groups, research, education, public policy

Cold Morning, Ginnie Springs Photo by Wes Skiles

Ginnie Springs
Photo by Wes Skiles

ADVOCACY GROUPS

 

Springs, Rivers and Wetlands Advocacy Groups, Specific

 

When we work together we can amplify our efforts to protect the springs we love. You can attend the board meetings of local municipalities, counties, and water management districts to stay involved with the policies that affect our water.  There are many non-profits you may want to consider joining or getting on their email distribution lists.  And of course don’t forget to vote!

 

Our Santa Fe River

Giving our river a voice, Our Santa Fe River is a citizen based non-profit working to protect the waters and lands that support the aquifer, springs, and rivers within the watershed of the Santa Fe River.  http://www.oursantaferiver.org

 

Ichetucknee Alliance  

Finding solutions to the problems affecting the Ichetucknee will, at its core, be a “people process” of behavioral and cultural change, perhaps coupled with water policy changes. Why? Because everyone who uses water in Florida is simultaneously a contributor to our water problems and a potential partner in solving those problems. The Ichetucknee Alliance is committed to working with partners in the springshed and throughout Florida to achieve our vision of a healthy and protected Ichetucknee River System.

We believe that a three-pronged process will help us meet our goals:  (1) an emphasis on accurate water models, good science and continued monitoring of conditions in the Ichetucknee River system, (2) a corresponding emphasis on the moral and ethical principles that can guide environmental decision making, and (3) the willingness to partner with other people, agencies and organizations to find creative and substantive solutions.

Different people have studied the Ichetucknee River and its associated springs for many years. A lot of good science is available to us now, and many of the solutions we seek are already in sight. http://ichetuckneealliance.org

 

Santa Fe River Springs Basin Working Group

A great place to learn more about our local springs and to network with others working to protect springs is at the Santa Fe River Springs Basin Working Group. Everyone is welcome to attend the quarterly meetings and to learn from the presentations from local professionals, researchers, and activists. To find out when the next meeting is visit www.SantaFeRiverSprings.com

 

Save Our Suwannee

To find out more about water quality problems and solutions in the Suwannee River watershed check out:  www.saveoursuwannee.org

 

St. Johns Riverkeeper:  Save Silver Springs

See this link for updates on efforts to restore Silver Springs and the status of the Adena Springs Ranch request for a consumptive use permit that threatens to further degrade the flow and health of this iconic Florida spring. http://www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org/blog/save-silver-springs/

 

 

Current Problems

Current Problems is a grass-roots non-profit founded in 1993 with the mission to preserve and protect North Florida’s waterways for humans and wildlife through action, education, and awareness.  Current Problems is best known for its many waterway cleanups, having removed more than 330 tons of trash over the years.  The group also occasionally conducts shoreline revegetation and stormwater pond planting projects. http://www.currentproblems.org

 

Suwannee – St. John’s Sierra Club

During the past two years, the Suwannee St Johns Group of the Sierra Club (SSJ) has sponsored a canoe trip on the Silver River, two canoe trips on the Ocklawaha River, three on the Suwannee River, one on the Santa Fe, and one on the Ichetucknee River.  In every case the story was the same.  While the rivers are still beautiful, they are compromised by slime caused by nitrate pollution.  For more information about outings and conservation issues, visit our SSJ website ssjsierra.org. Check out their water page for more news and educational resources: http://ssjsierra.org/?page_id=716http://ssjsierra.org

 

North Florida Springs Alliance

The North Florida Springs Alliance is a citizen support organization,which provides support to Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State park,Madison Blue Springs State park,Lafayette Blue Springs State park,Suwannee River State park,and Troy Springs State park. We provide many improvement to the state parks,including a 1 mile interpretive trail at Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State park,which educates the participant on karst environment,and plant communities. We also support an ongoing science related project to provide fauna counts and water quality analysis in several of the springs. http:// www.northfloridaspring- salliance.org/  

 

