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Saturday, August 30, 2008

FWC to boaters: Avoid the flooded St. Johns River

Published August 29, 2008 - Star-Banner
“The St. Johns River and its waters may be dangerous for vessels right now and the FWC is asking boaters to avoid using these areas if possible until these restrictions are lifted,” an agency news release states.

All of these restricted boating zones are in effect and enforceable when the St. Johns River level is at specified flood stages. The river is at those flood stages now.

The rule will be in effect for 90 days or until flooding conditions have sufficiently abated.
Source

Corps slows flows from Lake Lanier

Note: not necessary about Florida Springs but what happens to Lake Lanier effects the Apalachicola River here in Florida.

Published Aug. 29, 2008 - Gainesville Times
This week’s increase of more than 2 feet in the level of Lake Lanier is the greatest rise in the lake in two years, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the reservoir. And it keeps rising.
Source

State Park Staycations

Published 08/29/08 - wmbb.com - News13
There are a multitude of state parks that offer cool, clear waters provided by springs, rivers and beaches. These parks are a unique part of Florida’s ecosystem and offer plenty of activities such as swimming, kayaking, tubing, picnicking and camping. From cooling off at Wakulla Springs, one of the world’s deepest and largest freshwater springs in Florida’s northern region, to chilling out at Central Florida’s Caladesi Island State Park, the number one beach in the nation, Florida’s state parks provide visitors with many opportunities for a relaxing “staycation.”
Source

Friday, August 29, 2008

Flooding opens Wekiwa Springs to manatees

Published August 28, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
For the first time in memory, manatees are frolicking in the swimming hole at Wekiwa Springs, a spectacle made possible by Tropical Storm Fay.

A pair of manatees, one small and one young adult, has been showing up infrequently for a few minutes at a time.

"The spring hasn't changed," said park biologist Paul Lammardl. "The water is rising because the St. Johns and the Wekiva are backing up."

Lammardl said manatees could have ventured to the spring in the years before Central Florida was developed. But now millions of gallons are pumped from underground, robbing strength from Wekiwa Springs and reducing the river's flow.
Source

Thursday, August 28, 2008

St. Johns River: Some statements clarified

Published 8/27/08
The Aug. 18 letter titled "St. Johns River: Agencies must act responsibly" contained some inaccurate information that warrants clarification.

The St. Johns River Water Management District has not "issued a permit for an out-of-state company to pump 177 million gallons of water a day out of this same aquifer so that it can sell bottled water out of state."

The permit request referred to has not gone to the district's governing board for a vote.

While the district staff recommended approval of 484,000 gallons a day, with limiting conditions, the issue will be first heard by an administrative law judge with the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings.

We welcome discussion of water supply issues and encourage the public to visit http://www.sjrwmd.com for accurate and complete information on what is being done to protect and restore the St. Johns River.
Source

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Way down upon the Suwannee River, far far away

Published 26 Aug 2008 - Otago Daily News
...environmentalists and legislators are fighting to keep the stream unspoiled amid thirsty Florida's development.

Bubbling up from the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia, the Suwannee River makes a lazy loop through 400km of mostly rural north Florida before opening wide into the Gulf of Mexico next to a national wildlife refuge and a pretty little town called Suwannee.
Source

Massive Sinkhole Opens; Fay May Be Cause

Published August 26, 2008 - WKMG Local6
The sinkhole, which is 20 feet wide and 30 feet deep, is located in a cul de sac near Rock Springs Road in Orange County.
Source

DeBary sinkhole forces more evacuations

Published August 26, 2008 - Daytona Beach News-Journal Online
Note: Article includes nice map of St. Johns River water levels

More homes in DeBary have been evacuated after a 20-by-50-foot sinkhole opened on Don Smith Boulevard about 7:30 tonight. Families from about 20 homes on Sotheby Way in DeBary Golf and Country Club are being directed to a Red Cross shelter at St. Ann's Catholic Church.

The St. Johns River, already at flood stage all along Volusia County, continued to rise Monday, prompting officials to warn residents in low-lying areas to sandbag their homes and leave if they feel threatened by rising water.
Source

Canoe/kayak race to benefit children in need

Published August 25, 2008 - Ocala Star-Banner
On Sept. 6, paddlers will launch from Gruff’s Tap and Grill in Dunnellon to embark on Kayak for a Cause, a race to benefit Covenant Children’s Home.

The eight-mile race will start at 9 a.m. from Gruff’s and head down stream, sending the paddlers through a portion of the Rainbow and Withlacoochee rivers
Source

Fay is downgraded, exits after long, destructive run

Published Aug. 25, 2008 - The Miami Herald
Gov. Charlie Crist and an entourage of state officials toured the flooded areas along the St. Marks River, which rose from 6.9 feet on Friday to 12.9 feet on Sunday as water streamed in from basins farther north.

Those who live along the St. Marks River expected flooding but not so much water so quickly.
Source

Idle-speed, no-wake zones may take effect on the St. Johns River

Published August 25, 2008 - North Florida News Daily
When the water reaches a certain level, idle-speed, no-wake zones go into effect. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is cautioning boaters to become familiar with the temporary zone changes of the St. Johns River.

