My Flickr Photos of Springs

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wild things: 10 amazing places to show kids exotic animals

Posted 10/25/09 - Miami Herald
Manatees. You don't have to leave Florida to see exotic animals -- and they're not all in theme parks. About 500 of the state's 3,900 manatee population live at Crystal River National Marine Wildlife Refuge, 60 miles north of Tampa, where kids of all ages can snorkel with the friendly 800-pounders. Though the endangered creatures are protected against hunting and harassment, low-impact snorkel tours are offered by Bird's Underwater Manatee Tours (year-round; $35 plus $8 snorkel rental; www.birdsunderwater.com), Florida Manatee Tours (year-round; $49.50 including gear and lunch; www.floridamanateetours.com) and others. Learn more at www.savethemanatee.org

Monday, October 19, 2009

Marion roadways recognized as National Scenic Byways

Published October 19, 2009 - Ocala.com
Members of the Corridor Management Entity already have plans in place for a wide array of regional improvements and are only waiting for funds to become available.

The projects include designing a trailhead near Juniper Springs, expanding the Ocklawaha Visitors Center on CR 315, creating a bike trail from Silver Springs to the Ocklawaha River, building information kiosks and adding wildlife crossings along SR 40 and SR 19, where more bears are reportedly struck and killed by cars than anywhere else in the state.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Federal Water Rules Could Hurt Fla.

Published October 16, 2009 - TheLedger.com
This crisis stems from a lawsuit filed by the group EarthJustice, which is demanding stringent new one-size-fits-all standards governing the level of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphate in all Florida waterways. Driven by litigation rather than sound science, these regulations could be imposed as early as October 2010 - disrupting Florida's existing science-based process for protecting and restoring the quality of Florida's waters.

Should Groveland, Lake Co. Pay Niagara’s Legal Fees?

Published October 16, 2009
Taxpayers in the city and Lake County could be forced to shell out even more money in the fight with a water bottling company.

Niagara Bottling said their legal fees and costs are between $2 million and $4 million, and the company said Groveland and Lake County should have to cover their expense.

Manatee refuge puts river flow project on hold

Published October 16, 2009 - Tampa Bay Online
One of the spots where manatees are known to congregate is Sulphur Springs Park, where temperate water from an underground artesian spring flows into the river.

Tampa also relies on the spring, but for a different reason. The city has, for decades, pumped water from the spring to the Rowlett Park dam to supplement the millions of gallons a day it takes from the river to provide drinking water for its huge population.

The Sulphur Springs project calls for modifying the series of barriers the city has to prevent brackish tidal water from entering the spring to compensate for increasing the amount of fresh water the city plans to pump back up river below the dam.

Experts address future of water supply

Published October 16, 2009
Part of seeing that no harm comes to water resources in determining minimum flows and levels for rivers and lakes. Still said a 2007 study looking at minimum flows and levels found there was not enough water in the Suwannee River Basin to accommodate future demands.

The districts must complete water supply assessments every five years by law. They must project how many people are going to be living here and how much water they will use, then predict how that water use will impact the district.

Fewer Injuries from Jumping Fish

Published Oct 16, 2009 - Wctv
The potentially dangerous sturgeon fish are migrating out of the area, and Florida Fish and Wildlife officials say this has been an unusually quiet season.

Officials say that's a big difference from 2006 and 2007 when several injuries were reported from the jumping fish along the Suwannee River.

Paddling the Suwannee River

Published Oct 16, 2009 - Wctv
Paddle Florida is taking its Fall Suwannee River Excursion.

Over the next week, 55 people will canoe, kayak and boat their way down 123 miles of the Suwannee River.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Manatees head home to Florida

Published October 15, 2009 -
An aerial survey of Florida manatees earlier this year counted 3,800 animals, the highest number since 1991. But manatee deaths - often caused by collisions with boats - also are rising.

In Florida, the manatees will spend at least several months at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo learning to survive in the wild. That will include adjusting to a diet of aquatic plants. Dates for their release into Florida waters have not been set.

Local photographer to present images of Ichetucknee Springs from his new book

Published 10/15/2009 - High Springs Herald
Local photographer and artist Steven Earl will be presenting images of and reflections on the Ichetucknee Springs and river he has recently compiled into a book titled "Ichetucknee: Sacred Waters."

The event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 22, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Fort White Community Center.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

With Lake Lanier full, the challenge now is to keep it there

Published October 14, 2009 - Gainesville Times (GA)
Lake Lanier reached — and surpassed — its full pool elevation of 1,071 feet above sea level Wednesday, drowning out any doubt that the recent historic drought has ended.
In July, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson ruled that water withdrawal was not a congressionally authorized use of Lake Lanier. The ruling gives Georgia three years to stop using the reservoir for water consumption, negotiate another deal with Florida and Alabama or have Congress reauthorize the lake’s use.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

‘The Ichetucknee is my muse’

Published October 13, 2009 - Gainesville Sun
Steve Earl has spent 12 years there, raising a family, meditating on the springs, painting them, photographing them and writing about them. Now his musings — embodied in poetry, prose, photography and watercolor landscapes — have culminated in a coffee table book, “Ichetucknee: Sacred Waters,” just published by University Press of Florida.

