I had planned on having this post up yesterday. After all, the meeting was Sunday. I like to be current.
That Tarpon Springs post that I did put up on Monday could have been put up anytime.
But I’ve been pondering.
The meeting is open to the public. There were about 80 attendees–yes I counted them. And I’m going to just guess that I was the youngest person there other than the speakers and a few other guests. And I’m not exactly young. (Which is kind of fun because in most other places we’ve lived I’ve been the oldest person.)
But that’s just the way it is in Citrus County. We have an older population with many retirees and most of them volunteer. Which is a really great thing about living in Citrus County.
But I digress,
The annual meeting ran like meetings are supposed to run with motions and seconds and inductions.
Kimberly Sykes spoke on the status of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Andrew Gude, refuge manager, was scheduled to do all that but he was detained in Key West, or Miami, or some other airport with a airplane problem. So he called his assistant at 12:45 and filled her in on what she should talk about at 2:00. And she did a great job.
She told us a lot of statistics but I thought the most interesting was that over 19 days there were 19,000 passages into Three Sisters Springs. A passage is a person, manatee, or boat going in or out. The highest day was 2,300 on December 27. I’m guessing that was holiday traffic and there were probably more people going in and out than manatees. But that seems like way too many “passages” into that small area.
Otherwise, things are going great at Three Sisters Springs. A few setbacks but mostly going forward with improvements.
My pondering is about what the featured speaker had to say about nitrates.
I’ve cut back on fertilizing–hey I live really close to all that water. I have a responsibility! I’m not running my sprinkler system unless it’s an absolute dire need. We have a relatively new drainage field for our septic tank. I have rain barrels! There’s more but I can’t think of all of it right now.
And our waterside communities–both Homosassa and Crystal River–have been pulling septic tanks and replacing them with a central sewage system.
Crystal River is in a project to send reclaimed water to Duke Power plant so they can use the water for their energy needs.
Swiftmud is creating an area at Lake Linda for parking lot run off to divert the water from running into the bay.
Hey, we are all working really hard to save our springs!
Last year the speaker was John Moran, a Florida photographer, and he showed slides of many of our state’s springs from when he first started taking pictures in the 70s and compared them with the same springs now. It was a very emotional presentation.
The featured speaker this year, Chris Anastasiou, Ph. D. a chief scientist and the leader of the Springs Team of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFMD) had a lot of information and I can’t possibly relate it all to you. His presentation was entirely scientific.
What struck me was a slide that showed that nitrates are highest at the spring vent. As it flows out to the Gulf of Mexico, the nitrates are diluted. It takes seven days for a drop of water from the vent to make it to the Gulf.
And there are all kinds of bad things blamed on nitrates. Nitrates grow plants and cause greening which accounts for the prevalence of lyngbya and other invasive plant species.
And that’s what I’m pondering.
The spring vents come from the aquifer. And does that mean that the aquifer is already full of nitrates?
So this is my conclusion from Dr. Anastasiou’s presentation. And I could be getting this all wrong. Please let me know if I am…..
The steps that our waterside communities are taking are great. But all of our inland communities need to step it up. Cut back on the fertilizer and other chemicals. Cut back on the water usage.
Because it’s not up to the waterside communities. The entire state needs to take part in saving our springs.
Oh there’s more. But I’m still pondering.
And I’m wondering, what do you think?