Civic Duty and Springs Protection

A small group of private citizens gave their all last month for Rainbow Springs. Faced with a state-sanctioned plan to add additional harm to this beloved but impaired natural resource, five individuals penned their names to a legal petition challenging the state’s policy. They are the few and the brave who fought for the many. Following a week when America celebrates patriots who sacrificed their lives to fight tyranny, we all should thank the Rainbow Five for…

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Death by a Thousand Cuts

Two weeks ago as I was reading the Gainesville Sun a small note on the Classified page shouted out to me: “Public Notice – The Suwannee River Water Management District (District) intends to issue a Water Use Permit for a maximum of 150,000 gallons per day in Alachua County for row crops and cattle watering. Affected parties can obtain a copy of the Technical Staff Report by writing the District.” Having recently compiled a list of well…

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The past and future glory of Silver Springs

Last weekend’s Florida Springsfest was a reminder of the former glory of Silver Springs. With an outpouring of public enthusiasm, Marion County’s most unique natural feature may once again be elevated to its rightful importance. An estimated 7,000 visitors traveled to Silver Springs for the 17th Annual Florida Springsfest. Hosted by the nonprofit Marion County Springs Festival, with the help of dozens of park staff and volunteers, this year’s Springsfest was a celebration of the past and…

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Beyond Significant Harm

In December 2010 the Governing Board of the Suwannee River Water Management District (WMD) published their Water Supply Assessment. This document concluded that: ”… groundwater levels in the Upper Floridan aquifer have declined significantly during the past 75 years as a result of regional groundwater withdrawals…” and that “…unacceptable impacts to flows in the Lower Santa Fe River and springs were predicted for the 2010–2030 planning period…”. In April 2014, in response to this unfolding tragedy, the…

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Too Polluted to Drink
Closeup shot of a man pouring a glass of fresh water from a kitchen faucet

Too Polluted to Drink

For too many families, North Florida’s once pristine groundwater may be unsafe to drink. One nasty pollutant is nitrate, a principal ingredient in synthetic agricultural and urban fertilizers, and in animal manure and human waste. In the past 100 years of rapid development, the ambient concentration of nitrate throughout the Floridan Aquifer has risen from a baseline concentration of less than 0.05 parts per million (ppm) to 1 ppm, a 20-fold increase. As with most environmental variables,…

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