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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Best places to go: Mayport and the mouth of the St. John's River

Published August 29, 2009 - Jacksonville Boating
One of the most popular boating sports in Jacksonville is at the mouth of the St. Johns River. Nestled between Hugeunot Park and Mayport, this location offers fishing and sightseeing, but it is not for the novice boater.

The best way to get on the river is at the public boat ramp located near the Coast Guard base. This very large, free ramp is always busy and sits on the south side of the river.
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Don't trash environment to save budget, Peyton says

Published August 29, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
Despite bad financial times, Jacksonville can't afford to backtrack on environmental protection, Mayor John Peyton told the audience at an environmental conference Friday.

Peyton urged hundreds of people at the city-sponsored meeting to tell City Council members they support ongoing city projects to reduce pollution entering the St. Johns River from unmanaged stormwater, failed septic tanks and excess fertilizer washed off lawns.
Source

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wakulla River Manatee Observation Trip

Published August 21, 2009 - Tallahassee Democrat
Meet at TnT to be shuttled to the Upper Bridge and paddle to St. Marks with certified Green Guide to observe the manatees in the Wakulla River. $45, includes kayak rental. Reservations required. TnT Hideaway, 6527 Coastal Highway, Crawfordville. 925-6412.
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Land swap helps St. Johns River stay wild

Published August 21, 2009 - Orlando Sentinel
Public agencies had already acquired all but 1 1/2 miles of St. Johns River shoreline between State Road 50 at the east end of Orange County and S.R. 46 at the east end of Seminole County in an effort that began with the purchase of a ranch back in 1981.

Now, the missing 1 1/2 -mile-long piece of shoreline is about to be acquired by the St. Johns River Water Management District through a property swap with the Clonts family, longtime ranchers in the area.

Protecting such a large swath of land along the St. Johns River serves several purposes. The natural landscape of marsh and forested swamp sponges up floodwaters that regularly surge down the river. Those wetlands also cleanse waters flowing downstream and provide habitat for varied wildlife, from bears to bald eagles.
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Wakulla River Manatee Observation Trip

Published August 21, 2009 - Tallahassee Democrat
Meet at TnT to be shuttled to the Upper Bridge and paddle to St. Marks with certified Green Guide to observe the manatees in the Wakulla River. $45, includes kayak rental. Reservations required. TnT Hideaway, 6527 Coastal Highway, Crawfordville. 925-6412.
Source

Water negotiator 'guardedly' upbeat about deal

Published August 21, 2009 - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia Power President Michael Garrett, chosen by Gov. Sonny Perdue to end the Southeastern water war, said Thursday he’s “guardedly optimistic” that a water-sharing deal between Georgia and Alabama can be reached by year’s end despite nearly two decades of fruitless efforts.

Garrett, who worked for Alabama Power for more than a decade, has reviewed water war negotiations between Alabama and Georgia that almost came to fruition in 2003 and 2007. Two sticking points then and now: water flows at the Georgia-Alabama line; and lake levels, during drought and non-drought times, at the seven reservoirs Alabama Power owns along the Tallapoosa River.
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Alexander Springs: Make a Day of Kayaking and Snorkeling

Published Third Quarter 2009 - Trail Keeper News
This publication is produced by the Florida Paddling Trails Association. In this issue on pgs 6-7 they cover the experience of kayaking the Alexander Springs.


They also make mention on pg 9 of the Weeki Wachee Paddling & Music Festival to be held Feb, 2010. There will be canoe & kayak demos, skills training, sales of paddling boats
and gear, and guided tours in the area.
Source (PDF)

When you think of a sea cow, do you think of Linda Tripp? Manatees in Crystal River FL

Published August 21, 2009 - examiner.com
Crystal River, Florida is 65 miles north of Tampa on the beautiful nature coast, is the home of the manatee (also known as the sea cow). Locals will tell you there are 400 manatees along Crystal River and they may be right.

Crystal River took the #3 spot in Coastal Living Magazine to snorkel on the top ten places in America.
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Friday, August 21, 2009

EPA tightens limits on pollution in St. Johns River

Published August 21, 2009 - Jacksonville Business Journal
The Environmental Protection Agency has signed a consent agreement to set quantifiable limits on nutrient pollution in Florida’s lakes and rivers. Nutrient pollution is the primary cause of the algal blooms that have afflicted the St. Johns River
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Bike path to Manatee Springs in the works

Published 8/20/09 - The Chiefland Citizen
n October, the Florida Department of Transportation will begin accepting bids for the construction of two five-mile-long paths along both sides of State Road 320 leading to the springs, according to FDOT Public Information Director Gina Busscher.