Florida’s Eden

Florida’s Eden works at the confluence of the economy, environment and education to build a sustainable and prosperous economy based on the assets of talent and place. Our programs work within broad partnerships to recognize and nurture the creative talents of Florida’s people and communities; and to foster conservation-first strategies to protect the assets of our natural environment.  And don’t miss Florida’s Eden’s Blue Path exhibit at the Seagle Building in Gainesville (408 West University Ave.) for an excellent overview of the conditions impacting our North Florida springs. http://www.floridaseden.org

 

Silver Springs Alliance http://www.silverspringsalliance.org

Blue Springs Alliance forthcoming

Friends of the Wekiva River http://www.friendsofwekiva.org

Friends of Wakulla Springs http://wakullasprings.org

Rainbow River Conservation, Inc. http://www.rainbowriverconservation.com

 

SOS Now (Save Our Springs Now)

SOS Now is a steering committee for an alliance of non-profit organizations and private individuals that are deeply concerned about actions by the State which contribute to further degradation of Florida’s Outstanding Waters, including failure to implement anti-degradation policy in the Minimum Flows and Levels (MFL) process.  SOS Now is presently comprised of the following organizations: Save the Manatee Club, WAR, Homosassa River Alliance, Rainbow River Conservation, and Chassahowitzka River Restoration Committee.  SOS NOW comments to the Triennial Review (CWA Integrated Water Quality Assessment) and our Petition to FDEP are a matter of public record. They are available here: http://www.warinconline.com/. Contact:  Dan Hilliard: 2buntings@comcast.net

 

St. Johns River Alliance A non-profit dedicated to preserving, protecting and promoting “America’s First River.”  http://www.stjohnsriveralliance.com/

 

St. Johns Riverkeeper

The St. Johns Riverkeeper mission is to work on behalf of the community for clean and healthy waters in the St. Johns River, its tributaries and its wetlands, through citizen-based advocacy.  We are a privately-funded, independent and trusted voice for the St. Johns River and the public to whom it belongs. http://www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org/  Be sure to see their Save Silver Springs campaign: http://www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org/blog/save-silver-springs/

 

Springs, Rivers and Wetlands Advocacy Groups and Organizations, General

 

Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute

The Florida Springs Institute (FSI) is dedicated to supporting springs science and the education necessary for restoration and wise management.  Their website offers a wealth of resources on Florida’s water quality and quantity, including news and Dr. Robert Knight’s studies, papers, and springs restoration plans.

Visit their website (http://floridaspringsinstitute.org) and support our springs by becoming a member today! Your membership fee will be used to help further the efforts of springs research and education. You will also receive a quarterly newsletter and email updates about our shared springs resources and get discounted attendance fees for FSI-hosted events, workshops & receptions.

Additionally, FSI recently convened the 2013 Springs Conservation Summit, which brought together 15 water stakeholders from a wide variety of backgrounds to begin the process of working together to implement solutions to the increasing impairment of our springs and Floridan aquifer. Videos from the summit are on the FSI YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/FLSpringsInst).

For more springs resources: http://floridaspringsinstitute.org/SpringsResources

 

Florida Conservation Coalition

For up to the minute information on legislative sessions and public policy, sign up to join this group. The Florida Conservation Coalition is devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife and water resources that are essential to the well-being and quality of life of the residents of this state, and for its long-term economic prosperity. Florida’s natural resources are a treasure to be conserved for the people of Florida and must be managed judiciously, not squandered. Our focus is ensuring that state safeguards are in place to protect and properly manage the supply and quantity of Florida’s water resources and our rich natural environment.  http://floridaconservationcoalition.org

 

Florida Clean Water Network

On the front line for the past 18 years in Florida, defending clean water laws on both the state and federal levels; educating the public about the importance of these laws; working with local communities and teaching them to effectively participate in decision-making in their communities; and bringing groups together across the state and in coordination with national groups to win some of the most significant environmental victories in Florida in the past decade or more. http://floridacleanwaternetwork.org/about-fl-cwn/

 

Sierra Club Slime Crime campaign

Florida’s water pollution is a national disgrace. Rivers, streams, springs, and lakes are contaminated by excess nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorous) pollution entering our waterways in the form of sewage, fertilizer and animal manure. Nutrient pollution fuels harmful algae blooms. Dangerous, toxic algae runs tourists away from beaches and sends them to emergency rooms. Commercial and recreational fisheries are devastated. Property values plummet. Quality of life is destroyed.