State Senator Fights To Keep Manatees At Park

Published October 12, 2009
Florida state Sen. Mike Fasano is doing everything he can to keep five manatees at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials say the manatees must be set free -- they can't be kept in captivity just to be looked at.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Water: West Volusia gets time to make a plan

Published Oct 9, 2009 - The West Volusia Beacon
Florida’s water districts announced a few years ago that they would not issue any more groundwater-withdrawal permits after 2013; that local suppliers would have to get any additional water from other sources, including surface water.

DEP's Florida Geological Survey to Receive $275,000 in Grant Funds to Continue Study of FL Waters

Published 10-08-2009 - Wakulla.com
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida Geological Survey (FGS) was recently awarded more than $275,000 in grant funding for three studies to further its research and improve the state’s understanding of the unique relationship between karst formations and Florida’s groundwater resources and aquifer systems.

$107,826 was awarded by the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) STATEMAP Program for mapping the region west of Ocala, from near Rainbow Springs to the Gulf coast for 2009-2010.

Proposal would restrict watering

Published October 8, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun
Alachua County may restrict the days and hours of lawn watering and landscape irrigation - a move that the St. Johns River Water Management District has requested of all local governments within its jurisdiction to promote water conservation.

The proposed irrigation ordinance, scheduled for a public hearing before the County Commission next Tuesday night, would take the water management district's existing lawn watering restrictions and add them to the county code.

New water supply plans discussed

Published October 9, 2009 - Lake City Reporter
Declining water levels in the Upper Santa Fe River Basin and the local efforts to establish water plans for the future were discussed as a part of a two-hour informational meeting Wednesday.

...the audience viewed and discussed historic flow data about the river as well as studies which proved the declining water levels.

The flow data also chronicled the minimum flow and levels of the Santa Fe River. Minimum flow levels determines how much water is needed to maintain the health of a river, springs, lakes and the aquifer.

Martinez pushes Florida Forever funding

Published October 8th, 2009
Martinez and environmental leaders are scheduled to hold the press conference on Wednesday at the Cypress Point Park in Tampa.

Ichetucknee Springs' Holy water: Dozens gather for group baptism

Published 10/8/09 - High Springs Herald
Randolph was one of many people to get baptized Sunday, Oct. 4, at Ichetucknee Springs, where members of seven local churches gathered for the fourth straight year.

The day the earth opened: Giant sinkholes appear in High Springs

Published 10/8/09 - High Springs Herald
Less than 10 feet in width but more 50 feet deep, the sinkhole was the first of many discovered in High Spring after a Thursday, Sept. 15, torrential downpour. That downpour brought 5.4 inches to the area in 8 hours, according to Megan Wetherington with the Suwannee River Water Management District.

The largest sinkhole is a giant at 75 feet deep and more than a hundred feet across. About a half dozen more are clustered in the same area, with some ranging from just a few feet across and a few feet deep to others that are much larger and deeper.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Volusia County may buy Deltona tract for future water needs.

Published Oct 7, 2009 - The West Volusia Beacon
Facing a possible cut in its license to pump groundwater from the Blue Spring Basin, Volusia County may try to buy a large undeveloped tract adjacent to Deltona to satisfy future water needs.

The County Council Oct. 1 authorized the county staff to seek a deal for about 5,000 acres of woods and wetlands known as the Leffler property.

How safe is the Suwannee? Study shows mercury to be a persistent - and unpredictable - problem in local river system

Published October 07, 2009 - Suwannee Democrat
Recent findings by the U.S. Geological Survey raise concerns about mercury contamination in fish caught from the Suwannee and other area rivers. Currently, there are eight kinds of fish that carry mercury advisories from the Florida Department of Health in the Suwannee River system, which includes the Santa Fe, Withlacoochee and the Alapaha. (

Jacksonville area could pull hard on inland aquifer, forecast says

Published Oct. 7, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
The forecasts show water use in Northeast Florida lowering those levels in inland areas significantly more than the use by people who actually live in inland communities in Bradford, Union, Alachua and Columbia counties.

Those forecasts suggest that part of the Santa Fe River, into which the Ichetucknee River drains, could have damage to its fish and plants if water use in Northeast Florida isn’t controlled.

Nature Coast Fine Art & True Craft Show set for this weekend

Published 10/07/2009 - Citrus Daily
The Nature Coast Fine Art & True Craft Show will be held this weekend, Oct. 11 and 12, on the green adjacent to the Visitor Center at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

The show will run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day, and there will be live music.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Three men survive scary moments on St. Johns

Published October 6, 2009 - Clay Today
Three Clay County men survived some scary moments on the St. Johns River when their small john boat capsized early Saturday, Oct. 3.

“They are all extremely lucky to be alive,” Castelli said. “They were out into the channel, which is a lot further from shore than people realize. Then you have tidal currents that are very strong, especially during a full moon.

Protect water supplies now, before there's a major crisis

Published Oct. 6, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union (Opinion)
People ought to understand that the mere fact that more than 262 million gallons of water a day could be taken from the St. Johns River to boost the state's water supply means that the groundwater is running low. That alone says that water is a finite resource.