Georgia officials take over water test project By RAY HENRY, Associated Press

Georgia officials take over water test project
By RAY HENRY, Associated Press
Published 9:26 am, Wednesday, May 15, 2013
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ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia officials will lead a project testing whether water stored underground can be used to supplement drought-stricken waterways after the local agency managing the project pulled out, state officials said Wednesday.

The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority will start advertising Thursday for firms interested in designing and building a well system testing the water storage concept in southwest Georgia, authority spokesman Shane Hix said. Companies already involved in the project will have to reapply.

That decision came after the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission sent the state a letter Tuesday announcing it was pulling out of the project slated for the Chickasawhatchee Creek at the Elmodel Wildlife Management Area, roughly 50 miles north of Florida.

“As we have been working with you to further develop this project, it became obvious that the selected demonstration project is crucial to our region but also has importance outside our region,” Robert McDaniel, the commission’s executive director, wrote. “Upon reflection of this importance, we believe the demonstration project should proceed as a State of Georgia project rather than a SWGRC project.”

Gov. Nathan Deal’s administration had awarded the local commission roughly $5 million to test the concept so officials could decide whether it could be used more widely.

Supporters of the concept, called aquifer storage and recovery, say it could protect drought-threatened wildlife in the Flint River basin or, on a much larger scale, make sure Alabama and Florida get enough water to help resolve a long-running water dispute over metro Atlanta’s water consumption.

The project has opponents. Similar wells in Florida contaminated water with arsenic, a problem that project backers say can be fixed. Opponents of the project have also said that water from southwest Georgia should not be tapped for the benefit of metro Atlanta and that conserving water is cheaper than building storage systems. A bill to change Georgia’s law on water rights in ways favorable to the storage wells failed this year in the General Assembly.

Ga. avoids limit on reservoir use in Senate bill

Ga. avoids limit on reservoir use in Senate bill
By RAY HENRY, Associated Press
Updated 3:01 pm, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia legislators thwarted on Wednesday an attempt by Alabama and Florida to limit how much water metro Atlanta and North Georgia can take from federal reservoirs.

The U.S. Senate voted 83-14 to approve a changed version of the Water Resources Development Act without including an earlier restriction backed by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. That restriction would have undercut an appellate court decision finding that metro Atlanta can legally take water from Lake Lanier on the Chattahoochee River. The ruling prevented a water crisis for Georgia and proved a major legal setback for Alabama and Florida.

Lake Lanier is part of a system formed by the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint rivers that serves all three states. Georgia wants more water from Lake Lanier to serve a growing population. Alabama and Florida have opposed the request, arguing that metro Atlanta uses too much water upstream, leaving too little for downstream communities, industry and wildlife. Alabama and Georgia have a separate conflict over the watershed formed by the Alabama, Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers.

Instead of restricting water use, the bill now urges the governors of the three states to negotiate a resolution. The legislation states that Congress may take further action if the dispute remains unresolved, a nonbinding reference that Georgia officials want to defeat.

Georgia Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, both Republicans, praised the bill in a statement for allowing a harbor-deepening project in Savannah to proceed, only vaguely referencing the water dispute.

“While I remain concerned with other provisions in the bill, it is my hope that these can be remedied as the legislative process moves forward,” Chambliss said.

Under the plan supported by Sessions, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would have been forced to seek congressional approval anytime a request for municipal or industrial water cumulatively changed the storage plans for a federal reservoir by 5 percent or more. Water providers say Georgia has exceeded that threshold at both Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona. Given the political feud between the states, it was uncertain whether Congress would have approved giving Georgia more water.

San Francisco Chronicle-By RAY HENRY, Associated Press
Updated 3:01 pm, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

That restriction was probably intended to pressure Georgia into bargaining more intensely in the tri-state dispute. Since Georgia won in the appellate court, its leaders have faced less pressure to cut a deal.

“This complex issue is best resolved through reasonable negotiations among the Governors of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, and this provision helps moves those discussions forward,” Sessions said in a statement.

The restriction on water use would have affected all federal reservoirs, though it would have carried immediate consequences in the Southeast. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tried unsuccessfully on behalf of the Alabama and Florida delegations to restore the water restriction after Georgia’s Senate delegation had it struck from the bill. Rubio said resolving the dispute would end the damage that low water levels have inflicted on the oyster fishery in Apalachicola Bay and other industries.

The conflict may resurface when the House of Representatives drafts its version of the water bill. A dozen members of Georgia’s House delegation have signed a joint letter asking the leaders of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure not to support any rules “that could be viewed as taking sides in this interstate dispute,” the letter said.


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Mother Nature Established .05 Level for Nitrates in Our Springs

Mother Nature established .05 { parts per million } as the original background level for Nitrates in Florida Springs...It also represents Spring Ecosystem Health in it's Purest Expression.- John Dame Jr.

Mother Nature established .05 { parts per million } as the original background level for Nitrates in Florida Springs…It also represents Spring Ecosystem Health in it’s Purest Expression.- John Dame Jr.

