SPRINGS BLOG

Bob Knight

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

Read More »
Education

Blue Water Audit

We all have an impact on the Floridan Aquifer. Learn more about your impact with the Project Overview The Floridan Aquifer is the principal source of water for natural and human systems throughout much of Florida. In addition to being Florida’s primary source of drinking water, the Floridan Aquifer feeds over 1,000 springs. Florida’s population has grown from less than 1 million in the early 1900s, to over 18 million in 2010, according to the

Read More »
Education

Springs Outing: ONF Springs Fish Study

Dr. Steve Walsh, a research biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, led 22 intrepid adventurers to the Ocala National Forest to observe fish up-close.  The Springs Outing began with everyone meeting at Salt Springs Recreation Area, where Dr. Walsh provided a brief introduction to fish identification for species typically seen in the north Florida springs.  Despite overcast skies on a chilly fall day, most everyone donned masks and snorkels and jumped into the 72-degree water

Read More »
Springs Science

Analyzing Nitrates in North Florida’s Drinking Water

Groundwater in the Floridan Aquifer is the source for more than 1,000 springs in North and Central Florida. It also provides water for over 90 percent of the people who live there. Even though this water lies hundreds of feet below the ground, it is not entirely protected from sources of pollution at the surface. Nitrate-nitrogen is one pollutant that has contaminated much of the water in the Floridan Aquifer. Nitrates are nutrients necessary for

Read More »
Springs Science

A Day in the Life of the Florida Springs Institute Science Team!

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

Read More »
Into the Springs

Meet the Into the Springs Artists

We are so excited about our musical lineup! We have lots of returning performers and local favorites, but are also welcoming several out of town performers as well. Here they are, in order of appearance. Matt Brown is a soul musician out of West Palm Beach, FL. He is primarily a bassist but he also plays keyboard, drums, percussion, and guitar along with singing. He has been playing bass in his family church since age

Read More »
Events

Into the Springs Music Festival Preview

It’s hard to believe that Into the Springs is just one month away! We have been working hard behind the scenes to create a fun weekend of entertainment, education, recreation and community. While we are still working out some of the details, we are excited to share what we do have finalized, starting with our music schedule. We are excited to welcome back Noah MacGinnis, Mourning Glories, Cliff Dorsey, and Locochino; as well as welcome

Read More »
Events

Deep Spring Farm hosts Into the Springs Music Festival

Florida Springs Institute will once again be hosting Into the Springs, a music festival in support of springs protection, at the beautifully serene Deep Spring Farm. Community involvement is key to the success of small-scale organic farms, and we are glad to support its owners, Michael and Leela Robinson, efforts at DSF. You may already know Michael and Leela through their volunteerism with environmental and local food organizations or from visiting the farm to pick

Read More »
Uncategorized

More Than Cool Swimming Holes

Florida’s springs have all the qualities of living creatures. They are contiguous systems composed of plants and animals, working together in an organized fashion, and capable of reproduction, growth, response to stimuli, and long-term stability. They could be called “Super Organisms” – living beings with predictable patterns of organization and consistent responses to external factors. Springs receive inputs of raw materials (chemical nutrients, light energy from the sun, and turbulence from inflowing waters) and build

Read More »
Education

Springs Field School Full of Fun Springs Science

The Florida Springs Institute wrapped up its fifth Springs Field School on August 16th in Silver Springs after four days of science education and history on our springs and aquifer. Today we take a look back at each day during the Springs Field School and all that we learned. Day 1 Participants from all over the state arrived on August 13th at the Retreat at Silver Springs to check in and meet their fellow Field

Read More »
Events

2018 Florida Springs Restoration Summit Regional Panels and Keynotes Addresses

2018 Florida Springs Restoration Summit to Feature Springs Regional Panels and Keynote Addresses by Dinah Voyles Pulver and Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch OCALA, FL – The Florida Springs Council (FSC), with support from the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida and Jelks Family Foundation, is hosting the Florida Springs Restoration Summit from November 1st – 4th at the College of Central Florida to report on the status of springs health in Florida and to develop a roadmap

Read More »
Events

Florida Springs Institute to Host Springs Field School in Silver Springs

SILVER SPRINGS, FL – The Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute (FSI) will host its annual Springs Field School from August 13th – 16th in Silver Springs. Florida’s artesian springs are an important natural resource, providing the basis for extensive wildlife support and human recreation. These springs and the Floridan Aquifer that feeds them are under increasing threats from human activities, including flow reductions, nutrient increases, aquatic weed management activities, recreational impacts, and a variety

Read More »
Op-ed

Thank God for Cool Springs

Summer in North Florida can be brutal. Working outside during 90+ degree days is utterly draining. Just six hours spent landscaping and mowing last Saturday made me feel like I was 150 years old. I admire the many working folks who endure long days in Florida’s intense sun and humidity. But why do those who have a choice continue to live here and why do more people move to Florida each day? Visit the new

