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Monday, March 30, 2009

Trying to survive, Silver Springs seeks new crowd

Published March 29, 2009 - Star-Banner
In its effort to attract new faces in turbulent times, Silver Springs this year added classic rock acts to its series of traditional country concerts that are popular with its base of season-ticket holders.

The land itself is owned by the state, and the park grounds have seen many owners over the decades, including ABC. The park now is operated by Palace Entertainment, which operates more than 30 water and theme parks across the country, and itself is owned by Madrid-based Parques Reunidos.
Source

Wakulla Springs isn't as clear as it used to be, but musical tour guides carry on

Published March 29, 2009 - St. Petersburg Times
On days when the water is crystal clear — a rarity now — he takes visitors on a bonus tour. He welcomes them into a glass-bottomed boat and shows them Wakulla Springs, the largest, deepest and most powerful spring in North America, where 600,000 gallons of water rise from the earth every minute. He points out the caves, the eel grass, the largemouth bass.

Gavin, 56, is incapable of lecturing like an academic. He more or less sings about what he is seeing. That's the way they have done it here for going on 80 years.
Source

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Econfina update: Springs need continued care

Published March 27, 2009 - NewsHerald.com
The Genesis Group, an environmental planning and engineering company with a Tallahassee office, is involved with the Pitts Spring project. The downside, said company President Mark Llewellyn, is that the area will be closed to the public for about a year. Work will start in October if bidding and permitting is finished by then.

Plans include removing the stone wall that now borders Pitts Spring and creating a new landscape that controls erosion and runoff. There also will be new landscaping for a trail to nearby Sylvan Spring, separate trails for canoe-launch and tubing areas, elevated walkways with handicap access, and restrooms with composting toilets that don't discharge into the springs.
Source

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wekiwa Springs' survival pits the unpalatable vs. the unthinkable

Published March 26, 2009 - Orlando Sentinel
Along with 55,000 other people who live in the Wekiwa Springs drainage basin, I have a septic tank. Our buried concrete boxes dump nutrient-laced wastewater into the same aquifer that feeds Wekiwa.

I also understand that septic waste is by no means the only threat to Wekiwa. Fertilizer could be just as bad. But the state does nothing about that, even though we could require that only eco-friendly fertilizer be sold in Florida.
Source (Google Cache)

Warm Mineral Springs - Public Meeting

The request is that you attend a meeting with THE CITY OF NORTH PORT on
Friday, March 27th, 2009 at 1pm at City Hall, 4970 City Hall Boulevard,
North Port, Florida 34286, located just off of Sumter Blvd. and just past
Price Blvd.

Source: Friend gave me this info via email.
Agenda

Proposal (PDF)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Down days ahead?

Published March 25, 2009 - Lake City Reporter
Closing 58 Florida state parks for two or three days every week would save the state more than $2.2 million in the fiscal year 2009-10, which begins on Oct. 1, according to Amy Graham, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Source

Put the public before the pirates

Published March 25, 2009 - Ocala Star-Banner
A three-judge panel of the 5th DCA last week upheld their own earlier 2-1 ruling that will allow water miners to pump 499,000 gallons of water a day, or 182 million gallons a year, from Black Sink Prairie, just south of Citra.

...state law allows St. Johns to issue the consumptive use permit required for the water miners to pump our aquifer for bottling, and no county ordinance can keep the tap closed.

"[T]he district has approved a permit that allows a private landowner to tap into the Floridan Aquifer, in Marion County, Florida, and withdraw almost 500,000 gallons of water per day, for 20 years into the future, for bottling and shipping elsewhere, with no consideration of how this use of an extraordinarily valuable and limited state resource will impact the citizens of Marion County, all of Florida, or our state's other natural resources in the future."
Source

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ocklawaha River: Insult Upon Injury

Published March 24, 2009 - The Ledger (Opinion)
...a proposal by a Fort McCoy campground to build a 400-slip marina and three-quarter-mile-long boardwalk along the shores of the Rodman Reservoir.

The Ocklawaha River, and by extension the Rodman, is without argument one of Florida's most important sources of future water supply. With that said, and with so much official and citizen opposition, and so much ecological and historical risk evident, we have to wonder why this proposal is being given serious consideration.
Source

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Protecting land and water is good for business

Published 03.23.09 - Miami Herald
The value of our investment in land conservation is clear: Many of Florida's key industries depend on healthy natural resources. Florida Forever is the foundation of the state's investment in environmental and economic sustainability. The Nature Conservancy's new report -- ''Economic Benefits of Land Conservation: A Case for Florida Forever'' (found at http://www.nature.org/florida) -- offers a look into why it pays to invest in the protection of our lands and waters.
Source

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Riverkeeper Receives $150,000 from Weavers

Published 3/17/2009 - firstcoastnews.com.
The Weavers pledged $150,000 if the Riverkeeper could raise $300,000.