Awesome image! Lets all test our well water and each of us find out how many nitrates. Then, if high we can request (demand) we be protected by the use of sustainable solutions (not BIG industry solutions, ie: desalination plants, bottled water). was created around a similar concept – there should be no more than 350 ppm of carbon in our atmosphere to avert climate change. .05 is a speed limit we can promote even if FL DEP won’t.

Mother Nature established .05 { parts per million } as the original background level for Nitrates in Florida Springs…….It also represents Spring Ecosystem Health in it’s Purest Expression…….

Consider Volunteering to Help SOS Protect our Flora and Fauna

Wild things are so way worth protecting!

Consider volunteering a few hours per month to help SOS protect North Central Florida’s flora and fauna – all dependent on water. After all, most lobbyists (not all) are working full time to take clean water and wild spaces away.

Wild hibiscus – Corkscrew Swamp, SW Florida

Wild hibiscus - Corkscrew Swamp, SW Florida

Wild hibiscus – Corkscrew Swamp, SW Florida

Meeting: 10/18/12 Anticipated Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Ecosystems of the Nature Coast

SOS – Save Our Suwannee

PO Box 669, Bell, FL 32619

October 7, 2012

 PRESS RELEASE (for immediate release)


 Anticipated Impacts of Sea Level Rise

on Ecosystems of the Nature Coast

                                        PowerPoint presentation

     By Whitney Gray,  

     Sea Level Rise Outreach Coordinator, FWC

 When:         Thursday October 18th, 2012 – 7:00 PM – no admission

Open to the public – light refreshments served afterward

Where:        Unity Church of Gainesville 8801 NW 39th Avenue

(One half mile east of Interstate 75 on 39th Ave)

 Sponsor      Save Our Suwannee (A not for profit 501 (c) 3)

Whitney Gray is an engaging speaker who serves both Florida Sea Grant and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) as a statewide specialist in the effects of climate change, especially sea level rise, on coastal ecosystems. Ms. Gray provides up-to-date science-based information and resources to Sea Grant Agents and FWC research and management personnel, and she supports planning processes in both organizations. Ms. Gray, a fifth generation native Floridian, received a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Florida in 1985 and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering Sciences with an emphasis on Systems Ecology in 2012, also from the University of Florida. Her background includes time as a high school and middle school science teacher, a community volunteer with an emphasis on environmental advocacy, a local elected official in the City of Clearwater, Florida, and a regional environmental/ecological researcher with the SW Florida Regional Planning Council.

It is a well documented fact that sea level rise has already begun. See the documentation in this FWC presentation. As the trend accelerates how far inland could sea level rise potentially intrude affecting wildlife and human communities?  See stunning charts and graphs clearly laying out the historic data; as well as a range of future projections from low end to high end.  This presentation is sure to get you thinking about what we can do individually and as a community to help slow the process.

For more info please contact Barbara Ferguson, SOS Board Member, at 386-965-0901.


Antibacterial products fuel resistant bacteria in streams and rivers


Antibacterial products fuel resistant bacteria in streams and rivers


A person washes their hands with an antibacterial soap. Credit: John Kelly

Triclosan – a synthetic antibacterial widely used in personal care products – is fueling the development of resistant bacteria in streams and rivers. So reports a new paper in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, which is the first to document triclosan resistance in a natural environment. 

Invented for surgeons in the 1960s, triclosan slows or stops the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mildew. Currently, around half of liquid soaps contain the chemical, as well as toothpastes, deodorants, cosmetics, liquid cleansers, and detergents. Triclosan enters streams and rivers through domestic wastewater, leaky sewer infrastructure, and , with residues now common throughout the United States.

Emma Rosi-Marshall, one of the paper’s authors and an aquatic ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York explains: “The  caused by triclosan has real . Not only does it disrupt aquatic life by changing native bacterial communities, but it’s linked to the rise of  that could diminish the usefulness of important antibiotics.”

With colleagues from Loyola University and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, Rosi-Marshall explored how bacteria living in stream and responded to triclosan in both natural and controlled settings. Field studies were conducted at three sites in the Chicago metropolitan region: urban North Shore Channel, suburban West Branch Dupage River, and rural Nippersink Creek.

Urbanization was correlated with a rise in both triclosan concentrations in sediments and the proportion of bottom-dwelling bacteria resistant to triclosan. A woodland creek had the lowest levels of triclosan-resistant bacteria, while a site on the North Shore Channel downstream of 25 combined sewer overflows had the highest levels.

Combined sewers deliver domestic sewage, industrial wastewater, and storm water to a regional treatment plant using a single pipe. Overflows occur when a pipe’s capacity is exceeded, typically due to excessive runoff from high rainfall or snowmelt events. The result: untreated sewage flows directly into rivers and streams.

The research team found that combined sewer overflows that release untreated sewage are a major source of triclosan pollution in Chicago’s North Shore Channel. In addition, their findings support past work that indicates sewage treatment plants can effectively remove triclosan from wastewater.

John Kelly of Loyola University Chicago, the paper’s senior author, comments, “We detected much lower levels of triclosan at a site downstream of a sewage treatment facility as compared to a site downstream of combined sewer overflows. And we demonstrated a strong link between the presence of triclosan in the environment and the development of triclosan resistant bacteria.”

