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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Niagara Bottling wins permit in bottled-water battle

Published September 26, 2009 - Orange Sentinel
Niagara Bottling won a two-year war for water Friday when a water-agency official discounted objections by Lake County and Groveland and granted the California-based bottler permission to pump nearly 500,000 gallons daily from the Floridan Aquifer.

For two years, critics have argued that giving Niagara a permit to tap the aquifer clashes with the district's crusade to tighten watering restrictions and direct communities to seek out alternative water sources.
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Will Jacksonville's water woes spread across North Florida?

Published Sep. 26, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
Generations of tourists in North Florida visited White Springs and the "spring house" where clear sulfur water bubbled from the ground.

That ended decades ago. Wells drilled around the speck of a town on the Suwannee River pumped so much ground water that the spring stopped flowing.

Early forecasts suggested that by 2030, Jacksonville-area demand could suck down aquifer levels anywhere from one to three feet near the Santa Fe's upper reaches, which get water from both rainfall and springs
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wekiva septic tank fight may scuttle roadway plans

Published Sep 25, 2009 - Orange Sentinel
The fight is about how best to stop pollution from seeping out of household septic tanks into the river.

About 60 top environmental regulators, water managers, real-estate experts and homeowners met for several hours to resolve an impasse over proposed new requirements on household septic tanks thought to be steadily poisoning the springs flowing into the Wekiva River
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Water district official says Florida rivers likely to be tapped in future

Published September 25, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun
Florida water agency scientists on Wednesday continued to hash out how to decide whether to siphon water out of the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers.

Florida's water districts have warned that by 2013 they will stop issuing any more permits for groundwater withdrawal. They are afraid that continued siphoning from the aquifer would adversely alter groundwater levels and the springs and rivers they feed.


Preliminary proposals are to withdraw 107 million gallons per day from the Ocklawaha at State Road 40 and 155 million gallons from other points along the St. Johns.
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Manatee mural to lure tourists

Published September 25, 2009 - Orlando Sentinel
City officials in Orange City unveiled a mural honoring manatees on Tuesday at 11 a.m. behind the Embarq building at 219 N. Volusia Ave.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Artists answer St. Johns River call

Published September 22, 2009 - West Volusia News
A wild, mystical beauty touches artists and authors who visit the St. Johns River, inspiring countless paintings, stories and even song.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and John Bartram wrote of the tea-colored river that meanders nearly 310 miles from a remote lake in South Florida to the Atlantic Ocean at Mayport.
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10 Top Spots to Snorkel - Crystal River, Florida

Published Coastal Living
The best place in the country to experience the gentle West Indian manatee is in the springs and protected estuary of this coastal hamlet. Guides will gladly help you with manatee etiquette; for instance, gentle contact is allowed, but only if initiated by the manatee.
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USGS details Florida stream gauge history

Published Sept. 22, 2009 - UPI
The U.S. Geological Survey has issued a report detailing the 100-year history of Florida's first stream gauge, located on the Suwannee River at White Springs.

Report (PDF)
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Panel discussion on the St. Johns River set for Tuesday

Published September 21, 2009 - Orlando Sentinel
A panel discussion about the St. Johns River is set for 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Museum of Florida Art, 600 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand.

The panel, titled "St. Johns River: Yours, Mine and Ours," will include Neil Armingeon of the Riverkeeper organization, former water-management-district board member Ann Moore, Volusia County Council member Andy Kelly, utility officials and a hydrologist.
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Will Jax guzzle our water?

Published September 21, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun
...a color-coded map of groundwater levels by the year 2030, it indicates that growth in the Jacksonville area will cause a drop in parts of Alachua, Bradford, Putnam and other counties.

The Suwannee River and St. Johns River water management districts are doing a water assessment study that will plan for Northeast Florida's water supply through 2030.
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Radio Interview - Owner of Santa Fe Springs

Radio Interview with Mr. Cheeseman, owner of Santa Fe Springs, LLC, on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 8 am - 9 am.
Source: Email

Sunday, September 20, 2009

David McLain : Consensus is needed on tri-state river basin

Published Sept 20, 2009 - Tallahassee Democrat (Opinion)
After more than 18 years of litigation, mediation and negotiation without achieving an equitable, sustainable allocation of the interstate waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin, it's time for an approach that actively involves the people of the basin whose interests and livelihoods depend on that resource.

The newly formed ACF Stakeholders Inc. will establish an important milestone in finally finding an equitable allocation of the waters of the basin.

