Friends of the Crystal River Refuge Meeting

I first moved to Florida in 1982. Since that time, I’ve lived many places and traveled the country. At one point Terry and I were on a mission to find the perfect place to retire and checked on real estate in Houston, Estes Park, Knoxville, and many areas of Florida. We ended up in a house on a canal in Old Homosassa.

For me, its always been about the water but I didn’t want to live in a condo on a beach or even on a busy river. We choose a quiet house across from the Chassahowitzka Nature Preserve with very little boat traffic but daily views of sawgrass, native birds, otters, and the occasional visit from a manatee, alligator or dolphin. My camera with zoom lens attached always sets on my kitchen table, ready to catch those special moments.

Otter on the kayak dock

Now that Terry is finally retired we will be spending more time exploring the Nature Coast and all the wonders it has to offer. This year we have already visited Bluebird Springs and Three Sisters Springs, both for the first time, and will continue these ventures by land and from the water.

On Sunday, Terry and I attended the annual meeting of the Friends of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex. I knew little about the organization. We met a volunteer during our visit to Three Sisters Springs who invited us to the meeting and we thought “why not?”

Ross Knudsen, president, opened the business part of the meeting. John Moran, nature photographer, was the guest speaker. Along with his slide show of the decay of the springs which he has been photographing since the 70s, he was an interesting and motivating speaker. State Senator Charlie Dean, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation, attended the meeting in order to meet Moran. Senator Dean said that saving our water is top on his agenda for his remaining three years in office. He suggested that the attendees become involved by writing their legislators plus attending local meetings of the water board. In our case that would be Southwest Florida Water Management District, SWFWMD. John Moran said that he was a lobbyist — representing the future and asked Dean to join him in the State Clean Water Rally on February 18.

Ross Knudsen and John Moran
Ross Knudsen, president of the Friends of the Crystal River, and John Moran, photographer.
Charlie Dean, Florida State Senator
Charlie Dean, Florida State Senator

I am aware of the decline of our water systems and have despaired that the situation could only get worse. But after the meeting I could see a slight glimmer of hope. Perhaps some of the damage could be reversed if more of us become involved, so we’ll be sending our membership fee in to join the group and looking at volunteer opportunities in the future.

And some of my photos of our waterways….

Chassahowitzka River
Chassahowitzka River
Weeki Wachee River
Weeki Wachee River
Homosassa Springs
Homosassa Springs
Mason Creek
Mason Creek
Crystal River
Crystal River
View of the Gulf from Ozello
View of the Gulf from Ozello
Bluebird Springs
Bluebird Springs

 

 

 

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