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Thursday, July 30, 2015

List: A guide to springs in and around Marion County

Published July 30, 2015
Alexander Springs
49525 County Road 445, Altoona in the Ocala Nation Forest. From Ocala, head east on State Road 40. Once in Astor, look for signs
Contact: (352) 669-3522

Juniper Springs
26695 E. State Road 40, Silver Springs

While there, take the Juniper Springs Nature Trail to Fern Hammock Springs, where you'll see the springs bubbling up. You can't swim there, but it's fun to watch. There also is Juniper Run for kayaking and canoeing.
Contact: (352) 625-3147

Salt Springs
14151 N. State Road 19, Salt Springs
The National Forest Service calls Salt Springs one of the "recreational jewels" of the Ocala National Forest. It is located near the intersection of County Road 314 and State Road 19.
Contact: (352) 685-2048

Silver Glen Springs
5271 State Road 19, Salt Springs
Silver Glen Springs is located along State Road 19, six miles north of State Road 40.
Contact: (352) 685-2799

Rainbow Springs (State Park)
19158 SW 81st Place Road, Dunnellon
With its entrance off U.S. 41 north of Dunnellon.
Contact: (352)465-8555

K.P. Hole
9435 SW 190th Ave. Road, Dunnellon

Though not on a spring itself, K.P. Hole is just down river from the Rainbow Springs headsprings and, thus, offers a brisk dip. The Marion County park offers swimming as well as a launch for tubing and canoeing
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Ten springs within an hour's drive of Leesburg

Published July 30, 2015
Alexander Springs - 21 miles away
49525 County Road 445 in Altoona

Kelly Park / Rock Springs Run - 29 miles away
Features a free-flowing natural spring and Rock Springs, a clear, swift creek.

Wekiwa Springs
This is a second-magnitude spring that is joined within a half-mile by the smaller run from Rock Springs to form the headwaters of the 17-mile-long Wekiva River, a tributary of the St. Johns River.

Juniper Springs - 32 miles away
Huge live oak canopies provide shade yards away from the natural pool.

Rainbow Springs - 39 miles away
This is Florida's fourth-largest spring, according to Florida State Parks.

Salt Springs - 47 miles away
You'll find a natural spring rising beneath the swimming area. It gets its name from the magnesium, potassium and salt in the water.

Silver Glen Springs - 47 miles away
Boaters love Silver Glen Springs because they can take their boat up close to the swimming area and enjoy the springs.

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge - 47 miles away
1502 S.E. Kings Bay Drive in Crystal River
The primary springs within the wildlife refuge are Idiots Delight, Three Sisters, and the King Springs group, which includes Tarpon Hole, Mullet’s Gullet, and Little Hidden springs. Three Sisters springs is the only one accessible by land; all of the others are boat accessible only.

Blue Spring - Orange City - 47 miles away

Also known as Volusia Blue Spring

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park - 58 miles away
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fragile Springs Map


Click Map to Enlarge
Source:
http://fragilesprings.com/

Readers rank Madison Blue Spring as top swimming hole

Published 7/29/2015
Madison Blue Spring is a first-magnitude spring shaded by hardwood and pine trees along the Withlacoochee River, as described by Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism promotion agency. The spring attracts visitors for swimming, kayaking, canoeing and certified cave and cavern diving.
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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wakulla Springs offers summer relief

Published July 25, 2015
The spring is 315 feet in diameter with a huge vent that is approximately 82 feet wide, 50 feet high, and 185 feet deep. The vent extends into a group of caves that measures 28.6 miles to date, and is the fourth longest explored aquatic cave system in the world.

It’s just over 20 miles from Tallahassee and in many ways it’s a blast to the past. This is where “Tarzan’s Original Treasure” was filmed in 1941 and “Creature from the Black Lagoon” in 1953. Also, in 1976 both “Airport 77” and “Joe Panther” were shot at the springs. Tourists can still stay in the lodge where actors from those movies hung out after long days.
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Friday, July 24, 2015

State outlines plan to protect Silver Springs

Published 7/23/2015
BMAP stands for Basin Management Action Plan, and there are several around the state that aim to improve the quality of water in the Floridan Aquifer.

This particular BMAP covers the roughly 30 springs in the Silver Springs system, Mammoth Springs and the Silver River.

The specific purpose of this BMAP is to control the nitrate levels of the water that reaches the aquifer.

