Tag Archives: OSFR

Pictures: Santa Fe River and springs, Waterkeepers Florida –Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson 2024-02-08

Update 2024-02-17: Many more Pictures: Waterkeepers Florida, Santa River and springs 2024-02-08.

The fifteen Waterkeepers of Florida gathered on the Santa Fe River Thursday to see springs, parks, and submerged aquatic vegetation.

Well, eleven of them. And we also saw a wood stork, an anhinga, a hawk, buzzards, and many turtles.

[Banners, Springs, Santa Fe River, Waterkeepers Florida 2024-02-08]
Banners, Springs, Santa Fe River, Waterkeepers Florida 2024-02-08

No manatees, though, despite the best efforts of expert guide Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson of the outfitter Rum138 and Our Santa Fe River (OSFR).

We were going to put in at Rum Island, but that county park was closed, it turns out to install the ostentatious swimming barrier you see pictured. So we put in at Merrillee’s house; thanks Merrillee.

We paddled into Gilchrist Blue Spring, Ginnie Springs, and many others.

Many more pictures later; these are some Merrillee sent.

As you can tell by the banner picture I took, WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper organized this outing.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

Continue reading

PFAS in the Santa Fe River Basin in Florida

Some people are interested in whether PFAS from titanium dioxide (TiO2) mines or other sources is getting into the New or Santa Fe Rivers in Florida.

For example, the new Chemours Trail Ridge South Mine southeast of Starke, Florida, appears to drain into Double Run Creek, which runs into the Santa Fe River.

[PFAS in Santa Fe River from TiO2 Mines?]
PFAS in Santa Fe River from TiO2 Mines?
Detail from WWALS map of the Suwannee River Water Trail.

We don’t know about those rivers yet, because nobody has tested them. We do have a few datapoints for a few city drinking water systems, and they’re all clean, although Newberry, just outside the Basin, is not.

No doubt it is possible to find that data in FDEP’s Oculus Document Management System, in the same way it is possible to win a jackpot in Las Vegas. If you already know about six very specific parameters, sure, Oculus will find it. Continue reading

Winners: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2023-09-22

Hahira, GA, September 25, 2023 — Hahira, Georgia, September 25, 2023 — Ten musicians wrote songs and seven sang them, about the delights of the waters of the Suwannee River Basin and the need to preserve them against numerous threats. Jane Fallon came all the way from Dunedin, Florida, to the Turner Arts Center in Valdosta, Georgia, to sing a story about legendary Sun Daughters reflecting on a proposed mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, the headwaters of the Suwannee River. The three judges marked her high on storytelling and presenting the value of the waters, on originality of lyrics and music, and on performance, with extra credit for naming waterways. She took home First Prize in the Sixth Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

[Winners: Suwannee Riverkeeper; Cindy Bear and Franc Robert, Best Folk; Jane Fallon, First Prize; Bacon James, Best from Outside; Kyle Bird Chamberlain and David Rodock, tie for Best from Inside; Chamberlain, Best Blues; Rodock, Best AmeriKinda; Keven Stephenson, Best Country --Chuck Roberts]
Suwannee Riverkeeper with the Winners: Cindy Bear and Franc Robert, Best Folk; Jane Fallon, First Prize; Bacon James, Best from Outside; Kyle Bird Chamberlain and David Rodock, tie for Best from Inside; Chamberlain, Best Blues; Rodock, Best AmeriKinda; Kevin Stephenson, Best Country; and Robert Thatcher (not pictured). Photo: Chuck Roberts

Jane Fallon said, “Thank you for the honor in recognizing my song ‘Chant For The Okefenokee’ in your contest. It is always a special feeling to sing a song for an audience that truly understands its meaning. Thank you also for the work you do in trying to preserve the waterways. It is so important.”

Here is the first half of her lyrics: Continue reading

WWALS AAS water quality testing training @ SRSP 2023-08-25

“It was a good group, and it went well,” said WWALS Executive Director and Water Quality Testing Trainer Gretchen Quarterman.