For additional information on the ACFS, contact Brian Manwaring, facilitator, U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution at (520) 901-8529. Visit www.acfstakeholders.org for more details of the approved charter and the application process.
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Commission rejects proposal for pipeline

Published September 18, 2009 - Lake City Reporter
Columbia County officials will not allow a pipeline on its property which takes water from the Santa Fe River to a proposed water bottling plant in Fort White.

In fact, the commission has decided to write another letter to state level officials reaffirming the county’s commitment to the environment and local water sources by requesting that water bottling plants be prohibited from taking water from the Suwannee River or any of its tributaries.
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Florida manatee deaths up this year; St. Marks River manatee latest local death

Published Sept 18, 2009 - Tallahassee Democrat
The St. Marks River manatee was the first confirmed death in Wakulla County since April 2005 and is the first one of the year for the coastal counties of Wakulla, Franklin, Gulf, Taylor and Jefferson. In December 2008, a Franklin County manatee died of cold stress.

As of Sept. 11, 349 deaths have been confirmed. The five-year average for Jan. 1 through Sept. 11 is 263.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Saving a river starts with you – and, yes, them, too

Published 9/17/09 - High Springs Herald
More than 75 people gathered to hear updates on how a variety of people were working toward the same goal – to keep the Ichetucknee watershed healthy.

Every river has a watershed that must be protected in order for a river to be healthy. A watershed is an area of land in which all the water under the land and all the water that drains onto the land flows to the same place.
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Georgia refusing to "accept reality" in water wars ruling, Alabama governor's office says

Published September 17, 2009
"We cannot understand why Georgia thinks this appellate court will view the matter any differently than all the other courts that have considered it," according to the statement released by Governor Riley's Press Secretary Todd Stacy.
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bottling plant may open in Fort White

Published September 17, 2009 - Lake City Reporter
A request to place infrastructure on county property by a Columbia County property owner attempting to establish a future bottled water plant in Fort White could have a bearing on the Santa Fe River’s health.

The permit, which expires April 10, 2020, gives the authority to withdraw a maximum of 150,000 gallons of water a day, but not to exceed 54,750,000 gallons per year. The withdrawal would take place in the lower Santa Fe River basin with the water headed to a proposed bottling facility which will be located in Fort White.
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Wekiwa Springs: Orlando’s Secret State Park

Published September 16th, 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.
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Teen dies while trying to swim across Suwannee River

Published September 16, 2009 - The Gainesville Sun
According to the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office, Oshae Butler, 16, of Lake City, drowned Saturday while attempting to swim across the river with two friends. Butler was reported missing shortly after noon and was last seen about 200 yards up from Little River Springs.

"When you are standing on the bank, the river gives the appearance of being peaceful and not as far across as it really is," Colvin said. "You can't seen any movement, so you probably don't think about the current, but you have to fight what can be a pretty strong current to swim straight across."
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Your guide to the St. Johns River

Published 09/16/2009 - The Daily Record
The “Get Your Feet Wet” guide to the St. Johns River was officially released to the public by the St. Johns Riverkeeper and Mayor John Peyton during a ceremony Tuesday at Memorial Park in Riverside, which officials said provide a needed and informational spotlight on one of the region’s most important assets.

The 170-page guide provides comprehensive detail on the river, said Armingeon, and is broken down into easily navigable sections including river facts, trip preparation tips and tactics, places to explore, things to do, facts and pictures of river wildlife, a resource section and a journal for note taking.
Ordering Info
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Georgia to appeal water wars ruling

Published September 16, 2009 - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
In court filings this week, the Georgia parties said they will ask the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to overturn Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson’s July 17 order.

Since the ruling, Perdue set out a multi-pronged strategy. In addition to litigation, he seeks water-sharing talks with the governors of Alabama and Florida. He has asked Congress to pass legislation allowing the metro area to tap into Lake Lanier. He is pushing North Georgia communities to find other water storage sources, including reservoirs.
Source

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Volusia offers to drop water lawsuit

Published Sep 15, 2009 - The Beacon Online
At a recent meeting, County Council members expressed consternation over a letter sent by the Legal Department to the St. Johns River Water Management District. The letter was mailed Aug. 27 with the support of the county administration, before the County Council had seen or even heard of it.

Volusia County filed suit with the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings, seeking to force the Water Management District to back off its demands for pricey water projects. The county wants the district to accept its proposals for managing and conserving water supplies, instead. The administrative hearing in the case was set to begin Oct. 13 in DeLand.
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Central Florida Getaways of the Day

Rock Springs Run is an 8.5 mile stretch of gently flowing, clear spring water through an unspoiled Florida forest -- and it's 30 minutes out of downtown Orlando.The spring-fed stream can be canoed or kayaked in about four hours. The current is strong enough that much of that time, however, you can float and maybe just steer a little.
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Local students color in history

Published September 12, 2009 - Lake City Reporter
Who would have thought a coloring book could teach kindergarten students so much about the area in which they live.

