Published 05/30/2009 - Citrus Daily
Park Rangers at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park want hardworking, curious young people to use their senses to solve wildlife mysteries, to use their minds to learn new skills for understanding and appreciating the world around them and to use their imaginations to create stories about the adventures they have while they are here.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Published 05/30/2009 - Citrus Daily
Published May 30, 2009 - wdbo.com
A man was free diving around 10:22 a.m. Saturday when Volusia County deputies say he was found under approximately 10 feet of water.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Published May 29, 2009 - The Gainvesville Sun
Portions of the St. Johns River system have been declared an idle-speed, no-wake zone under an emergency ordinance approved by the Putnam County Commission on Friday
Boating restrictions are in effect from the mouth of Dunns Creek, where it enters the St. Johns River, to past Mimi Lane, as well as the area between Intracoastal Waterway markers 46 and 47, known as Sportsman’s Harbor.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Published May 29, 2009 - WFTV
Local leaders are begging the Governor in a two-page letter to Charlie Crist, to veto a law that would allow bottled water companies to drain the aquifer secretly.
Senate bill 2080 is headed to the Governor's desk, which would give water authorities like Saint Johns, permission to give water permits to any company it chooses and they wouldn't have to tell anyone.
With Niagara Bottling on the verge of a permit to pull nearly half-a-million gallons of water per day from the Floridian Aquifer near Groveland, a proposed state law would prevent the public from fighting them.
Published May 29, 2009 - St. Petersburg Times
Ride an inner tube on the Rainbow River in Dunnellon or Ocala's Silver Springs, the setting for the cheesetastic 1954 horror movie Creature from the Black Lagoon.
You can rent a canoe to put the whole family in the same boat for less than $50. Ray's Canoe Hideaway in Bradenton rents their rides along the Manatee River; it's only $31.95 for a full day, $26.63 for four hours on a beautiful, gentle river. Call (941) 747-3909 or go to rayscanoehideaway.com.
Published May 29, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun
An upcoming meeting in Crystal River will feature information about human and manatee interaction in the area. The meeting will be held on June 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Plantation Golf Resort & Spa, 9301 West Fort Island Trail, in Crystal River.
For a copy of the meeting’s agenda, send an e-mail to manatee.interaction@MyFWC.com.
Governor Crist also called on Secretary Salazar to address the tri-state water controversy over the management of the reservoirs on the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint river systems. He emphasized that the impacts of drought on the three-river basin are not limited to Georgia. The drought and resulting flow reductions also threaten the very existence for some 1,300 families of third and fourth-generation oystermen and the economy of the Apalachicola community. Florida’s Apalachicola River and Bay is the most productive contained commercial fishery in Florida.
Published 05/28/2009 - Citrus Daily
Three groups are joining forces on Sunday to clean up the Chassahowitzka River.
They will meet at 9 a.m. at the Chassahowitzka River Campground and Boat Ramp, located at 8600 West Miss Maggie Drive in Homosassa.
Published May 28, 2009 - NewsJournalOnline
Volusia County and four West Volusia cities made a desperate plea to regional water managers Wednesday to get out of the pressing requirement to develop alternative water supplies but didn't get very far.
In a joint meeting with the St. Johns River Water Management District, the group made several requests, including asking the district to reconsider a minimum flow level it set for Blue Spring in 2006. Protecting the spring flow will force cities to reduce groundwater pumping. The district wants the cities to increase use of treated wastewater and find alternative sources for water, such as using the St. Johns River or the Atlantic Ocean.
Published May 27, 2009
Salazar said he told Perdue that he would be willing to help facilitate an agreement between Georgia, Florida and Alabama in their dispute over who has the rights to water from rivers and lakes that span the three states.
Obama released a statement during his presidential campaign that he would make protecting Florida’s Apalachicola River and Bay a priority. But Salazar said the president is not siding with Florida in the water war
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Here's a quick rundown of some of the bad environmental news out of Tallahassee:
Cutting the public out of water-management decisions
In the last two days of the session, a fairly innocuous water-conservation bill was amended to allow the executive directors of water management districts to quietly approve all kinds of large-scale water use.
These permits are subject to open votes of the district boards. This gives people a chance to show up and object and puts everything firmly on the record.