Check out our Florida “Slime Crime Tracker” to view harmful algae blooms in your community: http://goo.gl/maps/uJEE, https://www.facebook.com/FloridaSlimeCrimes

 

Environmental Advocacy, General

 

The National Audubon Society  (http://www.audubon.org) and the Sierra Club (http://www.sierraclub.org) are leaders in environmental advocacy.  See local chapters for work in your area.

 

Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

A non-profit, public interest law firm providing free and affordable legal services to communities facing threats to their local environment, local agriculture, the local economy, and quality of life.  Our mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature. Through grassroots organizing, public education and outreach, legal assistance, and drafting of ordinances, we have now assisted over 110 municipalities in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maine, and Virginia to draft and adopt new laws with over 350,000 people living under these governing frameworks.  These laws address activities such as corporate water withdrawals, longwall coal mining, factory farming, the land application of sewage sludge, and uranium mining. http://celdf.org/index.php

Be sure to check out their Rights of Nature work:

Working with communities in the United States and in countries around the world on grassroots organizing, public education and outreach, research, and legislative drafting – assisting people, NGOs, elected representatives, and government officials to craft and adopt new laws that change the status of natural communities and ecosystems from being regarded as property under the law to being recognized as rights-bearing entities. Democracy Schools: http://celdf.org/democracy-school

 

National Geographic Water Footprint Calculator:

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/change-the-course/water-footprint-calculator/

Think about daily water habits, including food and shopping choices.  If you don’t do so already, consider eating local and organic, and buying goods and services from local businesses whenever possible.  Find out how much water it takes to make a pound of beef compared to chicken or apples; biomass energy or wind energy; wheat, wine and a lot more products. See National Geographic’s Hidden Water Use:http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/embedded-water/

 

Local Land Trusts and Conservation Programs

 

Supporting local land trusts and land conservation programs is another way to protect the springsheds of our local springs. In this region we are lucky to have the Alachua County Forever program, Alachua Conservation Trust, Conservation Trust for Florida, and Putnam Land Trust working to preserve land.

Alachua Conservation Trust  http://alachuaconservationtrust.org

Conservation Trust for Florida  http://www.conserveflorida.org

Putnam County Land Trust http://www.pclt.net

North Florida Land Trust http://www.northfloridalandtrust.org

RESEARCH, EDUCATION AND PUBLIC POLICY

Florida Springs Research, Education and Public Policy

 


Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute

The Florida Springs Institute (FSI) is dedicated to supporting springs science and the education necessary for restoration and wise management.  Their website offers a wealth of resources on Florida’s water quality and quantity, including news and Dr. Robert Knight’s studies, papers, and springs restoration plans.

Visit their website (http://floridaspringsinstitute.org) and support our springs by becoming a member today! Your membership fee will be used to help further the efforts of springs research and education. You will also receive a quarterly newsletter and email updates about our shared springs resources and get discounted attendance fees for FSI-hosted events, workshops & receptions.

Additionally, FSI recently convened the 2013 Springs Conservation Summit, which brought together 15 water stakeholders from a wide variety of backgrounds to begin the process of working together to implement solutions to the increasing impairment of our springs and Floridan aquifer. Videos from the summit are on the FSI YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/FLSpringsInst).

