My Flickr Photos of Springs

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flood-related restrictions lifted on part of Suwannee

Published April 28, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun
Water fell below 47 feet at Ellaville, prompting officials to life restrictions in Zone 1 of the river from the U.S. 90 Bridge at Ellaville south to the State Road 51 Bridge at Luraville, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported.

Florida Forever killed

Published April 28, 2009 - Pensacola News Journal
Florida Forever suffered a fatal blow Tuesday as presiding officers agreed not to fund the largest environmental land-buying program in the nation this year.

An Audubon of Florida lobbyist said GOP House leaders were taking retribution against House lawmakers and environmentalists who opposed their plans to lift Florida’s ban on offshore drilling.

The $14.8 million needed to complete the deepening of the St. Johns River to allow larger ships to call on the Port of Jacksonville is available throu

Published April 28, 2009 - Jacksonville Business Journal
The $14.8 million needed to complete the deepening of the St. Johns River to allow larger ships to call on the Port of Jacksonville is available through the federal stimulus package.

The Corps also received about $150,000 to study altering the water flow where the St. Johns River and Intracoastal Waterway meet. Ships are limited to crossing the waterway just twice a day because the tidal pull causes choppy waters. It will cost about $60 million to widen the Intracoastal’s inlet so that the force of the stream doesn’t disrupt ship routes. The Corps is also looking at the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project.

Should we tap our rivers to slack the region's thirst?

Published April 28, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun
The board's decision was not reached lightly. The process took nearly five years, and district staff spent more than three of those years evaluating the potential impacts of the withdrawal. Ultimately, district staff recommended approval of a permit because the allocation will not cause harm to the river.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Economic Benefits of Land Conservation - A Case for Florida Forever

Published 2009
I received an email awhile ago about this report but forgot to post an entry about it. Sorry for the delay.

http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/florida/files/economic_benefits_of_land_conservation.pdf (2.5 MB PDF)

S. Fulton reservoir proposal criticized

Published April 28, 2009 - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Florida doesn’t like it either, because the 440-acre reservoir would stick another straw in the Chattahoochee River. In a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which would have to OK the project, Florida raised concerns about the biological and economic impact of reduced water flows into the Apalachicola River and Bay.

In the meantime, the South Fulton Municipal Regional Water & Sewer Authority, which includes the city of Palmetto, hopes to get a needed permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The public comment period ends May 18.

Florida House OKs St. Johns River Tag

Posted April 28, 2009 - News4Jax.com
Legislation creating a "St. Johns River" specialty license plate passed by the Florida House of Representatives Monday.

"The St. Johns River passes through 13 counties on its way to Mayport and the ocean. Approximately 15 percent of Florida's population lives in counties touching the river," Ray said in a statement. "The river is an important part of our communities. Now we have the chance to help the river and show our support daily on a license plate."

Proceeds from the St. Johns River tag would benefit the St. Johns River Alliance Inc.

Boating restrictions due to flooding could be lifted later this week

Published April 28, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun
Flooding is subsiding along parts of the Suwannee River with talk of boating restrictions being lifted later this week or in early May.

Boating restrictions on the river's five zones remain in place, and officials are still urging boaters to stay off the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers until conditions improve.

Seven state parks remain closed due to flooding

Published April 27, 2009 - NewsHerald.com
Partial List of state park closures (ones with Springs) include:
Lafayette Blue Springs State Park
Madison Blue Springs State Park
Manatee Springs State Park
Peacock Springs State Park

Parks experiencing partial closures:
Fanning Springs State Park
Ichetucknee Springs State Park in Ft. White - River is closed to tubing until further notice.
Troy Springs State Park in Branford - Closed to swimming and diving until further notice.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Springs Bill / Everglades and Forever Funding

Springs Bill/ SB 274
The Florida Springs Protection Act requires the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt a priority list of first and second magnitude springs, and designates all counties and cities with first or second magnitude springs within their jurisdiction as spring protection zones. The bill establishes requirements for spring protection zones for domestic wastewater discharge and wastewater residual application, onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems in specified areas, agricultural operations, animal feeding operations, and stormwater systems.