Read More »
Uncategorized

Florida Springs Field School Q&A

The Florida Springs Institute is gearing up for its fourth Springs Field School program and registration is now open for FSI members and future members. The Springs Field School is a 4-day course that provides in-depth lectures on topics including springs biology, geology, hydrology, chemistry, stresses, environmental law and advocacy efforts. As a Field School participant, you will learn everything there is to know about Florida springs and what is needed to protect them. This

Read More »
Op-ed

Tierra del Agua

Instead of “Land of Flowers”, Florida could just as easily have been named “Tierra del Agua” by the European invaders of the early 16th century. Originally blessed with more than 1,200 miles of coastal shorelines, 20 million acres of freshwater wetlands, 7,700 lakes, 11,000 miles of streams, and at least 1,100 artesian springs and their spring runs, the geography of Florida is about water. Not surprisingly, since the first Earth Day in 1970 Florida’s government

Read More »
Events

5th Annual Give Springs A Break

Our yearly educational retreat, Give Springs A Break (GSAB), which takes place at Ginnie Springs Outdoors and is aimed towards young people, attracted 42 students and young professionals from around the state making it our biggest GSAB event! Funding for our 5th Annual GSAB was provided by First Magnitude Brewing Company. First Magnitude raised nearly $10,000 for the Florida Springs Institute during their 7.2k Springs Run event in January of this year. With endless possibilities, the

Read More »
Springs Outings

Springs Outing – Sweetwater Wetlands Park

Sweetwater Wetlands provides an interesting combination of both engineering innovations and wildlife benefits.  Bob Knight began the outing by discussing the design aspects of the project.  His initial remarks included comments on the challenges, the cost, the effectiveness, and the benefits of the design. The challenges included the 20-30 years it took to convince the City fathers that the project was worthy of the $25 million cost.  The project was given a boost when a

Read More »
Springs Outings

Springs Outing – Seminole State Forest

On this hike, the Florida Springs Institute combined with St. Johns Riverkeeper for a day hike through Seminole State Forest.  Led by Jane Durocher of Riverkeeper, Heather Obara of FSI, and Ranger Ralph Risch we hopped from a conversation with a scrub jay to three small unknown (to most of us) springs. The first stop was a mile or so along the appropriately named Sand Road, where Ralph called a nesting pair of scrub jays to

Read More »
Springs Outings

Springs Outing – Holton Creek Tract Hike

Written by FSI Board Member, Dave Wilson Despite easy access near Live Oak, Holton Creek is a virtually unknown spot.  Outing leader and biologist, Tom Morris, chose this venue as a natural progression from last month’s exploration of the sink at the Alapaha Dead River!  The connection between the Dead River Sink and the rise at Holton Creek was established last year by the Florida Geological Survey when they dumped 100 pounds of fluorescein dye

Read More »
Springs Supporters

A Word From Springs Supporter, Sun Power Lawn Care

5 Lawn Care Tricks that Save Water for Our Springs from FSI Springs Supporter Business Member, Tom Snogles, founder of Sun Power Lawn Care, a Gainesville, FL electric lawn care business dedicated to quiet, sustainable service. What does a lawn mower in downtown Gainesville have to do with a catfish in Wakulla Springs? Like almost everything in Florida, this lawn mower plays a part in the catfish’s health and security–and that of the whole ecosystem surrounding it. If

Read More »
Events

2018 First Magnitude Brewing Company Springs Run and Springs Fest

First Magnitude Brewing Company has been an avid springs supporter since opening in 2014, hence their springs themed name “First Magnitude”. They have named close to a hundred beers including pilot batches and year-round beers after our springs and rivers! First Magnitude has taken their love for our local water resources farther than most.  For the past three years, they have raised thousands of dollars through fundraising events that support local environmental organizations. This year, First Magnitude selected the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs

Read More »

Springs Outing – A Tour of the Best Karst Features in the Ellaville Area

Despite chilly breezes and overcast skies, Tom Morris led 29 outings enthusiasts through the karst region surrounding Suwannee River State Park. To start the trip, Tom used samples to explain the differences between Ocala limestone, Suwannee limestone, and chert. Limestone is calcium carbonate or CaCO3; the Ocala Limestone is soft and crumbles in your hand; the Suwannee Limestone is hard; while chert is silica dioxide with formula SIO2.   He also brought along a fossilized mastodon rib

Read More »
Uncategorized

2017 Springs Field School

This year’s Springs Field School was a wonderful success! Students from around the state joined us in the Ocala National Forest for four full days of springs exploration and education. With a great group of students, presenters, and some incredible sights, it was one of our best years yet. Dr. Bob Knight and guest speakers, Bob Palmer, Jim Gross, Christine Denny, Monica Ross, Eric Hutchenson, Nathan Reaver, Whitey Markle, Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Guy Marwick, and Lars Anderson

