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Monday, January 28, 2013

Study seeks ways to recharge Floridan aquifer

Published 1/27/2012 Jacksonville Business Journal
A technical memorandum, completed by Atkins North America Inc., presents a number of aquifer recharge concepts to help decide the best ways to artificially put water back into the aquifer, according to the Lake City Reporter.
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Do we want natural Florida to be wild, or kept on a leash?

Published 1/27/2013 Orlando Sentinel
Last year, I helped guide the same geographer to another possible spring site in the basin. There, we descended into a swamp that cradled a clear thread of transparent water. As a result of that trek, "Sirena Spring" was named and cataloged.

Last year, some 70 scientists participating in a "BioBlitz" initiated by the Friends of the Wekiva River identified more than 1,564 species of plants and animals. Some 36 percent of the plants — 214 — were previously undocumented here. If that ratio holds true for the entire tally of aquatic and terrestrial species, then more than 400 plants and animals were not previously identified here.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Activists to rally around Wekiva River

Published 1/26/2013 Orlando Sentinel
The Speak Up Wekiva rally on Feb. 16 is billed as "a call to action to protect and restore the impaired Wekiva River, the troubled springs that feed it, and all of Florida's treasured waterways."

With former Florida Gov. Bob Graham among several speakers, the Silver Springs rally had an attendance of nearly 1,800 people and was considered a turning point for environmental awareness. Last week, Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet approved a plan to add the springs and adjoining land to the state park system this year, taking over property that is now a private tourist attraction.

The Wekiva River is created by Wekiwa Springs in northwest Orange County and flows 16 miles along the borders between Orange, Seminole and Lake counties before joining the St. Johns River.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

State leaders must act to save ailing springs, rivers

Published 1/23/2012 Orlando Sentinel
The state's first major program to protect environmentally sensitive land from development, Preservation 2000, was launched in 1990 by then-Republican Gov. Bob Martinez. The program's successor, Florida Forever, began under Republican Gov. Jeb Bush. Leaders from both parties were proud to call themselves environmentalists.

Despite such dire reports on the condition of Florida waterways, there's been no sign of urgency in the state capital. Last month a federal judge had to order state and federal environmental agencies to implement water-pollution limits that have been on the table since 1998. A movement is growing among citizens to force lawmakers to restore the funding they've cut from Florida Forever.
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Florida water management districts seek $122 million for springs restoration

Published 1/23/2013 Tampa Bay Tribune
That's 10 times what the state spent on springs last year, and four times what the state budgeted for Everglades restoration.
Now getting rid of septic tanks near springs is one of the main targets of the proposed taxpayer-funded restoration effort. In Citrus County, for instance, county officials say the DEP is already helping pay for removing 500 septic tanks around Kings Bay in hopes of ending the spread of a toxic algae called Lyngbya.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Protesters demand EPA impose pollution rules on Florida

Published January 18, 2013 Tampa Bay Times
About 150 environmental activists from around the state, many wearing green T-shirts that said "Ask Me About SLIME," crowded into the hallway in front of a ballroom door to protest what they viewed as lax water pollution regulations.


The dispute is over how to cut nutrient pollution, which in the past 30 years has become the most common water pollution problem in the state. Nitrates and phosphorous from fertilizer, septic waste and other sources feed the increase in slimy algae blooms that kill fish and cause respiratory problems and rashes among swimmers.
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Florida rivers getting sicker, Sentinel investigation finds

Published 1/16/2013 Orlando Sentinel
Of the 22 rivers studied, from Miami to Pensacola, nearly half are in decline because of pollution from lawns, street runoff, wastewater and agriculture, and because of shrinking flows caused by drought and rising demand for water by cities and industries.

But the state has a compelling reason to protect its rivers: If Florida's rivers are not healthy, then neither is its water.


The Hillsborough, Peace, St. Johns and Kissimmee rivers, for example, deliver drinking water to the state's biggest metropolitan areas. The Apalachicola nurtures a bay famed for its oysters. The state's giant springs, sources of rivers such as the Silver and the Wekiva, are an unmatched collection of natural treasures. And wilderness areas tied to rivers, such as the Suwannee's and Fisheating Creek's, are awesome, humbling places

Protecting rivers is controversial. Last month, most notably, an impatient federal judge ordered Florida and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to finally implement pollution regulations that have been on the books for nearly 15 years. Many state lawmakers and industries have fought the regulations as overly burdensome.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Silver Springs could become Florida state park

Published 1/14/2013

Silver Springs, a Florida attraction for more than 80 years, could be named a state park.
Dr. Robert “Bob” Knight, director of the H. T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, said with the springs colorful history and famous glass-bottom boat rides in Ocala, that the state thought it would be great to convert to a state park for years.

Water district proposes 11-year delay in setting flows for Wakulla Springs

Published 1/14/2013
The Northwest Florida Water Management District is seeking to delay setting minimum flow levels for Wakulla Springs and other springs in the district by 11 years, raising concerns among environmentalists.



This year, a group called Florida Leaders Organized for Water has drafted the Floridan Aquifer Sustainability Act of 2013. 


White Springs Mayor Helen Miller, the group's vice chairman, said the legislation would provide resources to agencies and timetables for setting minimum flows. The group has asked North Central Florida legislators to sponsor the bill but none has to agreed yet, she said.



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