The “Learning About Our Springs and Farms” activity book is a joint partnership between the Santa Fe Soil and Water Conservation District, the Ichetucknee Partnership, Suwannee River Water Management District and the Columbia County School District. The book is designed to educate kindergarten students in the district about the Columbia County area.
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Guide helps us appreciate, understand St. Johns River

Published Sep. 11, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
The book, Get Your Feet Wet, is chock-full of information about the river, including its history - Saber-toothed cats, mastodons and giant sloths once roamed the St. Johns region - and river facts such as the 310-mile long river is the home to 180 fish species and new ones are still being discovered.

Get Your Feet Wet is available on the Riverkeeper's Web site: http://www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org
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Friday, September 11, 2009

Rescued manatee family returns to St. Johns River at East Palatka boat ramp

Published September 10, 2009 - Palatka Daily News
Three manatees were on their way from the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, and they were ready to make their way back home into East Palatka waters.

On May 14, a large female manatee was injured when a boat in the St. Johns River hit her, causing a blunt trauma wound to her chest and a collapsed lung.
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Levy commission concerned about siphoning of water supply

Published 9/10/09 - The Chiefland Citizen
The Levy County Commission is sending a letter to the St. John's Water Management District expressing the board's concern about what it feels is excessive water use in the populous area around Jacksonville.

“When it came to long-term draw down, you used to worry about a pipeline from South Florida,” he said. “Well, it's going to the Jacksonville area.”

He said some of the water is also being siphoned off by Georgia. That's because 60 percent of the Suwannee River water basin is in Georgia.

Because of the drawdowns, White Springs no longer flows. “And we're having problems with Worthington.”
Source

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Writing a letter about Niagara? Save your ink

Published September 9, 2009 - Orlando Sentinel
Those who send their thoughts and remarks, expecting them to be passed on to St. Johns Executive Director Kirby Green, are getting back a form letter from the district's top public-relations guy saying that rules prevent Green or his board members from considering anything that's not part of "the record." That would be the evidence presented during the administrative process.
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Volusia settling water dispute

Published September 8, 2009 - Orlando Sentinel
Officials may be ready to settle differences over the idea that the county would buy water from an Ocklawaha River project.

The county didn't want the St. Johns River Water Management District to include it in a list of governments that would tap into the Lower Ocklawaha for future water-supply needs.
Source

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Kayak for a Cause on Rainbow River

Published September 8, 2009 - Ocala Star-Banner
The second annual Kayak for a Cause will begin at 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 18, at Gruff's Tap & Grill, 19773 E. Pennsylvania Ave. Races begin at 9 a.m. with heats for singles and doubles.

The races are about four miles up the Rainbow River to just above KP Hole County Park and four miles back. Use of a boat is free (while supplies last) and lunch is included for a $50 registration fee. There will be awards and door prizes. Participants may bring their own canoes or kayaks. Youths age 18 or younger may participate for free if accompanied by an adult racer.

The recipient of proceeds will be the Boys & Girls Club of Dunnellon. For information, call 489-7854.
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Florida's waterways must be a priority

Published September 8, 2009 - St. Petersburg Times
Recently the Gulf Restoration Network released a report titled "Clean Up Your Act! A Review of How the Clean Water Act Is Incorporated into Gulf States Water Regulations." The report can be viewed at www.healthygulf.org

In our region we see rivers like the Weeki Wachee suffering from nutrient pollution. Reducing nutrient pollution, whether through better regulations and enforcement, or through local fertilizer ordinances, is essential to the survival of our springs, rivers, and coastlines.
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Good crowd for last call at Blue Springs

Published September 8, 2009 -
About 300 people turned out for the last day of the season at Blue Springs Recreation Area on Labor Day Monday.

He estimates there were 34,000 visits over the course of the season, 24 percent higher than last year, and 74 percent higher than in 2006.
Source

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Historian to address Blue Spring group

Published September 07, 2009 - West Volusia News
Historian Bill Dreggors plans to discuss the biological structure of Blue Spring Run at a meeting of the Blue Spring Working Group on Sept. 16 at Volusia County's Historic Courthouse, 125 W. New York Ave.

The meeting is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dreggors will also discuss nutrient loading from reclaimed water to groundwater and verification of Blue Spring as an impaired water body.
Source

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Water management updates, future plans aimed at protecting resources

Published September 05, 2009 - Bradford County Telegraph
The district has the highest concentration of natural springs anywhere in the world. More than 250 have been identified, and more than 170 feed the Suwannee River. They are particularly important during low flow periods because they account for 72 percent of the river's flow, so it's vital to the economy that the springs and the aquifer that feeds them be protected, Minnis said. If water levels drop too low, then those springs will dry up.

