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Friday, December 09, 2011

State Rep. Franklin Sands explains his backing of a tax on bottled water

Published 12/08/11 State Rep. Franklin Sands, D-Weston, has filed a bill in Tallahassee to collect a fee from bottled water companies that derive profits from the free pumping of millions of gallons of water daily from Florida’s springs and other water bodies. Last week Sands’ filed House Bill 781 which would charge large users of Florida's water supplies 5 cents a gallon. User Comment For this reason the sucking of water out of the aquifer would possibly be in fact taking water that does not belong to the corporation as it is not part of the land owned but in fact owned by the public and in addition it could be causing sinkholes in areas, not just above that land owned by the corporation but land belonging to others? This seems to be a problem that has been around for many years but for some reason just now become a public problem. In the course of expanding civilization there are many things that are done for years and gotten away with until they step on another's toes. For this reason we are supposed to have government to represent the interests of the people. In this case the government would (if honest) step in and put a stop to the "taking" of public water and set up a water plant to pump only enough water so not to cause sink holes and only to provide to the people who actually own the water. (Floridians) Once the demand is met to supply Floridians with their own water, the government would sell it to other areas and the money would discount the water to the Floridians.... Source

Monday, November 21, 2011

Florida, a state defined by its waters, gets the loving eye of photographer Karen Glaser

Published November 20, 2011 Naples News Glaser's photographs from north and west Florida springs plunge gallery-goers into an intriguing liquid realm. Underwater pictures like "Turtle Hop at Catfish Sink" provide a fish-eye view of the world. The photograph offers a serene vision of life in a water hole in Manatee Springs State Park, located in Chiefland, west of Gainesville. When taking pictures below the surface, she primarily uses a Nikonos V camera, made by Nikon for underwater photography, and her images are recorded on film. Eventually, her images were collected in the book "Mysterious Manatees," published in 2003 by the University Press of Florida and the Center for American Places. Source

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Septic Tank Inspection: Protect Florida's Water Septic Tank Inspection: Protect Florida's Water

Published November 16, 2011 The Ledger Many were surprised when the Florida Legislature passed a law two years ago mandating an inspection regime for the state's 2.6 million septic tanks. It comes as no surprise, however, that lawmakers are now rushing to repeal that requirement before it can ever be enforced. It is beyond doubt that untreated waste or poorly treated waste seeping into the ground can contaminate Florida's springs, lakes and streams — water that belongs to all Floridians. Source

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Florida's proposed rules on nitrogen, phosphorous pollution show devotion to clean water

Published November 15, 2011 Tampa Bay Times (Opinion) The majority of Florida's impaired waters are affected by nitrogen and phosphorous pollution — caused by stormwater runoff from urbanized areas, discharges from wastewater treatment plants and fertilizer runoff from farms. In 2008, the EPA determined that measurable limits on discharges of nutrients, known as numeric criteria, are necessary to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act and reduce nutrient pollution in Florida's treasured water bodies. We set in motion a process to develop these standards, making clear that our strong preference was for the state to move forward on its own. When Florida did not act, the EPA issued standards in 2010. Source

Monday, October 31, 2011

St. Johns water district eases permitting to tap aquifer

Published October 30, 2011 Orlando Sentinel Since the Scott administration's downsizing of the region's water-management district, the refocused agency has started making permit concessions that its staff previously would have rejected as potentially harmful to Florida's watery environment. In seeking to protect the region's drinking water from saltwater intrusion, and its wetlands, springs, rivers and lakes from running dry, the district has become increasingly assertive in recent years in coaxing utilities to cap their already heavy reliance on low-cost but limited water supplies in the Floridan Aquifer — a layer of porous, underground rock replenished by rainfall — and instead tap more-expensive sources such as the St. Johns River and recycled sewage. Source

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Editorial: Water and taxes

Published October 25, 2011 The Gainesville Sun
Cutting budgets and making the permitting process easier for monied interests no doubt plays well to Scott's core constituencies. But if he really wants to bring meaningful policies he will turn his attention to protecting our water supply, developing new sources of water and helping clean up the more than half of Florida's waterways that are polluted.
Source

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Paddlers unite on Suwannee River

Published October 19, 2011 Suwannee Democrat
Kayaks abound from the Spirit of Suwannee arrived at Ivey Memorial Park in Branford on Monday afternoon in the Paddle Florida trip on the Suwannee River, en route to Manatee Springs State Park.

