Protecting Ichetucknee Springs Requires More Than Limits on Tubing

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nathancrabbe3 In: Protecting Ichetucknee Springs Requires More Than Limits on Tubing | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida

 

Nathan Crabbe has just won an award for his journalism, and the example below is part of the reason why.  Mr. Crabbe does not just write about our water problems, he understands the situation and the underlying issues which are totally political.

DeSantis, the DEP and the water districts slap each others’ backs and beat their chests when they spend millions on our water,  sometimes to its detriment such as the case of the stupid water transfer plan mentioned below in the editorial.

And here’s another ill-conceived and money-wasting plan to transfer water from Black Creek to lakes in the St Johns water district, lauded by its executive director:

‘This is an exciting moment, as we are on the brink of building a major water resource development project with far-reaching benefits for north Florida, a vital strategy to assist our lakes,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle.

We could add that those lakes need assistance because of the pumping permits that her water district hands out.

Read the original article here in the Gainesville Sun.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
[email protected]
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum


OPINION

Protecting Ichetucknee Springs requires more than limits on tubing

Nathan Crabbe Opinion editor
July 15, 2021

One of the great things about living in Gainesville is being within a short drive of Ichetucknee Springs and other natural wonders. Yet, like with so many things in life, long periods of time can pass without taking advantage of the opportunity to visit them.

Last weekend, my wife and I brought our two kids to meet up with some friends and their son at Ichetucknee Springs State Park. It was my first time there since changes had been made in park policies, including the upper stretch of the spring-fed river being closed to tubing.

Tubing had been halted there in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic during a typically busy season, providing a test run that showed the benefits of better protecting aquatic grasses that are crucial to the wildlife of the ecosystem. Now the upper stretch remains closed in an effort to allow the vegetation even more time to recover.

We felt lucky to get there early enough to enjoy floating on the cool water with family and friends. Just leaving behind our phones and soaking in nature for a few hours is a luxury in this day and age, so hopefully the state will continue taking steps to protect the environment there for visitors to appreciate for generations to come.

Groundwater pollution from livestock, fertilizer and septic tanks also pose a threat, fueling algae growth that clouds the Ichetucknee’s formerly pristine waters. Again, the state’s solution is spending taxpayer money rather than cracking down on the polluters causing the problem.

But the state can’t spend its way out of the problem, as shown by a Florida Springs Council analysis of 2021-2022 restoration projects being conducted by state agencies. Even if there are no new pollution sources, the analyses found that it would still take 217 years to achieve water quality goals through the projects.

The Ichetucknee/Santa Fe River system would take even longer: It is on track to be restored in 391 years based on the capabilities of current springs projects. And the cost of reaching water quality goals for the basin would total more than $4 billion, according to the study.

The report calls on the state to boost funding for springs, spend the money on more effective projects and pass laws requiring nutrient pollution to be reduced. Local residents need to push elected officials to take these and other steps to better protect our nearby natural wonders.

Nathan Crabbe is The Sun’s opinion and engagement editor. Follow him at twitter.com/nathancrabbe and facebook.com/nathancrabbe.

 

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