My Flickr Photos of Springs

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Local artists recognized with Lifetime Art Achievement awards

February 27, 2012 The Gainesville Sun
Artists Annie Pais and Margaret Ross Tolbert have worked in many projects under their separate belts but share a common passion for issues regarding Florida's springs both through their art and in other work.

To raise awareness of water issues, especially those affecting the freshwater springs, Pais created The Blue Path campaign. The campaign's website points to overpumping, reduced flow, and high nutrient level as causes for spring degradation

Friday, February 24, 2012

Eric Draper: Fix last year's water supply mistakes (Editorial)

Published February 23, 2012
Last year the Legislature and Governor Rick Scott cut more than $700 million from the state's five water management districts. Hundreds of scientists, regulators, land managers and support staff were let go.

Financing our blue and green infrastructure, as water resources are often called, is just as important as roads, schools and health care.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Manatees return to newly cleaned Fanning Springs

Published February 17, 2012 The Gainesville Sun A project to clean up Fanning Springs to attract manatees was completed around Jan. 20 at a cost of about $90,000. Ron Mezich, a biologist with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said that removing sediment from the bottom of the springs allows more room for the manatees to get out of the colder Suwannee River water and into the 72-degree spring water. The cleaning at Fanning Springs started in early November 2011 after erosion caused sediment to collect at the bottom of the spring, creating shallow areas. Source

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Access to Okefenokee Swamp reopening as Honey Prairie Fire shows no signs of life

Published February 21, 2012
The Suwannee River Sill, an earthen dam near the west entrance to the Okefenokee National Refuge and Stephen C. Foster State Park, will reopen today to driving, hiking, bicycling and fishing, said Arthur Webster, supervisory ranger for the refuge

Also, campers may begin making reservations today for overnight stays along the swamp’s canals beginning March 1 at Coffee Bay, Canal Run and Mixons Hammock. Reservations may be made only by calling (912) 496-3331 between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Trips will be limited to a single night and no walk-ups will be accepted.

Conservationists File Suit To Remove Dam

Published 21 February 2012 eNews Park Forest
Earthjustice filed a 60-day Notice of Intent to Sue the U.S. Forest Service today to protect imperiled manatees and shortnose sturgeon, two species which are blocked from migrating in the Ocklawaha River by a dam operated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that turns a 16-mile stretch of the river into the unnatural Rodman Impoundment.

The dam was part of a long-abandoned federal project called the Cross Florida Barge Canal, which intended to connect the Atlantic Ocean with the Gulf of Mexico. Although that project was halted by President Richard Nixon back in 1971, the dam has stayed in place, impounding the Ocklawaha and flooding 9,000 acres of floodplain forest, including approximately 600 acres in the Ocala National Forest.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Regional water group may lead the battle over water use

Published February 18, 2012 The Gainesville Sun
The group, now called Florida Leaders Organized for Water (FLOW), had its genesis in Lake City one late November evening when hundreds descended on a joint meeting called by the county commissioners of Columbia, Hamilton and Suwannee counties to air concerns and anger that groundwater pumping in the Jacksonville area had sucked down the levels of springs, rivers and lakes in what was once water-rich rural North Florida.

...in an effort to speak with one voice on water issues at a time when White Sulphur Springs has run dry, the flow in Ichetucknee Springs and the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers is are down to record lows in some areas, and the groundwater area feeding the Suwannee district had shrank significantly.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Published February 12, 2012 Ocala.com (Opinion)
As director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute (FSI), I have serious concerns about the existing degraded conditions at Silver Springs due to longstanding reductions in flows and increases in nitrate nitrogen. Granting the Adena Springs Ranch water-use permit, which will increase overall water uses and increase nitrogen loads in the Silver Springs recharge basin, is not in the best interest of the springs or the affected public.

Silver Springs is probably the largest and best-known spring in Florida and the United States. Silver Springs is currently imperiled due to significant flow reductions, resulting in part from human groundwater withdrawals, and highly elevated groundwater nitrate nitrogen concentrations due to fertilizer and wastewater management in the 1,200-square-mile springshed.