The BMAP includes 130 projects, and the public can comment on those until Aug. 19 by going to the DEP’s website: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/watersheds/bmap.htm
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Editorial: Water Conservation — Restoring Florida's Springs

Published July 22, 2015
"Last year's projects were heavily tilted toward subsidies for those who are the largest contributors to the water depletion and nutrient pollution which are choking our springs," wrote council legislative chair Bob Palmer and legislative committee member Heather Culp. The cost shares "are so low that the water users are probably saving money in the long run with more effective taxpayer-funded equipment and practices," the letter said.

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County ponders workshop on possible fee hikes

Published July 23, 2015
Jackson County Commissioners say they will hold a special workshop in upcoming days to consider proposed increased user fees in various departments as the board works through their planning for fiscal year 2015-16. The date for that meeting has not yet been set.
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The Disappearing Apalachicola Oyster: Florida’s Fight to Save Its Prized Delicacy

Published Jul 23, 2015
The ideal oyster comes from Apalachicola Bay, a body of water about 160 miles east of Pensacola Beach and 75 miles southwest of Tallahassee, the state capital. Unlike most Gulf Coast towns that anyone's actually heard of, the city of Apalachicola is not a tourist destination. Its industry is oysters, which are pulled out of the bay and are reported to be some of the best on Earth. That's not hyperbole. The New York Times asked around in 2002 and came to that conclusion.

Below Atlanta, the Chattahoochee flows along the Alabama-Georgia state line, and then into Florida, where it connects with the Flint River and becomes the Apalachicola River. The river dumps into Apalachicola Bay, creating brackish waters that allow the local wildlife, including oysters, to thrive.
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

2 injured in sturgeon strike on Suwannee River near Branford

Published July 22, 2015
Two Old Town residents were injured in a sturgeon strike Monday afternoon, July 13, on the Suwannee River, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reported.

They were traveling downstream between Troy Springs and the Branford boat ramp when a sturgeon jumped up and hit the windshield and both Nicholas and Jamie, according to FWC officials.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Spring hopping in Suwannee County

Published July 21, 2015
Suwannee Springs
Traveling north from Live Oak on Highway 129. You will pass I-10 and the new Busy Bee. None of these springs allow alcohol consumption, so make sure your coolers are suds-free. Just after the next gas station north of the Busy Bee on 129 you will turn right on 93rd Drive. The entrance to Suwannee Springs is on your right. There is plenty of parking and a place to lock up your bicycle if you biked over from the Spirit of the Suwannee Campground.

Charles Spring
South of Live Oak off of Hwy 51. You need to turn right on 152nd Street which is just past the gas station the locals call the Taylor store. You will be heading west on this road for a long time. When the road goes from pavement to sand, you are almost there. Follow the road around to a stop sign and the entrance to Charles Springs is straight across the intersection. The coolest thing about this spring is the swim-through cave in crystal clear water. When the water level is right you can enter the spring in one part of the rock formation and exit from another.

Royal Springs
North on Hwy 51 turn right on County Road 349. Stay on CR 349 past the blinking red light and slow down when you see the sign for Suwannee Farms. You will be turning right on 198th terrace and left on Royal Springs road. The main attraction at Royal Springs (besides the crystal clear, cool water flowing out of the ground and into the river) is the wooden jumping platform. When the water level is right, it is a 20-30 foot jump into the center of Royal Spring. There is also a good boat ramp down river from the spring.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

County considers sewer and water for Indian Springs

Published July 20, 2015
Jackson County Commissioners learned Monday that they’ll be able to add a $500,000 special legislative appropriation to the bottom line for fiscal year 2015-16, and the money is for a specific proposed project that could help protect Jackson Blue Spring and Merritt’s Mill Pond.

The spring is part and parcel of the pond. Water from the spring boils into the pond. That receiving body discharges into Spring Creek. The creek discharges into the Chipla River. That river discharges into the larger Apalachicola River, which flows to the Apalachicola Bay and affects Franklin County's environmentally sensitive oyster industry.
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"Year of Water" Points to Major Changes During 2015 Florida Legislature

Published 2/20/2015
The House State Affairs Committee passed a comprehensive bill on Feb. 11 with an emphasis on Florida's first and second magnitude springs (i.e., "priority Florida springs").

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.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

DEP commits $1M to remove septic tanks at Silver Springs State Park

Published July 14, 2015
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has announced that it has committed $1,084,356 to remove septic tanks and install municipal sewer connections at Silver Springs State Park.

