Stacie Greco’s Santa Fe River Springs Protection Forum presented at the High Springs Museum 0n Thursday, September 19, 2019, did not disappoint. On can count on these fora to be educational, interesting and entertaining.
Proof of that is that they always draw a good crowd.
Last Thursday’s agenda started off with Suwannee River Water Management District’s Faye Baird presenting last month’s hydrologic update, which showed some unusual weather happenings. Time eliminated her report from the SRWMD meeting on Wed. the day before in Live Oak. Faye is always thorough and clear in her reports.
Next, newly minted Ph.D. Nathan Reaver presented his recent research on plant growth in spring-fed rivers. He concentrated mostly on the Silver as an example. His conclusions pointed to velocity of flow being important to controlling filamentous algae. He suggested restoring spring flow might help restore springs. When queried as to how to restore flow he suggested it might depend on rainfall. When asked if groundwater pumping could be a factor, he replied that it might be in some springs. His rainfall chart showing flow decline went back only 20 years. We think 75 years would show a more accurate picture. Your historian was left wondering how groundwater pumping was considered blameless in the flow reduction of Silver Springs.
David Royal of Nature Conservancy drove all the way from Wachula to present his 4 R program for minimizing fertilizer use. This includes
- Right source – Matches fertilizer type to crop needs.
- Right rate – Matches amount of fertilizer to crop needs.
- Right time – Makes nutrients available when crops needs them.
- Right place – Keeps nutrients where crops can use them.
This results in a reduction of fertilizer use, and is a small step in the right direction, but nowhere near what we must reduce in order to begin to approach the goal set by the DEP in their Basin Management Action Plans.
After the lunch break basic “Pesticides 101,” an informative presentation was given by James Cooper of FDACS, and a talk about pesticide monitoring was presented by University of Florida’s Patrick Wilson.
The final presentation was by Matt Philips from FWC on “Use of herbicides in aquatic plant management.” This was of interest to us as it is a topic we have investigated to some degree. Mr. Philips was not receptive to mechanical harvesting of aquatic weeds because of the excessive cost. In his estimation the cost seemed to eliminate it from serious consideration. We cannot agree, as cost is never a factor for politicians when there is will. This is an area where OSFR will attempt to do more work, as we see toxic chemicals as unacceptable for aquatic weed control because of health hazards.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-