Everglades and Florida Forever Funding/SB 2430
The Florida State Senate has proposed to raise funds for Everglades restoration and the Florida Forever program by closing a tax loophole that allows corporations to avoid real-estate taxes. A recent amendment to a Senate Bill eliminating the tax loophole provides for $100 million dollars in bonding for environmental projects: $50 million for the Everglades and $50 for Florida Forever. As currently drafted, $10 million is appropriated to bond the $100 million, plus funds for paying debt service. However, it should be noted that the underlying bill which eliminates a significant tax loophole is likely to remain controversial as it could be interpreted as increasing taxes. The bill provides that it is the Legislature’s intent to reverse the Florida Supreme Court’s Crescent opinion [Crescent Miami Center, LLC v. Florida Department of Revenue, 903 So.2d 913 (Fla. 2005)] relating to the application of the excise tax on documents to certain real-estate transactions and allowing a tax loophole. The court decision eliminates stamp tax when a single member LLC owning real property sells its membership interest to an unrelated party. A deed may be recorded after a merger without payment of the tax. The resulting loophole created widespread structuring of real property transfers to avoid the stamp tax and has reduced the importance of a significant revenue source for the State.

Florida's top spots for family camping

Posted 4/26/09 - Miami Herald
Two of the places mentioned are places next to Springs

Blue Spring State Park, Orange City
Site of the largest spring on the St. Johns River, this area was once inhabited by American Indians, and in 1766, was home to botanist John Bartram. The spring's gin-clear 73-degree water is a haven for swimmers, snorkelers, scuba divers. In winter months, it's a refuge for the West Indian Manatee, which means the spring is closed Nov. 15 through March 1. But visitors can still fish, boat and canoe the St. Johns. Camping, $20. 386-775-3663; http://www.floridastateparks.org/bluespring

Silver River State Park, Ocala
Next door to the Silver Springs and Wild Waters theme parks, home of the famous glass-bottom boat tours. You can spend your first day at this classic Florida tourist attraction and then head out on your own to paddle the Silver River. The state park also has a pioneer cracker village and the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center, which is open on weekends and holidays. You can also hike or ride one of the park's many nature trails. Camping, $21. 352-236-2121; http://www.floridastateparks.org/silverriver


Springs legislation could soak county

Published April 26, 2009 - Ocala Star-Banner
There is no question that Marion County would be a prime candidate - if not ground zero - for any state springs protection initiative. Marion, after all, is home to three of the 33 biggest springs in Florida, and almost the entire county is considered a springshed.

A new county staff analysis of the Florida Springs Protection Act (SB 274), the key springs legislation winding through the Legislature, estimates the county would spend more than $1 billion to comply with just one part.

The measure's main provisions would designate all counties, such as Marion, and municipalities that have a first- or second-magnitude spring as spring protection.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lake Front Radio Interviews Army Corps of Engineers-Chief Park Ranger Michael Lapina

Aired 25 April 2008
History of the Corps of Engineers, current and new regulations in place on Lake Lanier and what the Corps wants everyone to know when it comes to Lake Lanier Lanier ownership and recreation on this lake. Hear how the Corps want you to view "Corps of Engineers Property"

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another permit filed to take water from Lilly Springs

Published 4/24/09 - High Springs Herald
Blue Springs is located near Rum Island and its owners had been trying for years to build a bottled water plant, but Gilchrist County would never OK the needed permits, which in turn prompted the water district to revoke a permit that would have allowed up to a half a million gallons of water a day to be drawn from the springs.

Shortly after, on Friday, April 16, the water district received an application concerning Lilly Springs, a spring located within two miles of Blue Springs.

The wells would be located both in the upper aquifer and in the deep aquifer to assure that water can be withdrawn during different hydrological conditions, according to the application.