Boaters can learn about the conditions of the St. Johns River by logging onto http://MyFWC.com/boating/ Report damaged markers to 1-866-405-BUOY.
Source

Selling water is awful, but it's just one of many problems confronting local waterways

Published August 24, 2008 - Ocala Star-Banner (Opinion)
Allowing 500,000 gallons of water to be pumped from Black Sink Prairie ...while at the same time placing water restrictions on Marion County residents, doesn't make any sense.

About 27 miles of the Ocklawaha River, between Eureka and the Ray Boat Basin in Ocala, is almost completely blocked with fallen trees and can damage boats trying to weave through them.
Source

St. Johns River Facts

Published August 25, 2008 - Central Florida News 13
The land area that drains into a water body is called a drainage basin - also called a watershed. St. Johns is divided into three drainage basins.

Saltwater enters the river at its mouth in Jacksonville. In periods of low water, tides may cause a reverse flow as far south as Lake Monroe - 161 miles upstream from the rivers mouth.
Source

Monday, August 25, 2008

River's worst yet to come

Published August 24, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
The St. Johns River could hit Central Florida this week with some of the worst flooding on record.

Runoff from Fay is gorging nearly every part of the 310-mile St. Johns River, which forms south of Melbourne and flows north to the Orlando area and on to Jacksonville.
Source

Lake County officials stand up to St. Johns 'water gods'

Published August 24, 2008 - Orlando Sentinel
Niagara wants the St. Johns River Water Management District to give it just under 500,000 gallons a day of water to put in bottles and sell.

Apopka is asking the district for 5 million gallons a day -- 10 times the amount that Niagara wants -- to water lawns.

But what Apopka wants will be far more damaging to Lake County's water systems because it will reduce the flow into the Harris Chain of Lakes, which already are at near-historic lows. And the St. Johns district's plan would open the floodgates to stick pumps in every lake and river that still has a trickle left to steal.
Source

Apalachicola River Expected to Flood

Published 08/24/08 - Mbbb.com - News13
Low flow levels along the Apalachicola River have been a major concern for residents who rely on the river for tourism, recreation, and a source of income. Just last month levels sat far below the water gages, but that’s not the case now that Fay has moved through.

Fay may have come and gone but we’re not out of the woods just yet. There’s still a flood warning for the Apalachicola River near Blountstown affecting Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf and Liberty counties. That warning is expected to continue until Tuesday evening with the river cresting on Monday evening about two feet above flood level.
Source

Fay's remnants not done with Florida yet

Published August 25, 2008 - The News-Press
The St. Marks River, the Ochlockonee River, the St. Johns River near Lake Harney and the St. Mary's River near MacClenny were at major flood stage on Monday afternoon. The St. Marks is expected to crest on Tuesday, officials said.

St. Marks River at Newport (Wakulla County) – at record major flood stage. Crest expected on Tuesday. Major flood stage forecast for Sunday through Saturday. Major flood stage impacts: Natural Bridge Road will flood. Major flooding will occur in the area.
Source

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fay Weakens To Depression After Pounding Central Florida

Published August 24, 2008 - Central Florida News 13
The rising waters of the St. Johns River could leave an entire Lake County town under water.

County deputies sent rescue teams to Astor.

The area did not see much rain from the tropical storm, but there are concerns all the water from other areas will flow into the river and overflow into the town.

The water is already up to the edge of the banks in some areas.

Hundred of sandbags have been handed out in the area.

There are flood fears up and down the St. Johns River, which may not reach its highest levels until the middle of next week.
Source

Sinkholes Open Up Across Central Florida

Published August 22, 2008 - Central Florida News 13
More and more sinkholes are popping up across Central Florida after Fay’s heavy rains.

One family in Lake County had to leave their home because of a sinkhole.
Source

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Experience nature on the Chassahowitzka River

Published August 22, 2008 - Bay News 9
Deep in Citrus County lies a gem for nature and water lovers: the Chassahowitzka River Campground.

The 40-acre campground is within walking or boating distance of the 30,000 acre Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge.
Source

House candidates speak on water issues

Published August 21, 2008 - Bradford County Telegraph
Some tidbits gathered from this article:
...none of the four candidates (for District 21 House of Representatives) support withdrawals from the St. Johns River.

Jacksonville Environmental Agency has treated wastewater to EPA standards.

Speaking of the facilities and technology required to take the Oklawaha and St. Johns water, France said, "Once they build it, they'll never turn it off."
Source

Mill will protect environment

Published 8/20/2008 - The Florida Times-Union (Opinion)
Further, we know that Georgia-Pacific remains absolutely committed to meeting clean water standards and protecting the quality of Rice Creek and the St. Johns River. It has invested more than $200 million over the last decade to protect and improve the St. Johns River by improving wastewater quality.

Construction and use of the new discharge pipeline is part of the environmental improvement plan that will enable Georgia-Pacific to meet water quality standards and continue operating in Putnam County.

