Significance of caves in watershed management and protection in Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094035/00001
 Material Information
Title: Significance of caves in watershed management and protection in Florida workshop proceedings, April 16th and 17th, 2003, Ocala, FL
Series Title: Special publication - Florida Geological Survey
Physical Description: 1 CD-ROM : ; 4 3/4 in.
Language: English
Creator: Florida Geological Survey
Schmidt, Walter
Conference: Workshop on the Significance of Caves in Watershed Management and Protection in Florida, (2003
Donor: unknown ( endowment ) ( endowment ) ( endowment )
Publisher: Florida Geological Survey
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Fla.
Publication Date: 2003
Copyright Date: 2003
Subjects / Keywords: Caves -- Congresses -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Watershed management -- Congresses -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Aquifers -- Congresses -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Conservation of natural resources -- Planning -- Congresses -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Environmental policy -- Congresses -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Summary: Agendas, proceedings, and PowerPoint slides from the workshop. The workshop was divided into three focus topics: Bridging the Gap between Cavers & Scientists; Utitlization of Cave Data in Hydrogeological Investigations; and Cave Resource Management: Politics, Public Relations, and Funding.
System Details: System requirements: Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer and Adobe Acrobat Reader for PC and Mac (both can be installed from the CD-ROM).
General Note: Title from disc surface.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management:
The author dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law and all related or neighboring legal rights he or she had in the work, to the extent allowable by law.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 003163931
oclc - 58550787
System ID: UF00094035:00001

Full Text

to the
April 16 & 17, 2003
Dr. Walt Schmidt

On behalf of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) / Florida Geological
Survey, and the Hydrogeology Consortium, I welcome you to the Workshop on the
Significance of Caves in Watershed Management and Protection in Florida. Just as
one of our prior workshops was appropriately held here last May (titled: Workshop to
develop blue prints for the management and protection ofFlorida springs) this location
again is a natural and logical place to discuss caves, and their significance to our
understanding the dynamics of groundwater movement. The Ocala, Marion County area
is high on the Florida Platform and upper Eocene limestones that comprise the top of the
Florida aquifer system in the area are located close to the land surface. As a result we
have many landforms associated with karst geology readily observable in the vicinity.
Sinkholes, caves, and springs are abundant and common, and contribute to make the area
beautiful and famous. We all know of the world famous Silver Springs just east of here,
and the equally well known rolling karst hills covered in rich grasses famous for their
horse farms.

Anyone that has looked at a satellite photo or high altitude photograph of the State of
Florida immediately notes the many circular lakes we have. And the fact that many of
these lakes are not interconnected to each other. Many of these surface water features are
the manifestation of surface erosion mechanics in conjunction with mechanical and
chemical subsurface weathering of limestone's and dolostones. This "internal" drainage
into the underlying rock layers has been occurring for millions of years and continues
today. Where does the water go, if not drained off via surface streams? Well, our vast
underground aquifers are as plentiful as they are because of this long standing dissolution
of the carbonates. The prolific nature of the Floridian aquifer system is the result of
millions of years of slightly acidic surface water entering the ground and dissolving away
rock leaving behind voids and increased porosity. And these voids are interconnected
thereby allowing groundwater replacement and movement in the subsurface. It's hard for
the layman to comprehend how riddled with pore spaces some of our limestones and rock
layers can be. Think for a moment of some photos you have seen, or locations you have
visited on various fieldtrips. Visualize the volume of material that has entered subsurface
horizons and rock layers from above. The volume of rock, sediment, soil, and water that
was consumed at the Winter Park Sinkhole in 1981 (it took one house and a shed, a
swimming pool, most of a four lane highway, part of a auto-repair facility, 2 Porsche
sport cars three others and a camper that were retrieved, many trees, and millions of
cubic feet of soil / sediment). Think of the Devils Millhopper, Big Dismal, Lake Jackson,
or Paines Prairie. There are thousands of examples. When we as geologists have an
opportunity to view, this weathered and solution riddled rock when overburden or soil is
scrapped off, we are amazed at what we see. Recall the, now famous photo taken by Bill
Wisner in 1972, of the Buda limerock mine between Newberry and High Springs, that

showed the honeycomb of round solution pipes. In other instances, we plot depth to "top
of rock" from cores and wells in one place, then find that within 100 feet away the same
top of rock may be a couple of hundred feet deeper in elevation. Sea level changes,
surface erosion, and subsurface solution has greatly modified our landscape and left
behind what we see today.

