May 6, 2015

FTD/Dementia Support Blog: Death Plateau

FTD/Dementia Support Blog: Death Plateau The key is stay fit. Fitness is good for the brain. And eat well. I take dopamezil. It helps with the disease.

Peter Colverson

November 19, 2010

A Vision for a Restored Silver Springs

The meeting of the Silver Springs Basin Working Group on November 9th was devoted to developing a vision for the restoration of the spring. The vision will be posted here soon so stay tuned.

A presentation given at this meeting can be found at:

Search in the Silver Springs folder for Silver Flow - FB - Nov 9 2010.

The presentation is titled "Flow Studies at Silver River - Recent History and Current Challenges" by Fay Baird of the St Johns River Water Management District.

The next meeting of the Silver Springs Basin Working Group is scheduled for February 6th, 2011. Location to be announced. This meeting will be used to develop goals and objectives for the Restoration Plan. Any presentations will be announced closer to the date.

April 15, 2010

Next Meeting: May 5th 9am to 1:00 pm
Glass bottom boat rideto follow for meeting atttendees
Agenda to follow soon

March 5, 2010

Presentations from Joint Meeting of Silver and Rainbow Springs Basin Working Groups

The presentations from the Joint Meeting of Silver and Rainbow Springs Basin Working Groups are now available.

Hydrogeology of Florida: Implications for Water Resource Protection
Harley Means, PG, FDEP Florida Geological Survey

Septic Systems: An Introduction
Eberhard Roeder, PhD, PE, FDOH Bureau of Onsite Sewage Programs

On the Ground Realities for Septic Systems
Roxanne Groover, Florida Onsite Wastewater Association

Current Research with Passive Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems
Wanielista, et al., UCF Stormwater Management Academy

January 15, 2010

Joint Meeting of Silver and Rainbow Springs Basin Working Groups

The next working group meeting will be held on January 21, 2010, as a joint meeting of the Silver and Rainbow Springs Basin Working Groups. For details, please contact the coordinator, Peter Colverson, at 352.372.4747 x7017.

Successes and Challenges in 2008-2009

Springs Protection Comprehensive Plan – New Land Use Regulations
On June 2nd, 2009, the Marion County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) approved 2 new sets of LDRs to implement the Springs Protection Language in the County’s Comprehensive Plan. One dealt with Springs Overlay Zones and provides for an increase in the reliance on Waste Water treatment plants together with tougher language associated with septic tanks for new developments. Earlier in the year the BoCC passed a Fertilizer Ordinance to restrict fertilizer use on developed lots in the unincorporated sections of the county. There was an appeal made to have the incorporated areas pass a similar ordinance. Dunnellon did so within weeks. Ocala is still considering a fertilizer ordinance.

History – During the summer of 2007, Marion County’s Planning Department held a series of meetings and workshops to create land development regulations (LDRs) to implement the new comprehensive plan language. Public hearings regarding proposed LDRs were held in the fall of 2007. At the second public hearing in late November, there was substantial negative public comment and the Commission voted to table the decision to adopt the proposed LDRs. The Commission subsequently appointed the Marion County Aquifer and Springs Protection Task Force, a group of citizens representing various interests whose charge was to revise the proposed LDRs and bring a new version for consideration to the County Commission. Once their work was complete, Marion County staff reworked the new LDRs and passed them off for review to the Land Development Review Committee, a standing committee appointed by the BoCC. The versions approved by the LDRC were the ones passed by the Commission on June 2.

Expansion of State Road 35 adjacent to Silver Springs
At the May 14, 2009, meeting of the Working Group it was agreed to send a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation to request a review of the plans that have been approved for this project. The original concern of the working group that some of the planned retention ponds are too deep and might cause sink holes is still there despite modifications that were made to the plans. To date (June 2009) no reply has been received.

Determining Minimum Flow and Level for the Silver River
Work on the MFL for the Silver River was delayed and the new rules are not expected before December 2011. The new schedule includes incorporating the MFL for Silver River with that of the Ocklawaha River.

Two Springs Champions Received Local Awards
Chris Specht and Andy Kesselring were presented with Springs Protection Community Champion Awards jointly by the Silver and Rainbow working groups. They each received a copy of the book Glass Bottom Boats and Mermaid’s Tales, which was stamped and signed by both group coordinators. Their contributions to springs protection were featured in an article in the Ocala Star Banner the following day.

Transition to New Working Group Coordinator
Fay Baird resigned as group coordinator in April 2009. She accepted a position with the St. Johns River Water Management District, which she started in May. Peter Colverson assumed the role of Coordinator. Peter has been facilitating the Rainbow Springs Working Group since 2008.

Troy Kuphal Resigned as Water Quality Coordinator for Marion County
Troy Kuphal was widely recognized as the architect of the county’s efforts to revise their Comprehensive Plan and Land Development regulations. His last day was May 29, 2009. The working group wishes Troy well.

First Joint Meeting of the Silver and Rainbow Working Groups
This joint meeting focused on countywide issues in Marion County that affect both springs and provided a good summary of the status of springs protection efforts. The efficiency of dealing with these issues in one meeting was recognized and accepted by all concerned.

