On July 13, 2017, the Ichetucknee Alliance sent comments about the new unit management plan for Ichetucknee Springs State Park to the Acquisition and Restoration Council of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. To read the Alliance’s letter, click here.
As you read the letter, remember that the Alliance’s stated mission is to restore, protect and preserve the Ichetucknee River, its associated springs and ecosystems as well as the Floridan aquifer that feeds the springs and provides our drinking water. There is strong evidence that tubing on the upper portion of the river is damaging the aquatic ecosystem and underwater vegetation; see the photos below that have been supplied by Jim Stevension, a member of the Alliance’s Advisory Board.
Because of the damage that tubing is causing, the Alliance has called for a halt to tubing on the upper portion of the Ichetucknee River. It is important to understand that even if tubing this section of the river were banned, people would still have access to the upper portion of the river via canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards. Swimming at the headspring would still be allowed. Because people could still tube from the Midpoint and from Dampier’s Landing, a ban on tubing on the upper part of the river should not affect the numbers of people floating the river in tubes.
In the letter, we also stress the importance of having the Suwannee River Water Management District manage the flow of the Ichetucknee so that manatees can enter the river. When flows are too low, manatees cannot swim over the limerock shoals at the confluence of the Ichetucknee and the Santa Fe River.