Eight months later and the goal has been accomplished, enabling the Riverkeeper to legally challenge plans in Central Florida to withdraw millions of gallons a day from the river.
Source

Monday, March 16, 2009

Save Our Aquifer Meeting

Location: Cocoa Public Library, 308 Forest Avenue
Date: Monday, March 16th from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Meeting Room #3 (near the circulation desk)

Now is your chance to get involved and volunteer for a local campaign to promote awareness about the City's plans to inject partially treated sewage water into the Underground Source of Drinking Water (USDW). Save Our Aquifer is looking for volunteers to finish the door to door campaign. Save Our Aquifer will provide you with all the information needed to help finish the door to door petition drive.

Save Our Aquifer, Inc.
www.saveouraquifer.org
info@saveouraquifer.org
321-636-2229
P.O. Box 251
Cocoa, Fla. 32923
Source

County hopes the public will dive into new watering rules

Published Mar. 15, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
New watering rules took effect Mar. 8 across Northeast Florida as the St. Johns River Water Management District presses to conserve water and protect the region's aquifer.

That conservation could be critical to avoiding the shortages of ground water the management district forecasts as the region grows during the next 20 years.
Source

St. Johns cleanup Saturday, March 21

Published Mar. 15, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
Clay County will have three volunteer staging sites for next weekend's St. Johns River Celebration, a one-day cleanup of the St. Johns River and its major tributaries.

The annual event is 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 21. The Clay staging sites are on Fleming Island and in Green Cove Springs and Middleburg, according to a news release from the Clay County Environmental Services Department.
Source

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Who gets aquifer access? Answer is telling

Published March 11, 2009 - Orlando Sentinel (Opinion)
Sooner or later, Lake County commissioners were bound to give up the fight against Niagara Bottling LLC, the California company that wants to sell enough water from Florida's aquifer to supply more than 3,000 residents a day.

After all, if a district can hand out water for a private company to make money, then there must be plenty, despite the district's moaning to the contrary and new water restrictions that took effect on Sunday.
Source

Monday, March 09, 2009

Our famous springs need this water bill

Published In Print: Sunday, March 8, 2009 - St. Petersburg Times
In 2004, lawmakers boldly agreed to protect the Wekiva River system, voting that the Wekiva and "its associated springshed areas are of irreplaceable value to the quality of life and well-being of the people of the State of Florida" and that the "protection of the surface and groundwater resources, including recharge within the springshed that provides for the Wekiva River System, is crucial to the long-term viability of the Wekiva River and springs and the central Florida region's water supply."

Since then not a single additional spring or spring-fed ecosystem has been protected by legislative consensus. Though bills have been introduced each of the past three years, not one has made it to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote.
Source

Friday, March 06, 2009

Celebrating the History of the St. Johns River

Published 3/4/2009 - First Coast News
Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton has designated March as "St. Johns River Month." There will be celebrations all month long surrounding the river.

Jimmy Orth, the Executive Director of the St. Johns Riverkeeper, believes the river is a natural resource. It is the longest river in Florida, at 310 miles.

He also says the St. Johns River is considered one of the laziest rivers because "from its beginning to its end, it drops less than 30 feet. " This means the river has a very slow flow which is the reason it doesn't flush pollutants efficiently. The pollutants stay in the river longer before they go into the ocean.
Source

Water managers reschedule hearing on taking water from St. Johns

Published Mar 4, 2009 - The DeLand-Deltona Beacon
The meeting is now scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday, April 13, to consider issuing a permit to Seminole County to withdraw surface water from a plant at Yankee Lake on the St. Johns River. The water would be used for public supply and to augment reclaimed water supplies.
Source

Environment Provides Florida Huge Economic Benefits

Published March 4, 2009 - The Nature Conservancy
“By investing in Florida Forever and ensuring that our ecosystems remain healthy and functioning, Florida’s policy-makers can ensure that future generations inherit the ‘life support systems’ that are the foundation of Florida’s quality of life and economic prosperity,” said Jeff Danter, The Nature Conservancy’s Florida director.
Source

Growing Concern for Florida Farms

Published March 2009 - Senior Times Magazine
According to the C.A.R.E.S. Web site, the program recognizes producers who use Best Management Practices, or BMPs, which conserve Florida's natural resources and protect the land with the use of environmentally safe farming practices. The C.A.R.E.S. program began in the Suwannee River area, but has spread to farms in the Santa Fe and Indian rivers' basins. With help from the Florida Department of Agricultural, other public agricultural associations, individual farmers and local communities, the program can definitely make an impact on environmental protection and awareness, Walmsley said.
Source

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Florida Governor Proposes 6-Cent-A-Gallon Tax On Water Bottlers

Published In Print: March 2, 2009 St. Petersburg Times
Every day, Nestle Waters of North America sucks up an estimated 500,000 gallons from Madison Blue Springs, a limestone basin a mile north of town. It pipes the 70-degree water to its massive bottling plant and distribution center, fills 102,000 plastic containers an hour, pastes on Deer Park or Zephyrhills labels, boxes it up and ships half of it out of state.

The cost to the company for the water: a one-time $150 local water permit. Like 22 other bottled water companies in Florida, including giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co., Nestle's profit is 10 to 100 times the cost of each bottle.

The DEP estimates the fee would apply to about 5.4 million gallons a day — the amount it believes is pumped from state springs and aquifers by bottlers from Coca-Cola's Dasani to Publix. The estimate does not include water taken from municipal water supplies.
Source