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Monday, December 31, 2012

Restoring Silver Springs: It’s a regional challenge

Published 12/30/2012 Ocala.com
On Dec. 11, the Governing Board of the St. Johns River Water Management District held the fourth and final meeting concerning their new Springs Protection Initiative. 

Average flows at Silver Springs during the past decade are reduced by 32 percent compared to the average of the previous 70 years, and down by 50 percent during the past two years. Silver Springs also is suffering from nitrate-nitrogen concentrations more than 25 times higher than historic levels, a result of excessive fertilizer use and inadequate treatment of human and animal wastes.

However, the district’s own data show that groundwater pumping from the Floridan Aquifer exceeds 1.2 billion gallons each day, which is groundwater that otherwise would have flowed to the springs.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Obstacles don't lessen as Ochlockonee River adventure concludes

Published 12/26/2012 Tampa Bay Times
The Ochlockonee, one of Florida's last great wilderness rivers, starts in Georgia and flows for more than 150 miles south through national and state forests to the Gulf of Mexico.


The Lower Ochlockonee, a designated state paddling trail, starts at a point on State Road 20 in the Panhandle and ends 65 miles downstream at Ochlockonee River State Park. The river is considered an "easy to moderate" paddle, ideal for "beginners," but my small crew of veteran watermen had found it challenging at best, and in some parts downright disheartening.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Published 12/23/2012 The Gainesville Sun (Opinion)

As director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, Knight is perhaps Florida's most knowledgeable, and eloquent, spokesman on behalf of Florida's increasingly stressed springs, rivers and aquifers.

Most residents don't even know Glen Springs exists; it has long been hidden away behind the Elks Lodge on Northwest 23rd Avenue, neglected, algae-filled and lined with concrete; a legacy from days long past when Glen Springs was the city's only public swimming pool.
http://www.gainesville.com/article/20121223/OPINION01/121229916/-1/entertainment?Title=Editorial-Our-lost-gem">Source

Friday, December 21, 2012

Given the option, all 19 counties vote not to inspect septic tanks

Published 12/20/2012 The Florida Current (Brief)
All 19 counties that were required to take action on septic tank inspections under a bill passed by the Legislature last spring have voted to opt out of the requirement, according to the Florida Department of Health.
Source

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Florida's springs face crisis from pollution, declining flows

Published 12/17/2012 Orlando Sentinel
Scientists first noted the problem decades ago, but now there is growing dismay at what is happening. Of the more than 1,000 springs statewide, the biggest and most popular are tourist attractions and recreational magnets that, until recently, were presumed safeguarded within public lands, including 16 state parks named after the "best of the best" springs they protect.

Joe Hand, who retired recently after 35 years with the state Department of Environmental Protection, where he was a top water-quality analyst, assembled for the Sentinel a series of data graphics that illustrate the striking changes that have occurred at four springs — Ichetucknee, Rainbow, Silver and Wekiwa — during the past decade.
Source

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Health of Warm Mineral Springs adds to debate

Published 12/4/2012 Herald-Tribune
The last intensive study of Warm Mineral Springs, in 2002, predicted its flow would decrease 20 percent by 2020.

Warm Mineral Springs, the largest spring of its kind in Florida, has long been a draw for those who believe in the healing powers of dozens of minerals present in the water. The amenities, which include an aging spa building, draw 80,000 to 100,000 visitors each year despite little formal advertising.
Source

Monday, December 03, 2012

What's Florida's water worth?

Published 12/2/2012 Ocala.com
A needed reminder of just how important Florida’s water is came this month in a new report, “Valuing Florida’s Clean Waters,” detailing just how polluted our lakes, rivers, streams and seashores have become. 

A needed reminder of just how important Florida’s water is came this month in a new report, “Valuing Florida’s Clean Waters,” detailing just how polluted our lakes, rivers, streams and seashores have become. 

A 2010 assessment by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection found that 53 percent of Florida’s rivers and 82 percent of its lakes were polluted to the point of “impairment.” 
Source

Sunday, December 02, 2012

EPA tells judge it will impose stricter water pollution standards on Florida

Published 12/1/2012 Tampa Bay Times
The Sierra Club, Florida Wildlife Federation and other environmental groups had sued the EPA four years ago over the most persistent water pollution problem in Florida — one that the federal agency had first told the state to do something about in 1998.

Late Friday night, the EPA said in a news release that it had approved the state rules for part of the state's waterways, but would still impose the federal rules for the rest. According to David Guest of Earthjustice, that means the state rules cover only 15 percent while the new federal rules cover 85 percent — about 100,000 miles of waterways.
Source

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Report: Florida's Water Pollution Costs $10.5 Billion, Annually

Published Nov 2012 Public News Service
Florida's water-pollution problem is costing the state more than $10 billion every year, according to an independent reportreleased Wednesday.

The Stockholm Environment Institute analyzed the impact of statewide problems such as algae and red-tide outbreaks.

Link to full report 
http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/ValuingFloridasCleanWaters.pdf
Source