Ecologists try to save the springs

Published April 24, 2009 - The Famuan
Florida A&M University ecologists are trying to eradicate a harmful parasitic plant at the popular Wakulla Springs tourist attraction.

Williams and his colleague, Rana Athar, are attempting to rid the springs of an unnaturally induced parasitic plant, hydrilla.

He and Athar have tried to kill the invasive plant by identifying bacteria that are present before and after the hydrilla plant blooms.

Desalination: In our future, but no silver bullet for cure

Published Apr. 24, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
With one desalination plant operating in Tampa Bay and another in the works for Flagler County, the practice of turning seawater into fresh drinking water is drawing increasing attention. And this week, the St. Johns River Water Management District declared that a desalination plant has an almost-certain future in Jacksonville, too.

Most wastewater in Jacksonville is dumped into the St. Johns River, unlike in other parts of the state where more wastewater is reused.

Today, even at full operation, (The Tampa Bay plant) is producing between 16 million and 20 million gallons a day, below its 25-million- gallons-a-day capacity.

Flooding along Suwannee expected for another week

Published April 24, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun
Flooding along the Suwannee River is expected to last another week to 10 days, according to the experts on rivers across the Southeast.

Among the river experts is Brett Whitin, a civil engineer for the Southeast River Forecast Center of the National Weather Service. Based on monitors located along Florida's rivers, Whitin said the Suwannee should be back within its banks by early May.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lincoln High School's water project aims to alleviate local pollution

Published April 22, 2009 - Tallahassee Democrat
A barren stretch of land tucked in the rear of Lincoln High School's campus has been transformed into the state's first storm water treatment facility at a public school.

A retention pond will collect runoff generated from the school. And the efforts will help alleviate water pollution to Lake Lafayette in eastern Tallahassee and Wakulla Springs, said Sean McGlynn, a water-quality specialist who teamed up with Lincoln teacher Elizabeth Spike on the idea.

Salt Springs Classic Kayak Race is May 9

Published In Print: April 21, 2009 - St. Petersburg Times
The Third Annual Salt Springs Classic Kayak Race and Fun Paddle sponsored by the Salt Springs Alliance will be May 9 at the Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park and the Cotee River Seafood Festival.

For more information, call (727) 816-1890 or visit http://www.saltspringsalliance.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cave divers explore deepest parts of Weeki Wachee Springs

Published In Print: April 20, 2009 - St. Petersburg Times
On Saturday, Hemphill and a team of divers from his Tampa nonprofit company, Karst Underwater Research, returned to the spring to continue their exploration of the underwater cave system. As with the previous dives, drought conditions once again made it possible for divers to access the narrow crevices leading to the deepest parts into the spring.

Researchers think the Weeki Wachee caves are connected to another system known as Twin Dees Spring, about a half mile from the attraction. Divers have previously tracked more than 2,000 feet of passages at about 300 feet deep in some places.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Despite fight, St. Johns River faces pumping

Published April 18, 2009 - West Volusia News
District officials warned Seminole and other utilities to wean themselves off the dwindling supply of fresh groundwater. The district wanted Seminole to expand its ability to reuse treated wastewater for lawn irrigation.

District staff first recommended approving the permit last February, but the city of Jacksonville, St. Johns County and a river advocacy group called the St. Johns Riverkeeper asked for review by a state hearing judge. The judge, based on testimony from consultants for the district and Seminole County at a hearing last fall, recommended approving the permit. The judge concluded the county could pull an average of 5.5 million gallons of water a day with no perceptible harm. The district estimates that's about one quarter of 1 percent of the river's total flow at that point, about two miles north of Lake Monroe.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

An open letter from the St. Johns River Water Management District

Published April 17, 2009 - Ponte Vedra Recorder
On April 13, the District’s Governing Board approved a permit for Seminole County to withdraw water from the St. Johns River to augment its reclaimed water system and to supplement its drinkable groundwater supply. In using limited supplies of water from the St. Johns River, Seminole County will join the city of Melbourne, which has been using water from the river for nearly 50 years to meet public water supply needs. In addition, industry has used water at various locations along the river, with the largest uses in Duval County.