The requested permit would allow the withdrawal of up to 13.27 million gallons per day from wells drilled into the underlying Floridan aquifer. There is evidence throughout Marion County and North Florida that this aquifer is already being overdrawn. This evidence includes declining water levels in water management district monitoring wells, declining lake and river levels throughout the region and declining spring flows in all monitored springs located outside of the Ocala National Forest.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Footage of Freediving Florida Springs

Published February 10, 2012 - Florida Sportsman Diving in Florida isn’t restricted to the saltwater. Florida’s freshwater springs offer good visibility and warm temps when the weather in winter blows out the nearshore and offshore spots. Source

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Florida Water Star Program Now Available Statewide

Published February 8, 2012 Water World
The St. Johns River Water Management District's residential water conservation program -- Florida Water StarSM -- is now offered statewide, bringing the economic and environmental benefits of water efficiency to homeowners in all of Florida's 67 counties.

Launched in 2006 by the St. Johns District, Florida Water StarSM encourages water efficiency in household appliances, plumbing fixtures, irrigation systems and landscapes. Having the Florida Water StarSM designation can save money on homeowners' utility bills while protecting the state's shared water resources.

Editorial: 13 million gallons of water a day!

Published February 8, 2012 Ocala.com (Editorial) ...Adena Springs Ranch is seeking permission to pump 13 million gallons of water a day, but it is highly unlikely the full permitted amount would ever actually be pumped; that rain would be the principal source of irrigation for the 10,000-acre cattle operation. For years we have been told that endless granting of water pumping permits had no negative impact on the aquifer, that any drop in the water table was due to drought. Yet, an analysis by the Florida Springs Institute shows that while Silver Springs’ flow has declined by 50 percent since 1965, area rainfall totals have only dropped by 15 percent. It is not all drought. Source

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Who gets the water, cows or our springs?

Published 2/6/2012
A Canadian billionaire is planning a massive cattle operation in Marion County. The cattle will be strictly grass fed, and that grass will need lots of water.

The ranch is asking the St. Johns River Water Management District for permission of pump 13.27 million gallons of water a day out of the Floridan aquifer.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Springs savers

Published February 4, 2012 Ocala.com
The Silver Springs Restoration Alliance held its first meeting on Jan. 18 in Ocala, led by longtime Silver Springs researcher Bob Knight, head of the Florida Springs Institute at UF. Knight has been studying and loving our environmental crown jewel since he was a doctoral student at UF in the 1970s.

The goal of the group is to form a group of “citizens who wish to help influence all decisions, government and private, that might offset the health of the springs into the future.”

They know what Jim Stevenson, known as Florida’s “Mr. Springs,” meant when he said our springs are “windows to the aquifer;” that whatever the health of our springs, so goes the aquifer.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

DEP to draft plan for diving at spring

Published 2/3/2012 Tallahassee Democrat
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will press ahead with a draft plan to allow limited recreational cave diving at Wakulla Spring. Florida Park Service Assistant Director Scott Robinson stressed Thursday.
Source Broken Link

Thursday, February 02, 2012

CS/CS/SB 820: Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems

Published 2/1/2012 Northescambia.com SB 820, which is sponsored by Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, would direct cities or counties that have what are known as “first magnitude” springs to develop septic-tank evaluation programs — though those local governments also could vote not to carry out the requirement. A similar measure (HB 999) has cleared one House committee. Follow Bill in the Florida Legislature Source of article

SRWMD provides 183 miles of trails to explore

Published 2/1/2012 Suwannee Democrat
All District hiking trails are free and open to the public. Following is a list of some of the best hiking opportunities:

Columbia County: Bell Springs, Falling Creek Falls, Little Shoals, and Gar Pond
Hamilton County: Big Shoals, Holton Creek, White Springs Tract, and Camp Branch
Lafayette County: Owens Spring
Madison County: Ellaville Tract, Black Tract, Mill Creek North, and Mill Creek South
Suwannee County: Anderson Springs
Taylor County: Cabbage Grove, and Steinhatchee Falls
Maps to each of the above tracts are available under the Best Recreational Opportunities link on the District’s website at www.mysuwanneeriver.com/recreation. For more information, contact Edwin McCook at 386.362.1001 or recreation@srwmd.org.