Paddle Florida emerged in 2007 under Richards’ guidance. This is the fourth annual fall trip for the Suwannee River that started on Oct. 13 and will finish on Oct. 20. The Suwannee River Paddle trip is 123 miles from Spirit of Suwannee to Manatee Springs State Park.
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Friday, September 30, 2011

Florida’s natural Springs, the real fountains of youth

Published 9/29/2011 Palm Beach Post But Florida’s springs – natural fountains that bubble from underground rivers from deep inside the earth – are very real. Photographers, artists, geologists and naturalists have ranked them among the Earth’s greatest wonders. Many offer swimming, snorkeling, diving, photography, camping, canoeing, tubing or kayaking in water with a constant average temperature of 72 degrees. Silver Springs and Wakulla Springs offer glass-bottom boat tours. Rainbow Springs near Dunnellon often is considered the most beautiful of the state’s 33 first-magnitude springs, more than any other state and more than any nation can boast. Tolbert is Florida’s premier springs artist, interpreting their beauty and mystery in diverse ways. Through paintings, poetry and essays, she celebrated the springs in her 2010 book AquiFERious, which won two Florida Book Award prizes. ... her permanent exhibit at Orlando International Airport is scheduled to open in late September. Source

Monday, August 15, 2011

Grab a rope swing, take the plunge into old-time fun at Bob's River Place in Dixie County

Published August 14, 2011 Tampa Bay Times Bob's River Place, which is what he calls it, is in the middle of nowhere, in the pine woods, on the Suwannee, in North Florida's Dixie County, population 16,000 Mister Bob has never advertised. He has no billboards, telephone number or e-mail address. When kids arrive, he's open. When the sun goes down, he's closed. A little hand-painted concrete sign pointing at a sandy corridor through the woods is the only material evidence that Bob's River Place even exists. For the record, the address is 2878 NE 340 Highway, Branford, a town about 10 miles away. Punch the address into a GPS and hope for the best. Source

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Movement to save spring gaining momentum

Published August 12, 2011 Suwannee Democrat The Friends of Suwannee Springs have collected an immense amount of history relating to Suwannee Springs. Nix notes that in 1883, one of the largest hotels in the southern states at the time was erected at Suwannee Springs. It was sprawled out on over an acre of land and had 125 rooms. There was a central courtyard, fountains, and sub-tropical plants for vacationers to adore. Unfortunately, the structure burned after just one year, leaving many to reflect what might have been, had it remained. Source

Friday, July 08, 2011

Discovering the by-ways of Old Florida

Published July 7, 2011 TCPalm The many springs around the area provide a full range of recreational venues from scuba diving, swimming, canoeing and fishing to tubing. One of the items on my bucket list was to go tubing down the crystal clear, spring -fed Ichetucknee River. I did it several years ago. Located in the State Park, it's located above fifteen miles north of High Springs. You don't have to own a tube as there are dozens of road side places that rent the tubes. You just return the tube at the end of your ride. Your can dive or drift this fantastic unspoiled natural wilderness. The choice is yours. Make sure you plan it for summer or early fall as that water is really cold. Within a easy traveling distance from High Springs is Blue Spring, along the Santa Fe River; Poe Springs Park; Ginny Springs and O'Leno State park, one of Florida's first state parks. Source

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tubing the Itchetucknee

Published 6/14/2011 Blog
Only 750 people are allowed in that part of the river per day so vegetation isn’t damaged. You can’t rent tubes once you’re inside the park, so you have to stop before you enter. The convenient part is that the vendors collect your tubes as soon as you get out of the water, so you don’t have to bring them back to the rental station. The tubing fee is $5 per person.
Source

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Sea cows journey north to the Panhandle

Published 6/6/2011
While manatees spend the majority of their time in warmer waters on Florida’s east and west coasts, we get a surprising number of these lumbering mammals who venture north each summer. Sightings and reports are common in the St. Marks, Aucilla, and Apalachicola Rivers, Lake Wimico, which is well off the Apalachicola River, St. Andrew Bay, and sometimes Choctawhatchee and Escambia bays.
Source