Read More »
Uncategorized

Alapaha Dead River Hike Recap

By Dave Wilson (FSI Outings Leader) Twenty six springs enthusiasts enjoyed a perfect day hiking along the Alapaha River near Jennings, Florida.  This river is notable because of its large fluctuations in water level.  When ten inches of rain fall in South Georgia, the water can be 25 feet deep.  After informative talks by Florida Springs Director, Bob Knight, and leader, Tom Morris, we began with a side trip to an old settlement, where a

Read More »
Springs Outings

Alapaha Dead River Hike Recap

By Dave Wilson (FSI Outings Leader) Twenty six springs enthusiasts enjoyed a perfect day hiking along the Alapaha River near Jennings, Florida.  This river is notable because of its large fluctuations in water level.  When ten inches of rain fall in South Georgia, the water can be 25 feet deep.  After informative talks by Florida Springs Director, Bob Knight, and leader, Tom Morris, we began with a side trip to an old settlement, where a

Read More »
Uncategorized

Elevated Nitrate Nitrogen Levels Found in Florida’s Drinking Water Supply

The Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute (FSI)  is concerned about elevated levels of nitrate nitrogen in much of the Floridan Aquifer (seepotable water nitrate nitrogen analysis findings). This same Floridan Aquifer is the source of water feeding our 1,000+ artesian springs in North Florida and is the principal supply of potable water for the region. A substantial portion of the water in the Floridan Aquifer has been contaminated with nitrate by human activities, including the

Read More »
Uncategorized

Florida Springs – A Water-Budget Approach to Estimating Water Availability

Florida Springs Institute Director, Dr. Robert Knight, and Senior Environmental Scientist for FSI, Ron Clarke, were recently selected for publication in the February 2016 edition of the Journal of Earth Science and Engineering. The article, entitled “Florida Springs – A Water-Balance Approach to Estimating Water Availability”, and a brief summary can be found below:  Click on the image above to access the full article.  Abstract:Florida’s artesian springs receive groundwater outflows from the Floridan Aquifer System

Read More »

Celebrate Earth Day – Visit a Florida Spring!

By Juliette Jones Florida has more freshwater springs than anywhere else in the world—that makes Florida the Springs Heartland of Planet Earth.– Lucinda Faulkner Merritt  At this moment in time there are a great many environmental challenges competing for our attention, but few as immediate as those connected with food and water.  I have to admit that not so long ago I managed to keep myself oblivious to the environmental crises now escalating in Florida and

Read More »

Gum Slough MFLs

On February 25, 2016, the Florida Springs Institute sent a letter to the Southwest Florida Water Management District regarding our concerns surrounding the establishment of Minimum Flows and Levels for Gum Slough. That letter can be foundhere. In an email sent later that day, FSI Advisory Panel member, Linda Bystrak, stated that: SWFWMD is only looking at the flow of Gum Slough from 2003 on, so they can get that big spike in 2004 (from 3 hurricanes

Read More »
Springs Outings

Springs Outing – Harvey Sharron Bat Cave

By Dave Wilson Once again Tom Morris led a group of intrepid hikers into the unknown.  This time 15 willing victims descended into the Harvey Sharron Bat Cave located midway between Newberry and High Springs.   Since it is fenced off to keep both visitors and the cave out of harm’s way, we had to stop at Santa Fe College to pick up a key to the gate.  While the cave is small, we were scheduled

Read More »
Springs Outings

Springs Outing – Suwannee Spring Hopping

by Dave Wilson with photos by Dagmar Bastiks On October 17, Tom Morris led 23 adventurers on an enjoyable outing to six exquisite springs near Branford.  The stops included Mill Creek Sink (actually near the city of Alachua), Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park, Olsen Springs, Running Springs, Cow Springs, Royal Springs, and Little River Springs.  While some members of our group had heard of a few of these gems, most had never visited any

Read More »
Uncategorized

Update from the Field: Rainbow River Baseline Assessment

Today concludes the first week of FSI’s baseline assessment along the Rainbow River. For the past five days, FSI staff and local volunteers have been engaged in an extensive study of the middle and lower segments of the river with the goal of establishing a baseline of scientific information that will serve as a starting point for future health assessment of this diverse ecosystem, which connects to Rainbow Springs and the Floridan aquifer. FSI Executive Director, Dr.

Read More »
Uncategorized

Florida Springs Institute Requests Comprehensive Groundwater Nitrate Sampling in Alachua and Gilchrist Counties

On August 27, Dr. Robert Knight, Director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute called for a comprehensive, area-wide groundwater nitrate sampling effort by state and local governments, especially in the karst areas of Alachua and Gilchrist counties. Dr. Knight’s call for action comes after the Alachua County Health Department released private, self-supply well nitrate data confirming the relatively common occurrence of nitrate above safe drinking water levels (10 mg/L) and the lower springs

Read More »
Close Menu
×
×

Cart

%d bloggers like this: