My Flickr Photos of Springs

Friday, February 27, 2015

Planet Hollywood unveils redesign for Disney Springs

Published 2/26/2015
Disney contractors have already removed the lake that fronted Planet Hollywood. The restaurant will be located at the beginning of a series of springs that winds through the development.

Clarity for Florida's Springs

Published February 26, 2015
Twenty-five years ago, the striking blue waters of Florida’s Peacock Springs were as clear as glass, “like a fantasy,” recalls environmental scientist and cave diver Pete Butt. Snorkeling at the surface, he could see through the water to the limestone bottom and its craggy portals to one of the longest underwater cave systems in the nation.

Algae clump on the surface in smelly mats, smother native aquatic vegetation with slime or grow along the bottom in hairy, green strands. “Amorphous goo,” Butt calls it. “Atrocious.”

Last year, state environmental protection and agricultural agencies added real-time monitoring on the web, in addition to a project they started in 2013 with farmers, to try and tie specific land-use changes to water quality. For the first time, scientists will have an instant read on how springs respond to all sorts of factors, from fertilizer application to drought or heavy rainfall, says Brian Katz, a geochemist with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Clearer science, says Katz, “will eventually lead to clearer springs.”

Rules to control crowds of swimmers, manatees in Florida springs

Published Feb 26, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hopes the measures will control crowding in the springs, where hundreds of manatees seek refuge during cold snaps, often drawing equally large numbers of snorkelers and kayakers.

Now even on days when the springs remain open, swimmers will be prohibited from two popular areas within the 1.5 acre springs, which are part of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, located north of Tampa. Source

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Legislature to tackle water woes

Published February 21, 2015
One message was clear from business leaders during a recent legislative hearing on water policy: Florida’s economy depends on abundant water.

Of the state’s 33 first magnitude springs, 26 have excessive levels of pollution.

Friday, February 20, 2015

United States: "Year Of Water" Points To Major Changes During 2015 Florida Legislature

Published February 19, 2015
2015 is being called the "Year of Water" for the Florida Legislature. Springs have declined in flow and water quality, aquatic habitats have become degraded, and rivers flowing from Lake Okeechobee and the estuaries of these rivers have been negatively impacted. In general, the state of water quantity and quality has become a crisis. Because of this, the 2015 legislative session is likely to adopt laws addressing these and many related problems, and the bottom line for water users will likely be increased expenses.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Manatees, fans flock to Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River

Published 2/18/2015
Stamatakis, his wife Marsha and their fellow visitors were lucky that day. They didn’t get shut out of the 1 1/2-acre spring as hundreds of others have when refuge officials closed Three Sisters numerous times since December. When too many manatees congregate in the warm-water refuge, people are kept out. The situation changes daily, so the refuge has set up a Facebook page with real-time updates. Visitors can still observe manatees that gather around the 70 other springs scattered around adjacent Kings Bay, but those waters are green and murky — not optimum for viewing and photography.

More than 265,000 people snorkeled, paddled or viewed manatees from private, guided and rental boats in the Crystal River refuge last year, according to the USFWS. The huge congregation of visitors and manatees prompted the agency to propose new rules for Three Sisters: kayaks and canoes would be blocked from two-thirds of the spring and only admitted to the remainder of the area between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and flash photography would be prohibited except by special permit. Those measures are still awaiting approval.

For updates on openings and closures of Three Sisters Springs, visit http://www.fws.gov/refuge/crystal-river/

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Silver Springs protection plan includes land swap

Published February 16, 2015 The Gainesville Sun
Central to the district's protection and recovery plan is a wetland recharge area that would increase spring flow as well as treat the water before it travels underground to the springs.

To that end, the district has agreed to pay $1 million and convey 625 acres of its Bear Track Bay land, east of State Road 315, in exchange for land that could be used for the needed Silver Springs recharge.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Environmentalists plan to 'rally in Tally'

February 14, 2015
Environmentalists stretching from the Panhandle to the Keys will descend on the state capital Wednesday for a “Rally in Tally” urging lawmakers to protect the state's water resources and natural lands.

Like the original version of a bill filed last session in the Senate, the bills would also include new requirements for establishing MFLs and BMAPs -- while giving 20 years to restore a water body after those plans are in place -- put in place more stringent rules for fertilizer application and also require the establishment of springs protection zones.