Vintage divers celebrate Sea Hunt anniversary

Published 6/7/2011 Orlando Sentinel
The National Association of Vintage Equipment Divers is a group dedicated to diving using old-style equipment. They gathered at Silver Springs for the 50th anniversary of the end of filming of Sea Hunt, a popular high-action TV series starring Lloyd Bridges as Mike Nelson, a scuba diver in the days when it was new.
Source

Monday, June 06, 2011

Black Bear Takes Swim In Family Spa

Published 6/6/2011
A black bear was caught swimming in a family's hot tub last week. The bear was just two miles from Wekiwa Springs State Park, and there are so many black bears there, that the state said they are considering removing their endangered status.
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Pensacola kayakers paddle down Suwannee River for autism awareness

Published 6/6/2011
The two men will paddle 240 miles over eight days down the Suwannee River from Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. It’s an ambitious adventure the two men have been training for since winter of this year.

Funds raised will go to Kids for Camp, a program that will provide a safe place for children and adults up to age 22 with autism, and School and Education Improvement Projects for Autism Pensacola.
Source

Girl facing rabies shots after otter bite on Ichetucknee

Published 6/6/2011 Ocala.com
An 8-year-old Gainesville girl will likely have to undergo rabies shots after being bitten over the weekend by an otter near Fort White.
Source

FDEP cuts springs working groups' funding

Published 6/2/2011 Ocala.com
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday that it will not fund springs restoration working groups for the Rainbow, Silver, Ichetucknee and Wakulla springs during the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The working groups were established so local residents could play a part in designing restoration goals and standards for the water bodies and making recommendations to FDEP.
Source

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Tampa approves ban on fertilizer

Published 6/3/2011
Scientists at the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and the Sierra Club pushed for the tougher rules, arguing that nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers contribute to nutrient pollution that saps the oxygen in waterways and fuels algae blooms that harm marine life.

Statewide, at least 50 cities and counties have approved seasonal nitrogen-based fertilizer bans to varying degrees, including St. Petersburg and Sarasota and Pinellas counties.
Source

Money for Wakulla Springs' restoration plan slashed

Published 6/2/2011 Tallahassee Democrat
Members of the Wakulla Springs Basin Working Group learned Thursday that funding for the group and development of a restoration plan for the spring has been eliminated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

In an email to working group members, Bob Knight, president of Wetland Solutions Inc., which had been contracted to lead a $72,000, three-year study and produce a restoration plan, said he was informed after last week’s working group meeting that funding for the project would be cut.

Stevenson says Florida’s springs need leaders. He advocates raising public awareness about the value of springs, including the formation of a “Florida Springs Alliance” to get the word out and pressure government officials.
Source

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Feds examining mussels in tri-state water case

Published 6/1/2011 Miami Herald
Federal scientists could revise their estimate of how much water Florida's Apalachicola River needs to prevent the deaths of an endangered mussel, a development that could give Florida more legal leverage in a long-running water dispute with neighboring Georgia.

When scientists conducted the last study, a severe drought had starved the river of water. Mussels feed at the river's surface and have some ability to follow changing waterlines. The ongoing study will examine the mortality rate of mussels, their ability to move with river's surface and how quickly they die when exposed to air.
Source

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Sturgeon jumps in airboat on Florida river, breaks 25-year-old woman’s leg

Published 5/31/2011 The Washington Post
A sturgeon jumped into an airboat on a Florida river and broke a 25-year-old woman’s leg.

Witnesses say the fish was about 5- to 6-feet long and weighed about 60- to 75-pounds.
Source

Sunday, May 29, 2011

An underwater tour of Alexander Springs

Alexander Springs recreation area, located in the Ocala National Forest, is one of the premier springs in Florida.

The springs area is enjoyed by swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers. The main spring boil goes to about 30 feet of depth and has some small caverns at the bottom.
Source

Larry Hasey: Florida's springs, rivers are close to crisis

Published 5/10/2011 Gainesville Sun
It was as clear to us as the sparkling clear water from the springs that feed the river: the growing demands on the state’s primary aquifer and its essential network of springs bring us close to crisis, if we haven’t already reached it.

