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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ways to help manatees survive a unusually harsh Florida winter

Published 2/28/2010
Through Feb. 12, there have been more than 300 deaths from all causes. Of these, 167 have been attributed to cold stress. Another 116 deaths have been labeled as undetermined or not recovered, many of which were also likely caused by cold stress because of their location and timing.

Florida's springs provide natural winter habitats for Florida's manatees. Reduced spring flows caused by increased human demand for water have decreased these available habitats, while access to others has been reduced or eliminated by weirs or dams. One such area is Silver Springs in Marion County, the largest of Florida's springs. Manatees have lost access to this spring due to the Kirkpatrick dam. Restoration of the Ocklawaha River and removal of the dam would restore access to the spring. Unfortunately, this restoration would be delayed at least another 50 years if the Jim King State Reserve bill passes. Ask your legislators to support the Florida Springs Protection Act this session (SB568) and vote against the Jim King State Reserve bill (SB466/HB695).

Nonprofit Divers4Heroes offers disabled veterans a chance to scuba dive

Published February 27, 2010 - St. Petersburg Times
Through their nonprofit company, Divers4Heroes, the Lakeland couple for two years have offered free introductory diving lessons to any wounded veteran who wants to give the activity a try.

Other than permission from their doctors, participants in Divers4Heroes need not bring anything with them to dive. Pool time, tanks and wet suits are provided. As many 10 participants can take part in each class session.

Beginning dives are held in pools, but as divers gain more experience they are welcome to take part in open dives held at various locations around the state, including Ginnie Springs, Living Seas aquarium in Orlando as well as Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.

No Swimming In Blue Spring As Manatees Try To Stay Warm

Published February 28, 2010
More cold weather in Central Florida has prompted a change at Blue Spring State Park.

Swimming and snorkeling is banned during the winter, when dozens of manatees show up at the spring for the warmer water.

Wakulla Spring Basin Working Group Meeting

The next quarterly meeting of the Wakulla Spring Basin Working Group will be April 29. During the afternoon, we will have a field trip in the Wakulla Spring Basin. Please mark your calendar.

Jim Stevenson, coordinator

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Group Meets to Resolve Water Wars

Published Feb 26, 2010
The group called the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee- Flint Stakeholders Incorporated met along the forgotten coast Friday. Their goal is to put an end to the H2O battle by finding a way to share the water coming out of Lake Lanier.

This is the second meeting of the Apalachicola- Chattahoochee- Flint Stakeholders Inc., which was formed last year. It's made up of more than 50 people who represent an area of the ACF Basin.

Friday, February 26, 2010

St. Johns district looks to strengthen water reuse programs

Published February 25, 2010
The St. Johns River Water Management District board is looking to squeeze the most out of water conservation and will meet next month to develop rules that could require its 16-county members to strengthen water reuse programs.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Is Jacksonville draining Ichetucknee?

Published 2/12/2010 The Gainesville Sun
The river has lost about a quarter of its flow since 1900, with most of the decrease happening in the past 45 years, according to U.S. Geological Survey figures.

Hydrological maps show that hundreds of square miles of groundwater that once flowed through springs into the Ichetucknee, Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers now are being drawn to northeastern Florida - and the area of the aquifer being diverted there is growing.

Hydrological maps show that in 1980, an area of the aquifer roughly 1,200 square miles in size that used to flow to the Suwannee River basin instead was flowing toward those counties. Grubbs said more recent maps show the area has grown larger.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Flood warnings continue for Ochlockonee, St. Marks, Aucilla rivers

Published 2/7/2010 - Tallahassee Democrat
Flood warnings remain in effect for the Ochlockonee River near Havana, affecting Leon and Gadsden counties; the Aucilla River at Lamont, affecting Jefferson, Madison and Taylor counties; and the St. Marks River near Newport and Natural Bridge, affecting .Wakulla County.

Stimulus funds to improve public access to Suwannee River Sill

Published 2/7/2010 - The Florida Times-Union
...refuge officials are preparing to spend $1.5 million in federal stimulus money to breach the dam in three places and remove the two deteriorating water-control structures. The goal is to restore the natural hydrology and improve public access to the popular fishing and boating area on the west side of the refuge.

Wilderness canoe trails will not be significantly affected, but one of the 12 trails, Craven's Hammock Wilderness Canoe Trail, will be limited to periodic use only during high water levels

Rally for the Rivers - Feb 13th, 2010

Saturday, Feb. 13 join us on the banks of the St. Johns at Palatka’s Riverfront Park for a day of music with outstanding Florida folk musicians; Florida Storytelling Association; Florida Heritage Experience; conservation workshops, activities, and displays; free rides on the river with St. Johns Riverkeeper Neil Armingeon; great food from Blue Water Bay; and an evening fundraising dinner and concert.

Senate Select Committee on Florida’s Inland Waters Public Hearing - Feb 12th

February 12, 8:30-10:30AM
Quality Inn Riverside
201 N. First Street
Palatka, FL 32177
Let legislators know that Florida Forever protects springs, springsheds and the quantity and quality of our state’s drinking water.

That afternoon Rally workshop presenters include Wes Skiles and Dr. Bob Knight. You can be sure we will be talking about springs!

Ichetucknee Springs Basin Working Group Meeting - Feb 9th, 2010

We will learn new information about the Ichetucknee and ways that we can enhance protection of this extraordinary spring system.

See you Tuesday.
850 556-3072

More Info

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

SRWMD purchases conservation easement on Santa Fe River

Published 2/1/2010 Suwannee Democrat
The Suwannee River Water Management District has purchased a conservation easement on 443 acres of land on the Santa Fe River adjacent to O'Leno State Park in Columbia County.

...it will provide for springs and surface water protection and preserve the habitat of wading birds, waterfowl and other wildlife.

Florida's waterways: Journalist takes stock of Bay County

Published 1/31/2010
Florida's usage generally exceeds rainfall rate and the demographic is uniquely taxing on the water table for many reasons: 1) Usage increase spikes in the summer months as lawns and golf courses are watered in the hot Florida sun; 2) Retirement community residents -- who comprise 23 percent of Florida's population -- traditionally use more water than more junior dominant demographics and 3) As development continues, more and more drainage ways are disrupted and polluted.

Florida Springs Rally - Feb 16th, 2010

This is our opportunity to demonstrate that the people of Florida want our springs protected. Springs advocates from across north and central Florida will donate their entire day to travel to the Capitol for the Rally. At a minimum, those of us living in Leon and Wakulla Counties should be able to show our support by attending during our lunch hour. Please inform your friends and associates.

Let me know if you would like additional information.

We hope you will join us at 12:00 noon, February 16. Florida’s springs are silent; they need your voice.

Jim Stevenson