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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shifting currents in debate over water rules

Published 4/17/2010 The Gainesville Sun
The issue began last year when EPA announced it was imposing its own rules for nitrogen and phosphorus levels because the Florida Department of Environmental Protection had failed to establish numerical standards of its own. The new standards would effect the state’s lakes, canals, rivers, estuaries and springs.

Those who oppose the standards complain that EPA’s proposals are flawed, based on bad science, and would wreak financial havoc on a state that already faces its worst recession of the past 70 years.
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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Artist’s work reveals changes in springs

Published 4/16/2010 Chiefland Citizen
They are rendered in broad swaths of blues and greens, sometimes suggesting the surface of the water with its play of reflections, other times revealing the sun-lit mouth of a watery cavern. “It’s all about the viewer entering the springs,” she said. “That’s what paintings do, they postulate a different world, and you want to go there. I like the idea of captivating people.” Not long after she began exploring springs as a subject, she discovered Manatee and Fanning springs

And though Tolbert insisted she does not want to be known as a historical painter, her work, featured in exhibits around the world, has become a visual narrative of the decline of Florida springs for a period of close to three decades.
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Monday, April 12, 2010

Ancient spring has a fuzzy future

Published 4/11/2010
The water is always a constant 87 degrees at Warm Mineral Springs, where nine million gallons of fresh mineral water bubbles forth every day. The spring may be the strangest and most unusual tourist attraction in Sarasota County.

...the only hot spring in a state with the world's largest concentration of cool springs has lured spiritual seekers. These days, it also draws scientists, real estate speculators, tin-can tourists and European hot springs enthusiasts.

Warm Mineral Springs is the lone hot water exception in Florida, and the only major natural spring south of the Orlando area.

"The archaeology in the springs is of world-class significance," said Steve Koski, a research assistant with the University of Miami who has explored Warm Mineral Springs and serves as site manager for another archeologically important site, nearby Little Salt Springs.
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Florida's natural springs in crisis: Which ones are cleanest, most polluted?

Published 4/11/2010 Orlando Sentinel
Fanning's waters ... has earned recognition as among the state's most polluted and a prime example of what's killing ecosystems at many of Florida's best-known springs.

Bob Knight, University of Florida professor and springs researcher for 30 years, and other aquatic scientists have documented how rising nitrate levels initially act as a growth booster for a spring's plants and then wreak havoc.

Alexander Springs, deep in Ocala National Forest, is possibly the state's cleanest — nearly what Mother Nature originally designed — with a nitrate level of far less than 1 part per million and measuring consistently at about 0.05 parts per million. That tells scientists healthy springs have extremely low levels of nitrate.
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