Nearly 800 cities in the United States rely on combined sewer overflows, with the Environmental Protection Agency citing them as a major water pollution concern.

Artificial stream experiments conducted at Loyola University confirmed field findings that triclosan exposure triggers an increase in triclosan-resistant bacteria. In addition to the creation of these resistant bacteria, researchers also found a decrease in the diversity of benthic  and a shift in the composition of bacterial communities. Most notable were a 6-fold increase in cyanobacteria and a dramatic die-off of algae.

Rosi-Marshall explains how these shifts could impact aquatic life, “Cyanobacteria are less nutritious than algae and can produce toxins. In triclosan-polluted streams and rivers, changes in microbial communities could negatively affect ecological function and animal communities.”

The study is the latest in an ongoing effort to better understand the environmental and human health consequences of synthetic antimicrobials. Funding was provided by a grant from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.

More information: Triclosan Exposure Increases Triclosan Resistance and Influences Taxonomic Composition of Benthic Bacterial Communities, Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013, 47 (15), pp 8923-8930.

Provided by Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

article shard by Bob Knight.


SOS October 1, 2013 meeting has been canceled.

Save Our Suwannee has cancelled their scheduled meeting for October 1st at 7:00 pm, in High Springs.  We will be sending out post cards to our members who got the meeting notice in our recent Newsletter.
On that same day at virtually the same time, one of the most important meetings regarding cleaning up the nutrient pollution in the Suwannee River will be held in Live Oak.  The meeting is the Suwannee River Basin Management Action Plan and the Santa Fe River Basin Management Plan and will be held by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at the Suwannee River Water Management District Headquarters,9225 CR 49, Live Oak FL 32060.
In addition, there will be a Suwannee River County Commission Meeting where a proposed industrial medical waste incinerator will be discussed that starts at 6:00 pm and will be held in Live Oak at the County Commission meeting room.  The address of the Commission meeting is:  JUDICIAL ANNEX BUILDING,  218 PARSHLEY STREET SOUTHWEST,  LIVE OAK, FLORIDA  32064 
Since our original meeting date conflicts with these other critical meetings at the same time on the same day, we are cancelling our meeting and asking our members to attend these other very important meetings.  The outcome of both will have a great impact on the future health of our local waters.
Again, if you have published something about the Save Our Suwannee meeting on October 1st, please print a cancellation notice for us.
Thank you for your time.
Annette Long

SRWMD Gets $5.4 million For Springs Protection Funding

Suwannee River Water Management District Gets $5.4 million For Springs Protection Funding

from the University of Florida

By Paige Kauffman on September 5th, 2013
LIVE OAK– The Suwannee River Water Management District received $5.4 million for two springs protection and restoration projects.

Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection approved the District’s funding request on Wednesday for the improvement projects.

The SRWMD is teaming with Dixie County to provide a local funding match totaling $352,000 as the DEP plans to contribute $1.5 million. The District will also partner with the City of Lake City and Columbia County for a local match totaling $700,000 with a DEP contribution of $3.9 million.

The Middle Suwannee River Restoration and Aquifer Recharge project plans to rehydrate about 1,500 acres of ponds and 4,000 acres of wetlands to mimic natural hydrologic conditions in Mallory Swamp, and will enhance flow for springs along the Middle Suwannee River Basin.

The benefits of restoring natural conditions will increase the groundwater supply, affecting various springs along the Middle Suwannee River including Troy, July, Little River and Pot Hole Springs.

The Ichetucknee Springshed Water Quality Improvement Project intends to convert Lake City’s wastewater sprayfield into wetlands, providing additional treatment to reduce nitrogen loading and improve water quality in the area. It is projected to reduce Lake City’s wastewater nutrient loadings to the river by an estimated 85 percent.

Ann Shortelle, executive director of SRWMD, wrote in a press release, “This funding is a significant investment that will have enormous benefits to the Ichetucknee River and Springs, and numerous springs along the Middle Suwannee River.”


Please join us this fall for two events highlighting the myth and magic of Florida springs. Both events will be held at the Barry University School of Law, 6441 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, in the Legal Advocacy Center, room 311, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

On September 19, 2013, springs artist Margaret Ross Tolbert will present her unique artistic perspective on the Floridan aquifer and the numerous springs of central and northern Florida.  Margaret began painting the springs after experiencing their beauty through a diving mask. She was then moved to action because she could see the springs changing before her eyes.  One result was the acclaimed bookAQUIFERious, which received a Florida Book Award gold medal in 2010.  Read more about Margaret’s work on her website,

On October 17, 2013, graphic designer Rick Kilby will showcase his “Old Florida” viewpoint in a presentation that traces his journey from an obsession with Ponce de Leon collectibles and ephemera through history and culture to realizing the importance of Florida’s natural wonders to the state’s tourist and newcomer economy.  Rick’s book showcasing his collection, Finding the Fountain of Youth: Ponce de Leon and Florida’s Magical Waters, has just been released.  Learn more about Rick’s kitschy perspective via his website,

Two nights, two opportunities to connect with these committed folks, with what they care about, and with ways we can all better protect Florida’s waters. CEJ is so pleased to host them!