The paper mill has aggressively addressed nutrient loading at its facility and has already reduced total nitrogen by 54 percent and total phosphorus by 78 percent.
Source

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Springs on Suwannee River, with a heated, in-ground pool, soon to be open to public

Published 8/20/08 - High Springs Herald
Otter Springs, located in southwest Gilchrist County, includes more than a mile of riverfront land towering with cypress trees, two springs connected to the mighty Suwannee River and a hardwood forest.

The Suwannee River Water Management District Board unanimously approved the land to be purchased for $6.8 million with Florida Forever money, a statewide program that aims to protect and conserve land in Florida.
Source

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lake creates legal fund against Niagara

Published August 20, 2008 - The Daily Commercial
Lake County will create a special fund for residents who want to donate money for the county's legal challenge of the Niagara Bottling groundwater permit request.

Clermont and Groveland have pledged a total of $155,000 to help fund the legal challenge. Lake County staff has proposed moving $500,000 from county general fund reserves to a special fund for the same purpose. Various municipalities in Lake County, as well as Orange and Volusia county governments, have adopted resolutions offering moral support to the move.
Source

Aquifer vulnerability

Published August 20, 2008 - Ocala.com
The aquifer is an underground layer of water mixed with permeable rock, silt or sand. It's from the aquifer that we draw groundwater for drinking and other household uses.

The map also shows something of how the aquifer and local rivers and springs are connected, Mowry said, citing Silver Springs and the Ocklawaha River.

That means when pollutants enter vulnerable areas of the aquifer, those substances could find their way into springs and rivers.
Source

Pipeline will protect St. Johns River

Published 8/20/2008 - The Florida Times-Union
As the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's district director for this region, and someone who has been actively involved in major efforts to improve water quality in the river, I would like to clear up some misinformation and address some of the questions that have been raised, specifically regarding Georgia-Pacific's plans to begin construction on a pipeline to relocate the Palatka facility's discharge from Rice Creek to the St. Johns River.

Soon a Basin Management Action Plan - a road map for restoration identifying improvement projects will be completed, which will remove nearly 6 million pounds of nutrients from the lower basin of the river each year.

It is important for the public to be informed about the real facts of this project. To ensure that information is readily available, we have created a Web site with information at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/northeast/Current-Topics/GeorgiaPacific.htm
Source

Turbulent waters need clarifying

Published August 20, 2008 - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The reality is that metro Atlanta’s water use amounts to just 1 percent to 2 percent of the flow of the Apalachicola River at the Florida line. That equates to a reduction in flow of less than 2 inches —- 2 inches in a river subject to daily fluctuations of more than 2 feet.

Numerous historical documents,... make clear that Lake Lanier was located where it is —- just above Atlanta —- specifically to “assure an adequate supply of water for municipal and industrial purposes in the Atlanta metropolitan area.”
Source

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Florida DEP receives $2.57M grant

Published August 19, 2008 - Tallahassee Democrat
The Department of State will receive $79,275 for archaeological investigations of early Spanish landing sites on the St. Marks and Suwannee rivers.

And the Florida Geological Survey will receive $32,250 to study offshore freshwater springs in the Gulf of Mexico, including one within a mile of Lanark Village in Franklin County.

The Florida Department of Health will receive $85,000 to develop response plans for harmful algal blooms, which can include red tide, in counties statewide.
Source

St. Johns River Water Withdrawal Symposium

Published August 18, 2008 - WOKV.com
You're invited to learn more about the affects of pulling millions of gallons of water from the St. Johns River. The St. Johns River Water Management District board has information that says 262 million gallons a day is the magic number.

Those scientists will present the information to you on September 17th and 18th at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center.

Space is limited so pre-registration is required. Contact the Water Management District to register. The presentation is free and open to everyone. The Hilton is charging for lunch and snacks but you can bring a bag lunch.
Source

Putnam paper mill pipeline into St. Johns River a concern

Published 8/18/2008 - The Florida Times-Union
Plans for a wastewater pipeline from a Putnam County paper mill to the St. Johns River have put new attention on research indicating that years of paper production in Northeast Florida left a troubling environmental legacy on the river bottom in Jacksonville.

This summer, the mill said that $200 million in equipment upgrades failed to make its discharge pure enough to pass clean-water standards in the creek, which is too small to dilute the wastewater.
Source

Saturday, August 16, 2008

States may keep trying to reach water deal

Published Aug. 16, 2008 - The Times, Gainesville, GA.
This week, reacting to federal judge Paul Magnuson's announcement that the water supply case would go forward, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley gave a hint that he might be willing to continue talks.

"The federal judge handling these cases has emphasized the need for the three states to work out a long-term solution to this problem," Riley said. "He is certainly right, and I remain ready to meet any time, anywhere, with Gov. Perdue and Gov. (Charlie) Crist to work toward an equitable agreement for sharing this vital natural resource."
Source

Cleaning Up A Jacksonville Environmental Hazard

Published August 16, 2008 - InjuryBoard.com
From the 1890s until 1978, the old Kerr-McGee property in Jacksonville was home to a fertilizer and chemical plant. Now the site encorporates the polluted Talleyrand waterfront area. The land is vacant, and a bulkhead is built over contaminated sediments at the bottom of the St. Johns River that runs through our city.