Florida Forever isn't forever
The best time to buy public land is when the real estate market is depressed and prices go down. The worst time is in boom times when landowners can demand top dollar, assuming they'd even be interested in protecting the land from development.
This year, the Florida Forever endangered-lands program did not receive new bond authority. The program's not dead. It limps along on past bonding.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Published May 26, 2009 - Tallahassee Democrat(Opinion)
Each day, day in and day out, 365 days a year, the citizens of Tallahassee flush, drain or otherwise discard more than 18 million gallons of "used" water into our sewer system
Last Wednesday, the city broke ground on one of the most advanced forms of wastewater treatment available, a process known as "Advanced Wastewater Treatment" (AWT).
Nitrogen fuels the growth of invasive plants such as algae and hydrilla that clog and denigrate our natural water bodies like Wakulla Springs. Moving to Advanced Wastewater Treatment will be bringing our community to what is widely regarded as the Gold Standard for wastewater treatment
Published 5/26/09 - Examiner.com
The Seminole Indians named the spring "Weeki Wachee," which means "little spring" or "winding river." More than 117 million gallons of clear, fresh 72-degree water bubble up from the springs each day. The mermaids swim 16 to 20 feet below the surface, where the strong current runs five miles per hour.
Weeki Wachee reached the pinnacle of popularity in the 1960s. ABC purchased the park in 1959 and built the current theater, which seats 500 and is built into the side of the spring 16 feet below the surface
Published May 26, 2009 -
After years of talking about outlawing the willful waste of water, the Volusia County Council May 21 passed a strict water-conservation ordinance.
Volusia County’s water-conservation ordinance is a product of many years of debate about how to dissuade residents and businesses from watering grass and plants at times when they are not supposed to do so — and frequently more often than they are permitted. The watering regulations prescribed by the St. Johns River Water Management District have generally not been enforced.
Posted by Paul Clark at 8:09 PM
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Sinkholes can be found around the world, but because of Florida's unique subsurface structure of limestone, mineral deposits and flowing water underground, Florida has the highest amount of sinkholes in the U.S.
The limestone layer beneath the surface here in Florda is porous, allowing water to move through it. Occasionally, that flow of water runs into confining layers of mineral deposits such as sand, silt or clay that can clog the pores of the limestone. This causes a winding pattern of underground water flow. This flow of water gradually erodes parts of the limestone creating cavities or caves underground. Those cavities typically fill up with water which helps to support the weight of the walls and the ceiling of the cavities, or the ground we walk on.
Published May 25 - Examiner.com
There are three main dive areas for different levels of dive experience.
1. Ginnie Spring is a simple dive leading into a large cavern where you can explore and see the source of the Santa Fe River. The cavern where the spring comes gushes forth is gated for safety, making it the safest cavern dive in Florida. Divers can bring down lights for exploring this large cavernous room. This is the largest pool for diving and divers can reach a depth of 55 feet.
2. Devil’s Eye is a circular spring that has a depth of 15 feet at the bottom. There is a cave entrance at the bottom of the spring that leads to several thousand feet of cave passage ways. This is a dive site only for the experienced cave diver. If you follow through Devil’s Eye you reach Devil’s Ear.
3. Devil’s Ear is located east of Devil’s Eye in the Santa Fe River. Exploring Devil’s Ear allows you to dive down an oval chimney shaft 60 feet deep to a cave entrance.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Published May 24, 2009 - Orlando Sentinel (Opinion)
If you thought things couldn't get any worse in terms of Florida's assault on its dwindling water supply, you're in for a surprise. This session legislators did two things that can make it far worse.
No. 1: Letting water-district executive directors call the shots on withdrawals.
Under the bill, water-district directors would have sole approval not only for river withdrawals but for all requests for permits to consume water.
No. 2: Letting Deseret Ranch tie up water for 50 years.
Allowing Deseret to get a 50-year permit to withdraw water — whether or not it uses it — puts all the more pressure on Orange County to to pursue withdrawing from the St. Johns River and the Kissimmee River basin.
Published May 24, 2009 - Central Florida News 13
Flooding Fears Along St. Johns River
Law enforcement officers were out Saturday trying to enforce emergency boating restrictions on the river to ensure boaters do not make matters worse.