Nutrient pollution, or an excess of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, impacts water quality in many of Florida’s spring systems. The nutrients are naturally present in the water and necessary for the healthy growth of plant and animal life, but an excess can lead to complications such as rapid algal growth, habitat smothering and oxygen depletion.
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Friday, July 10, 2015

Making a bucket list, checking it twice, just add water and ice

Published July 9, 2015 Tallahassee Democrat
Wakulla Springs State Park: Speaking of monster movies, the classic pic “The Creature From the Black Lagoon” (1954) was filmed underwater in the deep Wakulla Spring and along the Wakulla River (which easily doubled for the Amazon). The park is home to Wakulla Spring Lodge, which was built in the mid-’30 by wealthy magnate Edward Ball, whose ghost probably still haunts the time-locked place.

Chipola River/ Bear Paw: This is the tubing destination of Northwest Florida. Even though it is technically located in Marianna, most college students from Tallahassee only know it by the name Bear Paw, which is the company that runs the tubing and canoeing business on Spring Creek and the spring-fed Chipola River.
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Florida springs diving with NASCAR's Ray Black, Jr.

Published 7/9/2015
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ray Black Jr. gives a demonstration at the Deep Water Training Center in Ocala, Fla., as he talks about his other career as a licensed deep-sea diver and deep water welder/salvager.
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Editorial: Springs spending

Published July 9, 2015
A letter this week from the Florida Springs Council to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection made a compelling case that the level of private contributions and type of projects being funded fail to truly restore springs.

Paying farmers and other interests to cut water and fertilizer use won’t work if, at the same time, the state and water districts are permitting other users to do even more of the same.
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Thursday, July 09, 2015

Green Cove Springs officials: Restoration of historic Spring Park to go forward

Published Jul 8, 2015
The team will develop the design, working drawings and bid specifications for the project calling for construction of an activity building, replacement of the public swimming pool and deck as well as preservation and enhancement of the spring boil and its outfall, other site improvements, according to the city’s Request For Qualifications (RFQ) detailing that bidding process.

The spring boil is where water surges up from the sulphur spring beneath the ground at the park. The spring water feeds the park’s swimming pool then flows down a small creek — Spring Run — to empty into the St. Johns River. The estimated flow rate of the water, which originates from the Floridan aquifer, is about 2,200 gallons per minute, city officials have said.
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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Springs group says state process helps 'largest polluters'

Published 7/7/15
The $45 million is the most ever included in the state budget, and was touted by Governor Rick Scott when he signed the spending plan into law.

Currently the state’s five regional water management districts play a huge role in taking that money and determining what springs projects actually get funded. The council says that process is flawed.
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Friday, July 03, 2015

Florida's original water parks: the springs

Published July 2, 2015
Back in the 1800s, the state's first towns popped up around the most popular watering spots, including Ocala near Silver Springs, Jacksonville near Green Cove Springs, and Daytona Beach, northeast of De Leon Springs. Today, while some springs are privately owned, there are dozens still held in the public trust, and most still serve as old-fashioned swimming holes on a hot summer's day.
Juniper Springs, which feeds a run that has been called the best paddle in Florida, is perhaps the best of the bunch.

Rainbow Springs State Park:
The headwaters are a semicircular spring with four main boils. Just 14 feet at its deepest, the river features public swimming accessed for a modest fee.
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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

State adds land near springs to its ‘Florida Forever’ list

Published 6/30/2015
Local efforts to protect Silver Springs got a boost last week, when the Florida Department of Environmental Protection approved Marion County’s application to add the Silver Springs Sandhill Site to the 2016 Florida Forever project list.

With the site potentially under state ownership and county management, the aquifer that feeds Silver Springs would also be protected from pollutants that might otherwise contaminate it if the site fell to developers and was potentially used for as many as 1,600 residential and commercial units, Couillard added.

In the late 1990s, Marwick spearheaded springs’ protection efforts that led to the state’s purchase of Indian Lake State Forest from a development company that was planning to build 10,000 houses and 1 million square feet of commercial space.

The DEP’s Acquisition and Restoration Council — which approved the Sandhill Site for the Florida Forever project — also added the Site to Florida’s First Magnitude Springs Project. The Florida Forever project is the state’s premier conservation and recreational lands aqcuisition program, according to the DEP web site.
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