The Board’s decision was not reached lightly. The process took nearly five years, and District staff spent more than three of those years evaluating the potential impacts of the withdrawal. Ultimately, District staff recommended approval of a permit because the allocation will not cause harm to the river.

Keep Florida beautiful

Published 4/17/09 - The Voyager
Florida Forever, defined on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Web site as “Florida’s conservation and recreation lands acquisition program, a blueprint for conserving our natural resources and renewing our commitment to conserve our natural and cultural heritage,” is looking at an untimely death. The Florida House and Senate budget writers have snapped the bear trap on the program, allocating zero funding to the program thus far in the budget-writing process, but proponent Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, is in favor of reallocating funds that would go to a CSX commuter rail project to “Florida Forever,” but this initiative may face too much flack and lose momentum.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Santa Fe flows over banks at Fort White

Published April 15, 2009 - Lake City Reporter
The Santa Fe River flowed out of its banks and began inching into the picnic pavilions Tuesday morning in a park on the Gilchrist County side of the river at the State Road 47 bridge.

For more information about the flood zones, please call (386) 758-0525. To report violations, please call (888) 404-3922.

To obtain real-time river level information, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com.

Tom Hoctor: Florida Forever, an essential investment

Published April 15, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun (Opinion)
The Florida Legislature needs to realize that environmental protection is not something that you only fund when economic times are good. Florida Forever protects services and values that we should not take for granted, and is an extremely wise and strategic use of our public dollars. Environmental protection is a core, essential value that supports a viable and sustainable economic future.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

District OKs St. Johns River pumping

Published April 14, 2009 - Ocala.com
Despite pleas from dozens of people opposed to a controversial plan by Seminole County to siphon water from the St. Johns River, a state water board granted its request Monday , leaving many in Marion County fearing their local rivers could be tapped next.

The district's staff said the withdrawal would lower the St. Johns River by only 0.01 inches. The river has an average flow of about 2 billion gallons per day.

Water restrictions lead to big usage cuts in Tampa Bay area

Published April 14, 2009 - St. Petersburg Times
During the first week of the region's tightest-ever water restrictions, the Tampa Bay area cut back its water use by about 126 million gallons.

In Tampa, which relies largely on the Hillsborough River for water, the savings was more than 51 million gallons for the week of April 3-9, compared with the seven previous days.

Seminole wins right to take St. Johns water

Published April 14, 2009 - The St. Augustine Record
The St. Johns Water Management Governing Board voted 5-4 Monday night approving a permit to allow Seminole County to draw as much as 5.5 million gallons a day from the river as part of a 20-year plan.

Though the cap is set at 5.5 million gallons a day, opponents argue that the limit can be changed when the agreement is reviewed in 2013.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Florida’s Blue Spring State Park

Published 4/9/09
Blue Spring State Park. This park has two sides to it - in the summer people cool off in the crisp spring water and SCUBA dive and snorkel in the 120-foot deep natural spring; in the winter swimming is prohibited so that the endangered West Indian Manatee can take refuge in the warm 72 degree spring water, so people stay on the boardwalks and oogle the manatees. Blue Spring is the largest spring on the St. John’s River and was once home to Native Americans. Now it’s a recreation hot spot year-round and I’ve heard it often closes on weekends when it reaches capacity. It wasn’t crowded at all when we visited , but I can’t imagine Monday mornings are busy anywhere. It costs $5 to park and you need to have cash for the parking lot attendant.

Rain-soaked rivers rising

Published April 14, 2009 - Lake City Reporter
Rising floodwaters of the Ichetucknee, Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers continue to swell out of banks, lap-up property and force local homeowners living along the rivers to seek higher ground.

Flood waters from the Suwannee River are backing up the Santa Fe River’s flow, which in turn has backed up the Ichetucknee River.