JEA’s request for a new consumption permit is not unique but it might be one of the more serious threats facing our most vital natural resource. Locally, the battle over whether water from the Wacissa River should be tapped for commercial profit has provoked many of us to consider what we stand to lose. We have united in opposition.
Source

JEA spigot going to full blast?

Published 5/9/2011 Suwannee Democrat
According to SJRWMD, over 50 percent of the water used in the district goes to lawn sprinklers for turf grass irrigation.

According to facts and models that have been presented at numerous public meetings, Jacksonville’s current water withdrawals are already drawing down our Floridan Aquifer as far west as White Springs in Hamilton County as well as lakes and wetlands in Union and Baker counties.

...JEA is proposing to increase its consumptive water use permit to 160 million gallons per day--that is two and a half times the daily flow of a first-magnitude spring like Volusia, Blue or Ichetucknee.

White Springs, on the Suwannee River in Hamilton County, used to be a tourist destination/health spa and popular place for public recreation, but has now dried up completely. The flow in Ichetucknee Springs is down 23 percent, and hydrologic data clearly shows that the groundwater divide between the SJRWMD and Suwannee River WMD has migrated almost to the edge of the Ichetucknee Spring Watershed.
Source

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sea Cows: Endangered Florida Manatees Wildlife Photographs

Published 5/22/2011
Note: Great Photos of Manatees in Florida Springs

As part of his project “Man and Manatee,” iLCP photographer Neil Ever Osborne worked to capture aerial images of Gulf Coast areas where manatees cluster in winter months. During the colder weather, manatees seek out warmer water to sustain them. These areas can range from protected tepid waters near natural springs, to shallow waters near power plants where warm discharge water attracts the gentle animals.
Source

Friday, May 20, 2011

ephyrhills bottled water: behind the scenes at Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water bottling plant

Published 5/19/2011
The Zephyrhills waterworks were bought out in the 1980's. New owner Nestle Waters and the Thomas family, which owns this land, surrounded the springs with a nature preserve and education center that Karen Pate manages.

Inside the Crystal Springs Preserve there are 140 different small springs. Altogether, they pump out about 40 million gallons of water a day. Just one crack in the earth, easily visible from a wooden footbridge at the preserve, sends forth 11 and a half million gallons each day.
Source

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Published May 16, 2011 Florida Sportsman
On shore Morrison has covered picnic areas and the air fill station rents tanks and other scuba gear. No camping sites are available at the springs. Such can be found at nearby Vortex Springs north of Highway 90. Nearby Ponce de Leon has three motels and a couple of restaurants. More motels and restaurants are in nearby towns a few miles away. Fishermen will find a public ramp a few miles downriver. Locals can direct you there.
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Friday, May 13, 2011

As rivers go dry, bad decisions are made

Published 5/12/2011 Jacksonville Blog
Others of North Florida's iconic springs are being damaged as well. Perhaps the most famous, the Ichetucknee, has lost more than 20 percent of its flow.

The upper section is so shallow that consideration is being given to closing that part to tubers.

The equally famous Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers are also losing flow.
Source

JEA receives controversial water use permit

Published 5/12/2011
The St. Johns River Water Management District Tuesday night approved a permit that would allow Jacksonville utility JEA to withdraw up to 163 million gallons of groundwater daily in the next 20 years.

Armingeon cited a report conducted by the District itself, which noted that “superficial aquifer levels are predicted to decline” in wetlands, lakes and ponds, in some areas, by up to six inches, due to groundwater pumping.
Source

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bottled water or tap water?

Published 4/25/2011 Ashling Daily Tidings
After a bitter fight, Niagara Bottling Co. got permission two years ago to pump as much as 484,000 gallons a day from the Floridan Aquifer near Groveland. Today, Panhandle residents are fighting to prevent Nestle from taking nearly 500,000 gallons a day from the spring-fed Wacissa River.
Source

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Welcome to Mermaid Camp! Historic Florida theme park, Weeki Wachee Springs, promises to turn guests into real life Ariels Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1376002/Mermaid-camp-Weeki-Wachee-theme-park-Florida-opens.html#ixzz1OYTdmokX

Published 4/12/2011
For a few days in September, Weeki Wachee Springs' very own troupe of mermaids will turn budding water babies into fully fledged queens of the sea.

While the water park was once a major attraction, less than 20 mermaids and two mermen now perform at the attraction.
Source