The St. Johns River is already over its banks and emptying into some homeowners’ yards.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Published May 22, 2009- Tallahassee Democrat (Opinion)
Located near the intersection of Springhill Road and Capital Circle S.W. east of the Tallahassee Regional Airport, the T.P. Smith Water Reclamation Facility will cost some $200 million but also create an estimated 200 jobs, according to Mr. Marks.
The city's current Think About Personal Pollution (TAPP) initiative, for example, is intended to educate residents about everyday habits such as picking up after dogs, avoiding fertilizers with phosphorus and nitrogen, avoiding dumping chemicals down the drain and containing stormwater with rain gardens so that water can naturally filter back into the aquifer.
Published 05/22/2009 - Citrus Daily
The University of Florida has set up a Low Impact Development (LID) Workshop for Florida’s Springs Coast on Friday, June 5, at the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.
For questions about the workshop, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (352) 273-0245.
Published 5/22/09 - Examiner.com
Although manatees can be found all throughout Florida, at this park, you can come face to face with these gentle creatures. Several times a day, a wildlife expert presents a manatee show, including a feeding of carrots and other vegetables. Somehow these sea cows know precisely when it’s time to eat – and swim down the river for the inevitable feast.
Swim area is now Re-open. Contact 352-463-3420
One of the best springs for the family opens again starting this weekend.
Just called the Park 850-971-5003 and they just re-opened today.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Published - March 21, 2009
Warm Mineral Springs, included on the National Register of Historic Places, has for decades attracted foreign visitors and local residents, many of whom hope to benefit from the spring's 87-degree waters. Its Web site contends that Warm Mineral Springs has the highest mineral content of any spring in the United States and the third highest in the world. Archaeological studies say the spring flows from what was a dry cave during the last ice age, and evidence of prehistoric life has been discovered there.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Published May 21, 2009 - Gainesville Times
The procedure change stems from provisions of a revised interim operating plan for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system that allows slightly less water to be released at Woodruff Dam on the Apalachicola River near the Florida border.
Published May 21, 2009 - Tallahassee Democrat
The city of Tallahassee broke ground Wednesday on a new advanced wastewater treatment facility that officials said will help protect the region's vital water resources, including Wakulla Springs.
The system, to be built at the T.P. Smith Water Reclamation Facility over the next six years, will cost more than $200 million and further reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in treated wastewater.
Published 5/21/09 - The Chiefland Citizen
Levy County's two major springs, Fanning and Manatee, are considered important gems in the crown of Florida's fresh water system. However, experts warn that without cooperation among planners, residents and agricultural and industrial systems, the springs could be damaged beyond repair.
...the next meeting of the Fanning and Manatee Springs Working Group, along with other issues exposed in the meetings. The next meeting will be August 12 at Fanning Springs City Hall at 9:30 a.m. To view a meeting agenda, visit http://share2.myfwc.com/spring/default.aspx and select “Fanning and Manatee Springs Working Group Meeting.”
Note: Fanning Springs swimming area is clear to reopen Friday.
Published May 20, 2009 - Ocala Star-Banner
The swim areas at Juniper Springs and Salt Springs are closed for repairs.
But the camping areas and canoe run at Juniper Springs are open.
If construction remains on schedule, Juniper Springs swim area is expected to open late July and the Salt Springs swim area is expected to open in September.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Published May 19, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
The St. Johns River Water Management District is drafting a plan to rank how efficiently water is being used by utilities - and eventually to rank neighborhoods and subdivisions.
Facing growing concerns that public demand will overwhelm traditional groundwater sources, the management district has seized on lowering lawn irrigation as a step to protect the aquifer's limited reserves.
Posted May 19, 2009 - The West Volusia Beacon
The St. Johns Riverkeeper filed suit over the St. Johns River Water Management District's approval of Seminole County's plan to tap the St. Johns for irrigation and drinking water May 11, then May 12, went back to the WMD to beg for conservation instead of river use.
The St. Johns Riverkeeper announced May 11 the organization filed an appeal of the board's decision with the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach, asking the court to throw out the decision.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Posted May 18, 2009 - News4Jax
A 54-year-old Lake City man died Saturday afternoon after diving off a bridge into shallow water.
