HERNANDO COUNTY LAND PROTECTORS
at the Weeki Wachee Area Club
7442 Shoal Line Blvd., Weeki Wachee FL 34607
Covered Dish dinner at 6:00 PM Meeting at 7:00 PM
Next meeting will be May 14, 2013
Hernando County is located on the West Coast of Florida due west of Orlando and is at the southernmost end of Florida's Nature Coast. The Weeki Wachee River is pretty much in the center of the north-south axis and is world famous because of the Mermaid attraction & water park which opened after WWII. The Weeki Wachee river begins at the spring at the junction of US 19 and State Rt. 50 and enters the Gulf of Mexico at Bayport approximately 8 miles downstream. The Weeki Wachee spring derives it's water from the Green swamp in central Florida somewhat north of the Tampa area. The river is 95% spring fed and does not rely from runoff as many rivers do. Obviously there is local runoff from the area west of US 19 so during periods of heavy rain the water may be tea colored, but most of the time the river is crystal clear, especially in it's upper stretches. A major factor of water clarity depends on the human usage which is increasing,especially on summer weekends.
We do not have the beaches so often associated with a persons vision of Florida, but rather saltwater marsh which is nursery area for many types of fishes and birds. Development in the area was minimal until the late 1960's but has been accelerating ever since.
Chuck Morton, President,
Don Fish, Vice President
Paula Morton, Secretary
Shirley Knotts, Treasurer
For more information on Chinsegut Hill go to the Hernando Historical Museum's website www.hernandohistoricalmuseumassoc.com/chinsegut_history.html
There is a permit application in, which will probalby get railroaded through, for a cattle operation in the Ocala Area to withdraw 19 million gallons per day. According to former Governor and Senator Bob Graham who was also a cattleman ther is no way that much water is needed. Cattle operations can use reclaimed water quite well. This is not a feedlot operation, but an open range operation with the beef to be shipped to Switzerland by its Canadian owner. The water is supposedly for irrigating pastures That is more water than the city of Ocala uses in total..
This is happening all over the State. A big part of the problem is that inaccurate data in used in water use models. A rainfall of 60 inches per yar is being used for Florida and we have not had that much annual rainfall in over 15 years. Apparently pressure from politicians prevents the corrrect cata from being used. Jobs are being cut at the water managment districts and if someone doesn't "play ball" they are out of a job.
On April 10, 2012 Sonny Vergara gave us an very informative presentation on the history of Water Managment in Florida and attempts from Tallahassee to take the control from the local citizens and shift it to Tallahassee.
His website http://swfwmdmatters.blogspot.com/ is very informative and I encourage you to check in often.
Sonny is an accomplished nature photographer and there are fabulous photos on his site as well.
The time will come when we must stand up for our rights or else we will surely loose them. It is extremely important for each citizen to make his / her views known to his / her representatives.
On Jan 8 2013 the river flow was 178 cbic feet per second or 115 Million gallons per day well above the aveage flow. This is still a reault of Tropical storm Debby that dumped 15 inches of rain on the watershed last summer. It was a 50 year flood event, and rejuvinated the aquifer.
There is a flow gage on the upper river, .62 miles west of US 19, that measures actual flow flow and it's data is available on this link http://waterdata.usgs.gov/fl/nwis/uv/?site_no=02310525&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060
Take this value of cubic feet per second and multiply it times 646,272 million gallons/day per cfs to get million gallons per day.
For example the 168 cfs times 646,272 = 108,573,696 million gallons per day.
In general we don't need to water our lawns because it is cool and the grass is in a semi hibernation state.
The best way to conserve water is to cut back on outside watering. Switch to FLORIDA FRIENDLY LANDSCAPING since nearly 1/2 of our water is used for landscape watering.
Veronica Craw and her team got an award for the project cleaning the Spring up and removing the lymbgia, an algae that resembles sea snot.
Notice how well you can see down into the spring in the photo on the right.