For more springs resources: http://floridaspringsinstitute.org/SpringsResources

 

Florida Conservation Coalition

For up to the minute information on legislative sessions and public policy, sign up to join this group. The Florida Conservation Coalition is devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife and water resources that are essential to the well-being and quality of life of the residents of this state, and for its long-term economic prosperity. Florida’s natural resources are a treasure to be conserved for the people of Florida and must be managed judiciously, not squandered. Our focus is ensuring that state safeguards are in place to protect and properly manage the supply and quantity of Florida’s water resources and our rich natural environment. http://floridaconservationcoalition.org

 

Craig Pittman, Tampa Bay Times

For an accurate journalistic overview of the health of Florida’s springs, be sure to read Craig Pittman’s recent series: Florida’s Vanishing Springs  http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2012/reports/florida-springs/index.html

See also Craig Pittman, “Florida’s aquifer models full of holes, allowing more water permits and pollution,” Tampa Bay Times, Sunday, January 27th, 2103. http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/water/floridas-aquifer-models-full-of-holes-allowing-more-water-permits-and/1272555

 

St. Johns Riverkeeper:  Save Silver Springs

See this link for updates on efforts to restore Silver Springs and the status of the Adena Springs Ranch request for a consumptive use permit that threatens to further degrade the flow and health of this iconic Florida spring. http://www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org/blog/save-silver-springs/

 

Florida Clean Water Network

On the front line for the past 18 years in Florida, defending clean water laws on both the state and federal levels; educating the public about the importance of these laws; working with local communities and teaching them to effectively participate in decision-making in their communities; and bringing groups together across the state and in coordination with national groups to win some of the most significant environmental victories in Florida in the past decade or more. http://floridacleanwaternetwork.org/about-fl-cwn/

For current data on Nitrate Levels in Springs, Rivers and Groundwater (Suwannee River Water Management District): http://www.mysuwanneeriver.org/nitrates.htm

 

Barry University Center for Earth Jurisprudence

The Center for Earth Jurisprudence (CEJ) is located at Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida. Its mission is to advance legal principles, laws, policies and governance that reflect a transformative Earth-centered framework that supports the health and well-being of all of Earth’s inhabitants. Earth jurisprudence recognizes the need for new legal and economic systems that consider the complex and interdependent relationships, interests, natural processes, intrinsic value and limited capacity of nature to renew itself. CEJ strives to develop both a philosophy and practice of law that respect the natural world, recognize humans as integral members of the wider community, and advocates for broader legal protection of the ecosystems and natural processes so that they can coexist, flourish and evolve. http://www.barry.edu/law/future-students/academic-program/center-earth-jurisprudence.html

 

Project Baseline

Project Baseline empowers passionate citizens to observe and record change within the world’s aquatic environments in a way that fosters public awareness and supports political action. We are a grassroots, environmental conservation initiative. Our organization exists to support people who are invested in water quality and availability by providing a platform that gives voice to otherwise under- or undocumented aquatic areas. We started as an organization built around underwater cave and open water divers.

Project Baseline encourages people to use pictures and dive logs already being collected for personal records, and upload that data into our database. Observations that are cataloged in an accessible, defensible and consistent manner can be used over time to gain a deeper understanding of each place visited by everyday adventurers. We are thrilled to be part of the Citizen Scientist movement that, when managed effectively, can be extremely influential in any number of scientific or public policy applications.  http://www.projectbaseline.org/what-project-baseline#sthash.jS63i31W.dpuf.

Also check out Global Underwater Explorers at: http://www.globalunderwaterexplorers.org, and see their exploration and conservation initiatives: http://www.globalunderwaterexplorers.org/conservation.

 

Springs Fever: A Field and Recreation Guide to 500 Florida Springs

Joe Follman and Richard Buchanan. The Guide is a tool and resource for people who wish to learn more about, visit, explore, observe nature in, protect, paddle, kayak, swim, skin-dive, picnic, camp, relax, or snorkel at Florida springs.  Information is provided on over 500 Florida springs (out of the 700+ or so that have been identified so far by the State of Florida). http://springsfever.org/index.html

 

Key Water Management Blogs

 

For the “real story” of the “Real Florida,” here are two professional insider’s views of Florida’s water issues.  Both are retired government agency executives.

