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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bay County Could Opt Out of Controversial State Septic Tank Inspection Law

Published Jun 13, 2012
Jackson County commissioners voted to opt-out of the state's controversial new septic tank inspection law. Bay County commissioners may be next.
Only those counties with a first magnitude spring. Bay County is one of 19 counties with a first magnitude spring, so county commissioners have to opt-out of the law for septic tank owners to avoid inspections.
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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Mermaids, Sponge Divers, and Optimists

Published 6/8/2012
First stop: Weeki Wachee Springs, located at the intersection of SR 50 and old US 19, once the principle north-south artery along Florida’s west coast. Geologically speaking, Weeki Wachee is a first magnitude spring, the largest in Florida and perhaps the world. Each day, 177 million gallons of pure water gush from the source, forming the Weeki Wachee River that then flows 12 miles into the Gulf of Mexico. In 2007, divers from the Karst Underwater Research Team explored the spring and attained a depth of 407 feet, but never reached the bottom.
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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Jumping sturgeon attacks woman on Florida river

Published June 6, 2012
Brianne Megargel and her husband were near Manatee Springs State Park when the fish jumped out of the water and struck her as she sat in the boat.
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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Magnificent Morrison Springs

Published June 5, 2012 Florida Sportsman
One of Northwest Florida’s best-kept secrets is known to more Georgia and Alabama folks than Floridians. And they aren’t talking. It has to do with a jewel of a Panhandle spring, a turquoise pool surrounded by stately cypress trees whose aerial roots stand taller than a man. Below the surface, clear, 68-degree water wells up from a spring cave source over 90 feet deep.

Some Florida springs are choked with hydrilla, a non-native, invasive weed. Up until 1990 that was a problem at Morrison. The state put in an herbicide to try to kill it. The owners raked and bulldozed. Nothing dented it. Then a levee broke on the upper river system bringing down enough muddy water to raise the level of the pool over 28 feet. When the water fell, the hydrilla had failed to get sunlight for so long that it perished. No longer is it a plague. Hopefully, native grasses will soon return. Beneficial vegetation shelters grass shrimp for the local fish population, and helps keep the water clear by filtering out sediments.
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Monday, June 04, 2012

June an outdoor extravaganza

Published 6/3/2012 ChipleyBugle
June is celebrated across the nation as Great Outdoors Month. http://www.GetOutdoorsFlorida.org

FWC is celebrating its third paddling trail being designated as part of the national trails system on June 2 at Wacissa River County Park, Jefferson County. Come out and join the fun from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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John Moran: Requiem for Poe Springs

Published June 3, 2012 The Gainesville Sun - Opinion
I went to the Our Santa Fe River, Inc. informational public meeting on the algae outbreak and low flow water conditions on the Santa Fe River on May 29th at Poe Springs County Park. I remember Poe Springs, clear, vital and free flowing; devoid of the stench of death that hangs in the air tonight. I had no idea that this signature park of Alachua County was in such ill health.
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Sunday, June 03, 2012

The Santa Fe, a river in peril

Published 6/2/2012 The Alachua Today
During a public information meeting about the Santa Fe River held at Poe Springs on Tuesday, Megan Wetherington, Senior Professional Engineer at SRWMD, said the river will hardly see an increase in levels or flow because the surrounding areas were so dry. Like a sponge, those dry areas will soak up the water before it reaches the river. Prior to Beryl, Florida had record low water levels, Wetherington said.
Recently, the Alachua County Health Department identified an algal bloom on the Santa Fe River between the U.S Highway 27 bridge and Poe Springs. The water samples it collected contained the algae Anabaena circinalis, a known producer of toxins. In Florida, there are no records of the algae producing these toxins, but David Whiting of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said scientists are unsure what causes the algae toxin producers to turn on and off. An algae bloom in Leon County’s Lake Munson produced high levels of toxin one year, but the next year, no toxins were present.

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