across the river, five miles downstream from the headwaters. The tram hauled logs and supplies for turpentine operations across the river. Loggers and turpentiners made their living there, until the timber they wanted was gone. The tram did not block the water of the river from flowing downstream, so local people left it in place.

Florida to feds: Don’t limit flows from Lanier

Published May 1, 2008
Calling the impact "potentially disastrous," Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Sole criticized the plan that would help Georgia keep more drinking water during dry times in reservoirs such as Lake Lanier.

The letter, addressed to both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers, outlined the effects of the plan on Florida’s ecosystem and the oyster industry that’s a large part of the economy in the area where the Apalachicola River empties into the bay.

In times of extreme drought, the plan would continue a temporary provision announced last fall allowing river flows to dip below the current minimum of 5,000 cubic feet per second at the Jim Woodruff Dam, near the Florida border. Under particularly wet conditions, it also allows for reservoirs such as Lake Lanier to keep up to 50 percent of their inflow instead of the current maximum of 30 percent.

Swimmable river will cost $450 million

Published 05/01/2008
Nearly 14,500 tons. Almost 29 million pounds. That’s how much nitrogen and phosphorus is pouring into the lower St. Johns River each year from wastewater treatment plants and stormwater runoff, according to figures from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The pollutants kill fish and other marine animals and vegetation, promote blooms of toxic algae and can even affect the health of people swimming or recreating in the water.

Now, after eight years of work, the DEP is about to finalize a plan requiring at least $450 million in expenditures by Northeast Florida utilities, governments and others to reduce their total nutrient discharge by about 26 percent. Some estimate the true costs at more than $1 billion.

Seminole State Forest plans rare public event

Published May 01, 2008
Outdoor enthusiasts have a rare opportunity Saturday to tour Seminole State Forest, a sprawling 12,000-acre property filled with springs, streams and wildlife.

Participants can fish in Bear Pond, take a hayride, learn safe boating techniques and hike one mile of the Florida National Scenic Trail. Exhibits on wildlife and prescribed fires and K-9 demonstrations also are planned.

At least 11 springs have been found in the forest, including Blueberry Spring, Snail Spring and Palm Spring.

Saturday's event is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the forest wildlife management area off State Road 46, north of Sanford. The forest is across the Wekiva River in Lake County. Space is limited, so register in advance by calling Seminole State Forest 352-360-6675.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Volunteers wanted for Rainbow River cleanup

Published April 30, 2008
Volunteers are needed to help clean up the Rainbow River on May 17.

Volunteers will meet at the Rio Vista Beach Park just north of Dunnellon starting at 9 a.m. and work different areas of the river in boats, kayaks and canoes. Directions to the park are available at: http://www.RainbowRiverConservation.com

Anyone interested in volunteering should call Jerry Rogers at 352-489-4648 for coordination and planning so that organizers can order sufficient food and beverages.

Tallahassee's New Water Reuse Facility

Published Apr 30, 2008
It's been ten years in the making and Wednesday marks the official opening of the first water reuse project in the region.

The 1.2 million gallon per day plant will conserve drinking water in the Floridan Aquifer and preserve area ecosystems.

Mayor Marks said, "This reclaimed water will not negatively impact for instance Wakulla Springs, and it's a very good way to reclaim or reuse water or treat water so we continue to protect our environment."