We met on Wednesday morning promptly at 7:30 am to load up the boat and equipment needed for the day. Once we arrived at Gilchrist Blue Spring State Park, we immediately unloaded the equipment and took field parameters at the head spring to try to get as undisturbed of a reading as possible. We lowered our grab sampler into the spring vent from the jumping platform.
Because we were there quite early, we were able to sample the head spring without any human interference. The normal parameters we always sample for are temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and conductivity. Fun fact: springs are approximately 72 degrees Fahrenheit year round!

Photo by Tessa Skiles

Right after we took parameters at the head spring, we began a fish count. We do this by having three people in the water; one person at each bank and one in the middle. The observers shout what species of fish and how many of them as we see them. We have one or two people in a kayak or canoe recording. We did this all the way down the run until the Santa Fe River.

Photos by John Moran

Once we reached our downstream station of Gilchrist Blue Spring run, we took field parameters again. We do this because as the water comes out of the Aquifer and flows down the run to the river, dissolved oxygen enters the water through the photosynthesis of aquatic plants as well as diffusion. Pollution and nutrients also enter the water as it flows down the run. We divided into teams and took flow measurements as well as vegetation transects. We took these measurements at stations 200 feet apart in the run.

Photo by John Moran

During our day we deployed three sondes and five hobos. “Hobos” tell us the relative light levels for each side of the bank over an extended period of time. Sondes are a type of equipment we deploy for 10-14 days which continuously logs data for us. We put the hobos out on either side of where we deploy the sonde. Simultaneously, Florida Springs Insitute interns tracked the human use of the head spring.

Photo by John Moran

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