[WWALS Water Quality Training at Suwannee River State Park 2023-08-25]
WWALS Water Quality Training at Suwannee River State Park 2023-08-25

This training was in Florida at Suwannee River State Park on the Suwannee River.

WWALS trains by Georgia Adopt-A-Stream methods. These are not as pricey as the Florida standard of sending every sample to a lab to test.

We are aware that to be legally actionable in Florida, the Florida method must be used. However, with the AAS methods, WWALS can test more places and more frequently, to detect more problems, and to follow contamination as it flows downstream. Plus we can follow up by sending samples to a lab.

Thanks to all the trainees. And thanks to Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) for taking an interest.

Looking forward to all of you starting testing. Continue reading

The Mermaid says sign the petition, Rights to Clean Water for Florida 2023-03-26

The mermaid likes it.

Florida registered voters, please sign the petition to get a state constitutional amendment for Rights to Clean and Healthy Waters on the ballot:
https://www.floridarighttocleanwater.org

[The Mermaid says sign the RTCW petition]
The Mermaid says sign the RTCW petition

This picture of Mermaid Danielle Shmalberg with the RTCW petition and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman was taken at the 2023 OSFR Songwriting Contest, part of RiverFest by Our Santa Fe River.

WWALS has shamelessly copied that idea for years. Join us Friday evening, September 22, 2023, for the sixth annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest as part of the first-ever WWALS gala fundraising dinner, WWALS River Revue:
https://www.betterunite.com/WWALS-wwalsriverrevue2023/ Continue reading

HPS II withdraws phosphate mining application from Bradford County, Florida 2023-01-19

After many years of massive opposition, HPS II Thursday withdrew its application for a phosphate mine “without the County taking any formal action on it.”

[Letter, Map]
Letter, Map

Union County, where HPS II also wanted to mine, rejected its application there, changed the Union County Comprehensive Plan to limit mining, and, with the assistance of Alachua County, maintained legal defense against the mine, until HPS II dropped its lawsuit last June.

So it seems safe to finally say the HPS II phosphate mine is dead.

Congratulations to all the opponents, especially Bradford Environmental Forum, Citizens Against Phosphate Mining, Sierra Club, and Our Santa Fe River (OSFR).

Suwannee Riverkeeper has opposed this mine since 2017, because it drains ito the New River and the Santa Fe River in the Suwannee River Basin, above the Floridan Aquifer. Update 2023-01-24: Added detail. Our opposition has included attending demonstrations, speaking at County Commission meetings in Union and Bradford Counties, writing letters to those Commissions, organizing Southwings small plane overflights of the mine site with opposition members from Union County and OSFR, publishing photographs from such overflights, attending coordination meetings as far away as Tampa, and attending nationwide meetings against phosphate mining. See https://wwals.net/issues/phosphate-mining/. In December 2018, the first official action of the newly-formed Waterkeepers Florida was a a Resolution Against Phosphate Mines in Florida.

HPS II withdrawing their rezoning application does raise questions about where phosphate miners will aim next. Continue reading

HPS II drops Union County phosphate mine lawsuit 2022-06-23

Last Thursday, Kate Ellison posted on her facebook page the news that HPS II had dropped its lawsuit against Union County, Florida, which had been going on since 2019.

The miners were attempting to overturn Union County’s rejection of their phosphate mining permit applicaiton, and Union County’s changed land development regulations that prohibited such mining except in a small area. This is big news, although there may be more to come, and there are implications as far away as the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.

[Union County Times, Nutrien Phosphate Mine]
Union County Times, Nutrien Phosphate Mine

Suwannee Riverkeeper has opposed this mine since 2017, because it is uphill from the New River which flows into the Santa Fe River and then the Suwannee River, and above the Floridan Aquifer. Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) has been in the middle of this opposition all along, so, not surprisingly, OSFR has posted an extensive review, see below, naming many of the other people involved.

