My Flickr Photos of Springs

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Diver dies at NCF spring

Published April 27th, 2015
Experts say it's a risk all divers take when they submerge underwater. Jurich is the third diving related death at Ginnie Springs in 2015.

Members of International Underwater Cave Rescue and Recovery unit, assisted by sheriff's deputies, responded to the springs - recovering the body hours later.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Florida discoveries: Caverns and mastodon bones at Wakulla Springs

Published 4/25/2015
People have been taking boat rides to see the springs since the first half of the 19th century. The mastodon bones were spotted in the 1850s. In 1934, Edward Ball, a financier, purchased the property as a wildlife sanctuary and built the Wakulla Springs Lodge. The state bought the land in 1986 and established Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as a National Natural Landmark.

Wekiva River 'bridge to nowhere' still stands after nearly 60 years

Published 4/25/2015
The 160-foot-long concrete overpass spans the Wekiva River connecting Seminole County with Wekiwa Springs State Park in Orange County near Apopka.

Brett Blackadar, Seminole County's engineer, said demolishing the bridge would be tricky because of the environmental impact it would have on the river. The Wekiva River is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River and an Outstanding Florida Water, giving it special protections.

Friday, April 24, 2015

In Florida, should the manatees swim alone?

Published 4/23/2015
For animal softies, the swimming-with-the-manatees program in Crystal River, Fla., is an irresistible opportunity to observe and commune with the endangered marine mammals in their natural habitat. Between November and April, more than 700 manatees leave the chilly Gulf of Mexico for the balmy waters of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, a 177-acre jigsaw puzzle of springs and sanctuaries in Kings Bay, an hour and a half north of Tampa. The temperature in the springs holds steady at 72 degrees, just right for the cold-averse critters.

Lars Andersen founded his eco-tour company, Adventure Outpost, in 1997. Three years later, he cut manatee swims from his programming to protest acts of harassment he had witnessed in the water. In January, he discontinued kayak tours in Three Sisters because of the swelling crowds. And last month, he joined an intent-to-sue filed by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a nonprofit with a history of fighting for stronger manatee protections. The group claims that Fish and Wildlife is violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to safeguard the manatees in the refuge. It also wags a reproachful finger at the swimming outings.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Bill to protect Florida springs seen as possible threat to existing safeguards

Published Apr 19, 2015
“I don’t expect that anything will emerge from the 2015 legislative session that will materially improve the condition of Florida’s springs,” said Bob Palmer, a retiree who is chairman of a legislative committee for the Florida Springs Council, after the Senate bill (S.B. 918) changed.

The Senate bill’s current version still requires agencies to set minimum limits for water withdrawals, but it ties those to levels that are “significantly harmful” to waterways or the area’s ecology.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Springs bill in Senate disappoints some environmentalists

Published Apr 17, 2015
The Florida Springs Council said SB 918 needed strengthening but instead was weakened as it went through the committee process. The springs council said the bill relies too much on existing regulatory tools, which have been shown not to work as communities watched their springs become choked with weeds and algae.

Partnership project to benefit Volusia Blue Spring, water supply (Press Release)

Published April 17, 2015
Work has begun on a $6 million project to connect the reclaimed water distribution systems of Volusia County and the cities of DeLand, Deltona and Orange City. The interconnection will help conserve fresh groundwater and benefit Volusia Blue Spring.

Projects to improve the health of Florida's springs and their ecosystems are a major focus of the District's Springs Protection Initiative. These include reclaimed water projects that decrease nitrate pollution by reducing or eliminating wastewater discharges and protect spring flows by reducing demand for groundwater withdrawals.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Manatee Harassment On Rise At Florida Springs, Environmentalists Say

Published 4/16/2015
On Monday, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, called on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to ban swimmers from using the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and 30-odd neighboring springs known as the Kings Bay Manatee Protection Area to prevent the harassing of manatees, a crime in Florida that is punishable by six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Dumais said Crystal River and Kings Bay have the largest concentration of manatees in the state between November and March, the peak tourist season.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Taking the Plunge in Florida’s Springs

Published April 10, 2015
The Lodge at Wakulla Springs has a beach, glass-bottom boat tours and horseback riding (from about $95 a night, wakullaspringslodge.com). In High Springs, the 250-acre Ginnie Springs Outdoors has campsites, cottages and a full range of activities (three-bedroom cottages from about $175 a night, ginniespringsoutdoors.com). For a quieter stay, there’s the comfortable Grady House Bed and Breakfast (from about $140 a night, gradyhouse.com). Great Outdoors, in an 1895 Romanesque Revival opera house, serves up good food and live music. High Springs outfitter Adventure Outpost can customize paddling adventures throughout northern Florida (adventureoutpost.net). You can snorkel with manatees on the Homosassa River from November to March or year-round in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. American Pro Diving (americanprodiving.com) and River Safaris (riversafaris.com) offer tours.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Water Bill Critics Can't Fathom Some Changes

Published 4/8/2015
“It requires monitoring of groundwater withdraws above 100 thousand gallons or more per day. It requires BMAP (bee-map) to have 5, 10 and 15-year milestones to achieve the TMDL.”

The translation, according to Audubon of Florida executive director Eric Draper, is a lot of words and not much cleanup or protection.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Beyond Destin: Pitt Springs Recreation Area

Published April 7, 2015
Pitt Springs Recreation Area is within Econfina Creek Water Management Area is perfect for a laid-back afternoon of picnicking, hiking and swimming.

Instead of the long hike, we followed the paved walkway and boardwalk and found a dock into Econfina Creek, and an overlook of Sylvan Spring. An informational panel explained that Sylvan Spring is not a swimming hole because the aquifer beneath it is unstable. However, Econfina Creek and Pitt Spring are swimming areas and both have dock accesses.

The park is free to the public and open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily from April through September. For more information call 539-5999.

Guest column: The science involved in the Rodman dam dispute

Published Apr 7, 2015
With controversy on the removal of the Rodman dam in full swing, I would like to examine the science that makes up our understanding of the water flow in the Ocklawaha River basin, the St. Johns River and the Rodman dam pool itself.

Karst is a word geologists use to describe limestone that has been partially dissolved through time by slightly acidic rainfall and have numerous small and large (cave-sized) cavities.

This water was a combination of water from flow farther up the Ocklawaha River (the upper Ocklawaha River Basin, and Silver Springs), spring water discharging into the river from now submerged springs, rainfall and the creeks and spring runs entering the river channel.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Spring at Wekiwa Springs State Park

Published April 05, 2015
"For every 20 minutes you go down river, the water is pushing behind you as you come out of the springs. It's going to take you 30 minutes to paddle back up against that,” Brooks warned.

For those not wanting a workout, the head of Wekiwa Springs is open to bathing. A large grassy area overlooks the place where the fresh water boils up from the Florida aquifer. A hiking trail and scenic boardwalk is also available

One Tank Trip: Weeki Wachee Springs

Posted 4/2/2015
The name means "Little Spring" or "Winding River."

Nestled at the corner of U.S. 19 and Cortez Boulevard in Hernando County, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is a haven for wildlife and an all-around water-themed attraction.

"The spring is a constant 72 degrees year-round, 99.8 percent pure spring water, and out of the aquifer pumps 117 million gallons of water each and every day," said Athanason.