Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida

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Mosaic Overflight Part 2

MosaicF2housenear1 In: Mosaic Overflight Part 2 | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River

We continue with our report on the single largest destruction to our Florida wetlands, water quality and quantity, and wildlife habitat,  which is phosphate mining.   Mine companies control over 400,000 acres in Florida mostly in the Myakka and Peace River basins.  About 340,000 acres have been mined to date, and less than 70,000 have been reclaimed.  These shots were taken over the Mosaic mine in Polk, Hillsborough, Manatee and Hardee Counties on Wednesday, July 27, 2017.

Florida law now says that all land must be reclaimed, but this takes years and it is never the same as before.  The entire drainage system is altered, creeks are dug up and destroyed,  and the residue, which is toxic, is stored in huge gypstacks which remain as toxic mountains in the Florida landscape.  There are 25 gypstacks in Florida, and they cannot be used for any purpose.  The can be 200 feet tall, and the tops collect acidic water which sometimes spills and pollutes.

MosaicF2housenear2 In: Mosaic Overflight Part 2 | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River

The above image is the same as the top one, only it is a closeup showing the proximity of houses to the mine residue.  In much of the reclaimed land we see no dwellings, but in some areas, such as above, they are very close to the mined area.  Take another look in the top image and you will see the total devastation for miles and miles around these houses.

MosaicF2reclaim In: Mosaic Overflight Part 2 | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River

The image above shows the reclaimed land with no human habitation.  The water is also often a strange green color, which indicates it is likely toxic to some degree.

MoasicF2homesnear In: Mosaic Overflight Part 2 | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River

Here again, is an image showing what appears to be human habitation very close to mined land.  Notice here that the different ponds show three distinct colors. This is not normal water.

MosaicF2scrawnycitrus In: Mosaic Overflight Part 2 | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River

We see little agriculture on this reclaimed land.  Here we see a citrus grove that certainly does not appear healthy.

In Bradford and Union Counties, a new company,HPS II Enterprises, is now acquiring permits to do this same type of destruction there, on the banks of New River and the Santa Fe River.  If this happens, the river will be at risk from New River to the mouth of the Santa Fe where it reaches the Suwannee south of Branford.

Once again, OSFR is grateful to Ed Golly, pilot who donated his time and aircraft to this flight, and to Cody Phillips and Gina La Bruno who organized the trip and to Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson for making the flight available.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life:  once taken, it cannot be brought back-


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  1. Looks like all those small green ponds are standing water just waiting to become breeding sites for mosquitos. One more problem for Floridians to deal with. It’s hard to understand the scope of Mosaic’s mining destruction without seeing it. Driving past is a bad sight, but from the air it’s much worse than imagined. Thanks for the post.

    1. You are not wrong about mosquitoes. I live 3.7 miles from the mosaic sinkhole . My residence is among 30 other homes . We have homes built on the pile of overburden that was taken from a slurry pit . Our h ones are surrounded by slurry pits and ” reclaimed land”. We are an island in an ocean of Mosaic property. The only thing that separates my home from the Mosaic property boundary’s is why 37 south if they. 640. ( 1 mile ) . And also old hag 37. Our land ,air and water is contMinated . The mosquitoes around her are so thick you can practically rake handfuls off if you . They actually travel in 4 to 5 feed in height swarms , shaped like a tornado and they move as a whole .
      As for the reclaimed land . Hah !! What a joke . They put pine trees on some dug up polluted ground . And most of the time the land ends up with cattle on it . And ya won’t find homes in this are in large groups because all of our surrouding areas has been mined and it is reclaimed and once it is reclaimed The mosaic fertilizer company profile it’s up fences and no trespassing signs . Except for the land that the mines do sell . And that land usually goes to company’s that are affiliated with phosphate mining , or for example a huge portion of the mines property’s have been sold to Louie Mind . A retired elected Polk County Sherrifs officer who sits on the land for. Few years till he gets ready to build housing community developments on it.

  2. Seeing is believing–my great-grandfather’s grave at Mount Olive cemetery near Bradley Junction is now an island in a sea of desolation! The corporate and public demand for sun, sand (earth minerals), and water is truly an environmental apocalypse when exploited to point that it has been in Florida….

    1. I live about a mile from that cemetery as the crow fly’s . I visit that cemetery slot , mainly because it is in-between the Hookers Prairie mine ,and New Wales . That graveyard has about the best view if the gypsumstack currently getti g enormous on a daily basis . ( Also on the same property as the Mosaic sinkhole ) . Also that’s so close to Hookers Prairie gypsumstack , also getting larger every day.
      I’m not sure if you have noticed , but at the entered if that cemetery where the fence line starts . You will see two signs . One a no tressing sign from the the local PCSD . And the other sign simply states not to trespassing on a chemical mining facility property.
      I have a fab group page called Gettin ‘ the Word Out ! Environmental Truth . And on that page are pics of the cemetery and those signs .

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