I’d also like to mention that, Continue reading

Videos: Florida Right to Clean Water, Poe Springs Park 2022-04-21

Update 2022-05-01: Florida petition online now for Right to Clean and Healthy Waters 2022-05-01.

Five of us spoke about the new Florida Right to Clean and Healthy Waters (RTCW) statewide petition for a constitutional amendment. We said saying extraordinary problems demand extraordinary solutions, water supports everything, RTCW is needed like the First Amendment, flow and nitrates in the Santa Fe River and springs need RTCW, and drinking water needs RTCW.

[RTCW, Poe Springs]
RTCW, Poe Springs

That press conference at Poe Springs Park on the Santa Fe River was covered by CBS4 News out of Gainesville. Here is the TV news story, WWALS video of the speakers, and the full text of the petition amendment.

TV News

Julianne Amaya, CBS4, Gainesville, Florida, Thursday, April 21, 2022, Petition calls for ‘rights to clean and healthy waters’ in Florida, Continue reading

OSFR kayaktivism at Ginnie Springs, Santa Fe River 2021-05-29

Not a WWALS outing, but we recommend it: Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) is doing kayaktivism tomorrow, Saturday, May 29, 2021, on a mile and a half of Santa Fe River frontage next to Ginnie Springs.

This is to protest the recent ridiculous award of a water withdrawal permit by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) to Seven Springs Water Company (SSWC) and Nestlé or Nestle Water North America (NWNA) or BlueTriton as NWNA is called after being bought by One Rock and Metropoulos. It’s so ridiculous SRWMD is appealing its own decision, in addition to three or more other lawsuits.

Paddle if you can, with signs.

Group of paddlers at Ginnie Springs

For all details about outing, see this OSFR blog post: KAYAKTIVISM Sat. May 29, 11am-2pm On The River By Ginnie Springs Campground.

WWALS has contributed financially to the lawsuit OSFR has brought against SRWMD.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Help SRWMD reject Nestle permit 2021-02-23

You can help the Suwannee River Water Management District Board uphold the public interest and reject Nestlé’s water withdrawal permit application.

[Agenda, Board, No Permit]
Agenda, Board, No Permit

Even SRWMD’s legal counsel only recommends approving the Seven Springs permit “under protest.” The DOAH judge’s Order is actually only a RECOMMENDATION, and the District filed eighteen pages of exceptions to that Order. The judge disallowed most of those exceptions, but SRWMD is still holding open the possibility of appeal with that “under protest”.

The Judge’s Order dances around the basic question: is putting water in plastic bottles after taking it from the Floridan Aquifer next to a depleted river and springs, all for profit of a Swiss company, in the public interest? Florida law and the judge attempt to narrow what can be considered down what can be considered for the public interest to what is in Florida rules or a handbook, even though none of those adequately address the real issues. The plain fact is that a contract to sell water does not determine any public interst in cleaning up plastic bottles from our springs and rivers, nor does it determine any public interest in lower springs and rivers, with bad effects on wildlife, public use of those waters, and eventually on drinking water.

The SRWMD board can deny this permit because it is not in the public interest. You can help them do so.

It almost looks like the SRWMD counsel is asking people to come protest, since he repeatedly mentions that Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) filed legal motions and both Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson and Michael Roth spoke in the legal hearing. Disclosure: WWALS has provided some financial support for OSFR’s legal actions in this matter.

If you’re going to attend this Special Meeting in person, get there early to get a spot. To attend online, be sure to sign up for both the webinar and cal in for audio. If you want to comment, you must also sign up for that separately. Don’t wait for the second day: if that happens at all, there will be no public comment.

So come early on the first day, in person or online, Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

The entire SRWMD Special Meeting Board packet is on the WWALS website: https://www.wwals.net/pictures/2021-02-23–srwmd-nestle-special-meeting-packet/

Here is the agenda, with how to attend online: Continue reading