How to clean up the site has been a headache but now the area may see state money for cleanup and community projects. Under the plan, the site owner, Tronox Inc. would purchase the river bottom as part of a cleanup of the river and the shore.
Source

Group Aims To Seize River's Watershed Moment

Published August 16, 2008 - Hernando Today
The Withlacoochee River Alliance aims to seize that moment. The alliance, which just formed and had its first meeting in Nobleton Wednesday, will be a coalition of several environmental groups, community organizations and individuals from throughout the river's 2,100 square-mile watershed who have that common goal, Murphy said.

The focus of any river group is typically twofold: preserving water quality, and protecting water levels and flows threatened by thirsty development.
Source

Lake may shift funds to fight Niagara

Published August 16, 2008 - The Daily Commercial
Lake County could move $500,000 from reserve funds to a special line item to challenge Niagara Bottling's request to the St. Johns River Water Management District for a groundwater permit.

County officials have estimated the suit could cost from $200,000 to $500,000, with a large part of that going to pay expert witnesses. A spokeswoman from Niagara has written previously in an e-mail message the company plans to "vigorously defend the permit through every legal means" and that the county has underestimated the cost of the challenge.
Source

Get facts about Seminole project

Published 8/16/08- The Florida Times-Union
Stories in the media continue to mention potential environmental impacts to the St. Johns River resulting from Seminole County's Yankee Lake Project.

In fact, because Jacksonville and St. Johns County have been unable to identify any evidence contradicting the St. Johns River Water Management District's finding of no environmental impact to its portion of the river, the district has signed agreements stipulating Seminole's withdrawals won't harm the portion of the river located in Duval and St. Johns counties. This means no discussion of total maximum daily loads, salinity changes and detrimental environmental impacts to the river at the administrative hearing in October.
Source

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ocklawaha still very much at risk

Published August 14, 2008 - Ocala Star-Banner (Opinion)
Not only is the water district still interested in the river as a source of up to 100 million gallons a day of drinking water for North Central Florida, it is ready to proceed - if only it could find enough "sponsors" willing to pony up the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to bring the controversial project to fruition.

...the Ocklawaha project in Marion County had been shelved because no public or private utilities had stepped up to help finance the project, estimated to cost $832 million at last tally.
Source

Helping the River: Irrigation project to divert wastewater from the St. Johns

Published August 14, 2008 - Palatka Daily News
Palatka is preparing to stop dumping its treatment wastewater, nearly 2 million gallons a day, into the St. Johns River.

Palatka has used treated wastewater at the its municipal golf course for about five years. Crews are extending it to St. Johns River Community College. The pipeline also will provide reused water for a cemetery and several sports complexes between the two locations.
Source

Report helpful in quest to revive St. Johns River

Published 8/15/2008 - The Florida Times-Union
The release of an important document last week was overshadowed by Mayor John Peyton's pledge to challenge Georgia-Pacific's plans to dump the foul pollution from its Palatka mill into the middle of the St. Johns River.

The plan is to update the study annually. That's critical because, as the report points out, there's much that isn't known about the St. Johns and the effects of the threats facing it - Georgia-Pacific's effluent and the withdrawal of millions of gallons of water a day among them.
Source

Refuge celebrates 25 years of protecting manatees

Published August 15, 2008 - Bay News 9
This weekend, the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge will celebrate a major milestone, and along with it, a quarter-century of protecting some of Florida's most beloved creatures.

The 80-acre refuge was founded 25 years ago in Kings Bay for the specific purpose of protecting the endangered West Indian manatee. The refuge consists of several small islands and more than 30 natural springs, which are critical for the manatee's survival.
Source

Water district purchases Otter Springs complex, bans bottling

Published August 14, 2008 - The Gainesville Sun
The 636-acre Otter Springs complex on the Suwannee River in Gilchrist County has been purchased by the Suwannee River Water Management District at a cost of $6.8 million.

The district governing board Tuesday approved the purchase, which includes the relinquishing of a bottled-water permit that had been issued for the springs.
Source

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We have met Wekiwa Springs' enemy . . . and he is us

Published August 14, 2008 - Orange Sentinel (Commentary)
Normally, the water flowing out of the spring -- like water in a swimming pool -- is pretty sterile stuff. And that is why springs naturally are so clear.

But throw fertilizer in the mix and you create an algae buffet. It eats. It grows. It smothers the natural vegetation. It makes everything slimy. It's gooey to step in. The water gets greener. The globules start growing.

This isn't just a Wekiwa problem. It's going on in springs all across Florida. We are destroying these gin-clear gems.
Source

Wildlife Preserve Serves As Interactive Classroom

Published August 13, 2008 - Hernando Today
Note: Not necessary an article about the Florida springs but a great idea to teach kids the importance of the Florida Aquifer.

At the Wachee Wildlife Preserve on Osowaw Boulevard, a recreational property owned by the district. Kids received hands-on activities such as a scale model of the state's water supply, the Floridan Aquifer, which shows how pollution seeps from various sources into the Gulf of Mexico. Colored dye represented everything from pesticides on the farm to leaking septic tanks. When it "rained," the water ran downhill into the trough that served as the ocean.
Source

Hydrilla poses threat

Published 08-13-2008 - The Farmerville Gazette
Note: This article is about Lake D’Arbonne in Louisiana but it gives info on Hydrilla.

Hydrilla was discovered in the United States in 1960 at two Florida locations, a canal near Miami and in Crystal River. It spread throughout the state very rapidly. By the early 1970s it was established in major water bodies of all drainage basins in the state.

Hydrilla is now found in all Gulf Coast states, Atlantic Coast States as far north as Maryland and Delaware, and in the western states, California, Washington, and Arizona.
Source

County files Niagara challenge

Published August 13, 2008 - The Daily Commercial.
Lake County government and the city of Groveland say a groundwater permit request by a California-based bottler just doesn't hold water.

Water district staff did not take into account water shortages, sustainability, alternate sources and other possibilities when recommending in July the permit be granted, the suit argues. Niagara also did not adequately prove its withdrawals would be safe for local waterways.
Source

Watershed idea: Switch to Bahia lawns

Published August 10, 2008 - St. Petersburg Times
I want to talk about minimum flows and levels, a bit of government jargon that describes the state's main tool for protecting our rivers and lakes.

These are standards that identify the smallest amount of water needed to sustain the health of freshwater bodies of water.

And, because rivers and lakes in Florida depend either directly or indirectly on groundwater, water management districts are supposed to limit further pumping once the unwanted minimums are reached.
Source

Cleanup of river continues

Published 8/10/08
The water management district and JEA committed $250 million to remove existing wastewater discharges from the river and redirect treated water to other purposes, like irrigation and industrial cooling. When complete, these 20 projects will collectively remove 1.6 million pounds of nitrogen per year and 32 million gallons of discharge per day from our river, conserving a similar amount now drawn from the Floridan aquifer for these irrigation and industrial purposes.

Additionally, a team of academic researchers from UNF and JU have published a State of the River report. Primarily funded by the city's Environmental Protection Board, the report tracks data to evaluate the river's health. These findings have been condensed in a brochure that can be found along with the full report and other St. Johns River resources at http://www.SJRreport.com
Source

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Utilities drop plan to siphon water from Ocklawaha

Published August 12, 2008 - Star-Banner
The rush to alternative water sources is due to Florida water authorities telling Central Florida utilities their prime source of water - the underground aquifer - will be off limits by 2013 to additional pumping.

One of the things that utilities wanted to know was minimum flow levels. Minimum flow levels show how low the water in rivers can drop before hurting wildlife that depend on the river.
Source

St. Johns River: Grant will provide resources

Published 8/12/2008 - Times-Union (Letter to the Editor)
I hope you will help us in raising the money necessary to protect the St. Johns River. For every $2 that you donate to our St. Johns River Awareness and Legal Fund, the Weavers will donate $1 up to $150,000. You can donate on our Web site, http://www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org/
Source

Move made to block company from selling water from acquifer

Published August 11, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
Lake County commissioners and Groveland CIty Council filed a joint petition today to stop a controversial water-use permit for Niagara Bottling, which wants to pump, bottle and sell water from the Floridan acquifer.

The joint challenge requires the District to notify the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings which will then appoint a judge to weigh arguments for and against Niagara's permit. The judge would make a recommendation to the District's governing board, which would have the final say on the bottler's permit.
Source

Monday, August 11, 2008

Niagara Bottling isn't the real water worry -- but development is

Published August 10, 2008 - Orange Sentinel (Commentary)
One of Niagara's greatest foes is the city of Groveland, an annexation-crazed town with 7,000 lots waiting for houses. It now uses 1.6 million gallons of water a day but is asking the St. Johns River Water Management District to almost quadruple that amount in the next 20 years.

And people are worried about Niagara?

The comparatively small amount of water Niagara would use -- 484,000 gallons a day -- is much less than that used by Cutrale Citrus Juices over in Leesburg and the Cherry Lake Tree Farm in Groveland. It wouldn't even be enough for some 36-hole golf resorts.
Source

Fight over reclaimed water has Port Orange hot

Published 8/10/08
The St. Johns River Water Management District has taken notice of the value of reclaimed water. Water district officials want to exert control over how water local wastewater utilities, residents and businesses use the resource.

Port Orange City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose the water management district's proposed rules. Water management officials plan a public hearing in November and vote in December on the plan.

The city's plant produces 12 million gallons of reclaimed water a day. Port Orange recently completed a 75-acre lake to hold excess reclaimed water for use during peak times. A second 100-acre lake should be completed later this year.
Source

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Jacksonville Jaguars owners put $150,000 into fight over St. Johns River water

Published 8/8/2008 - Orange Sentinel
Team owners Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver announced they will give as much as $150,000 to the St. Johns Riverkeeper, an environmental group that has stirred mounting public opposition and filed legal actions to prevent Central Florida from using the river as a major supply of water.

Seminole County's initial request to take 5 million gallons daily from the river near Sanford was quickly opposed by North Florida. In coming years, Central Florida utilities may attempt to withdraw nearly 150 million gallons each day, or far more than the Orlando Utilities Commission now needs.

Edward de la Parte, a lawyer for Seminole County, said withdrawals of 5 million gallons daily won't harm the river, despite what Riverkeeper and others allege.
Source

North Florida Land Trust aims to raise $2M

Published August 2008 - Jacksonville Business Journal
A land trust is launching a campaign to raise more than $2 million so that 400 acres of wetlands can be preserved within the Pumpkin Hill Preserve inside the Timucuan Preserve.

The acquisition of the trust will build on the Bogey Creek Landing peninsula holding and allow the trust to exercise its right of first refusal to purchase 67 adjacent acres. The trust's long term plans are to purchase individual parcels of undeveloped land along Clapboard Creek and other major tributaries to the St. Johns River.
Source

Mount Dora dives into Lake County's water war

Published August 8, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
City leaders not only oppose a California-based company's request to withdraw millions of gallons of water a year from the Floridan Aquifer near Groveland, they also want to prohibit other businesses from trying to do the same in Mount Dora.

Mount Dora is the latest municipality to join Lake County's efforts to block Niagara Bottling Co. from obtaining a permit from the St. Johns River Water Management District to draw 177 million gallons of water a year from the aquifer.
Source

Online river map shows boaters where to launch

Published August 8, 2008 - The High Springs Herald
River goers can now view online launch spots along the upper and lower Suwannee River plus portions of the Alapaha, Santa Fe and Withlacoochee rivers.

The interactive map allows users to click on a launch point, bringing up a photo of the location, along with other details such as river miles, GPS coordinates and driving directions.
Source

Water War Wages Against Palatka Paper Mill

Published August 7, 2008 - WOKV.com
"We should not make decisions for the future of our river based on science and knowledge that is nearly six years old," Peyton wrote in a letter to Governor Crist.

The Georgia-Pacific line isn't scheduled to be completed until 2010, but the FDEP is expected to revisit the permit allowing the project again before construction begins.
Source

Wal-Mart about to get get key approval for Alachua store

Published 8/8/08 - The High Springs Herald
Environmental groups -- and even the commissions of High Springs and Alachua County -- have voiced concerns over pollution run-off from the store. There is a sinkhole on the property that leads directly to the aquifer and to an underwater river that flows from the Wal-Mart property to as far away as Hornsby Spring in Camp Kulaqua, if not further.
Source

Conservation, awareness urged at Poe Springs Park Celebration

Published 8/8/08 - The High Springs Herald
1200 people showed up for the second annual Springs Celebration at Poe Springs Park, organized by the Watershed Action Volunteers (WAV) and the St. John's River Water Management District.

Volunteers and performers at the event were trying to teach and inform the community about the springs’ fragility and other natural resources in Alachua County.
Source

Mayor justly uses clout to protect the St. Johns river

Published 08/08/08 - The Florida Times-Union
At an event to mark the second anniversary of the signing of the River Accord, Peyton said he had "grave concerns" about plans by the Georgia-Pacific paper mill in Palatka to dump million of gallons of its polluted effluent into the middle of the river and he pledged a fight.

Georgia-Pacific got a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in 2002 to build a 4-mile pipeline that would carry the crud produced by the mill to the middle of the river.

The mill wants to dump 23 million gallons of pollution into the river every day.
Source

Thursday, August 07, 2008

State park offers viewing pleasure

Published Aug. 07, 2008 - Miami Herald
As many as 200,000 people visit this gorgeous, scenic park about 40 miles northwest of Gainesville each year -- most of them to swim, snorkel, paddle and float on tubes down the glass-clear, 3 ½-mile spring run in summer. Eight springs pump up to 233 million gallons of fresh water daily into the river, which flows for six miles south through hammocks and wetlands to join the Santa Fe, and then the Suwannee.
Source

Another water outrage

Published August 5, 2008 - Star-Banner (Opinion)
The latest affront by St. Johns came Friday when a panel for the Florida 5th District Court of Appeal voted 2-1 to overrule the county's challenge of a water district plan to allow water miners to pump 499,000 gallons a day, that's 182 million gallons a year, from a well in Black Sink Prairie, located 1 1/2 miles south of Citra.

There is no way, no way at all, the St. Johns River Water Management District can convince the people of Marion County that allowing profiteers to suck tens of millions of gallons of water from the ground while instituting water conservation orders is sane, sound water policy. They can't, because it isn't.
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Weavers make $150k challenge grant to Riverkeeper

Published 8/4/2008 - Jacksonville Business Journal
Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver have pledged to donate a dollar for every two dollars raised for the St. Johns Riverkeeper's legal fund up to $150,000.

The legal fund will help the Riverkeeper fight Seminole County's plan to withdraw an average of 5.5 million gallons of water a day from the river.
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Researchers Issue An Unhealthy Report for the St. Johns River

Published August 6, 2008 - WOKV.com
The health of the St. Johns River is receiving several unsatisfactory marks in a new study. The University of North Florida and Jacksonville University conducted the research over the past year and listed low marks for the river's water quality and contaminant levels.
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Song, Natural Beauty Draw Visitors To Suwannee

Note: This article was later published on 8/11/2008 "Defenders of the Suwannee" on the HeraldTribune.com website.

Published 8/6/08 - First Coast News
Bubbling up from the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia, the Suwannee River makes a lazy loop through 250 miles of mostly rural north Florida before opening wide into the Gulf of Mexico next to a national wildlife refuge and a pretty little town called Suwannee.

David Still, executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District, the independent government agency that oversees the area's water resources, says it's one of the cleanest, least-obstructed large waterways in the United States.

The Florida government has in this decade turned most of the Suwannee into one long state park, making it possible for canoeists to cover 170 miles of the river while stopping every 10 to 15 miles to camp for free on state-owned land.
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Niagara Bottling Defends Plan To Suck 500,000 Gallons Per Day From Aquifer

Published August 6, 2008 - WFTV
For the first time, the Niagara Bottling is publically defending itself against complaints about its new Lake County plant. The company wants to suck 500,000 gallons of water a day out of the aquifer and bottle it up to sell it.

That same aquifer provides water to 99 percent of Central Florida. A Niagara spokesperson told Eyewitness News on Wednesday that water will stay in the state.

Niagara will be the seventh bottled water plant in operation in the St. Johns Water Management District and there is already one other bottled water plant in Lake County. There are four plants in Marion County and one in Nassau County.
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Florida Springs Gallery Link

I received an email last night about this website with links below. Very nice Panoramics.

Devils Den (Panoramic)

Florida Springs Gallery

Orange Grove (Panoramic)

Poe Spring (Panoramic)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Florida woman drowns in sinkhole

Published August 5, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
A woman Pasco County authorities say was out drinking with friends before jumping into a sinkhole known for its cave-diving has died.

She and several friends had all been drinking on a private area in Hudson, just north of Tampa. Finer jumped into the water-filled sinkhole, which was about 20 feet wide.
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Return to Juniper Creek

Published August 5, 2008 - The Ledger
From the springhead at Juniper Springs Recreation Area, Juniper Creek winds north and east on its way to Lake George. The section our group paddled is the 7-mile stretch from the springhead to a takeout point at the S.R. 19 bridge. The concession stand at the park rents canoes (but not kayaks), and the rental includes transportation back to the starting point.

Juniper Springs Recreation Area is in the Ocala National Forest, about 25 miles east of the city of Ocala on S.R. 40 and a roughly two-hour drive from Lakeland.
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Finance OKs withdrawal lawsuit funding

Published 08/05/2008 The Daily Record
The City Council Finance Committee Monday approved $400,000 for legal fees to help pay for a lawsuit by the City against Seminole County and the St. Johns River Water Management District. The legislation now goes to the full Council for approval, but only after a lengthy discussion.

The City’s (Jacksonville) Environmental Protection Board certainly supports preserving the health of the northern St. Johns River and opposes the planned massive withdrawal of water by Central Florida. However, Templeton said the EPB has other legislation pending that will require funding to support.
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Ocala contests reclaimed water use limits

Published August 4, 2008 Ocala Star-Banner
The city of Ocala is contesting restrictions the St. Johns River Management District may impose on reclaimed water usage.

Reclaimed water is waste water that has been recycled, treated and purified. The city produces roughly 5 million gallons of it each day and has about 18 million gallons of storage for reclaimed water. The district, which governs most of Marion County's water resources, recently proposed to restrict landscape irrigation with reclaimed water to no more than twice a week - much like irrigation for surface, ground and potable water is limited.
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A drain on common sense

Published August 3, 2008 - Orange Sentinel (Viewpoint Letters)
Please consider the reasons we oppose issuing any kind of permit that would allow the drawing down of water from our precious Floridan Aquifer.

*The No. 1 reason is that the proposed use is not consistent with the public's interest.

*Due to the drastically low levels of groundwater, including Lake Okeechobee and Lake Lanier in Georgia, there is no doubt that water has become a precious commodity, and allowing any company to take 177 million gallons of water from our aquifer doesn't make sense.
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Surface Water Improvement and Management Program

Published August 4 2008 - CnewsPubs.com
The District has tentatively budgeted $12 million for SWIM Program projects, which focus on improving water quality and habitat restoration. Half of the funding comes from state SWIM funds.

The goal is to protect, restore and maintain the District’s priority water bodies, which include Rainbow River...

Two statutorily required public TRIM hearings on the District's total budget will be held in September. The first will be Sept. 16 at 5:01 p.m. at the District's Tampa Service Office.
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More threats to aquifer rising from water bottlers

Published 8/5/08 - The Florida Times-Union
Readers who want to protest how the river is being treated ask whom they should contact.

A good place to start is Mayor John Peyton, who has pledged to fight the water withdrawal and any polluting of the river. His e-mail address is JPeyton@coj.net.

Gov. Charlie Crist - e-mail address is Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com.