 

Tom Swihart, Watery Foundation: Florida’s Water: A Fragile Resource in a Vulnerable State. Swihart is a retired DEP water policy chief.   See his book of the same title, listed below under Literature and Culture. http://www.wateryfoundation.com/?p=7830

 

Sonny Vergara, SWFWMD Matters

Emilio (Sonny) Vergara has been professionally and personally involved in Florida’s water and related environmental protection issues for over forty years during which he earned a state-wide reputation for his professionalism and resource management leadership.  He was executive director of two Water Management Districts: the St. John’s River Water Management District  (SJRWMD) and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD). http://swfwmdmatters.blogspot.com

 

Springs Education, General

 

Florida’s Springs http://www.floridasprings.org

 

Alachua County Department of Environmental Protection:

See their “Protecting Springs and Groundwater” page.

If you would like to help Alachua County reach a larger audience with springs protection messages, consider joining the Springs Team. Staff and volunteers will plan events in your area and you just have to help us get an audience to participate! To learn more contact Stacie Greco at 352-264-6829

http://www.alachuacounty.us/Depts/EPD/WaterResources/GroundwaterAndSprings/Pages/Protecting-Springs-and-Groundwater.aspx

 

Environmental Education, General

 

The National Audubon Society  (http://www.audubon.org) and the Sierra Club (http://www.sierraclub.org) are leaders in environmental advocacy.  See local chapters for work in your area.

 

Through the Eyes of a Park Ranger

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a Park Ranger?  From Troy Springs State Park to Wekiva, this blog by Ranger and Assistant Park Manager Amy Conyers will give you a small taste of the responsibilities, the exciting moments, and the awesome views experienced in the park from her perspective.  http://rangervision.blogspot.com

 

Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

A non-profit, public interest law firm providing free and affordable legal services to communities facing threats to their local environment, local agriculture, the local economy, and quality of life.  Our mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature. Through grassroots organizing, public education and outreach, legal assistance, and drafting of ordinances, we have now assisted over 110 municipalities in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maine, and Virginia to draft and adopt new laws with over 350,000 people living under these governing frameworks.  These laws address activities such as corporate water withdrawals, longwall coal mining, factory farming, the land application of sewage sludge, and uranium mining. http://celdf.org/index.php

Be sure to check out their Rights of Nature work:

Working with communities in the United States and in countries around the world on grassroots organizing, public education and outreach, research, and legislative drafting – assisting people, NGOs, elected representatives, and government officials to craft and adopt new laws that change the status of natural communities and ecosystems from being regarded as property under the law to being recognized as rights-bearing entities. Democracy Schools: http://celdf.org/democracy-school

 

National Geographic Water Footprint Calculator:

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/change-the-course/water-footprint-calculator/

Think about daily water habits, including food and shopping choices.  If you don’t do so already, consider eating local and organic, and buying goods and services from local businesses whenever possible.  Find out how much water it takes to make a pound of beef compared to chicken or apples; biomass energy or wind energy; wheat, wine and a lot more products. See National Geographic’s Hidden Water Use:http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/embedded-water/

 

 

 

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

 

State of Florida

 

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FL  DEP)

Florida Springs website http://www.floridasprings.org

 

*Florida Water Management Districts (WMDs)

 

Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD)

Executive Director: Anne Shortelle (ABS@srwmd.org) http://www.srwmd.state.fl.us/index.aspx

For nitrate levels in the springs of this region, see: http://www.mysuwanneeriver.org/nitrates.htm

 

St. John’s River Water Management District (SJRWMD)

Executive Director: (386) 329-4500 http://www.floridaswater.com

 

Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD)

Executive Director:  Blake C. Guillory  (phone: 352- 796-7211) http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us

Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD)

Executive Director Jon Steverson (phone: 850-539-5999) http://www.nwfwmd.state.fl.us

 

South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)

Executive Director: Melissa L. Meeker  (maralexa@sfwmd.gov) http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/sfwmdmain/home%20page

National

 

*United States Geological Survey (USGS)

National Water Information System  http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis

For real time data on the Santa Fe River flow: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?site_no=02322500

United States Department of Environmental Protection (EPA) http://www.epa.gov  Water: http://www2.epa.gov/learn-issues/water