Our departed colleague Bill Wilson reported in 1995 that based on his data and
calculations he has estimated between 145-650 buried sinkholes per square mile in
upland sites and between 1,200 and 8,700 per square mile in lowland sites. He further
reported dissolution openings in the top of the Floridan aquifer ranging from 32,000-
1,900,000 per square mile. While these numbers seem daunting themselves, consider he
also estimated the cave density in parts of the unconfined Floridan aquifer system. He
suggested the open cave density per unit area is typically 670-5,100 miles/mile2. This is
an enormous amount of cave passages, no wander we have such large transmissivities.
He suggested that such data would call for an average distance between cave passages of
between 370 and 500 feet. Meaning no point in the aquifer would be more than maybe
200 feet from the nearest open cave! So,..... IS UNDERSTANDING CAVES AND
are past the point that the answers to these questions are up for debate! It's clear to the
professional hydrogeologic community, understanding cave systems is fundamental to
understanding groundwater dynamics.

Caves and their relationships to our aquifers have been known and reported on for some
time in Florida. As early as 1674, a Friar with the Spaniards exploring North Florida
reported their group spent the night in a cave where more than 200 men could be lodged
comfortably, and he went on to say "there was a brook which gushes from the living
rock." He was talking about the caves north of Marianna, we call Florida Caverns. We
also have evidence in the form of artifacts of post-Columbian (prior to about 1500 AD)
use of various caves by the earliest of human occupation of the area. Other records and
various stories document Indian use of caves and use made during the Civil War. I know
student chapters of the National Speleological Society (NPS) at FSU and other
Universities have for decades gone out on caving trips and provided many surveyed and
mapped reports of their fieldwork.

During the past two to three decades many professional cave diving groups such as the
Cave Diving Section of the NPS, the National Association for Cave Diving, the U. S.
Deep Caving Team, the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers, and the
continuous local efforts of the Wakulla Karst Plain Projects team, have gathered an
enormous amount of submerged cave data and mapped passage information. Some of the
most highly respected members of the international professional cave diving community,
reside and work in Florida and have shared their expertise and results of their work with
other professionals so that we may understand our aquifer dynamics a little better, with
the benefit of an "eye-witness." The continuing contributions and cooperative efforts

between the professional cave diving community and our hydrogeology professionals is a
natural and critical marriage to better understand and conserve our groundwater resources
and these unique subterranean environments.

The Springs Task Force made numerous recommendations to further our knowledge and
ability to protect and conserve our spring's resources. Knowing that springs are but one
component of our karst landforms, and all the surface / subsurface features are
interrelated, the Task Force recommended a comprehensive database be compiled to
include these features and their surveyed maps. The Florida Geological Survey has
coordinated with many professionals to instigate such an endeavor. One glitch in the
effort, however, is the obvious concern for locational information to be made public for
the many pristine springs and cave entrances. The FGS has proposed legislation to allow
such data to be filed and maintained in a confidential manner in accordance with the
instructions of the source of the information and or owner of the property. This however,
is not being pursued this year due to other priorities within the DEP.

General and detailed understanding of karst features and subsurface hydrogeology is
fundamental to the protection and hoped for cleanup of contaminated aquifers within our
state. We at the FGS are involved in surface geologic mapping, subsurface detailed
lithologic descriptions, and the spring's initiative with numerous in-house and contracted
studies, and upgrading the DRASTIC maps with the Florida Aquifer Vulnerability
Assessment (FAVA) project adding karst features. The subsurface caves and conduits
clearly are a critical and important part of our overall understanding or our aquifer
dynamics, groundwater transport, and surface water / groundwater interactions. So, you
are the "choir" and we all know that. But coming together in a workshop such as this,
helps us focus our efforts, and helps us speak with one voice when elected and appointed
government officials ask us for input or for our professional opinion on recommendations
to conserve and protect our groundwater resources. As individual scientists, geotechnical
engineers, professional cave divers, etc, we appropriately disagree on things, maybe
that's an understatement. But, workshops such as this help us form common ground for
the big picture, and having a consistent message from the geoscience and hydrogeologic
community to decision makers is important for our credibility.

This workshop is divided up into three general focus topics to initiate discussions. First
is: Bridging the Gap between Cavers & Scientists, second is: Utilization of Cave Data in
Hydrogeological Investigations, and last; Cave Resource Management; Politics, Public
Relations, and Funding. Choose the group which interests you the most, or amble back
and forth between groups. Thank for your interest and participation. We look forward to
an interesting and useful couple of days.

c/Geo Invest/Hydrogeology