According to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Allen J. Petho was swimming with friends at the Ichetucknee River at the Columbia County/Suwannee County line about 2 p.m. Petho died after diving off the U.S. 27 bridge into the river and hitting the river bottom.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Published May 17, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
In the St. Johns River Water Management District, water conservation is the cornerstone to sustaining the 18-county region's water supply. The district works to promote conservation of water from all sources to achieve the greatest water savings.
Protecting our existing water resources is just as important as exploring new alternative water supplies. But groundwater will not be able to meet all future needs within the district, so new water supplies are important.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Published May 15, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union (Opinion)
Instead it's taxing all the nasty stuff that we humans produce - fertilizers, pesticides, oil residues, etc. - that stormwater runoff carries into the St. Johns River and its tributaries.
One of the main factors in those massive algal blooms that can turn the river green from bank to bank is the river is overloaded with nutrients.
Better treatment of stormwater runoff will help reduce those nutrient.
Friday, May 15, 2009
The two-page spread by Sara Altshul in the May 2009 issue cites Warm Mineral Springs as one six of "the best-known examples" of healing springs where people can partake in balneotherapy, which the article describes as "the official term for bathing in healing waters."
The other springs noted are Riverbend Hot Springs in Truth or Consequences, N.M.; Pluto Mineral Springs in French Lick, Ind.; Hot Springs in Hot Springs, Ark.; Crystal Hot Springs in Honeyville, Utah; and the Blue Lagoon in Grindavik, Iceland.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Published May 12, 2009 - West Volusia News
The Riverkeeper, a river advocacy group, said it filed the appeal with the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach. The Riverkeeper and others say the water district should not issue any permits for using river water until completion of a two-year scientific study on the impacts of such withdrawals.
Published May. 11, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
If creek projects are considered as a way to offset more salinity, the creeks and marshes in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve should be treated very carefully, said St. Johns Riverkeeper Neil Armingeon. The marshes are deeply important to the river's health, he said, and should be protected diligently.
Published May 11, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun
Specialty crews spent the weekend spraying for mosquitoes along the Suwannee River in areas that had been covered in flood waters recently.
The crews sprayed from the ground and the air in Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison and Suwannee counties.
Published 05-11-2009 - Wakulla.com
National Travel and Tourism Week, which began on May 9 and continues through May 17, was established in 1983 by the U.S. Congress to enhance the country’s economy and recognize the cultural and social benefits created by travel and tourism. DEP’s Florida Park Service, a key player in Florida’s tourism industry, last year contributed more than $1 billion to local economies around the state by welcoming more than 20.5 million visitors.
Posted by Paul Clark at 8:18 AM
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Canoeing is the biggest draw at Wekiwa Springs State Park. There are miles of river to paddle or to simply float down. The water is clear, the trees make a cool canopy and the sky is blue. You can start at the head of the springs, paddle down the river and then take a shuttle back up to “Canoe Beach” - your starting point.
There is also camping at Wekiwa Springs State Park, and it’s one of the few Florida State Parks that actually allows pet camping! Not to worry, there is a campground for people without pets, too.
Published May 9, 2009 - The Ledger
In Ocala last month, the Smart Growth Coalition hosted a meeting about the future of the region's water supply. Included was a group of respected scientists and environmentalists who warned that tapping our rivers would lead to their "death by a thousand straws," and that stringent conservation policies are the best short-term approach.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Published May. 9, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
Florida's water regulations are preventing cleanup of the St. Johns River and other polluted water bodies statewide, three environmental groups say in a lawsuit.
The groups, including the St. Johns Riverkeeper, sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday, saying it allows the state to circumvent the Clean Water Act and this leads to problems such as continued algal blooms in the St. Johns.
Published May 8, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun
Restrictions were lifted on the last zone of the Santa Fe and Suwannee river systems Friday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported.
Friday, May 08, 2009
Published in Print May 8, 2009 - St. Petersburg Times
Is there a government agency that will come and inspect my sinkhole?
There is not. The Florida Geological Survey will answer questions and offer advice on how to handle your situation. The phone number is (850) 488-9380. Also, visit the survey's Web site
In Print May 08, 2009 - St. Petersburg Times
Florida is on the verge of its annual sinkhole season in late spring and early summer, and this year could see more activity because of the effects of three years of drought, geologists say.
Water in the aquifer supports layers of clay and sand on top of limerock, said Tony Gilboy, a geologist with the Southwest Florida Water Management District. That buoyancy effect disappears when levels in the aquifer drop, Gilboy said. After many months of drought, aquifer levels in the district's northern region were more than a foot and a half below the normal range last week.