Lieb said the park, which has 82 campsites and 158 daytime parking spaces, gets no fewer than 125,000 visitors a year—most of them by automobile.
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If You Squint Just Right, You Can Pretend To Dive With Mermaids

Published August 20, 2009
American Pro Dive will be happy to help you have a close encounter with these big guys and gals. No need to know how to scuba dive, as there’s an option to snorkel with them in the Crystal River as well as in Homosassa, Florida. Instructors will hit the water with you to ensure that the manatees, and you, don’t get too frisky.

Tours run throughout the year in the Crystal River, but it’s winters only for the location in Homosassa.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Skeletal remains found at Crystal River

Published August 17, 2009 - TBO.com
A passerby contacted the sheriff's office at around 3:40 p.m. Monday to alert the agency of human skeletal remains found off West Fort Island Trail near the intersection of North Seabreeze Point.
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Health Alert Issued as Algae Returns to St. Johns River

Published 8/12/2009 -
Health experts say you don't want to swim or drink the water.
It could leave you sick with a rash or flu-like symptoms.

Neil Armingeon, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, says this is caused by high levels of nitrogen. He says everyday about 120 Million gallons of water waste is put into the lower St. Johns River.
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River Algae Prompts Health Warning

Published August 12, 2009 - News4Jax.com
The Florida Department of Health issued a health warning Wednesday about exposure to the algae that is growing on the St. Johns River and its tributaries.

Independent lab results of water samples from the lower St. Johns River basin found elevated concentrations of algal toxins in one sample. Algae in the sample, collected between July 31 and Aug. 5, was identified as Microcystis aeruginosa -- the same toxin observed in past years.
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Third proposal surfaces for pumping water for public use from St. Johns River

Published August 11, 2009 - Orlando Sentinel
Already in the works are two separate projects that would tap the river for water near Sanford and in southeast Orange County. Both of those proposals are entangled in legal fights.

Partners in this third and newest venture had hoped Tuesday to persuade state water managers in Palatka to contribute $1.5 million to studies and preliminary design work that would total $5 million over several years and help determine the feasibility of such a large withdrawal.
Source

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Development draining springs feeding St. Johns, scientists say

Published Aug. 11, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
The drop in water production was reported at Silver Springs, a Marion County tourist attraction where people in glass-bottom boats peer into clear, deep water, and at four smaller sites in Central Florida: Fern Hammock , De Leon , Rock and Wekiwa springs

In 1949, just 3 percent of the ground in the Silver Springs springshed was considered “urban,” or heavily developed. By 2005, that had changed to 37 percent, the report said. Over the same period, the area considered natural, undisturbed land dropped from 74 percent to 36 percent.
Source

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fun to be had at Rainbow River attractions

Published August 9, 2009
For the last 11 years, Stanton has worked for Rainbow River Canoe and Kayak, which provides shuttle service to the K.P. Hole tuber park.

Everyone in business along the rivers ponders the problem of over-usage. We've been discovered. People are coming from all over Florida and even other states. But when K.P. Hole hits its maximum number of people allowed for one day, how do you tell someone who has driven three or four hours, 'Sorry, the park is full.' "

Note: Article includes a nice list of places to rent tubes.
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Prepare to linger at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Published August 9, 2009 -
At the Fish Bowl, which floats in the headwaters of Homosassa Spring, visitors can see manatees and fish through large underwater windows. I bypassed the children's education center in favor of lingering along the walkway that borders the shallow Homosassa River to photograph great blue herons.
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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Utilities, Mormons battle for reservoir

Published August 4, 2009 - Florida Today
A legal fight over whether Central Florida utilities must pay Deseret Ranches millions of dollars in fees for drinking water from Taylor Creek Reservoir could stall plans to tap the manmade lake to fuel growth and ease stress on groundwater, wetlands and springs.

The district wants a judge to clarify that it has the right to flow and store water in Taylor Creek Reservoir, which sits on Deseret's land, for public drinking water. The district is suing to bring more certainty for the utilities involved in the project, which the district has nudged for years to use more of the St. Johns instead of more groundwater.

The utilities have been in discussions with Deseret for years about building a treatment plant to pull more water from the reservoir and the St. Johns River, which feeds it. Deseret's demand makes cities vying for drinking water unsure what it will cost.
Source

Soiling Glen Springs

Published August 3, 2009 - Ocala Star-Banner
"This is a special place," Lint said. "It's got problems. There's rules on the books, but we have to look at the long-term management here."