Friday, February 13, 2015

House water policy starts to flow

Published February 12, 2015
Among changes worked into the proposal over the past week is to include best-management practices from the Department of Environmental Protection for second-magnitude springs. The initial draft had the regulatory process only for larger, first-magnitude springs.

However, the changes removed springs-protection zones, which are designed to regulate the impact of septic tanks and the flow of storm water and agricultural runoff into springs.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Water Policy Takes A Step Forward in Florida

Published Feb 11, 2015
Water Policy in Florida took a step forward at the state Capitol today, and the legislation makes it clear that money set aside by voters in Amendment One will not be used to repair local water supply and sewer pipes.

Wakulla Springs in North Florida hasn’t been able to run glass bottom boat tours for more than a year….and only sporadically over the last few years, all because the once pristine spring just isn’t clear enough.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Florida House Water Policy Starts to Flow

Published 2/11/2015
The policy, in part, would impose what are known as “best management practices” for natural springs, the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee. Also, it would direct water-management districts to implement a water-management plan across Central Florida.

“Look, at the end of the day, we’ve got oysters that are dying, springs that are suffering, a Kissimmee River basin that needs more help in depleting some of the phosphorous, nutrients that are going into the lake,” Pafford said. “You’ve got tremendous outcry over the last number of years for the estuaries east and west of the lake (Okeechobee), and you’ve got a restoration plan for the Everglades that hasn’t been completed.”

Gov. Scott highlights $1.6 billion to restore Florida springs

Published February 10, 2015
Governor Rick Scott highlighted a dedicated source of revenue that will provide $1.6 billion for Florida springs restoration over the next 20 years as part of his proposed 2015-2016 “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget. If passed by the Legislature, $50 million will go toward springs restoration next year.

Governor Scott said, “Florida’s springs are one of the many natural treasures that bring families, visitors and job creators to our state. Over the last two years, we have championed record funding for Florida’s springs, and we are committed to building on that success going forward. By making these important investments now, we will be protecting and restoring our great springs for generations to come.”

District staff discuss restoration efforts that will take place at Charles Springs in Suwannee County

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Florida Springs Impose Stricter Rules As Manatee Numbers Rise

Published February 9th, 2015
Now a captain and in-water tour guide for River Ventures Manatee Tour Center, what Daugherty doesn’t remember is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) shutting down some of the city’s springs as often as it does now.

According to the FWS, Crystal River has over 70 springs located in Kings Bay Springs/Crystal River and is home to about 600 manatees from November to March, making it the largest natural winter refuge for manatees in the world.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Editorial: True conservation

Published February 8, 2015
Protecting the aquifer will require tough policies such as statewide, mandatory water conservation measures and stricter controls on pollution. In the absence of political will for such steps, lawmakers must at least protect and restore land that has the biggest impact on our water supply and springs.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Florida spring closes when 300 manatees suddenly swim up

Published 2/4/2015
Florida’s Three Sisters Springs got a little crowded this week when more than 300 manatees swam quickly into the springs, prompting park officials to close the springs to human swimmers and kayakers. Up to 600 manatees winter in Florida Kings Bay and Crystal River from November to March, but the population drops to 30 manatees the rest of the year. The warm waters of Three Sisters Springs, are a part of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.

Three Sisters Springs is the only “confined-water body in the United States” open for the public to see wintering manatees, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Paddling Florida's Iconic Springs with the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition

Published 2/3/2015
Rainbow Springs and the Rainbow River became popular in the late 1880s when hard rock phosphate was discovered in the area. A small community called Juliette flourished near the springs during this "boomtown" era. In the 1930s the spring was developed as a tourist attraction.

The Florida Park Service officially opened Rainbow Springs State Park on a full-time basis on March 9, 1995.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Nature photographer presents Springs Eternal Project

Published January 31, 2015
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation will host two presentations of Florida nature photographer John Moran’s Springs Eternal Project exhibition “Florida’s Fragile Fountains of Youth” this month.

The Springs Eternal Project documents the beauty, history and increasing ecological devastation of Florida’s springs and aquifer.