Current Projects

Cannon Sink Cleanup 2
Cannon Sink Cleanup
March 8, 2014

The Ichetucknee Alliance partnered with Current Problems and Four Rivers Audubon to clean up trash at Cannon Sink in Lake City. Many thanks to the volunteers who came out to help with this effort!

Cannon Sink Cleanup 3

Cannon Sink Cleanup
Photograph by Dan Rountree

 

 

 

 

Cannon Sink Cleanup 1

 

 

ManateeLowerIchJopling_Aug_25_2013
Request for Manatee Sighting Information
by Lars Andersen
February 10, 2014

I have been asked by Jim Stevenson and the Ichetucknee Alliance to compile a list of manatee sightings on Ichetucknee and Santa Fe Rivers. This project will rely on reports from people who live near these rivers or use them regularly–good old-fashioned word of mouth.

I’m looking for two kinds of sightings, past manatee sightings as well as any future manatee sightings people make on Ichetucknee and Santa Fe Rivers.

For past observations, I’m interested in ANY sightings, made at ANY time in the past, regardless of how long ago it was. This will help us determine if the number of manatees using these rivers has increased or decreased (or stayed the same) over the decades. So, I’d like to hear about any manatees you have personally seen (not hearsay). It would help if you could include a few details, like how many manatees you saw , when you saw them (the year or, even better, the month) and the general location on the river. If you can recall anything about the conditions of the river (high, low or average) at the time of your sighting, that will help.

As for reports of future sightings of manatees in Ichetucknee and Santa Fe Rivers, I’m hoping to get the date, number of manatees you saw and their general location on the river. It would also be a big help if you notice any distinguishing physical features (scars, cuts, etc.) on the animal’s bodies.

This will be an ongoing study, so even if it’s a year or two from now, I’d still like to hear about it.

The best way to report manatee sightings is to e-mail me at riverguide2000@yahoo.com. If you prefer to call with your information, we can be reached at (386) 454-0611. Otherwise, feel free to stop by Adventure Outpost and tell us about your sighting in person. We are now located in the center of High Springs, beside the big parking lot across from Great Outdoors restaurant.

I would appreciate if you would help spread the word to anyone you know who lives on one of these two rivers or uses them regularly.

The information I gather will be posted in some public forum, but I’m not sure where, yet. For updates or information about our results, call Adventure Outpost sometime after February and we’ll be able to tell you where it’s posted.

Thank you very much for your help with this project. I look forward to hearing from you.

Editor’s Note:  Lars Andersen is collecting reports of manatee sightings outside Ichetucknee Springs State Park. To report sightings within the park, contact Ginger Morgan:

386-497-4690
ginger.morgan@dep.state.fl.us

If you own a business and your customers use the Ichetucknee and/or Lower Santa Fe River, here is a page of  “manatee sighting business cards” that you can print out, cut, and give to your customers. We appreciate your help!

 

Springs Watch Monitoring on the River
July 12, 2013
by Beth Zavoyski
FirstSpringsWatchGroup

First Springs Watch Group on the River!
L-R, back row: Terri Skiles, Megan Olson, Charles Maxwell, Robert Knight, Dan Rountree, Beth Zavoyski. Front row: Allison Lewis.

 

A group of eight Ichetucknee Alliance board members and volunteers set out for the first Springs Watch trip on the Ichetucknee on July 12, 2013.

In kayaks and canoes, the group aimed to visit all 15 monitoring stations along the lower Ichetucknee River to collect data on dissolved oxygen (which can tell the age of the water), photosynthetically active radiation (a measure of water clarity), and specific conductivity (which can give information about the sources of water in the river).

Dr. Bob Knight and Allison Lewis continued training the group on how to use the equipment to collect this data in the field (see information about the first training session, below).

The group collected data at three stations, noted wildlife visible around the stations such as turtles, fish and otters, and counted apple snail egg masses before inclement weather set in, which unfortunately caused the trip to be cut short.

The apple snail eggs in the photograph were spotted at Station 1. Dr. Knight asked the group to look for viable egg masses around the stations above the water line. Viable masses are a pinkish/purple color.

SMALLapplesnaileggs

Apple Snail Eggs

The group spent time at Station 1 calibrating the equipment, discussing the plan for the day, and learning about the science behind the equipment.

Seed money for the Ichetucknee Alliance Springswatch project was provided by a grant from the Wildlife Foundation of Florida through their Tag Grant program; see:

http://www.wildlifefoundationofflorida.com/Projects

 

Station1

Part of the group arriving at Station 1
L-R: Charles Maxwell, Terri Skiles, Yolis Jopling, Robert Knight

 

Springs Watch Water Monitoring Training
May 29, 2013

MonitorTrainingMay2013

On May 29, 2013, members of the Alliance’s board of directors and other volunteers gathered for training in how to take water quality measurements on the Ichetucknee River. This group of volunteers will be taking measurements on the lower Ichetucknee as part of the Alliance’s new Springs Watch program. The work is especially important because the lower portion of the river has not been studied as thoroughly as the upper stretch of the river that flows within the state park.

WaterMonitoring2

Trainers at the May session were Ron Clarke, M.S., environmental scientist with Wetland Solutions, and Dr. Robert (Bob) Knight, a member of the Alliance’s board of directors and president of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute.

WaterMonitoring3

The volunteers learned about the operation of several instruments:

  • The YSI ProODO handheld meter that measures dissolved oxygen (DO). Dissolved oxygen is an important indicator of the age of water in the river, which can affect the growth of submerged aquatic vegetation. Different levels of DO can be seen with particular plant communities.
  • The Apogee Quantum Meter MQ-200 that measures photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), the amount of light available for photosynthesis that drives plant growth; this is a measure of the clarity of the water. Pristine springs have often been described as being “gin clear” (see the photo on our Vision page).
  • The Milwaukee C65 Conductivity meter that gives information about salts in the water. Differences in readings from one place to another can indicate whether the river is receiving water from multiple sources such as runoff.
  • The Garmin GPSMap 76 global positioning system, used to log the places where readings are taken.
  • The Olympus Stylus Tough 6020, an underwater digital camera used to document what, if any, vegetation exists at particular places in the river.

Readings are taken at a sequence of locations heading downstream from the U.S. Highway 27 bridge. As the readings are taken, they must be logged in pencil on a sheet of special paper that can’t be damaged by water.

WaterMonitoring5

 

Next up for the Springs Watch volunteers is a hands-on session in canoes and kayaks as they begin to use these instruments in the lower part of the Ichetucknee River.

Seed money for the Ichetucknee Alliance Springswatch project was provided by a grant from the Wildlife Foundation of Florida through their Tag Grant program; see:

http://www.wildlifefoundationofflorida.com/Projects

WaterMonitoring4



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