Published May 7, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun
All public boat ramps on the Suwannee River were reopened in Dixie and Levy counties this week, the Levy County Sheriff’s Office reported.
The Manatee and Fannings Springs areas also are open to the public but swimming is not allowed.
Published: May 8, 2009 - Jackson County Floridan
The Corps got $3 million to repair the spillway bridge, a heavy-duty walkway situated above the gates which allows water to flow through the dam from Lake Seminole into the Apalachicola River.
... a new $500,000 metering system, which will more accurately measure how much water is released from Lake Seminole into the river. Currently, the Corps relies on scientific tables that calculate an estimated flow. This improvement could be of use in the continuing water negotiations between Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
Published 5/7/2009 - Firstcoastnews.com
According to researchers at the University of Florida, "Sinkholes originate beneath the surface when groundwater moves through the limestone and erodes large voids, or cavities, in the bedrock. When water fills a cavity, it supports the walls and ceiling, but if the water table drops, the limestone cavity is exposed to further erosional processes that eventually result in the collapse of the cavity, causing a sinkhole."
Sinkholes can be found around the world, but because of Florida's unique subsurface structure of limestone, mineral deposits and flowing water underground, Florida has the highest amount of sinkholes in the U.S.
Published May. 7, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union.
Funding from the St. Johns plate was aimed at supporting education and outreach about the river as well as conservation initiatives.
But controversy about other tags under consideration, including some with religious themes, doomed all of the proposals and renewed calls for lawmakers to get a handle on the number of license plates on Florida roads.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Published: May 6, 2009 - Jackson County Floridan
The commission approved three motions to advertise for second hearings of proposed ordinances that would annex approximately 1,665 acres into the city, made up of the Yancy Bridge boat landing, the estate of John Ratzlaff and all of Florida Caverns State Park.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Published 05/05/2009 - Citrus Daily
In honor of Mother’s Day, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service is offering free admission to mothers with the purchase of a child’s ticket at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park or Weeki Wachee Springs State Park on Sunday.
Published May 5, 2009 - The West Volusia Beacon
This time, it is Niagara Bottling Inc.’s request to pull just under 500,000 gallons of water a day from the aquifer at Groveland, in Lake County. The water will fill single-serving bottles manufactured at the plant for shipment elsewhere.
The heart of the argument is: When the district is putting tougher restrictions on municipal use of aquifer water by residents, should a commercial concern be allowed to draw out a half-million gallons a day to ship out of state?
In Print May 5, 2009 - St. Petersburg Times
During the last 12 months, our rainfall total has been just less than 40 inches, below normal by more than 15 inches. The Floridan Aquifer, which provides our well water and public water supply, is also showing levels lower than normal.
The normal range for the aquifer varies across the county, but the Weeki Wachee deep observation well shows the aquifer at 11.5 feet, 3 feet lower than normal.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Published May. 4, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
Projects in the works include watershed cleanup and a plan to convert algae into biofuel - if the funding comes through.
St. Johns Riverkeeper executive director Jimmy Orth said he was disheartened to learn the river was left out of direct appropriations. That means water-quality projects will have to get in line like anything else to fight for federal funds. They weren't prioritized.
Published May 4, 2009 - The Tampa Tribune
Unlike most agencies' concrete-only formula, the county combines expandable foam polymer with concrete, or grout, to fill crevices and trim sinkhole plugging costs, which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars and require roads to be closed for several days.
Heavy rain can accelerate the holes because surface soils get saturated and heavy, causing further collapse, said geologist Tony Gilboy of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Published May 2, 2009 - The West Volusia Beacon
Feeling pressure from state agencies, the Volusia County Council has tentatively committed to join Seminole County in tapping the St. Johns River as a future water source.
The aquifers, especially Volusia County's sole-source aquifer, are not enough to meet the demands of a growing region in the decades to come, according to civic leaders and Water Management District planners. Yankee Lake is seeking partners who want some of the treated river water piped to them, rather than building their own alternative-water plants.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Published May 01, 2009 - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Lake Lanier will get an $8.3 million boost in federal stimulus money —- as well as $3 million to complete a study tied to the management of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin —- according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.