Program would pay farmers not to sell land to developers

Published Apr. 13, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union.
The family’s 400 acres in western St. Johns County is a top pick for a long-delayed state program to protect farms in high-growth areas by paying the farmers to surrender their development rights.

Gov. Charlie Crist and the state Cabinet could vote this month on a package of land preservation deals that would let state forestry officials begin negotiating for those rights.

Storms, flooding in forecast

Published April 13, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun
The commission has labeled the Santa Fe River and the Suwannee River from Ellaville to the Gulf of Mexico as an idle-speed, no-wake zone because of the flooding. At Fanning Springs, the last area to be designated as idle-speed, no-wake, the river level reached nine feet Sunday and is expected to reach a flood stage of 11 feet within a few days.

DOT has an information hotline on road closures at 888-558-1518. Additional information about flood levels is available at http://www.srwmd.state.fl.us/index.asp?nid=253

Monday, April 13, 2009

Florida Forever's future uncertain

Published April 12, 2009 - Tallahassee Democrat
Sen. Paula Dockery, a veteran Republican from Lakeland considered to be the "mother" of Florida Forever, has a plan to rescue the largest environmental land-buy program in the nation from budget cuts.

In Leon County, it has targeted 16,681 acres for preservation, with 13,122 remaining. The still-to-be-done projects include Millstone Plantation and the Wakulla Springs Protection Zone.

Robert Knight: Now is the time to save Florida's springs

Published April 12, 2009 - Gainesville Sun
Springs protection is not just about protecting fish and wildlife habitat and popular crystal clear swimming holes from overgrowth by filamentous algae - it is mostly about protecting our underground aquifer.

...nitrate nitrogen concentrations in the Floridan aquifer are about 10 to 20 parts per billion (ppb). In Silver and Rainbow springs the groundwater contains from 1,200 to 1,800 ppb of nitrate (elevated over the natural background by more than 6,000%). In Fanning Springs, located between the Suwannee River and a large agricultural area dominated by massive center-pivot crop circles and dairy farms, the average nitrate concentration is over 7,000 ppb - an increase of about 35,000% above the historic aquifer nitrate concentration.

The human health standard for nitrate nitrogen in drinking water in Florida is 10,000 ppb.

DEP State Park Closures and Re-openings

Published Apr 12, 2009 - WCTV
Fourteen of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s state parks are experiencing closures today after severe weather recently caused flooding. These are temporary closures and services will resume once conditions allow.

Fanning Springs State Park
*Closed to swimming until further notice. The cabins and park remain open for day use visitors.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park
*Park remains open but visitors can expect extended tubing float times, up to three hours from midpoint to last take-out point.

Madison Blue Springs State Park
*Closed until further notice.

Lafayette Blue Springs State Park
*Closed until further notice.

Manatee Springs State Park
*River and spring access closed to swimmers, divers and vessels. The park remains open for camping and day use visitors, but anticipates closing as of sunset today.

Peacock Springs State Park
*Closed visitors until further notice.

Troy Springs State Park
*Closed to swimming and diving until further notice. The park remains open for day use visitors.

Florida Caverns State Park
*Campground, cave tours, the Blue Hole use area, and the Hickory picnic area are closed. Anticipated to re-open Monday, April 13. The visitor center is open for day use.

For additional information on flood conditions, visit http://www.FloridaDisaster.org

Sunday, April 12, 2009

40-Year-Old Sinkhole Finally Getting Filled

Published April 11, 2009 - Central Florida News 13
The sinkhole at the Maitland Boulevard Interchange was present when they first built Interstate 4 in the early 60s, and it hasn't done much of anything in over 40 years, but it is big -- over 300 feet across, about the same size as the famous Winter Park sinkhole that opened in early May 1981. That sinkhole swallowed a house, some cars, a city swimming pool, part of Denning Avenue and garnered worldwide attention.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Weeki Wachee Spring State Park initiates new programs

Published April 10, 2009 - Hernando Today
The volunteer program is vital to the park's future success and the volunteers have all commented on how they have taken ownership of the park and how they want to do their part to assist.