Springshed Signs
The Marion County Stormwater Program (formerly the Clean Water Program) began posting small road signs on county-maintained roads, identifying the Silver and Rainbow Springs protection areas within both of these springsheds in late 2007.

Ocala’s Stormwater Drainage Wells
A heavy emphasis was placed on this topic at one of the group’s quarterly meetings to explore the claim made by one regular attendee at WG meetings that this was the primary cause of nitrate pollution at Silver Springs. The consensus at the meeting was that there was little scientifically credible evidence to support the claim and that land uses in the basin that produce nitrate (fertilization, septic tanks, etc.) remain the major nitrate sources to groundwater that supplies Silver Springs.

The Working Group followed the progress of pending legislation affecting springs in the 2009 legislature. Senate Bill 270 which would have provided substantial additional protection to Silver Springs, as well as others, was the primary target of the group’s attention and it failed to pass.

October 1, 2008

Next meeting of the Silver Springs Basin Working Group

The next meeting of the Silver Springs Basin Working Group will be held on May 14, 2009. Please contact the Coordinator for more details (see panel to right).

December 17, 2007

Projects 2008-2009

Here are some of the ongoing topics and projects that the Group is at work on.

Avatar Property Purchase Now Complete
The property is now known as Indian Lake State Forest and is managed by the Florida Division of Forestry. The approval of the purchase of the 4,471 acre Avatar tract near Silver Springs by Governor Jeb Bush and the Florida Cabinet in November 2006 owes much to many members of the Silver Springs Basin Working Group, who collaborated on the first step in the State acquisition process and kept hope alive when it appeared that negotiations had fallen through. The purchase preserves a large tract of sandhill recharge area directly to the north of Silver Springs and mostly located in the Springs’ 2-year capture zone.
Read the Press Release (PDF)

Taming the Monster Pipe: Retrofit of State Rd 40 Drainage System
The Monster Pipe collects stormwater runoff from as much as 3 miles away from its discharge point into Half Mile Creek, a tributary of the Silver River. The goal of the retrofit is to meet Florida’s water quality management standards prior to discharge, since the system was built before these standards were established. A number of Working Group agencies are collaborating to design and construct a major stormwater retrofit to correct this problem.

The retrofit is complex and is still in the planning stage, and funding is not complete. There are five separate surfacewater drainage basins that contribute runoff to the Monster Pipe. The upper four basins are located in the City of Ocala, which has purchased some land with some funding from a legislative appropriation and SJRWMD. Marion County will be using water quality restoration funds from the Florida DEP for Basin 5, the lowest in the chain, which includes the final discharge point into Half Mile Creek. The Basin 5 treatment area will be located on Florida Greenways and Trails land. View the SR 40 Stormwater Retrofit Map (PDf).

Marion County Completes Water Resources Assessment and Management Study
The county that is home to 3 first-magnitude springs initiated this work in 2004 at the direction of the County Commission and in light of questions over how future population growth will affect public water supplies. The health of springs, wetlands and lakes is one of the many pressures that must be balanced as Marion County looks 50 years into the future. The final report was presented on May 8, 2007 and can be viewed at the WRAMS website.

50-Year Retrospective Study of Silver Springs
This study was a collaborative effort between the St. Johns River Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The final report is available on the St. Johns River Water Management District website; check the menu item labelled Publications.

Some major findings:
  • The overall structure and function of Silver Springs appears similar to qualitative observations from the 1950’s and 1970’s.
  • Spring flow and rate of community metabolism are still high compared to other systems, and the species richness for birds, fish and reptiles is similar to historic records.
  • Despite these positive observations, some significant changes since the 1950’s include spring flow decrease of about 20%, with a 176% increase in nitrogen (No3-N), 21% decline in the dominant aquatic plant biomass, 72% decline in insect productivity, absence of formerly common musk turtles, 96% decline in fish biomass, and declines in gross primary productivity (27%), community respiration (26%), and net primary productivity (59%).
View a more detailed summary of major study findings (PDF).

Striving for improvements to the plan for State Road 35 Expansion (Baseline Road)
A summary of the Stormwater Ponds Alternatives Analysis for the proposed expansion of SR 35 was presented to the Working Group in August of 2006. An Environmental Resource Permit was granted by SJRWMD in November 2007. The Working Group has been concerned about the design of this roadway expansion because of the possibility of sinkhole formation, proximity to the head springs area, and how the design will affect the “Monster Pipe”. Although funding for the full expansion has not been approved, the stormwater management system will be built during the first part of the expansion to four lanes which is planned for 2008.

The SJRWMD Technical Staff report for the permit stated that all Working Group concerns are addressed by the design. However, the Working Group is still concerned that expansion of the road threatens the water quality of Silver Springs.

Exotic Species: Channeled Apple Snails and Armored Catfish
This exotic snail is introduced into spring systems when people dump aquariums into water bodies. The channeled apple snail is the size of a baseball, so if you see a huge snail it is this one, not the native one with which it can be easily confused when it is smaller. These exotic snails compete with the native apple snails, eat aquatic plants voraciously, and carry a parasite that makes it unwise for people to eat them.

Armored catfish are very numerous at the headspring area as of early 2008. A South American native, the armored catfish was first documented in the Indian River Lagoon in 1995 but has since spread into the St. Johns River basin as well as other Florida rivers.