Click on the title of each post to read the entire entry and to view images.
January 12, 2016
It has been some time since the Ichetucknee Alliance requested a moratorium on large water use permits, so I am here today to re-state that call.
Here is what we want to see before any more permits are issued: Development of a water balance or water budget that must compare “income” to the district (the amount of water received from rainfall) to the district’s “expenses” (the amount of water leaving via runoff, evapotranspiration, and CUMULATIVE permitted withdrawals).
Our water is a shared resource that needs to be managed as a public trust with an emphasis on conservation. As Cynthia Barnett has written, we need to make sure that the way we are using water today does not jeopardize fresh, clean water for our children, businesses, and ecosystems tomorrow. Without a water budget, none of us has any assurances that our … Read More »
by Robert E. Ulanowicz, Ph.D.
Most are aware of Florida’s growing water crisis, but few seem eager to consider the elephant in the parlor. Water expert Thomas Swihart reports that agricultural irrigation accounts for more than 60 percent of all freshwater consumed in Florida ([i]), although the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported in 2011 that the agricultural sector comprised approximately 1 percent of the state’s total domestic product ([ii]). Despite this surprising disparity, agriculture’s contributions to Florida’s water problems are only infrequently discussed, because “Everyone has to eat!”
Of course, food is necessary for survival, but it is also true that, “Everyone needs to drink!” In fact, the physiological need for water is far stronger than for food. The rule of thumb is that humans can survive three weeks without food, but only three days without water. We rightly focus on widespread starvation in … Read More »
The marvelous Gainesville poet, Lola Haskins, shared two poems about the Ichetucknee with the Alliance, along with an announcement about her new book, “how small, confronting morning,” just out from Jacar Press. Lola is reading from the book at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, at the Alachua Headquarters Library in downtown Gainesville.
Click here to read the poems in their preferred format and see the book announcement here. Click on the image below for a larger view.
The Ichetucknee Alliance is having a membership drive with reduced rates that make it easier than ever for you to support our activities! From now until June 30, 2016, the special discounted membership rates are $10 for a student or senior, $15 for an individual, and $20 for a family.
Our goal is to increase the Alliance’s membership because there is power in numbers when we speak to Florida’s water managers, elected representatives, and members of the press. The more members we have, the stronger our voice can be for the Ichetucknee River, its associated springs, and the Floridan aquifer that feeds the Ichetucknee and provides our drinking water.
As a paid member of the Alliance, you will be eligible to vote when we elect officers at our annual meeting in March 2016. You will also help to support activities similar to the … Read More »
On October 15, 2015, Ichetucknee Alliance President John Jopling and Secretary/Staff Assistant Lucinda Faulkner Merritt attended a meeting of the Columbia County Commission to speak about the siting of a poultry factory in southern Columbia County very near the Ichetucknee and Santa Fe Rivers.
While the factory does not lie within the Ichetucknee springshed, we made the decision to speak to the commissioners about it for multiple reasons:
The Alliance is concerned not only with the springs and the river but also with the Floridan aquifer that feeds those systems AND provides our drinking water.
Many of our members were asking us to get involved.
We had information that we were not sure was going to be presented otherwise—information about Wendy Graham’s research at the University of Florida’s Water Institute showing that agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) are ineffective in the Suwannee River Water Management District for row crops, turf … Read More »
Funded by a grant from the Wildlife Foundation of Florida, the Florida Springs Institute is coordinating a group of volunteers who are doing scientific baseline sampling to assess conditions of ecological health along the Lower Ichetucknee River (outside the state park) from July 20-31, 2015. Follow the activities of the monitoring team here in what we hope will be daily entries to this blog post!
From Heather Culp on July 19, 2015
We documented turtles today on the Ich. We saw several different species, including Florida cooter, yellow-bellied sliders, musk turtles, and hybrid red-eared sliders. We took many photos on the field camera, which I will send your way once we upload them. Tomorrow, we plan to do water quality monitoring, including sonde deployment (measuring salinity, pH, and dissolved oxygen), secchi readings (measuring clarity), and vegetation surveys. I’ll keep you posted as … Read More »
Ichetucknee Alliance Position Paper
The Ichetucknee Alliance is opposed to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Florida because the State of Florida cannot afford to lose the water that this process requires.
The Alliance bases this position on information that is available from the water supply plans prepared by the state’s water management districts as well as other sources of information about Florida’s water balance or water budget. The water budget is the amount of water that we receive from rainfall (our only source of water) versus the amount of water that we lose from runoff, evapotranspiration, and pumping.
The Alliance believes that, especially within the Suwannee River Water Management District, Florida’s water budget is overdrawn. The Alliance has called for a moratorium on the issuance of new large (over 100,000 gallons per day) water use permits in this district.
We also know that water … Read More »
by John Jopling
Last February, members of the Board of Directors of the Ichetucknee Alliance met with Drew Bartlett, deputy secretary of Water Policy and Eco Restoration with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), and Ann Shortelle, executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD). At that meeting, we discussed our disappointment that those agencies are failing to preserve and protect the Ichetucknee River and its associated springs. We reminded both people of the quantifiable declines in both flow and water quality in the Ichetucknee during the 45 years that the State of Florida has been the steward of these waters.
We then presented Bartlett and Shortelle with a specific list of recommendations:
Employ the Precautionary Principle in dealing with the Ichetucknee.
Educate the public about the degradation of the Ichetucknee.
Redefine the flow baseline as pre-1960, implement an emergency water shortage order … Read More »
Article and Photographs by Scott Jantz
We often joke that the walk down the quarter-mile boardwalk to Blue Hole is longer than the dive we are carting our gear to do. But what Ichetucknee’s Blue Hole spring lacks in length, she more than makes up for in beauty and challenge.
Cave divers use two styles of equipment, referred to as back-mount and side-mount. Since a diver cannot surface from a cave, all equipment must be redundant. So we carry (at least) two tanks either on our backs or under our arms. The under arm mount was originally invented to explore tight caves like Blue Hole where divers could not always fit with tanks on their backs. The style has become more popular recently due to the lesser strain on a diver’s knees and back from not having to carry the … Read More »