Mmembers of the water management district's governing board. Their e-mail addresses are at http://sjr.fl.us/governingboard/boardmembers.html

The message should be simple: Protect the St. Johns River. It's too great a resource to mess up.
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The Rush To Flush Florida

Published August 5, 2008 The Tampa Tribune
A recent report issued by Clean Water Network of Florida ( http://www.cleanwaternetwork-fl.org) provides evidence of serious infrastructure dysfunction in many communities along the Gulf Coast. Some of the most common problems were: aging sewage systems with mechanical and capacity problems; chronic spills and leakage of pathogens and untreated or poorly treated sewage wastewater; use of poorly treated wastewater in spray irrigation systems; groundwater pollution caused by injection wells and increased permitting of leak-prone septic tank systems.

Safe and effective wastewater disposal is not out of our reach. But it can only be accomplished if citizens demand it, and if there is the political will among decision makers to take action.
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St. John's Looks to Reclaimed Water Limitations

Published August 4, 2008 - AM850.com
The St. John's Water Management District is looking to help extend Florida's water supply with new water conservation efforts. St. Johns is proposing to restrict landscape irrigation with reclaimed water to twice a week or less.

Suwannee River Water Management District will follow in the footsteps of St. John's, if restrictions are placed on reclaimed water use.
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Monday, August 04, 2008

We think: Credibility's AWOL at the St. John's River Water Management District

Published August 3, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
In fact, the district's message concerning the Niagara Bottling company's request to draw water from the Floridan aquifer in Groveland is so mucked up it could drain any chance at water conservation for surrounding Lake County.

That's because the district, which issues water permits but also is supposed to protect the watershed, chose to ignore the latter. Staff there is recommending that the district let Niagara gulp almost 500,000 gallons a day for five years from the aquifer -- the same aquifer it warns is so stressed by development that residents must curb their water use.
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Some wonder if there's a need for proposed watering rules

Published 8/2/08 - My Mandarin Sun
Longtime Mandarin homeowner John Carter says a proposal to tighten area watering rules is hypocritical.

Residents shouldn't be told they have to water their lawns less often, especially when the St. Johns River Water Management District is considering allowing a water bottling company to withdraw thousands of gallons of groundwater per day, he said.

The bottler Carter spoke of is Niagara Bottling LLC, which wants to pull an average of 484,000 gallons of groundwater per day for bottling purposes. While Niagara asked for a 20-year permit, district staff has recommended a five-year permit.
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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Program to determine amount of contaminants rivers can handle

Published 8/2/2008 - High Springs Herald
A new program aimed at reducing the total amount of contaminants in Florida's water bodies, including the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers, is in the process of developing the total amount of pollutants that can safely enter water bodies without causing water bodies to be impaired.

Officials with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection held a workshop in High Springs recently to explain to the public how its Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program will help to clean up area water bodies.
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Lake commissioners wisely navigate waters

Published August 1, 2008 - Orange Sentinel
A savvy move by four of the five county commissioners earlier this week put Lake back in charge -- at least temporarily -- of whether Niagara Bottling LLC gets to suck up 177 million gallons a year of precious underground water, bottle it and sell it.

Commissioners decided Wednesday to file a petition with an administrative law judge to stop the St. Johns River Water Management District from issuing the permit. Result: California-based Niagara is dead in the water (so to speak) for at least six months and more likely a year.
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Saturday, August 02, 2008

The future of Florida's springs isn't eternal

Published 8/2/08 - (St. Petersburg Times In Print August 3, 2008)
In the past decade, longtime threats to these natural gems have become more urgent. Many springs that were formerly blue now have a greenish tint. Unsightly filamentous algae have replaced their natural aquatic plant communities. Flows are declining in numerous springs. Some have stopped flowing altogether.

This is an excellent article please visit their site for more in depth info. They list several spring facts:
1. All consumptive uses of groundwater in a springshed reduce spring flows to some extent.

2. The concentration of nitrate nitrogen, a recognized pollutant in surface and groundwaters, is rising rapidly in most Florida springs in response to agricultural and urban development.

3. Spring ecosystems are undergoing widespread and dramatic changes in natural flora and fauna, often evidenced by replacement of natural plant communities by filamentous algae and native fauna by exotic species.

4. Relatively pristine springs with high flows help support local economies.
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Friday, August 01, 2008

Florida's springs a great way to beat the summer heat

Published 8/1/08 - The Florida Times-Union
Clear fresh water bubbles up from the limestone aquifer below. Clear and cold, at least to us warm-blooded Floridians. The water stays right about 72 degrees, even in the heat of summer, and it feels like a terrible mistake when you first jump in. But don't worry, you adjust quickly, and you come out feeling refreshed deep into your bones.

This is a very nice article that profiles the following springs:
Alexander Springs - (352)669-3522
Blue Springs Park (Gilchrist Blue Spring)- (386)454-1369
Ginnie Springs Outdoors (Ginnie Springs)- (386)454-7188
Ichetucknee Springs State Park (Ichetucknee Springs)- (386) 497-4690
Juniper Springs -(352) 625-2808
Silver Glen Springs - (352) 685-2799
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