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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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