At the same time, a great deal of the surface watersheds are outside the water management district's jurisdiction and even out of the state and the Florida Aquifer is an important source of water for this state as well as southern parts of Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.
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Saturday, September 05, 2009

West is best for stormwater flow

Published 2009 Sep 04 - Hometown News
An estimated $20 million stormwater diversion project that continues taking shape west of the city is expected to lead to cleaner waterways and better wildlife habitats.

The system will involve the 2,250-acre Sawgrass Lake Water Management Area and a new, 1,800-acre reservoir nearby. In these areas, wetland vegetation will help filter nutrients and suspended solids from the diverted stormwater. The cleaner water then will be sent on to the St. Johns River.
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Sporting Clay: Keep away from the blue-green algae

Published Sep. 4, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
Massive "blooms" of blue-green algae, known as "cyanobacteria," have created thick green mats along the shorelines of Doctors Lake, the St. Johns River and area creeks.

Algae occur naturally in fresh waters and blooms are normal during warm months, but nutrient pollution is what causes the large, intense blooms we are currently seeing. Nitrogen and phosphorus are two of the biggest culprits. They come from fertilizer washing into our waterways during heavy rain.
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Blue Springs season to end this weekend

Published: September 4, 2009 - Jackson County Floridan
Blue Springs Recreational Park is closed after Labor Day and doesn't open again until around Memorial Day next year.

“Over 34,000 people came to Blue Springs this year,” Hatcher said.
Attendance went up about 34 percent this year, bringing in about $106,000 in user fees, he said.

The park will still be available to reserve over the fall and winter months, he said. Those interested in renting a space may call 718-0437.
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Friday, September 04, 2009

Underground link to spring discovered

Published Sep. 3, 2009 - Chiefland Citizen News
Scientists working with the state have determined that a Chiefland sinkhole that collects runoff water does in fact connect to Manatee Springs State Park and two other locations.

“As of today, we know that there is an absolutely unambiguous connection between the sink on (Northeast) Fourth Street and Manatee Springs,” Pete Butt, project manager for Karst Environmental Services, said.
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Algae in the St. Johns Leads to Health Alert

Published 9/3/2009 - First Coast News
The algae in the St. Johns River continues to bloom, causing not only an unattractive discoloration, but also a health risk.

Thursday, the Florida Department of Health issued a health alert to remind everybody to take precautions around the waterway.
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Septic tank mystery clouds Jacksonville's plans for cleaner water

Published September 03, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
When Jacksonville's Water and Sewer Expansion Authority was given the job of helping older neighborhoods get off septic tanks and onto sewer lines, managers asked JEA in 2003 how many homes and businesses in the city still had tanks.

A report released last week on progress fulfilling the River Accord, a regional environmental campaign, estimated there were 85,000 tanks in Duval County.
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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Time to redouble efforts at protecting fragile river

Published Sep. 1, 2009 - The Florida Times-Union
Jacksonville now has a fertilizer ordinance, which puts the burden on all of us to use less fertilizer and to apply it in a river-friendly way when it is used.

Watering restrictions are also in place and, considering half of the water taken from the aquifer is used on landscaping, conservation is a key in stopping efforts to take millions of gallons of water a day from the river to quench the thirst of Central Florida.
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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Prepare to linger at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Published August 31, 2009 - SunSentinel
Homosassa Springs is a refuge for orphaned or injured West Indian manatees and for those born in captivity. They average 12 feet long and 1,200 pounds. The mammals have no defense against predators; humans are perhaps the greatest threat through watercraft or fishing accidents and habitat loss.

On July 15, the park was named in honor of the late Ellie Schiller of Yankeetown, Fla., an environmentalist who supported the park and several area institutions through the Felburn Foundation. In the 1940s, the land housed an entertainment attraction featuring exotic animals. After changing hands through the years, it became a state park in 1989 and has grown to focus on native Florida wildlife and environmental education, says park services specialist Susan Strawbridge.
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Feds Okay Tourists Swimming With Manatees

Published August 31, 2009 - CommonDreams.org
...the agency has rejected a petition to ban the practice or impose new safeguards, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)

In a letter dated August 25, 2009, the Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) indicated that it would take no action at this time, although it had yet to make a decision on whether to designate Kings Bay, Three Sisters Springs and Homosassa Springs as critical habitat for the manatee, an action that would restrict swimming in those areas during winter months.
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