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Monday, April 28, 2014

Volunteers scrub away Wekiwa Springs algae scum

Published April 27, 2014
With brooms, rakes, nets and bare hands, nearly 50 volunteers on Sunday scrubbed a scum of green algae off the floor of Wekiwa Springs, hoping to bring back its white sand and blue water.
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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jackson Blue Spring, Merritt’s Mill Pond restoration plan discussed

Published April 23, 2014
ackson Blue — a first-magnitude Jackson County spring located within the Apalachicola River Basin — and Merritt’s Mill Pond suffer from nutrient pollution. According to DEP, preliminary information indicates nitrate contribution to Jackson Blue Spring and Merritt’s Mill Pond is derived primarily from inorganic fertilizer use and, to a lesser degree, from septic systems and animal waste being washed off by stormwater and seeping into the underlying karst geology.

Jackson Blue Spring contributes approximately 69 percent of the total flow to Merritt’s Mill Pond. Both water bodies are economically valuable to the state and local communities, with public land near Jackson Blue Spring including the popular 195-acre Blue Springs Recreational Area.
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Voters could pump cash into restoration of springs

Published April 23, 2014
Gardiner and other lawmakers have been pushing for strong regulations in light of the deteriorating health and flows of once-pristine springs such as Wekiwa and Rock Springs in Orange County and Silver Springs in Marion County.

The Water and Land Conservation amendment would devote to conservation 33 percent of the revenues collected from documentary-stamp taxes on real-estate transactions — a tax that generated $1.7 billion this year. If it passes, state economists estimate it would raise $648 million next year and nearly $19 billion during the next two decades.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Senate scales back major springs bill

Published 4/22/2014
The original bill required that local governments, the DEP and water-management districts to identify the worst-leaking septic tanks and require their replacement — with the state footing the entire cost. The Legislature three years ago passed a septic-tank-inspection law and later repealed it after property owners and interest groups balked.

James pointed out that 60 percent of Florida's most important springs were located within economically-threatened counties.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Florida's Freshwater Springs Attract Vacationers

Published April 15, 2014
The water level here is a third lower than what it was. And there's another problem - runoff and nutrients from fertilizer has promoted the growth of algae, turning clear springs increasingly murky. Spring swimmer Erin Carr says she saw a big change after being away from the area for just six years.
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Florida Lawmakers Proposing a Salve for Ailing Springs

Published 4/15/2015
Today, Manatee Springs is one of the most polluted springs in the state.

Mark Long lives near Manatee Springs and has watched as pollution has taken its toll. Credit Edward Linsmier for The New York Times After years of discussion and inaction, four influential Republican State Senate committee chairmen and one Democratic chairman have signed off on an ambitious bill that would lay the groundwork for a long-term, comprehensive approach to restoring the state’s 38 most important and threatened springs. But the proposal, which has a price tag of $380 million for next year, requires concessions from agriculture, home builders, septic tank owners, property rights advocates and other powerful interests. And the measure poses a difficult test of whether divided Republican legislators have the will to address the problems in a comprehensive way.

At Manatee Springs, swimmers are warned of the possibility of rashes. In Ginnie Springs, a popular recreation area on private land, the owner is battling the state to do more to clean up the increasingly sullied water. Up north in Wakulla Springs, glass-bottom boats, once a favorite attraction, seldom run because the water is so murky.

The decay is not new. A Florida Springs Task Force report in 2000 detailed the declining health and its causes. But the situation has grown “much worse,” said the report’s author, Jim Stevenson, who until 2003 was chief biologist for the Florida State Park System under the state Department of Environmental Protection

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Florida briefs: Warm Minerals Springs reopens to public

Published April 13, 2014
Warm Mineral Springs reopened to the public after closing last summer after the concessions contractor's lease expired.

Sarasota County and the city of North Port agreed to open the springs for bathing and swimming.
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Warm Mineral Springs reopens and has unexpected guest

Published April 10, 2014
Warm Mineral Springs re-opened this week, a few days ahead of schedule... and then closed on the first day after an 18-inch alligator decided to go for a swim.
What hasn't changed? The largest warm mineral spring in the world remains at 87 degrees.
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