In addition, a nonprofit organization called the "Friends of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park" is nearly complete. A steering committee has been established for this organization and in May will appoint a board and accept members. This organization also plays a critical role in the success of a state park. It will aid in the development of additional resources by raising funds and receiving grants by providing additional equipment, buildings and programs specifically for Weeki Wachee Springs.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Weeki Wachee gets new grass

Published April 9, 2009 - Hernando Today
On Thursday, divers were at Buccaneer Bay replacing some of the "eel grass" chewed up and swallowed by those hippo-sized river dwellers.

Four of them were hovering along the bottom of the river at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park as divers planted the grass along the shore. A newly installed metal fence will keep the plants protected from the manatees during the next 12 months, said Veronica Crah, an environmental manager with the Southwest Florida Water Management District, also known as Swiftmud.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Poe Springs fee takes a paddling

Published April 6, 2009 - Gainesville Sun
Poe Springs, on the Santa Fe River near High Springs, was bought in 1985 and opened to the public in 1992.

The county had contracted with the YMCA to run it but in November narrowly voted to contract with a private company, Nature Quest of Lake City, to manage the park and try to make it self-sufficient without the need for county funding.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

400 protest Niagara

Published April 05, 2009 - The Daily Commercial
Located in Lake David Park in downtown Groveland, officials told the crowd that the excessive water demand would take from the amount allotted for other businesses and potentially cost the area hundreds of jobs.

"There's just not that much water to go around," Mayor Richard Smith said.

Niagara has asked the St. Johns River Water Management District to withdraw 484,000 gallons per day from the Florida Aquifer for 20 years.

Budget ax poised to fall

Published April 5, 2009 - PNJ.com
"Florida Forever," the state's celebrated $300-million-a-year environmental land-preservation program, is now Florida "whenever," zeroed out after its funding source fell off a proverbial cliff.

Locals wait for rivers to recede

Published April 04, 2009 - The News Herald
Emergency Officials in four local counties reported that it will probably take about a week for the Choctawhatchee River to recede and for those who evacuated to get back home. However, with another inch of rain expected on Sunday, the situation could get worse before it gets better, local officials warned.

The rivers in Calhoun County still have not crested, Emergency Management Coordinator Angie Smith said Saturday afternoon. The Chipola was expected to crest at 6 p.m. Saturday night and the Apalachicola will crest on Monday, Smith added.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Levy Blue Spring (Levy County, FL)

Also known locally as Bronson Blue Springs
4550 NE 94th Place
Bronson, FL 32621
(352) 486-3303

Directions:From Bronson, Florida, take U.S. 27-Alt (Hathaway Avenue) west toward Chiefland, turn left on CR 339-A (about 2 miles outside of town), travel 2.2 miles south to the end. Blue Spring is at the end of the road, Devil's Hammock access is right before the park gate. Turn left on that access road to find Little Blue Spring.

Picture taken Apr 3, 2009


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Three Sisters Springs (Citrus County)

More info and pictures to come

Pictures were taken 3/23/09

Kayaks & Beyond
1326 SE Highway 19
Crystal River, FL 34429

Folks Stacking Sandbags And Watching Water Rise

Published Apr 1, 2009 - WCTV
Elmer Leek is worried about the rains and says, "It backs the water table up and if you'll notice if you got a sinkhole around you, the sinkhole starts overflowing. Then it comes up in Wakulla Springs and it pollutes Wakulla Springs."

Apalachicola And Chipola Rivers Continue To Rise

Published 03/31/09 - WMBB News
Early Tuesday morning, the Apalachicola River stood at 21.86 feet with that number continuing to rise.

The Calhoun County EOC is also concerned about the Chipola River. As of 10:00 a.m. this morning, it’s water level was at 21.4 feet. It only needs to be at 24 feet before it starts affecting homes.