He said part of the problem is that many government entities are involved. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission does compliance with boat traffic and boating safety. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has jurisdiction over sovereign submerged lands or waterways. The U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service has designated Silver Glen as a critical habitat for manatees. And the spring is in the Forest, which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

Generally, the state of Florida has jurisdiction over the state's waterways, but because Silver Glen Springs is on the eastern edge of the Forest, Lint said he has concurrent jurisdiction.
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Florida state parks deal with 82.5 percent cut in maintenance budget

Published August 3, 2009 - Tallahassee Democrat
...fixed capital outlay, was cut 82.5 percent from 28.5 million last year to 5 million this year, effective July 1, putting a serious kink in maintenance efforts including facility repair, removing accessibility barriers, resource restoration, historic facility maintenance and road repair.

Wakulla Springs needs list adds up to just over a million dollars. Their most expensive request, establishing a hydrilla removal program, would cost $350,000.
Source

Update Lily Springs

Received 8/3/09
The Gilchrist Board of County Commissioners received a request from John Barley and Richard Corbin to "support and cooperate with public acquisition" of the sale of their 10 acre piece of land on the Santa Fe River which included Lily Springs. The Board so moved to create a resolution to do so.

There was no money discussed other than the fact that this would not cost the County any monies what so ever. The Board unanimously agreed that it would be a good thing to have Lily in public ownership.

Barley is working with John Hutchinson of Alachua Conservation Trust to get his needs met.

OSFR is still very curious why a private land owner must be in front of a board of commissioners to ask them for verbal support so that they may sell their land to some sort of public entity?

After the meeting, Russ Augspurg (OSFR board member) asked Barley if he still planned to bottle water. Barley made it clear that yes, he still plans to get a WUP for BULK TRANSFER of water (not actually bottling).
Bulk Transfer still removes our most precious natural resource from where it is needed most. Last I checked the SRWMD did not allow new bulk transfer of water in or out of our District (there is one old permit with Suntory in Levy County that bulk transfers to Orlando area).
Source: Email

Central Florida eyes river withdrawal

Published August 3, 2009 - Jacksonville Business Journal
A consortium of seven Central Florida municipalities wants to do a $5 million study on the viability of bolstering water supplies by up to 54 million gallons per day from the St. Johns River.

The consortium — Orange County, along with the cities of Casselberry, Deltona, Maitland, Oviedo, Sanford and Winter Springs — on Aug. 11 will ask the St. Johns River Water Management District to chip in up to $1.5 million toward the cost of the study.
Source

2009 Lower St. Johns River Report Brochure

Published 8/3/2009
The short brochure provides a brief summary of the status and trends of each item or indicator (i.e. water quality, fisheries, etc.) looked at for the river. The full report and appendix were produced to provide those interested with more detail regarding the results summarized in the brochure.

The 2009 Lower St. Johns River Report will be available from the link below on August 28th, 2009.
http://www.sjrreport.com/thereport
http://www.sjrreport.com/media/pdf/sjrreport2009_brochure.pdf (PDF)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Whose water is it? Water rights in the age of scarcity.

Posted August 02 2009
Interesting Post that applies to what is happening between Florida, Georgia and Alabama in regards to the Apalachicola River

This is an old idea -- the water falls here or runs through here so why can't I use all of it? At the grandest scale, this idea is called "The Harmon Doctrine," which says that upstream water users have the right to do whatever they want with the water in their own "territory" no matter what harm it causes to downstream users. It was named after a U.S. Attorney General in the 1890s who said that Mexico had no right to any water that originates in the U.S., even if the river flows into Mexico. The only problem for Governor Purdue, and Georgia, is that the Harmon Doctrine has been universally repudiated: in international law, in U.S. law, and in any ethical or moral set of rules.
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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Forum: Ga.-Fla. game good weapon in 'water war'

Published 8/1/2009 - OnlineAthens.com
For the past 20 years, Georgia, Florida and Alabama have been locked in a "water war" over the Chattahoochee River. The river rises in Georgia, creates Lake Lanier behind Buford Dam and then flows to West Point, where it becomes the state boundary for Georgia and Alabama as it moves south. When it merges with the Flint River, it becomes the Apalachicola River and flows across the Florida panhandle and into the Gulf of Mexico.
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