In addition removing the lymbgia there was a lot of debris removed as well. Over the years sand had covered up some of it and other stuff was simply there out of sight in crevasses.
<<< Before project
WHICH SEAFOOD IS BEST?
That's easy, US caught, right? Well yes as a general rule, but there are many ways of catching fish and many locations where they are caught. Go to SEAFOOD WATCH
Go to SEAFOOD WATCHa site on the Monterey Bay Aquarium's webpage. You can put in most any seafood you can hink of and it will bring up the best to worst choices, not only for your health, but as a sustainable fishery.
New rules pertaning to reef fish, that means anything on a rockpile, go into effect on June 1, 2008. Basically you are required to have on board a dehooker and venting tool and only use NON stainless circle hooks with natural bait.
Go to New FWC Rules to get the official information.
When a fish is caught from depth the air in it's swimbladder expands and can force the stomach right out the fishes mouth causing death. Sometimes the bladder is ruptured as well, but it will heal if the fish is realeased quickly. This is a fish's equivalent to the Bends that affects divers, except it is easier to reverse.
To relieve this condition there is a process called venting where the swimbladder is pierced with a hollow needle which lets the air out. Then the fish can swim away back to his habitat to live. For more information on this please to go: www.flseagrant.org/program_areas/fisheries/venting/index.htm
Venting Tools and dehookers can be purchased from Aquatic Release Conservation at http://www.dehooker4arc.com/
Chuck Morton of the Hernando Environmental Land Protectors presents a Lowrance Elite-5 DSI Chart plotter/Sonar unit to George Bennett, David bland and Roy Link from Hernando County at the Port Authority meeting Jan 4, 2012.
This unit will be used by Hernando County waterways so they can more readily complete required underwater structure surveys in order to apply for Florida Fish and Wildlife grants funded by the Sportfish Restoration Fund. It came to light at the last Port Authority meeting that such a unit was needed, but funding was limited because of the tight funding situation at the county level. H.E.L.P. has historically funded research projects, environmental equipment purchases for schools, environmental impact studies, etc. so it was within their scope to assist Hernando County with this project. This unit is capable of rendering an image similar to a detailed 3-D drawing using sonar and indicating the exact position of each structure.
Hernando County has several artificial reefs, but has not been active in this area since 1993 because of the infamous Hernando Beach dredge project taking up most available funding. A 10 year plan for artificial reef development and enhancement was put into effect 2 years ago. Grant application has been stalled in a bureaucratic catch 22 situation that requires a survey of the location previous deployments in addition to other data. In short they want to know where the material we put down years ago is and its present condition. This unit will record images of the bottom structure and its location (Latitude and Longitude) on a computer chip enabling the required survey to be completed without having a diver go down and locate each individual structure item.
At present we are seeking to re-permit the Bendickson ( Tank) Reef and the reef Ball Reef so we can be eligible for the Sportfish Restoration Fund grants. This money comes from excise taxes on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels and import duties; so we have already paid the money. We have to apply to get it back.
H.E.L.P. is proud to assist Hernando County with this project and wants to thank those who attended SWAMPFEST as that is the funding source for H.E.L.P.
We 've been invaded, actually wild hogs have been around since the Spaniards came in the 1500's, but seldom are seen in Weeki Wachee. This boar was hit just east of Weeki Wachee Estates on April 21, 2007. Now just 5 years later in 2012 it is a common occurance to see hogs of all sizes along our roads. Like all animals the little ones are cute, but they do grow up and are quite destructive to the native environment.
Pine Straw makes just as good a mulch and it is renewable since the trees shed them all the time.
Home Depot, Lowes and Wal Mart are the main retailers of Cypress Mulch. Take time to write them or put a suggestion in their suggestion box for them to STOP selling it.
Look at the crystal clear water of the Weeki Wachee headspring
Manatees like to rub on things like the swimrope
Manatee photos courtesy of John Athanason, Weeki Wachee Springs Waterpark